It was one of the best trading dates in recent times. All 30 MLB teams made at least one trade on or before the July 31st deadline. And the quality of the players who switched teams was probably the best since the 1980s.
Ten All-Stars from this season changed teams, while a total of 23 past or current All-Stars were traded on or before the cut-off date. The 2021 season dates back to 1986 and featured more trades – 62 – than any other season since. This year’s trades also represent the highest WAR (wins over replacements) moved than any previous season. When it was all over, a record 158 players were traded on this year’s cut-off date. Many of these players will have a significant impact on the remainder of the 2021 season.
The rich get richer
What do you do when you have arguably the best squad in baseball, including the best pitching rotation? You run out at close of trading and get another Cy Young pitcher and another All-Star shortstop.
That is exactly what the Los Angeles Dodgers did when they dealt with Washington against Max Scherzer and Trea Turner. More importantly, the Dodgers are bringing Corey Seager and Mookie Betts back from the IL. LA doesn’t have the best record in baseball and they don’t lead their division, but you can bet they’ll be in the middle of the race after the season.
The same goes for the New York Yankees. The Americans are not the first in the AL East. You’re not even second. New York is six games ahead of first place and five games behind Boston in second place. As of the deadline, the Yankees in Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo are acquiring serious left-handers. On his first series, Rizzo went 5-for-9 with two homers and three RBIs. Opposing pitchers will have a tough time against a Yankees lineup that already has Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu and more.
If someone had said in April that the San Francisco Giants would have the best record in baseball in early August, it would probably have made a lot of laughs. The Giants are not kidding.
San Francisco ranks in the top ten in almost every single offensive stats category. Don’t you think they can hit? The Giants occupy ninth place in batting average (0.246), third in beating percentage (0.439, seventh in base percentage (0.328) and third in OPS (0.767).
Don’t you think they can strike for power? The Giants are in second place behind Toronto in homeruns per game (1.51) and have eight different players with double-digit homers. Evan Longoria, 9, will return there once he returns from an injury that has kept him away since June.
As of the deadline, the Giants ran out and added former NL MVP Kris Bryant. The addition of Bryant makes it nine Giants with double-digit homers. Bryant hit his first homer in San Francisco in a win over Houston on Aug. 1, earning him 19 for the season.
In addition to their offensive, the Giants also have a pitching stick, which has the third best ERA in baseball at 3.39.
Houston, we solved a problem
There is no doubt that the Astros have the best scoring team in the MLB. Houston leads the majors averaging 5.45 runs per game, and their +151 run difference is by far the best in baseball. What the Astros needed to get a second World Series title in five seasons was pitching help. Houston in particular needed help.
They got exactly that when they added Kendall Graveman, who had a 0.82 ERA and 10 saves with Seattle. Houston also acquired Yimi Garcia, who had 15 saves with Miami, Phil Maton (61 strikeouts in 41 innings in Cleveland) and Rafael Montero (15 saves in the last two seasons).
If any of the White Sox, Rays, Brewers or Blue Jays wins a World Series this season; their moves at close of trade will have helped them get there. The White Sox have an excellent pitching rotation and have come closer and closer to finish the games – Craig Kimbrel.
Tampa Bay leads the AL East mainly because of the excellent pitching. They acquired Nelson Cruz as their DH and actually swapped closer Diego Castillo and starter Rich Hill. Somehow they keep winning. Cruz will help the Rays offensive that took over Boston last weekend.
Milwaukee has the pitch but needed some rackets. The Brewers acquired Eduardo Escobar (23 HR) and Rowdy Tellez, who and his new team beat 0.349 with four homers and 12 RBIs. Toronto has one of the most dangerous lineups in baseball, but it was lacking in the pitching department. Acquiring an ace like Jose Berrios and the bullpen aid in Brad Hand, Adam Cimber, Trevor Richards and Joakim Soria gives the Blue Jays a legitimate chance to win a championship in 2021.