Grading the 5 best and worst acquisitions from MLB trade deadline
As the Major League Baseball season enters its home stretch, it gets easier to assess which teams made off like bandits at the July trade deadline and which ones are suffering from buyer's remorse. Here we'll look at the five best and worst deadline acquisitions to date.
5 best acquisitions
5. Abraham Toro, Mariners
The Mariners paid a hefty price to acquire Toro at the trade deadline, giving up effective closer Kendall Graveman, which caused a rift in the clubhouse. The 24-year-old quickly put his new team's feelings to rest by hitting homers in back-to-back games against his former club, the Astros. Toro hasn't slowed down, either. Since arriving in Seattle on July 27, his .391 on-base percentage and 141 wRC+ rank second and fourth, respectively, among second basemen, according to FanGraphs. Toro is also under club control through 2026, making his acquisition even more of a win for the Mariners.
4. Jorge Soler, Braves
When the Braves acquired Soler from the Royals the deal didn't receive much attention, but Atlanta is reaping the rewards after trading for the former AL home run champion. The 29-year-old ranks sixth in wRC+ (145), and seventh in slugging percentage (.549) among NL outfielders since the trade deadline, according to FanGraphs. Fifteen of Soler's 38 hits with the Braves have been for extra bases, and he's shown a more disciplined approach at the plate with career-best walk (12.9%) and strikeout percentages (19.4%).
3. Kyle Schwarber, Red Sox
The Red Sox may be floundering in the AL playoff race, but Schwarber cannot be blamed. Since his arrival in Beantown, he's picked up almost exactly where he left off with the Nationals. His 173 wRC+ ranks third in the AL among players with at least 100 plate appearances since the start of August and his 18.8% walk rate is tops in the Junior Circuit over that span.
2. Starling Marte, Athletics
No one has laid down tracks as aggressively as Marte in the second half. Whit Merrifield is closest with 13 stolen bases since the start of August. In an age where speed isn't as prevalent, Marte has been a throwback throughout his brief tenure at Rickey Henderson Field. Since his arrival in Oakland, Marte also leads the team in hits, runs, and doubles, while ranking third in RBIs.
1. Max Scherzer, Dodgers
Scherzer has been the best pitcher in baseball since joining Los Angeles with Trea Turner in a blockbuster trade. The three-time Cy Young winner is a front-runner to add another award thanks to his sizzling run. The right-hander leads the majors in ERA, WHIP, and opponent batting average, and he's second in the NL in strikeouts with 210.
5 worst acquisitions
5. Craig Kimbrel, White Sox
The White Sox sent shock waves through MLB when they acquired one of the all-time great closers from the crosstown Cubs despite already employing Liam Hendriks. Kimbrel has been a bust for the South Siders so far, allowing nine runs and four homers after giving up two earned runs in 39 games (866 ERA+) for the Cubs.
Sending second baseman of the future Nick Madrigal to their rivals for potentially one season of Kimbrel, who has a team option for 2022, could wind up being a regrettable move by GM Rick Hahn.
4. Joey Gallo, Yankees
Gallo came to the Yankees with a reputation for being a high strikeout guy, but his 36-game tenure with the Bronx Bombers has been abysmal thus far. The 27-year-old is 17-for-128 with 64 strikeouts since arriving from the Rangers. The two-time All-Star has just six hits and two home runs since Aug. 17 and his OPS has dropped from .869 to .797 since he was traded. Even Gallo's Gold Glove defense has been average with him amassing two defensive runs saved in New York after recording 12 in Texas.
3. Adam Frazier, Padres
Frazier led MLB in hits when the Pirates shipped him to San Diego. Since then, he's hit nearly 100 points lighter and posted an ugly 61 wRC+ over 127 plate appearances. A .276 BABIP may be contributing to his dip in production, but that won't be much solace to Friar faithful as the club battles for the second NL wild-card spot.
2. Andrew Heaney, Yankees
Since joining the Yankees, Heaney has allowed a whopping 11 home runs in nine appearances - only five of which have been starts. If the 30-year-old southpaw was supposed to be a stabilizing factor for New York's rotation, it hasn't worked. Take away his one solid start against the Red Sox where he allowed one run on two hits in seven innings and his line looks even worse. With Heaney hitting free agency this winter, it's been a catastrophic time to struggle this mightily.
1. Brad Hand, Blue Jays
Hand's career with the Blue Jays lasted less than one month. The three-time All-Star was putrid over 11 appearances, giving up 13 hits and 10 runs before the team designated him for assignment. Hand also recorded just five strikeouts, which is a significant drop-off from his career 9.1 K/9, albeit in a small sample size. To make matters worse, Riley Adams, who was traded from Toronto to the Nationals, owns a .969 OPS over 24 games with Washington. The deal has the potential to get a lot uglier for the Jays if Adams turns into something.