One of the great highlights of the baseball season is the July 31st Trade Deadline. As the middle of July approaches, teams are still estimating if they have a chance to make the playoffs. It’s the time of year when teams either put up or shut up. With an extra Wild Card playoff spot for each league, more teams were active at the deadline this year. This year had an ample amount of buyers and sellers which proved to make it a great deadline. Before July 31st a handful of notable trades occurred including Kevin Youkilis to the Chicago White Sox, Ichiro Suzuki to the New York Yankees, Hanley Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers and Zack Greinke to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; but July 31st saw its share of winners and losers.
Los Angeles Dodgers: With a new ownership group running shop, the Dodgers look to have a good head on their shoulders. They added some potent offense with former All-Stars Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino and they reinforced their bullpen by adding Brandon League and Randy Choate. The Dodgers did all of this without giving up any of their elite prospects. Look for the Dodgers to go deep into the playoffs this year.
Philadelphia Phillies: My how the mighty have fallen. After winning five straight NL East Division titles, the Phillies were sellers at the deadline. With their core group of players getting older, the Phillies saw this as an opportunity to restock their farm system. The Phillies traded Victorino to the Dodgers and outfielder Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants. In shipping out two players, the Phillies got back five players which will definitely help replenish their minor league system.
Washington Nationals: Although the Nationals are in first place, they did little to help them for a stretch run. National executives have kept reiterating that they are shutting down Stephen Strasburg once he hits 160 innings, but the team really has no contingency plan after that. With such a young roster and the Atlanta Braves making some moves, it would have been wise for the Nationals to add a little depth. Time will tell if their inactivity at the trade deadline will hurt them.
Chicago Cubs: The Cubs had it all planed out. They would trade Ryan Dempster early, set up some offers for Matt Garza and if they were lucky, dump Alfonso Soriano to some willing team. But the Cubs found themselves in the opposite situation of what they wanted. Dempster vetoed an early trade to the Braves, which threw a wrench in the gears. Garza then got injured and the trade market soon dried up. Dempster was traded to the Texas Rangers finally, with Geovany Soto departing as well, but it was almost too little, too late.