National League Trade Deadline Reactions

National League Trade Deadline Reactions

This article is part of our Rounding Third series.

As we did with the AL teams earlier in the week, here's my quick reactions to each of the deals done by every NL team in the run-up to the trade deadline. Please let me know if I accidentally omitted a trade. If you want to hear the podcast with Fred Zinkie and I from Tuesday night, here's the link:

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

I missed the boat on Jake McCarthy last weekend in the Sunday FAAB bids, and I missed the boat on him generally speaking. He has a modicum of power and now has five stolen bases. He might be a better fantasy player than David Peralta. He was already playing a lot before the trade and is now playing every day. Rivera meanwhile gets a new chance with the Diamondbacks. He's mastered Triple-A, albeit at age 26. Rivera has some power but is a severe batting average risk. Eh, that's what you get for Luke Weaver.

ATLANTA BRAVES

Similar to last season, the Braves' moves at the deadline weren't splashy but seem to be pretty functional. I like Odorizzi in Atlanta, especially

As we did with the AL teams earlier in the week, here's my quick reactions to each of the deals done by every NL team in the run-up to the trade deadline. Please let me know if I accidentally omitted a trade. If you want to hear the podcast with Fred Zinkie and I from Tuesday night, here's the link:

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

I missed the boat on Jake McCarthy last weekend in the Sunday FAAB bids, and I missed the boat on him generally speaking. He has a modicum of power and now has five stolen bases. He might be a better fantasy player than David Peralta. He was already playing a lot before the trade and is now playing every day. Rivera meanwhile gets a new chance with the Diamondbacks. He's mastered Triple-A, albeit at age 26. Rivera has some power but is a severe batting average risk. Eh, that's what you get for Luke Weaver.

ATLANTA BRAVES

Similar to last season, the Braves' moves at the deadline weren't splashy but seem to be pretty functional. I like Odorizzi in Atlanta, especially if they move Ian Anderson out of the rotation, or if they go to a six-man rotation to reduce the number of innings that Max Fried and Spencer Strider need to throw. Either way, Odorizzi should be locked into the rotation for the Braves. Adrianza is a better for fit for what Atlanta needs than Robinson Cano, who was let go. Grossman is kind of a poor man's Eddie Rosario/Jorge Soler type of move to replace the injured Adam Duvall, but he's a season-removed from going 20-20. It's not hard to envision him bouncing back in a better ballpark and in a better lineup. Playing time might be a concern, though; if he platoons with Rosario, he's on the short-side of a platoon. However, I think he'll also give a day off to Ronald Acuña, Michael Harris and Marcell Ozuna from time-to-time. I'm thinking he gets 3-4 starts per week.

The Iglesias deal came as a shocker to me, as the Braves have an established closer in Kenley Jansen and Iglesias is signed for three more years. But Jansen a free agent after this season, and given his brief heart issue earlier this year, it makes sense to have another reliable reliever on-hand. I still think Iglesias gets 4-to-6 saves this year down the stretch.

CHICAGO CUBS

I'm still surprised that the Cubs traded away Effross, but then again, he brought back the best return out of all of their bullpen pieces in Wesneski. James Anderson mentioned on our SiriusXM show that this sort of deal really helps Wesneski, as he has a much shorter path to the majors than he would have had with the Yankees, plus he'll be in a much friendlier division in the NL Central. McKinstry is getting playing time right now, splitting time at second base with the newly activated Nick Madrigal and appearing to be on the better half of a platoon. The Cubs sent down David Bote to Triple-A to help clear the decks for McKinstry and Madrigal.

CINCINNATI REDS

I'm not happy that the Reds were in the position to be sellers at the deadline, but they had to trade Castillo, Mahle and Drury while they were hot. As awful as March was as a Reds fan, this was a lot better. The Reds now have 11 players in James Anderson's Top 200 prospects and 21 in the Top 400. Five of those top 200 came over in the trade deadline deals: Arroyo (25), Marte (34), Encarnacion-Strand (70), Steer (119) and Acosta (140).

Of course, none of these players are going to help us this year, but someone has to play to fill in the void. The Reds called up Jose Barrero to play shortstop down the stretch, with Kyle Farmer sliding over to third base, replacing Drury. Barrero was once the Reds' shiny shortstop prospect of the future, but he's really struggled at the big league level since his debut in 2020, and he took a step back this year at Triple-A. I believe that he hasn't fully recovered from having his hamate bone removed this spring. That said, strikeouts have always been a problem for him. 

Meanwhile, Robert Dugger has been called up to fill one of the voids in the rotation, and otherwise the team is transitioning back from a six-man rotation to a five-man one. In the outfield, Aristides Aquino is back up with the big club, and both he and Jake Fraley should get extra playing time with Pham gone.

COLORADO ROCKIES

  • No trades. Extended Daniel Bard on a two-year, $19 million deal.

LOL Rockies. Bard is 37 years old and previously had a terrible season, and the track record of Rockies relievers being able to repeat good seasons is pretty grim. Bard would have been one of the better relievers on the market had they been willing to trade him, but they wouldn't even listen to any offers. I get that you want to sell your fanbase and clubhouse that you're trying to compete, but this isn't it.

LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Last season, the Dodgers were the NL West team making the earth-shattering deal in getting Max Scherzer and Trea Turner, swooping in when the Padres thought that they had a deal for the pair. This year, it's the other way around — the Padres made the big trade, whereas the Dodgers made a series of small trades.

Let's start with the last deal, the Dodgers getting Joey Gallo. To me, it's a risk-free swing at a high power ceiling. If it doesn't work out, the Dodgers weren't on the hook for very much anyhow. He'll probably split time out there with James Outman for the time being. The Dodgers also called up prized prospect Miguel Vargas, who might not play every day while he's up because the Dodgers are so loaded, and might get sent back down once Justin Turner is ready to return from the IL.

Martin won't fill a big fantasy role, but don't overlook this trade. He's been a useful reliever in the past and has walked only four batters all season. He has a high hit rate, which suggests a bit of BABIP bad luck. Lamb was sent to make room for Gallo on the roster.

The trade I don't understand is the Mitch White deal. Contending teams don't often trade off starting pitchers, but we saw it with the Dodgers, Yankees and Astros at this trade deadline. At least the Astros received a player that can provide a current contribution in Will Smith. Injuries happen to the rotation all the time, and sure enough, Clayton Kershaw just went on the IL with a back issue. It looks as if Ryan Pepiot will get another shot as early as this weekend. Frasso is a noteworthy prospect, checking in at 204 in James Anderson's rankings.

MIAMI MARLINS

The Marlins sold high on two relievers that have generally been run-of-the-mill, and bought low on Groshans, who has just one homer in 289 plate appearances. The lack of power from Groshans has been a feature for him ever since he became a professional, despite his big stature. Sometimes we argue that a batter will "grow into his power," and that's still possible here, but it's not a given.

Change has been a constant for the Marlins, who, like their Florida brethren Rays, have just a sea of red on their depth chart. On top of that, they just sent down Jesus Sanchez as his slump has persisted. Instead of Sanchez, Jorge Soler, Avisail Garcia, Brian Anderson or Jon Berti in their outfield, they're using Bryan De La Cruz, JJ Bleday, Peyton Burdick, Billy Hamilton and Luke Williams. On a related note, they're having a hard time scoring runs right now. At least Edward Cabrera looked good on Friday in his return from the IL.

MILWAUKEE BREWERS

How's your week going? It's probably going better than the Brewers' front office, at least in terms of public perception and immediate results. Billy Beane famously used to trade closers away while his teams were strong, in order to ensure long-term sustainability. There was some of that talk following the Hader trade this week — maybe even some by me. The trade went over like a lead balloon in the clubhouse, even as the guy who stands to benefit the most, Devin Williams, panned the trade and then went out and gave up a homer to Bryan Reynolds, as the Brewers got swept by the Pirates.

All that said, while they did downgrade from Hader to Rogers, who hadn't pitched for the Padres since blowing back-to-back games against the Tigers early last week, I thought that the return overall wasn't bad. Ruiz is a top-100 prospect on most lists and 45th on our list, Gasser is around 200, and Rogers generally has been a good reliever for years, despite his tough patch recently.

The weird part was Lamet — I liked the idea of grabbing him as a flier to see if they could fix him. The Brewers thought otherwise, trying to sneak him through waivers by designating him for assignment. The Rockies claimed Lamet off waivers, so the Brewers got nothing there.

Bonus Content! Here's Brewers owner Mark Attanasio talking with MLB.com's Adam McCalvy about the deal, the perception that this was financially driven, and the accusation that getting into the playoffs is enough for them. He said what he had to say, but ... I'm not sure I'm buying.

NEW YORK METS

Mets fans were vocally unhappy, at least Mets Twitter was, with the small, targeted moves. I get it — landing Luis Castillo or Juan Soto would have been huge. But considering that they added so much during the offseason, I'm not going to criticize the Mets for not going big, at least in terms of brand names, at the deadline. This is what teams that are already contenders do — they deepen their bench and add to their bullpen. Now they have the ability to mix-and-match in the corner outfield and DH, and they've already gotten contributions from Vogelbach and Naquin. If you want to argue that they should have added a lefty reliever, I can get behind that. Andrew Chafin would have been a sweet fit if he was available.

The Mets traded away a good amount of depth in their farm system, but the top prospects in the system remained untouched. It could hurt losing Davis, as he was getting over a long-term injury and might start turning it around in the near future, if not the long-term future. But Ruf is likely an upgrade for the rest of this season for them, albeit it's a downgrade in playing time for him.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

The Phillies' return on the trade market strikes me as similar to the Astros' and Twins' — not the biggest names, but perfectly targeted for what they needed. Marsh gives them a true center fielder, something they've done without all season. They subsequently designated Odubel Herrera for assignment to make room for Marsh. Marsh has struggled at the plate this season, but I suspect that the park change will really help him.

The idea of Noah Syndergaard is better than the actual output right now, but he's still an improvement over their fifth starter options, all apologies to Bailey Falter. Thor's outing against the Nationals this week exemplifies that — only two strikeouts and 11 hits allowed over five innings. I'd prefer Kyle Gibson or Ranger Suarez over him at this point.

The Phillies indicated that Robertson wasn't a lock to close, and he might still not be, but he did get the first save opportunity for the team after the trade, getting the save Wednesday with a clean inning against the Braves that started off against Austin Riley. I think he gets the next chance, too. Seranthony Dominguez pitched the eighth inning in that game.

PITTSBURGH PIRATES

Much like the Cubs, the surprise here was who the Pirates did not trade. David Bednar stayed put, as did fellow reliever Wil Crowe. Bryan Reynolds almost talked about the team in the past tense in the run-up to the deadline, but he too stayed put. Of course, Bednar went on the IL right after the trade deadline, so that explains that. Crowe is only in his second full season in the majors, so there's no urgency to trade him either — though that didn't stop the Cubs from trading Scott Effross. Similarly, Reynolds isn't going to be a free agent anytime soon either, and is already locked in at an affordable price for 2023. 

Oviedo is starting off his Pirates tenure for Triple-A. I wonder if they're stretching him to be a starter? Otherwise, I don't see why he's not already on the big league roster.

SAN DIEGO PADRES

Just kidding.

Seeing the Padres be the team to go get Soto instead of the Yankees, Mets, Dodgers or other usual suspects is an unmitigated good for baseball fans, even if the fans in Cincinnati, St. Louis, or Kansas City don't see it that way. For decades, the Padres behaved as if they were a small market team, and they were indeed a smaller media market — some estimates have them as small as the 27th media market, though I suspect they're starting to make inroads into Orange County given the Angels' malaise. Nonetheless, their billionaire owner saw fit to go all-in, and that's the way it should be in sports, even if it doesn't benefit my team.

What else is there to say about Soto? The ballpark change will hurt (though Petco plays better for lefties than righties), but that should be more than mitigated by a far improved lineup around him. They paid a heavy prospects price, but this isn't just a rental, unless you think two-plus seasons is the equivalent of a rental. Losing Abrams and Gore won't even hurt them this season, though they'll ultimately miss them in the long run. 

The Drury trade was a classic "help both teams" trade. I believe that the swing changes that Drury made were for real, and that this season isn't a mirage. And yet, it's far and away his career season, and the Reds would have had to compete for him on the open market in the offseason. He lengthens the Padres lineup while being able to occasionally supplant Wil Myers or Jurickson Profar.

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

The Giants weren't able to get value for Carlos Rodon, who was on "hug-watch" during his Sunday night start against the Cubs. His unique contract prevented them from extracting too much value, and yet this was still an opportunity missed for a team that's circling down the drain right now. In retrospect, it should have seemed obvious that the Giants would fall back after their big leap last season. Sure, injuries have been a big part of it, but that's also to be expected after things went relatively well last year. The tough part for Giants fans has to also be how they're losing, with simply awful defense, awful relief pitching and a lack of ability to mix-and-match like they did so effectively last year.

If you're looking for a reason to be optimistic, it's that they didn't trade away any foundational parts of the team, or any elite prospects. If you're looking for a reason to be pessimistic, it's that they have two division foes that project to be among the elite of the game and are all-in.

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

Do you want Luis Castillo to add an ace to the top of your rotation? Or should you throw your hat in the ring and go after Juan Soto? Who wouldn't? 

Well ... how about Jordan Montgomery and Jose Quintana instead?!? These were the most Cardinals type of players to add at the deadline as possible, at least under John Mozeliak. Even when he swung for the fences and added Nolan Arenado, the Rockies essentially presented that one on a silver platter. It's funny, because the Cardinals under Walt Jocketty made many huge trades at the deadline — Larry Walker, Matt Holliday, Scott Rolen and Mark McGwire all come to mind.

All that said ... I really like Montgomery for the Cardinals. He gets to face the NL Central quite a bit, albeit not in his team debut — unfortunately he has to face the Yankees first! The Cards weren't likely going to get much from Harrison Bader the rest of the season, so it's going to put an extra burden on Tyler O'Neill and Dylan Carlson to stay healthy. And even though he's had a few big moments, I'm not sure that Lars Nootbaar is a full-time solution for the team. They really need Juan Yepez to come back healthy and productive.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS

On one hand, the Nationals revealing the amount of their offer to Soto that he rejected was very cynical, calculated for them to be able to throw up their hands and say, "hey, we tried our best, and we have nothing against Juan, but his greedy agent wanted to take him to free agency ... someday." The offer was never competitive in terms of Average Annual Value, and while the gross total is indeed gross, the market is what it is. Soto is a generational player, a term we throw around too loosely, self-included, but it's also accurate. He deserves to be paid as one, especially if he's going to turn down the opportunity to sign as a free agent with any team he wants. That deserves a premium, not a hometown discount, which is what the Nationals were seeking with that offer.

On the other hand, even though it's nearly impossible to win a trade when you're trading a player with the combination of his ability and age, I'd argue that the Nats had to do so, and probably got the most possible doing so now. This is a team that isn't going to be close to winning next year or in 2024 — a quick look at their rotation as well as what was in their farm system prior to this trade reveals that pretty clearly. They're at least mostly at fault for that condition, as they traded away Max Scherzer and Trea Turner last year and let Anthony Rendon walk after winning the World Series in 2019. They invested in Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin instead, and that obviously blew up in their face. They've also failed to develop and/or draft prospects properly, with Carter Kieboom and Victor Robles being notable failures.

Given all of that in mind, I like what the Nationals got in return and in particular liked that most of the package coming back were position players. The Astros and the Cubs before them showed the path: build up the lineup first, and then add the pitching on top when that lineup is ready.

NL-ONLY OPTIONS RANKED

Like I did with the AL article, here's my quick-and-dirty ranks for players in NL-only leagues. I'm not going to include the likes of Soto, Bell and Robertson - they are obviously already rostered.

  1. Jordan Montgomery
  2. Devin Williams (arguably already rostered, but just in case he's not, you should rectify that situation).
  3. Jake McCarthy
  4. Jake Odorizzi
  5. Rowan Wick - last man standing in the Cubs bullpen!
  6. Joey Gallo
  7. Jose Quintana
  8. Brandon Marsh
  9. Noah Syndergaard
  10. Raisel Iglesias
  11. Miguel Vargas - as it turns out, the Dodgers sent down James Outman when Chris Taylor came back, so it looks like Vargas will stick around for a while.
  12. J.D. Davis
  13. Jose Barrero
  14. Josh Palacios - called up by the Nats after the Soto trade, and could play a decent amount for them.
  15. Chris Martin

Like the AL article, let me know if there's anyone else you'd like me to add to the list in the comments.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeff Erickson
Jeff Erickson is a co-founder of RotoWire and the only two-time winner of Baseball Writer of the Year from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He's also in the FSWA Hall of Fame. He roots for the Reds, Bengals, Red Wings, Pacers and Northwestern University (the real NU).
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