Revisiting the biggest deals from July's trade deadline


As we approach the tail end of the season, it's a good time to re-evaluate the blockbuster trades that had baseball abuzz at the end of July. With most of those moves designed to inject life into playoff pushes on one side and retool for the future on the other, some decidedly look better than others. Others, meanwhile, appear to be benefiting both parties.

Here, theScore grades these trades based on performances over the short time since the deals were completed.

Hamels shining in return to NL

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To Cubs To Rangers
SP Cole Hamels SP Rollie Lacy
SP/RP Eddie Butler
1B Alexander Ovalles

Cubs. For the most part, Hamels has been nothing short of revelatory since returning to the National League. Through his first nine starts with Chicago, he posted a sparkling 1.57 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. Even with his most recent outing going off the rails (seven runs in six innings), his ERA since the trade is only 2.42. One of the keys has been a massive reduction in home runs allowed, though he may be trending in the wrong direction in that regard. Still, the Cubs were in desperate need for pitching reinforcements after losing Yu Darvish for the season and suffering through Jon Lester's major rough patch. A+

Rangers. The Rangers dumped Hamels, who has a team option for 2019, and didn't get much to show for it. Right-hander Butler has not looked good with a 7.24 ERA in 27 1/3 innings while the 23-year-old Lacy hasn't graduated from A-ball and Ovalles is only 17. Maybe the trade works well in the long term, but there's not much to be excited about at the moment. C

Machado is box-office gold in Hollywood

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To Dodgers To Orioles
SS Manny Machado OF Yusniel Diaz
IF Rylan Bannon
IF Breyvic Valera
SP Dean Kremer
SP Zach Pop

Dodgers. Machado hasn't been quite as incredible with the Dodgers, but he's helped fill the void left by injured shortstop Corey Seager. Since the trade, Machado is batting .264/.332/.471 with 11 home runs, 31 RBIs, and six stolen bases. It's a drop-off, but he's also not required to do all the heavy lifting at his new home. With the Dodgers surging, he'll play a key role in the pursuit of a championship. A

Orioles. Could it be? A deal that benefits both teams? While it would be foolish to claim that any member of the return group will live up to Machado's tenure in Baltimore, this is about as good a haul as the Orioles could expect. Diaz is the top prospect in their system and is ranked 54th in all of MLB. He could make the leap to the majors next season. The rest of the return may lack in excitement, but it makes up for it in volume. If even one of them sticks the landing alongside Diaz, this is a huge win. A

Yankees land Happ from Blue Jays

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To Yankees To Blue Jays
SP J.A. Happ IF Brandon Drury
OF Billy McKinney

Yankees. Happ has helped solidify a Yankees rotation that has navigated some rough waters in 2018. With Luis Severino in a prolonged slump and Sonny Gray mostly jettisoned to bullpen duties, Happ has been a much-needed rock through his nine starts, going 6-0 with a 2.39 ERA. A+

Blue Jays. McKinney has surpassed expectations so far, batting .289 over 27 games with the Blue Jays. And though Drury hasn't been able to get healthy, he is only 26 and was starting to hit well in the minors prior to the trade. With Happ entering free agency, this was a pretty decent haul. B

Rays make the grade with Pham swindle

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To Rays To Cardinals
OF Tommy Pham OF Justin Williams
International slot money SP Genesis Cabrera
  RP Roel Ramirez

Rays. Pham was a six-win player in 2017, and he's reclaimed a lot of that hype since arriving in Tampa. He's hitting .327/.419/.570 with five home runs in 28 games. Injuries have stalled his availability a bit, but he adds semi-proven skills and isn't a free agent until 2022. Unless he totally flames out, this is a steal. A-

Cardinals. The prospect return is fine - Williams is major-league ready - but the deal felt like one based on panic. Dexter Fowler's lofty contract likely prevented trading him, and maybe Jose Martinez wasn't garnering much interest, either. As confounding as the trade appeared at the time, it did coincide with St. Louis' best stretch (22-6 in August), so perhaps there was a correlation. Still, the Cardinals need Williams to pan out in a big way, or losing Pham will leave a lingering sour taste for years. D+

Indians get a Hand from Padres

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To Indians To Padres
RP Brad Hand C Francisco Mejia
RP Adam Cimber

Indians. Was Hand the best player traded at the deadline? No. Was he exactly what the Indians needed? Absolutely. An until-recently sidelined Andrew Miller, a struggling Cody Allen, and an ineffective supporting cast made the need for bullpen help paramount. While they gave up their top prospect to get him, Hand is under contract through 2020 with an option for 2021. Adam Cimber could wind up being a decent throw-in, but he's been less than impressive since his arrival, having completely lost the ability to strike batters out (2.35 K/9). A-

Padres. In a marketplace where teams have become more and more reluctant to part with their best prospects, the Padres managed to pry Mejia from Cleveland. Even if he doesn't pan out behind the plate, he projects as a solid bat. In 31 minor-league games since the trade, he owns a 142 wRC+ with seven home runs and has showcased his power stroke in September with three more long balls with the Friars. A

Yankees bolster bullpen with Britton

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To Yankees To Orioles
RP Zach Britton SP Dillon Tate
SP Josh Rogers
RP Cody Carroll

Yankees. Britton's beginning in pinstripes was a little rocky, which can be expected of a player still working back from a freak offseason injury. Since Aug. 16, however, Britton has allowed two earned runs across 14 innings while issuing two walks. With closer Aroldis Chapman sidelined since late August, the Yankees have been desperate for relief, and Britton has mostly been able to provide. B+

Orioles. With Britton testing the open market in the offseason, the Orioles were always expected to explore a trade for their ace reliever once they fell out of contention. With a farm system in shambles, this was the return they needed. Tate immediately slotted in as the team's No. 6 prospect with Carroll listed as their 17th. Carroll and Rogers have both appeared at the big-league level - to less than desirable results - and Tate has been middling in Double-A. B+

Braves benefiting from Gausman's turnaround

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To Braves To Orioles
SP Kevin Gausman SP Bruce Zimmermann
RP Darren O'Day RP Evan Phillips
  C Brett Cumberland
  IF Jean Carlos Encarnacion

Braves. Before being traded, Gausman was 5-8 with a 4.43 ERA in 21 starts with the Orioles. Since then, he's 5-2 with a 2.61 ERA in Atlanta. He has seen his strikeout rate drop considerably and his walks have become slightly more frequent, but he's also cut down on the home runs. (Playing away from Camden can have that effect.) If his success is sustainable, the Braves are laughing because they won't see him hit free agency until 2021. O'Day hasn't played due to injury but remains under contract for next season. A-

Orioles. In what became a trade-deadline trend, the Orioles targeted young, controllable talent. Encarnacion has the most pedigree at the moment, but the 20-year old is a few years away, while Cumberland has struggled to hit throughout the minors. Of all their trades, this appears to have yielded the least exciting return. C

Eovaldi a mixed bag for Red Sox

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To Red Sox To Rays
SP Nathan Eovaldi SP Jalen Beeks

Red Sox. Eovaldi offers flexibility where the Red Sox really need it, and other than a few less-than-stellar appearances, he's been everything they've wanted. He's also held the Yankees to zero runs on five hits across 14 innings. That's not nothing, but he hasn't been the impact add that fans were perhaps clamoring for. B

Rays. Beeks hasn't translated his successes at Triple-A to the major leagues (5.32 ERA), but he showed promise in 16 starts with Pawtucket before the trade. And ignoring his first catastrophic appearance with Tampa, he's rattled off a 2.36 ERA over his last 34 1/3 innings. It's a good return in exchange for a player Tampa plucked off the injury pile prior to 2017. This trade accomplished the desired result. B+

Kinsler provides depth, not fireworks

Jim McIsaac / Getty Images Sport / Getty
To Red Sox To Angels
2B Ian Kinsler RP Williams Jerez
Cash considerations RP Ty Buttrey

Red Sox. It may not be flashy, but Kinsler has helped put a bandage over Boston's biggest defensive hole: second base. Without Dustin Pedroia, the Red Sox have been forced to rely on Brock Holt and Eduardo Nunez, who are both better suited to utility roles. Kinsler isn't the force he once was, but he's still sharp defensively and offers veteran leadership if you put stock in intangibles. B-

Angels. Los Angeles may have found its closer of the future with Buttrey. He's already earned four saves in 15 1/3 innings with a 0.59 ERA and 11.15 K/9. Jerez has been less successful (6.55 ERA), but he's also cracked the big-league roster. Not a bad return for an aging Kinsler about to hit free agency, but also not mind-blowing. B+

Astros focusing on positive with Osuna

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To Astros To Blue Jays
RP Roberto Osuna RP Ken Giles
SP David Paulino
SP Hector Perez

Astros. Purely from a baseball perspective and based on results on the field, Osuna has been an excellent addition. He's got a 2.41 ERA with nine saves in 18 2/3 innings since the trade. But, his time in Toronto was effectively over when he was charged with domestic assault early in the season and has been a PR nightmare for the Astros as the acquisition made a mockery of their zero-tolerance policy for assault. The criticism has been deservedly harsh. B-

Blue Jays. The Jays were happy to get literally anything in exchange for Osuna under the circumstances, and they made off with three players including Giles who has shown flashes of late-inning dominance over the last several years. If it had been Giles for Osuna straight up, it would have been better than expected. As is, this is a best-case scenario for Toronto. A

Escobar not providing desired impact in desert

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To D-Backs To Twins
IF Eduardo Escobar OF Gabriel Maciel
SP Jhoan Duran
OF Ernie De La Trinidad

Diamondbacks. At the time of the deal, Escobar was a doubles machine for the Twins. He cranked 37 two-baggers and had a legitimate shot at breaking the single-season doubles record of 67. Since the trade, he's hit 10 more while slashing .255/.323/.442. Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks have gone 22-26 and fallen into third place in the NL West. The season hasn't been torpedoed, but Escobar hasn't exactly moved the needle like J.D. Martinez did a year ago. B-

Twins. On the bright side for the Diamondbacks, they didn't have to cut bait on their top prospects to land Escobar. Maciel is ranked as the Twins' 17th-best prospect while Duran is 23rd and De La Trinidad is unranked. The true value of this trade won't be known for a while, as all three are a couple years away from cracking the show. At least they got something for the impending free agent. C+

Pirates missed the mark with Archer trade

Justin Berl / Getty Images Sport / Getty
To Pirates To Rays
SP Chris Archer OF Austin Meadows
SP Tyler Glasnow
SP Shane Baz

Pirates. The Pirates made a bold move in trading for Archer when it didn't look like a postseason push was sustainable. The price tag was also arguably the steepest of any of the deadline's biggest trades. Meadows has already shown some success and Glasnow isn't far removed from being very highly touted. Archer has been unable to right the ship since the change of scenery, either. He's gone 2-3 with a 4.86 ERA in nine starts with the Pirates, and is suffering through his worst walk rate since 2014. The only reason this isn't receiving a failing grade is because Archer has an affordable three years remaining on his deal. D+

Rays. Glasnow has benefited greatly from the move. The Rays are giving him a chance to re-establish himself as a starting pitcher. Remove his one apocalyptic game against the Blue Jays (7 ER in 2/3 of an inning), and he's posted a respectable 2.71 ERA over 43 2/3 innings. Meadows figures to be a fixture in a young outfield next season onward, but what makes this even better is the late addition of Baz. With the player to be named later winding up as the Pirates' first-rounder from 2017, the Rays may have gotten away with robbery. A

Dozier a 'D' for Dodgers

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To Dodgers To Twins
2B Brian Dozier 2B Logan Forsythe
  OF Luke Raley
  SP Devin Smeltzer

Dodgers. After kicking off his Dodgers tenure with home runs in back-to-back games, Dozier has gone down the tubes. He's not starting regularly and has gone a woeful 3-for-35 (.086) in September. Even with injuries and Chris Taylor taking a massive step backward from a production standpoint, this trade was superfluous. The Dodgers have retaken the NL West lead, sure, but it's had nothing to do with Dozier. D

Twins. Dozier's season was already off the rails in Minnesota, so it's kind of remarkable the Twins turned him into three players. Forsythe's contract is done after the season so he was mostly acquired to serve as a warm body in the season's waning months. Smeltzer has been solid as a reliever in Double-A and Raley has been a serviceable bat. Not an earth-shattering return, but much better than it could have been. B-

Brewers trades remain confusing months later

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To Brewers To Orioles
2B Jonathan Schoop 2B Jonathan Villar
  SP Luis Ortiz
  SS Jean Carmona
To Brewers To Royals
3B Mike Moustakas OF Brett Phillips
P Jorge Lopez

Brewers. What a mess. Yes, the Brewers remain in the race and could very well make it to the postseason, but neither of these trades addressed their most pressing issue: the rotation. Trading Phillips is understandable, but settling on free-agent-to-be Moustakas - when they already had Travis Shaw - instead of targeting an arm or waiting until the offseason remains flabbergasting. Schoop has been a total disaster at the plate (.194/.239/.333) and arrived without a clear position to play. The Brewers are succeeding in spite of these trades. F

Orioles. The farm system needed a major overhaul, and the O's managed it through a variety of trades. While they restocked the cupboard, it could simply be a matter of turning a bleak system into a mediocre one. Still, Ortiz immediately became their seventh-best prospect and Carmona is ranked 14th. Villar, meanwhile, has rejuvenated his value in a big way. He's hitting .267/.335/.419 with eight homers and 15 stolen bases in 44 games, and has been one of the few bright spots in Baltimore's second half. B-

Royals. In addition to Phillips, who, admittedly, has had a down season at all levels, the Royals snagged Lopez who very nearly no-hit the Twins. It's too early to see how this plays out long term, but the Royals brought Moustakas back after it became apparent that no team was willing to sacrifice a draft pick to sign him. They then turned him into two major-league-ready players. Great work. B+

(Prospect rankings courtesy: MLB Pipeline)

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