Batting Around: Which contender needed to do more at the MLB trade deadline?
Throughout the season, CBS Sports MLB experts will bring you a weekly Batting Around panel discussion breaking down just about everything. Breaking news, a historical question, thoughts on the future of baseball, all sorts of things.(other than Juan Soto). This week, we’ll be looking at applicants who need to do more by the deadline.
Which competitor was expected to do more by the trade deadline?
RJ Anderson: I would say the Guardians. I understand not going all-in, and I understand not wanting to erase the playing time of some of their interesting youngsters. I also don’t think the chance to win a split or make the playoffs should be taken for granted, and I find it hard to believe they couldn’t find an upgrade from, say, Brian Shaw. (I’ll note that Cleveland has a good front office, and this take could very well age horribly once Ian Hamilton shows up and serves as a massive upgrade over Shaw; so that’s fine.)
Mike Axisa: Yeah, I also say Guardians. On deadline day, they were one game behind the Twins in a winnable AL Central, and they ranked 15th in points scored per game and 14th in points allowed per game. Surely there were ways to improve the roster for the last two months without mortgaging the future and blowing up the payroll. To make matters worse, Minnesota added three very good pitchers (Jorge López, Michael Fulmer, Tyler Mahle) to separate themselves from Cleveland for a bit. ZiPS’ projections indicate that no team has improved their postseason odds at the deadline more than Twins, and that’s bad news for the Guardians. The White Sox and Brewers deserve honorable mention.
Dayn Perry: I would say the White Sox. They have a real shot at turning the script on what has been a very disappointing season so far, but they haven’t helped each other until the deadline. They badly needed a left-handed outfielder who could at least handle both corners, and ideally they would have found a platoon partner for Josh Harrison at second base as well. Instead, all they did was add a left-handed reliever in Jake Diekman. The first-place Twins, meanwhile, actually moved the needle with their deadline.
Matt Snyder: I’m going with the Mets. It’s time to drop the hammer here and instead they paid attention to the prospects. They barely have a lead over the Braves, defending champions, and there were weak points. They could have been more aggressive in bolstering the deck to bring Edwin Diaz closer to more setup men than Mychal Givens – whose Mets debut was a disaster – and the receiver remains a big question mark while All- Star Willson Contreras didn’t even get traded. Some reports said they were hesitant to negotiate rental prospects after last season, but Max Scherzer is 37 and who knows how long Jacob deGrom’s arm will hold out. The Mets haven’t won the World Series since 1986 and they have a collection of talent that could do it again. Why they didn’t go full throttle to load the roster before the deadline is beyond my comprehension.