The two days leading up to the 2021 MLB trade deadline were exciting, weren’t they? But which players will have the biggest impact on your new teams?
I’m glad you asked.
Let’s take a look at the 11 highest impact players, using only those who moved in on Thursday or Friday. It’s an arbitrary cut, sure, but that’s why you won’t see Starling Marte (traded to the Athletics on Wednesday), Nelson Cruz (traded July 22 to the Rays) or Adam Frazier (traded July 26 to the Padres. ) in this. list.
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11. Josh Harrison, Athletics
Remember, there are no more trade deadlines. The exemption deadline of August 31 is a thing of the past. The players of your favorite team are the players who will remain in your favorite team, win or lose. Reinforcements can only come from the minor leagues, or from players who were cut by other teams. And that’s why a guy like Harrison, who can play so many positions (he’s played third, second, left, right and center this season) is so valuable. Often times, getting to the postseason and advancing in October is about how a team handles adversity and injuries, and a guy like Harrison is exactly the kind of player that a manager loves to have at his disposal. And he’s having an outstanding season at the plate, hitting .294 with 124 OPS + and 2.5 bWAR.
10. Adam Duvall, Braves
The Braves brought Duvall home on Friday. He played for the club from 2018-20, hitting 26 home runs in 131 games, but signed with the Marlins as a free agent this offseason. The power is still there, 22 home runs in 90 games, but the same kinds of problems persist. He’s hitting .229 with just a .277 on-base percentage. So maybe you consider Duvall a combined inning along with Eddie Rosario and Jorge Soler, the other two outfielders the Braves traded the deadline for.
9. Anthony Rizzo, Yankees
The little porch in Yankee Stadium’s right field was designed for left-handed hitters like Rizzo, and you can bet he’s excited to throw shots into the stands. But don’t just take my word for it.
Anthony Rizzo has 14 home runs this season, but there are 10 other balls he has hit that would have been missed at Yankee Stadium (according to Statcast).
Are here: pic.twitter.com/msks5HxkeA
– Max Goodman (@MaxTGoodman) July 30, 2021
8. Javier Baez, Mets
Say what you want about Baez, but the man has a flair for the dramatic. His versatility will help, too: He’ll take the shortstop position with Francisco Lindor out, and then he can play second or third base. The easiest way would be to place him on third, but his best defensive position is second, and that would allow Jeff McNeill to get back to third base. Baez, who is a free agent after the season, will not elude New York’s limelight. He hasn’t been as consistent at the plate this year (131 strikeouts, .292 OBP, the highest in the NL), but he has 22 homers, 65 RBIs and 13 stolen bases.
MORE: MLB Trade Tracker: Full List of Deals Completed Ahead of Busy 2021 Deadline
7. Kyle Schwarber, Red Sox
It’s easy to see Schwarber hitting more than a few big home runs down the stretch and in October. Remember how hot it was in June for the Nationals? But the Red Sox already have a designated hitter (JD Martinez) and their outfields are pretty solid. So where does it play?
“We want you to play first base for the Boston Red Sox.”
“Okay, well, I’ve only played outfield and designated hitter.”
“Kyle, it’s not that difficult. Tell him, Alex.”
“It is incredibly difficult.” https://t.co/UprETBF6TB
– Ryan Fagan (@ryanfagan) July 30, 2021
Yes. That’s the plan. How will that play out? We’ll see.
6. José Berríos, Blue Jays
As the hours and minutes rolled into the 4 p.m. ET Friday deadline, the Blue Jays were feeling the pressure. The Yankees, their rival and competitor in the AL East and the AL wild card, had already traded for Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo. The Red Sox had negotiated for reinforcements. The Rays had been active and rumors swirled. So the Blue Jays made the decision and got Berrios, the former Twins ace who jumps to the top of the rotation alongside Hyun Jin Ryu and Robbie Ray. Toronto had done a good job strengthening its bullpen, trading for Adam Cimber and Trevor Richards, then adding Brad Hand, who had 21 saves for the Nationals this year, but Berrios was the piece they needed. And it’s under control until 2022, when the Blue Jays fully intend to compete again.
5. Craig Kimbrel, White Sox
With Kimbrel and Liam Hendriks at the back of the bullpen, the White Sox should never run out of rested ninth-inning options in the regular season, when the two will likely share save opportunities. But this move had to do with the postseason, when you’ll almost certainly see both of them anytime the White Sox have a relatively narrow lead in the later innings. Kimbrel has a 0.49 ERA with 15.7 K / 9 and 23 saves. Hendriks has a 2.58 ERA with 14.1 K / 9 and 25 saves. Ridiculously solid.
MORE: Max Scherzer-Trea Turner trade ratings: win-win deal for Dodgers and Nationals
4. Trea Turner, Dodgers
He is in his 28-year season and is playing as an MVP candidate. In 96 games, he has 18 home runs, 21 stolen bases, a .322 / .369 / .521 slash line, 146 OPS + and 4.1 bWAR. Corey Seager is back from IL, so Turner will likely be the second baseman when he’s free from Covid restrictions and on the active roster. That will have Chris Taylor playing a role everywhere again, most likely. Turner can also play center field, when necessary.
3 Joey Gallo, Yankees
The Yankees have a lot of work ahead of them. They entered the game on Friday 8 1/2 behind the Red Sox in the AL East and 3 1/2 outside the second wild-card spot in the AL. Some wondered exactly how they would approach the deadline, but those questions were answered with a big change by another great slugger. Gallo is the kind of hitter who can lead a team’s offense – remember that stretch before the All-Star break, when he hit 11 home runs and had 19 RBIs in 12 games. The Rangers were 6-6 in those games, which roughly translates to a 10-2 record for a team not 30 games under .500 100 games on the season. And in that Yankees lineup, along with Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, there is nowhere for pitchers to hide.
2. Max Scherzer, Dodgers
The Dodgers traded primarily for Scherzer to win in October, and his record is outstanding. Scherzer has started Game 1 of a playoff series five times. He started Game 1 and Game 7 of the 2019 World Series for the Nationals and had a 2.40 ERA in October 30 innings during his club’s impressive run to the championship. He has a 3.38 career ERA in 112 postseason innings, with just 81 hits allowed and 137 strikeouts.
But the Dodgers are in a dogfight with the Giants (and the Padres, more or less) in the NL West, and the stakes are high. The division winner jumps to the NLDS, which is a best-of-five series. The two wild cards are thrown into a winner-take-all-win-home contest during which anything can and does happen. Eight to ten departures from Scherzer can go a long way in helping Los Angeles catch and pass San Francisco.
1. Kris Bryant, Giants
We’ve been writing for weeks that Bryant was an ideal addition to just about any contender due to his ability to be a full-time third baseman, full-time first baseman, full-time right fielder, or a full-time player. center fielder. Well, the Giants’ main first baseman (Brandon Belt) and main third baseman (Evan Longoria) are in IL. His main left fielder (Alex Dickerson) has a .287 on-base percentage and an 87 OPS +.
So yeah, Bryant made a lot of sense to the Giants. And at the very least, the club’s last-minute deal to sign Bryant was a necessary response to the change that rocked Dodgers baseball for Scherzer and Turner. The NL West race is going to be fun, folks.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.