Biggest questions remaining after MLB trade Deadline

Biggest questions remaining after MLB trade Deadline In years previous, the trade deadline has served as a kind of separator, or at least an inflection point. Contenders gearing up for the stretch run and the postseason ; as a consequence, the league landscape shiftedósometimes slightly, other times like an earthquake had rumbled through. But this years edition of the July 31 madness was a subdued affair, . Normally, , in which the direction of baseballs best teams becomes more clear. After a deadline in which most teams made small moves if they did anything at all, though, were left with more questions than answers as to whats next for a lot of MLBs notable clubs and division races. Here are the biggest ones in the wake of the deadline. After a deadline despite a rotation thats posted a 5.97 ERA since June 1, of injured players returning being as impactful as any trade. Ordinarily, hed be right. Luis Severino is better than any starter New York could have acquired, and slotting Dellin Betances into the bullpen once hes healthy gives Aaron Boone more ways to shorten a game and take the pressure off a beleaguered rotation. Things are just fine in NYC after the Yankees didnt bother improving their team. But both players have missed the entire season to date with arm problems, both have experienced setbacks along the way and both are still weeks away from major league action. Severino is also unlikely to return as a regular starter, as he simply doesnt have enough time to build up his stamina; maybe he functions as a three inning bulk guy or opener, but six plus innings per turn is unrealistic. How much of a boost can he really provide? New Yorks more realistic recourse is hoping for better performance from its struggling quintet. In Los Angeles, the strategy will be that quantity can create quality. Once the calendar turns to October, the Dodgers could slot Kenta Maeda, Julio Urias and Ross Stripling and maybe the currently injured Rich Hill into regular relief roles, as the teams playoff rotation likely wont extend beyond Clayton Kershaw, Hyun jin Ryu and Walker Buehler. Similarly, top prospect Dustin May who was called up on Thursday and fellow youngster Tony Gonsolin could earn high leverage innings late. Still, the problem with Los Angeles is that, with Kenley Jansen struggling, the team doesnt have a singular, established high leverage option. Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez would have been that arm, but . Instead, the Dodgers will have to hope that someone in that aforementioned group of starters can play up in reliefóa big maybe for a team trying to end a 31 year championship drought. Despite a , only the Indians . The rest stuck to marginal upgrades if they did anything at all, while the Diamondbacksóone of the few NL wild card contestants with a positive run differentialó. There have been a lot of quotes by executives today saying that they dont view the wild card as enough of an incentive to go all out for it. That means the wild card system has to change. Period. Perhaps thats a reflection of how undesirable a wild card spotóparticularly the second one, which puts you on the road for a winner take all gameóhas become. A Division Series date with the best team in the league is rarely a recipe for World Series success, though other teams have run that gauntlet and come out on top. But thats likely a big part of why the deadline was so quiet, as those fringe contenders ultimately landed on not going all in if the division was an unrealistic goal. That, too, was probably behind the hybrid deadlines for the Giants and Mets, who both bought and sold, ostensibly to be flexible but likely an admission that spending your chips on a longshot is a fools gamble. Was that the right call? The only sure answer will be in the standings at seasons end. But its clear that for most teams, the answer to whether the second wild card is worth it is a resounding no. The Indians have steadily closed the deficit in the AL Central, shrinking the Twins lead to three games as August begins. Cleveland had the more impactful albeit riskier deadline, too, , dinging its rotation but improving a shallow lineup. Minnesota, meanwhile, invested only in bullpen depth, trading for Sergio Romo and Sam Dyson but failing to land either rotation help or an elite reliever. Even if the Twins could or should have done more, though, theyre still the favorite thanks to a weaker schedule. Per FanGraphs, Minnesotas remaining strength of schedule is an AL best .468óin other words, the opposition going forward is a collective 75 win teamóand it will play 29 of its final 55 games against the White Sox, Royals and Tigers. Cleveland only gets that awful division trio 16 more times going forward. That said, the Indians and Twins will go head to head 10 more times before the year is out. Since the All Star break, lowest rotation ERAs: 2. Dodgers, 2.89 5. Indians, 3.40 Lowest bullpen ERAs: 1. Indians, 1.97 3. Blue Jays, 3.26 4. Yankees, 3.29 As for the NL, the Cubs and Cardinals are tied for first, though Chicago had the bigger deadline, . The ex Tigers slugger is : a righthanded hitter who crushes lefties .347/.415/.611 against them this season, .300/.354/.514 for his career . St. Louis sat the deadline out, of Tyler ONeill or Harrison Bader for the Mets Zack Wheeleróunderstandable, though he wouldve added needed rotation depth. And while the Brewers are lurking just one game out, they settled for lower cost players like Drew Pomeranz and Jacob Faria, failing to add difference makers to the rotation and bullpen. As such, FanGraphs has the Cubs as the Central favorite, though with division winning odds of just 59.3 percent and a projected win total of 87. The remaining matchups will be key. After finishing a three game series with St. Louis on Thursday, Chicago wont face its longtime rival again until the end of September, when the two will play each other seven times in the final 10 days. The Brewers, meanwhile, will get seven more cracks at the Cubs and nine more against the Cardinals. You can understand Dave Dombrowskis predicament. His team has been uneven all season, is effectively dead in the AL East where Boston trails New York by 10 games and faces a postseason path of a one game playoff followed by a Division Series matchup with either the Yankees or the Astros. In the face of that, a quiet deadline where you dont sacrifice the future for a small chance at a title . The numbers agree: FanGraphs gives the Red†Sox have the second worst playoff odds of the AL contenders at 44.6 percent only Oakland is lower and World Series odds of 3.8. Dave Dombrowski and Brian Cashman arguing over who was more useless today Bostons biggest issue was a bullpen that could be fixed, and , other contendersónotably the Nationals and Bravesóacquired relief help at minimal cost. It seems strange to give up on a Boston team with a talented core when the team is just 2 Ω games out of the second wild card and has only the As and Rays in the way. Theres no doubt that this Red Sox squad has been a disappointment, but the solution didnt seem impossible, making Dombrowskis dud of a deadline that much harder to explain. By adding Zack Greinke, Houston filled its biggest hole, adding another starter to a thin rotation and building a postseason 1 2 3 of Greinke, Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole. Whats more, the Astros also snagged bullpen help in the form of Joe Biagini and possibly Aaron Sanchez. The latteróa Cy Young contender in 2016óhas arguably the most upside of any deadline acquisition, and all he cost was a fifth outfielder in Derek Fisher. Looking at Houstons roster, Im hard pressed to find any problems. With Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and George Springer back and Yordan Alvarez up, the lineup is a destroyer from top to bottom. Greinke fills a vacant rotation spot Houston had repeatedly tried and failed to fill. The bullpen is deep, and if the Astros can work their usual magic with the high spin curveballs of Biagini and Sanchez, it becomes that much deeper. The Astros defense is top of the league in Defensive Efficiency, turning more balls into outs than any other club in baseball. If you want to pick nits, the Astros bench isnt much to write home about, particularly offensively, but that doesnt matter when you have the hitters they do. Houston acted decisively to address the biggest thing standing between it and a second World Series title in three years. In doing so, . Related slideshow: 2019 MLB Season Provided by imagn

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