NBC Sports

A's, Marlins among MLB trade deadline winners, losers

NBC Sports
Starling Marte and Kim Ng

SAN FRANCISCO -- Among many things missing in 2020 was a regular trade deadline. The strange 60-game season didn't lend itself to a crazy stretch of deals, but executives across the league more than made up for it this week. 

The final flurry on Friday afternoon was so wild that Jon Lester, a potential Hall-of-Famer who spent the prime of his career with the Chicago Cubs, got traded to the rival St. Louis Cardinals and barely anyone noticed. 

It will take weeks to sort all of this out, and years to see how teams actually did, but it's always fun to take a quick look at the league after the deadline. Aside from the Giants, who found the perfect fit in Kris Bryant, here are our winners from a wild trade deadline, and some teams that didn't fare so well: 

Winner: Go-For-It Executives

The trade deadline can often be an exercise in prospect-hugging, but sometimes we forget the point of all of this. So a tip of the cap to the execs out there who saw an opportunity and decided to push their chips to the middle of the table.

The Los Angeles Dodgers dealt two top 100 prospects to get a much better chance at catching the Giants and going back-to-back. Toronto's front office parted with two very good prospects, including a top 20 guy, for Jose Berrios, making them a threat this season and next. T

he Braves lost Ronald Acuña Jr. for the year but have kept pushing for the playoffs. The White Sox traded a guy taken fourth overall three years ago. It went on and on. The deals shook up the playoff race, which is exactly what should happen this time of year. 


Loser: The Nationals

Look, give them credit for going all-in with their sale, and they did pretty well with the returns. But it's still a difficult time for fans of a team that won the World Series just two seasons ago, is entering a rebuild, and has watched Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner and Max Scherzer head elsewhere in the last three years.

The Stephen Strasburg extension has been a disaster and Patrick Corbin's deal isn't looking much better. The hope in D.C. is that the Nationals rebuild around Juan Soto and hand him a mega-deal, but Soto is a Scott Boras client, so even that seems iffy. 

Winner: Adam Frazier 

Frazier gets to spend the next year and a half eating Tin Fish and trying all of the Gaslamp's best brunch spots, and he traded Pittsburgh's rainouts for 12 months of sunshine. PNC Park might actually be a top three ballpark, but Petco is right there with it and there isn't a park that's been more raucous this summer.

Yes, Frazier is living the good life, and that's before you even get to the fact that he traded a last-place team for a club that's in ring-chasing mode. 

Loser: The Padres

They did OK, getting Frazier and Daniel Hudson and making some other moves around the margins. But they were in on much bigger fish, including Scherzer, who ended up with the rival Dodgers a few hours after it seemed he was going to San Diego.

This was the team that was supposed to end the Dodgers' run atop the division but they're going to have a hard time catching them now, and they also watched the Giants -- a team they trail by 5 1/2 games -- make a blockbuster move.

The Padres should make the playoffs, but it's going to be really, really difficult for them to avoid the Wild Card Game. 

Winner: Marlins fans

To nobody's surprise, Kim Ng appears to be pretty good at this. Ng faces tremendous pressure as the first woman running a baseball ops department and she did well in her first deadline while shipping out pending free agents and bullpen pieces.

The big prize was Jesus Luzardo, a lefty who has struggled in Oakland but is still just 23 and was a top 10 prospect a year ago. It's extremely rare to see that kind of arm get moved for a rental. The Marlins already have three really good young starters in their rotation and next year can add Luzardo and Sixto Sanchez to the mix. They're on the way back to contention. 

Loser: Jerry Dipoto

The American League's most active exec went too far by dealing extremely popular closer Kendall Graveman to division rival Houston after a sweep of the A's and big win over the Astros. The deal decimated the clubhouse, with Mariners beat writer Ryan Divish getting incredible quotes in the aftermath.


"He sits up in his suite, playing fantasy baseball and rips apart our team without telling us anything," one player told Divish.

Were the Mariners making the playoffs? Probably not. But it was a fun team that was on a surprise run, and Dipoto forgot an important lesson: You're dealing with human beings, not names on a Yahoo fantasy roster. Dipoto has done a nice job overall in Seattle, but he might have lost that clubhouse for good. 

Winner: The White Sox

Whether it's Kimbrel to Hendriks or Hendriks to Kimbrel, there won't be a better bullpen duo this October. Liam Hendriks, an All-Star, leads the American League in saves. Craig Kimbrel, an All-Star, has a 0.49 ERA. Good luck to the rest of the American League. 

Winner: The A's

They might have won the deadline on this tweet alone:

Andrew Chafin is a huge boost to the bullpen, but the A's weren't done. They added Starling Marte to the heart of their lineup and bolstered the bench with Josh Harrison and Yan Gomes. All the headlines lately have been about the stadium talks, but their core deserved a real shot to try and win the AL West and make some October noise. Billy Beane and David Forst gave them that.

RELATED: MLB Twitter explodes with Bryant traded to Giants

Loser: Anyone Who Fell For The Fake Jeff Passan Tweet About Kris Bryant Going To The Yankees

Come on! How many times do we have to do this?! Maybe next year will be the year when everyone has finally learned their lesson ...