There was very little in the way of significant action before the MLB trade deadline passed Wednesday. Afterward, though, was quite a different story.
In the 30 minutes after the deadline passed, a flurry of moves was announced, providing the mass chaos that many had expected would occur with so many prominent names said to be available.
Most of those prominent names stayed with their incumbent teams. But a select few stole the headlines, and dictated which teams won the trade deadline, and which ones lost.
Houston won the trade deadline. Full stop.
If the Astros weren't the prohibitive favorites entering the deadline, they certainly emerged from it with that designation after acquiring Zack Greinke in a trade with the Diamondbacks. While Houston sent quite a haul of prospects to Arizona, the Astros managed to add Greinke without giving up top prospect Kyle Tucker, and even got the Diamondbacks to send $24 million over as part of the deal to help offset Greinke's massive contract.
Greinke, by the way, is 10-4 so far this season with a 2.87 ERA and 128 strikeouts and 141 innings. He now joins a rotation that includes Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander.
Good luck with that, American League.
In Farhan, we trust.
How can you not at this point? After making several adjustments to San Francisco's roster over the last few months, many of which have played a critical role in the Giants' recent surge back to relevancy, Zaidi carried that momentum into Wednesday's trade deadline and ran with it. Madison Bumgarner, Will Smith and Tony Watson -- all rumored to be on the move for months -- are still Giants.
Sam Dyson is gone, but for him, Zaidi got three prospects from the Twins, including a 24-year-old outfielder who has batted .331 and hit 15 home runs in 41 games with AAA-Rochester this season.
Zaidi somehow managed to unload the entirety of the $19 million remaining on Mark Melancon's contract to the Braves, and got two players in return, including Atlanta's No. 17 overall prospect.
Drew Pomeranz has been a revelation in San Francisco's bullpen over the last two weeks, and Zaidi convinced the Brewers to trade for him (and quadruple-A reliever Ray Black) for their No. 3 prospect, middle infielder Mauricio Dubon.
Dubon should arrive in the majors sooner rather than later, but in the meantime, Scooter Gennett -- whom San Francisco acquired from Cincinnati for cash considerations -- figures to provide the Giants a boost at second base.
In each situation, Zaidi dealt from a position of strength and managed to improve the team's future outlook, all without ruining its chances in the present.
In a wide-open NL Central, Chicago went for it.
In the waning minutes of the deadline, the Cubs acquired Nick Castellanos from the Tigers for two pitching prospects, including their 2018 first-round pick. Castellanos was well worth that cost, though, as he now slides into what was already a fairly stacked Cubs lineup.
Castellanos, 27, fits Chicago's timeline, can play both the infield and the outfield and also leads all players with 37 doubles this season. Wrigley Field is far more hitter-friendly than Comerica, so expect some of those doubles to turn into homers in the second half. Castellanos absolutely mashes lefties, slashing .347/.415/.611 against southpaws, and he makes the Cubs the favorite to claim the division title.
New York did nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
In dire need of a starting-pitching upgrade, the Yankees elected to stand pat, and now the gap between them and the Astros has grown considerably. They had a tremendous opportunity to compete for a World Series title in a couple of months, and while they still have a decent chance, they likely will be kicking themselves come October.
The Astros got Greinke. In a deadline when frontline starters like Bumgarner, Trevor Bauer, Marcus Stroman and Robbie Ray were said to be available, the Yankees decided, "Nah, we're good."
Nah, they're actually not.
Much like the Yankees, one wonders if the Dodgers' failure to acquire adequate reinforcements at the deadline will cost them a championship.
Los Angeles had an obvious need in the bullpen. The Dodgers did add a reliever -- Adam Kolarek was acquired from the Rays -- but he's not the difference-maker needed, having posted a 3.95 ERA over 43.1 innings so far this season.
Jedd Gyorko? Offense is not Los Angeles' problem, and he doesn't provide much of it anyway.
The Dodgers have talented prospects coming out of their ears. They have the best team in the National League, and one of the two best teams in all of baseball. Maybe they already were so far ahead of the competition that they didn't need to add anything, but come October, they'll deserve all the flack -- and then some -- if the bullpen falters in yet another heartbreaking postseason exit.
After being .500 at the All-Star break, St. Louis has gone 13-5 since. As a reward for getting back into playoff contention, the front office went out and added ... Tony Cingrani?
Cingrani came over in the trade with the Dodgers for Gyorko. He hasn't pitched this year, and is out for the rest of the season recovering from labrum surgery. So, no, he won't be contributing to a Cardinals' postseason run.
St. Louis had multiple needs, but none bigger than a starter. There were plenty of quality starters to be had, but in the end, the Cardinals stuck with the same rotation that has Jack Flaherty and Miles Mikolas as its Nos. 1 and 2 starters.
That's not going to cut it in the postseason, and given the moves of the teams they're competing with, they'll be lucky to get there at all.