Now that the 2023 MLB Trade Deadline is in the books, let’s take a trip back in time. The Trade Deadline gave baseball fans a massive blockbuster to chew on, as well as several trades that will have an impact on the league for years to come. With that said, here’s our five key takeaways from the 2022 Trade Deadline and its aftermath.
The Soto Trade — One Year Later
In what was arguably the biggest trade of the 2022 MLB Trade Deadline, the Nationals on August 2 traded superstar outfielder Juan Soto and 1B Josh Bell to the Padres for a package that included Minor Leaguers Robert Hassell, Jarlin Susana, and James Wood, as well as youngsters CJ Abrams and MacKenzie Gore. The deal came after Soto reportedly turned down a 14-year, $440M extension with the Nationals.
A year later, the deal doesn’t look too bad on paper. The Nats were able to re-load the farm with Hassell and Wood, two outfielders that look like legitimate pieces of Washington’s future. CJ Abrams and MacKenze Gore have also shown flashes of brilliance in their young careers. And as for Soto, he’s played at an MVP-caliber state in 2023 after growing pains last season and early in 2023.
The only problem, however, is that the Padres have been able to turn Soto’s success on the diamond into wins. Yes, the Padres did make it to the NLCS last season. But in 2023, the Padres — a team that has plenty of star power aside from Soto — sat one game under .500 as of August 4 and fourth in the NL West.
The Angels Found Two Young Stars
The Angels and Phillies made two notable trades right before the deadline — and both did pay off for the two teams. One of the deals saw Brandon Marsh join the Phillies in exchange for catcher Logan O’Hoppe, while the other saw Noah Syndergaard join Philly for former top MLB Draft pick Mickey Moniak and switch-hitting Minor League Jadiel Sanchez.
Philadelphia did benefit from Syndergaard’s presence out of the pen in October and Marsh’s defensive prowess in center. On the other hand, the Angels made out like bandits.
O’Hoppe, who was blocked on the Phillies’ depth chart thanks to J.T. Realmuto, soared in his first taste of the Majors. The Long Island native hit .284/.347/.493 and cracked four home runs and six RBI in the first 21 games of his pro career. O’Hoppe looked very much like the Angels’ catcher of the future this season, before the 23-year-old tore a labrum in his left shoulder.
Moniak, meanwhile, has excelled in the Angels outfield. The 25-year-old hit .311/.342/.555 with 11 home runs and 28 extra base hits across his first 56 games of the 2023 season. Thus far, the California native’s excelled in Anaheim.
The Reds’ Sell Off Paid Off
Before the start of the 2022 campaign, the Reds executed two major trades. Cincinnati sent Sonny Gray to the Reds, and Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez to Seattle for a haul that included current Reds in Jake Fraley and Brandon Williamson. Cincinnati continued the overhaul in July, when right-handers Luis Castillo (Mariners) and Tyler Mahle (Twins) were packaged out.
The Castillo trade netted the Reds several big-name prospects, including Noelvi Marte, who posted an .823 OPS through 79 games in Louisville (AAA) in 2023, and a high-ceiling infielder in Edwin Arroyo. As for Mahle, the Reds acquired two current big league infielder in Christian Encarnacion-Strand and Spencer Steer, and a left-hander in Steve Hajjar that was eventually flipped to Cleveland for Will Benson.
While it’s fair to argue that the Reds should have kept Castillo — given how well the Reds have played in 2023 — hindsight is always 20/20. The reality is the Reds looked at least a couple of years away last season — but that quickly changed. An infusion of position player talent bolstered the Reds lineup in 2023 and helped pushed Cincinnati into contender status just one year after a 100-loss season. And, the Reds still have a deep farm to work with.
The Yankees’ Big Deadline Didn’t Pay Off
The New York Yankees steamrolled through the first half of the 2022 campaign, but showed some weak points come July.
The Yanks made several moves in late July and early August to bolster the roster. New York bolstered added Frankie Montas and Lou Trivino from Oakland as part of a large deal that cost the Yankees JP Sears and Ken Waldichuk, and landed Scott Effross from the Cubs for Hayden Wesneski. Not to mention, the Yankees picked up two outfielders in Andrew Benintendi and Harrison Bader, the latter of whom cost New York left-hander Jordan Montgomery.
It was a big haul for the Yankees, but one that hasn’t yielded much in the way of returns. Benintendi played just 33 games as Yankees before a broken hamate bone ended his 2022 season. Trivino and Effross pitched well for the Yankees after the trade, but Tommy John knocked both out for all of 2023. And as for Montas, he owned a 6.35 ERA in 39.2 IP for the Yankees in 2022 and made just one appearance in the MLB Playoffs. Shoulder surgery has kept him out for all of 2023 to this point.
Harrison Bader’s also dealt with injuries since his arrival, but the New York native’s monstrous 2022 postseason and prowess in center field did somewhat save the deadline for the Yankees.
The O’s Got a Steal
After a strong first half and an All-Star nomination, the Orioles flipped closer Jorge López to the Twins on August 2, 2022. The move, at the time, gave Minnesota what appeared to be a strong late-inning combo of López and Jhoan Duran out of the pen. That, however, did not turn out to be the case.
López had a rough go in Minnesota, as his 4.37 ERA last season for the Twins was a stark contrast to the 1.68 ERA he sported with the O’s that season. The right-hander didn’t do much better in Minnesota in 2023, before he was shipped out to Miami almost a year later for Dylan Floro.
The Orioles, meanwhile, made out much better. Baltimore picked up left-hander Cade Povich, a 2021 third-round pick, in the deal. Povich struck out 125 batters over his first 89.2 IP in 2023 and could be an option for the Orioles rotation in the future. However, the key piece to this deal turned out to be Yennier Cano, a 28-year-old prospect that couldn’t find success at the MLB level prior to 2023.
That changed, after Cano made some tweaks to his delivery that allowed him to kept his left shoulder from drifting. The result? A 1.89 ERA over his first 48 games of the 2023 season and an All-Star appearance.