Grading each AL playoff team's trade deadline

How each AL playoff team did at the trade deadline
Jack Flaherty becomes the newest Oriole
Jack Flaherty becomes the newest Oriole / Sam Navarro/GettyImages
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The 2023 MLB trade deadline has come and gone with an explosion of trades in the last 24 hours. Teams looking to take their shot at the World Series did their best to find the best pieces to fit each of their puzzles. Six teams will make the playoffs in each league, three division winners and three wild card teams. Here is how each American League team, that currently holds a playoff spot tried to improve at the deadline.

How did all the AL teams currently in playoff position do at the trade deadline?

1 seed: Baltimore Orioles

The Baltimore Orioles had a surprisingly quiet trade deadline. The best team in the American League made a move early when they traded for Shintaro Fujinami almost two weeks ago. Fujinami struggled early but has settled into a groove recently and looks to be a strong addition to the O's bullpen. With the deadline coming to a close, the Orioles made their move. The Birds landed Jack Flaherty from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for minor leaguers Cesar Prieto, Drew Rom and Zack Showalter.

Flaherty isn't the big name ace that fans were hoping for, but he's a good starter capable of giving the Orioles plenty of innings. The Birds have an overload of infield prospects and held onto all of them. At the end of the day, the O's addressed their bullpen and starting rotation with moves that should help them in the postseason but left the fans wanting more.

Grade: C

2 seed: Texas Rangers

The Texas Rangers were arguably the most aggressive team at the deadline. With Jonah Heim injured, they filled that need by adding Austin Hedges, but their big splash also came in a trade with the Cardinals. The Rangers added future hall of famer Max Scherzer, left hander Jordan Montgomery and reliever Chris Stratton.

The addition of Scherzer and Montgomery will fill the holes left by injuries to Jacob DeGrom and Nathan Eovaldi, and Stratton will give bullpen depth, which playoff teams can never have too much of. DeGrom is done for the year but Eovaldi will be back soon and the Rangers should possess one of, if not the top rotation in baseball.

Grade: A+

3 seed: Minnesota Twins

Even though their are nine teams in the American League that have a better record than the Minnesota Twins, they still have the three seed in the playoffs. The Twins have been less than spectacular all season and their trade deadline was more of the same. The only trade the Twins made was on July 26 when they sent right handed reliever, Jorge Lopez, to the Miami Marlins for right handed reliever Dylan Floro. Let's just move on.

Grade: F

4 seed: Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays have been one of baseball's best teams all season but they're certainly better after the trade deadline. The Rays made several small moves on August 1, but their big move came on July 31 when they acquired Aaron Civale from the Cleveland Guardians. After starting the season on the IL, Civale, who has two more seasons of team control, has been great for the Guardians.

He's 5-2 with a 2.34 ERA and a 58 / 22 K/BB ratio. Following Cy Young hopefuls Shane McClanahan and and Zach Eflin along with Tyler Glasnow in the rotation, the Rays now have a fearsome foursome atop their rotation.

Grade: B

5 seed: Houston Astros

The return of Justin Verlander means the Houston Astros had a successful trade deadline. Verlander may be old but he's not out. The 40 year old doesn't have the strikeout numbers that we're used to seeing be he has pitched to the tune of a 3.15 ERA. He's also not the only arm the Astros added. They also received White Sox reliever Kendall Graveman on July 28.

Graveman spent time as the White Sox closer due to the heath of Liam Hendriks and is a dependable high leverage reliever. With Verlander back in the mix and an improved bullpen, the Astros look to make a run at repeating as World Series Champions.

Grade: A-

6 seed: Toronto Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays are the third AL East team on this list as they currently hold the third wild card spot. The Blue Jays made a big move on July 31 when they acquired Jordan Hicks from the Cardinals. Hicks has electric stuff but never really found a home in St. Louis. The Cardinals used Hicks as a starter, middle reliever and closer with some success. Hicks has primarily been a closer this year and is in line to fill in for the injured Jordan Romano with the Blue jays.

The Blue Jays also acquired Paul DeJong in a separate trade with the Cardinals. DeJong should get regular playing time as long as Bo Bichette remains out of the lineup with a knee injury. If the Blue Jays can get healthy, the additions of Hicks and DeJong should give them the boost they were looking for.

Grade: B-

As the 2023 season enters the home stretch, the AL East and West should have some very good playoff races while the AL Central will also still be playing. The Orioles, Rays, Rangers and Astros are pretty safe bets to make the playoffs, but the seeding is anyone's guess.

While the Blue Jays currently hold the last wild card spot, the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels are not far behind. The Red Sox made some minor tweaks while the Angels look to be all in. It should be a very exciting end to the season.

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