Two of the most active teams at the trade deadline were the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs. Among those dealt by the clubs were Max Scherzer, Trea Turner, Kyle Schwarber, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javy Baez and Craig Kimbrel, which helped made the deadline an exciting one.

The Nationals and Cubs ranked very low in terms of their minor-league systems prior to the season. The Nats were No. 30 in all of baseball and the Cubs were No. 22, according to MLB Pipeline in March. I’m not sure their respective fan bases are all that happy with the choice to go forward with rebuilds. The Cubs will do it right and take some time. I fear the Nats may try to speed up the process with three or four free agents. The bottom line is both teams sold out to win their World Series and couldn’t get close to going back for a second taste.

There was no question prior to the deadline that Kimbrel had reestablished his greatness and seems to be on his way to Cooperstown with another three to four big-time seasons. So, where does Kimbrel go? To the one team that needed him the least — the Chicago White Sox, who already had Liam Hendriks. Apparently, the club’s thinking is that all pitchers are about to hit a big-time wall due to lack of innings pitched last year. Actually, if Kimbrel and Hendriks are cool with it, it really is an amazing stress reliever for both.

With Rizzo now a New York Yankee, it looks like Luke Voit will be relegated to the bench once he returns from a knee injury. Voit led the majors in home runs last season and got some big-time air space as a BMW driver. It fit the model of him becoming big-time. Well, four months into a season in which he needed to prove his talent was real, he is on the injured list for the third time. I’m just wondering if perhaps he spent very little time in this past offseason actually preparing for the 2021 season. I could be wrong, but it sure looks like he’ll be on the outside looking for a job somewhere else soon. His days as a Yankee star seem to be fading.

Biggest loser at the deadline? That’s a simple one. The San Diego Padres, who went from almost acquiring Scherzer to adding only Daniel Hudson and Jake Marisnick. And just two days later, they lost Fernando Tatis Jr. with a shoulder issue again.

Here are my power rankings, with comments on what the top 10 teams did at the deadline.

1. San Francisco Giants (66-39, No. 1 last week): The Giants landed a big fish in Kris Bryant. It was important for GM Farhan Zaidi to show his players he was all-in despite the fact that their position in early August is kind of a shock.

2. Los Angeles Dodgers (64-43, No. 7): The Dodgers moved up five spots based on two words — Trea and Max. It appeared on July 29 that the Padres and Nationals had a deal in place involving Scherzer, but Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman stepped up. Not saying this is a horrible trade by the Nationals, but to my eyes, it almost looks like the Nats have a secret handshake that Scherzer will come back. It’s that light of a return. Trevor who?

3. Chicago White Sox (62-44, No. 4): Just when I was beginning to gain a new appreciation for Tony La Russa, he storms out of the dugout the only way a 76-year-old can — sort of stumbling over to keep Indians catcher Roberto Perez from attempting to come to the assistance of Jose Abreu, who had just been beaned by a 99 mph fastball to the left side of his helmet. La Russa’s mad dash got both teams on the verge of fisticuffs. The pickup of Kimbrel, if Hendricks buys in, is a great move.

4. Milwaukee Brewers (63-43, No. 6): The Brewers just keep winning and did a solid job at the deadline by bringing in Eduardo Escobar — a useful bat who can play multiple positions — along with lefty Daniel Norris from the Tigers and righty John Curtis. Norris will finally be just a lefty specialist, which suits his skill set. Curtis is in the midst of a fine season.

5. Tampa Bay Rays (64-42, No. 5): The Rays actually traded their No. 1 saves guy, Diego Castillo, while in the midst of a pennant race. They reeled in right-hander JT Chargois in that deal with the Mariners. They also got outfielder Jordan Luplow and right-hander DJ Johnson from Cleveland and purchased Shawn Armstrong from the O’s.

6. Houston Astros (64-42, No. 3): The Astros made bold moves in picking up Kendall Graveman and Rafael Montero from the Mariners and Yimi Garcia from the Marlins to strengthen the late-inning bridge to closer Ryan Pressly. They are close to getting back Josh James’ powerful right arm. He can be deployed as a dangerous chess piece.

7. Boston Red Sox (63-44, No. 2): The Red Sox made an interesting move at the deadline in getting Kyle Schwarber from the Nationals for a middling 20-year-old right-handed pitcher in Aldo Ramirez. First, the Sox have to get Schwarber (strained right quad) ready to play. That should only be about another 7-10 days, as he is close to doing a rehab. The Sox say that they’ll try him at first base. The other big news in Beantown is that Chris Sale has now had five rehab starts and he too is close to being activated.

8. Oakland Athletics (60-47, No. 10): I love what the A’s were able to pull off. Billy Beane and GM David Forst did a great job picking from the available talent. Starling Marte is an awesome pickup and may be one of the best players acquired by anyone. The return was steep, and Marlins GM Kim Ng extracted just what she was looking for — a young, controllable arm in lefty Jesus Luzardo. The A’s also picked up catcher Yan Gomes and utility man Josh Harrison from the Nationals. It addresses two needs the A’s had. Gomes is a solid defensive catcher with some pop. Harrison brings some much-needed intensity and some pop as well. Harrison helps manager Bob Melvin in that he can play anywhere on the diamond other than on the mound and behind the plate.

9. Toronto Blue Jays (54-48, No. 12): I said earlier in the season that this Blue Jays team could be awfully dangerous at some point this season. In Jose Berrios, the Jays picked up the best starter on the market other than Scherzer. The cost to the Jays was not cheap, as former No. 5 overall pick Austin Martin and 20 year-old right-hander Simeon Woods-Richardson were sent to the Twins. Woods-Richardson was part of the return last season for Marcus Stroman. The Jays also added Joakin Soria, a solid late-inning helper, and former ace closer Brad Hand, who’ll probably be more of a lefty specialist for the remainder of 2021.

10. New York Yankees (56-48, No. 13): While almost everyone in the Yankees’ inner-circle was looking at 2021 as a lost cause, GM Brian Cashman simply put his head down and went to work, pulling off two really good trades and balancing the club’s overly right-handed lineup. He was able to put a package together to persuade Texas to part with their best player, All-Star outfielder Joey Gallo. And then, he was able to pry first baseman Anthony Rizzo from the Cubs for a modest return — 24-year-old pitcher Alexander Vizcaino, who is still in the low minors, and a 19-year-old, 6-foot-6, 188-pound outfielder named Kevin Alcantara, who maybe one day around 2026 could be a special player. Then again, I could get hit by lightning between now and then, too. Then, if that weren’t enough, Cashman threw his net out and improved his rotation by picking up underachieving lefty Andrew Heaney.

11. San Diego Padres (61-44, No. 8)
12. Cincinnati Reds (56-50, No. 14)
13. Seattle Mariners (56-50, No. 9)
14. New York Mets (55-49, No. 11)
15. Cleveland Indians (51-51, No. 15)
16. St. Louis Cardinals (53-52, No. 17)
17. Philadelphia Phillies (52-53, No. 16)
18. Atlanta Braves (52-54, No. 18)
19. Los Angeles Angels (52-53, No. 20)
20. Detroit Tigers (51-57, No. 19)
21. Washington Nationals (49-56, No. 21)
22. Chicago Cubs (51-56, No. 22)
23. Colorado Rockies (46-60, No. 23)
24. Kansas City Royals (45-59, No. 24)
25. Minnesota Twins (44-62, No. 25)
26. Miami Marlins (44-61, No. 26)
27. Pittsburgh Pirates (40-65, No. 28)
28. Baltimore Orioles (37-67, No. 27)
29. Texas Rangers (38-67, No. 30)
30. Arizona Diamondbacks (33-73, No. 29)

Stan Charles

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