Losers of the 2023 MLB Trade Deadline

Washington Nationals v New York Mets
Washington Nationals v New York Mets / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

The 2023 MLB trade deadline has finally passed. Contenders retooled at this year's deadline and a number of trades went down on the final day. What follows is our look at the biggest losers from this year's deadline trading bonanza.

Anyone Expecting Excitement

Virtually no big-name All-Stars were moved at the deadline this year. There wasn't a major blockbuster that shifted the league, like the Juan Soto deal in 2022, or the Max Scherzer-Trea Turner trade in 2021, etc. -- and, no, Scherzer to the Rangers and Verlander to the Astros don't count. Two past-their-prime righties moving doesn't constitute excitement.

When Shohei Ohtani, Blake Snell and Josh Hader were pulled from the market, expectations for big, league-changing moves pretty much vanished. Instead of shooting for the moon, teams focused on improving around the edges and tinkering.

The real reason for big names staying put was the insane price to move anyone of consequence. Bats were at a premium and teams made clear it would take multiple high-level prospects to move any hitters with team control. And there just weren't a lot of high-level rentals this year.

As for pitching, some guys did move, but many come with age or injury concerns.

New York Mets

The Mets aren't here because they made bad deals, they're here because they had to make the kinds of deals they did. They traded away Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Mark Canha and David Robertson when they were supposed to be competing. They invested heavily in Scherzer and Justin Verlander over the past two offseasons and both are now gone. You don't rack up a record $353.5 million opening-day payroll expecting to be 50-55 and having to sell in July. That's what happened.

They ate a ton of Scherzer's massive contract to get a nice prospect in Luisangel Acuna (Ronald's younger brother), got Houston's top prospect (Drew Gilbert) and outfielder Ryan Clifford in the Verlander deal, landed two mid-level prospects with upside for Robertson (Marco Vargas, Ronald Hernandez) and got an average starter for Canha (Justin Jarvis). Of all of those guys, Gilbert and Acuna are the only top 100 prospects.

On top of all of that, the Mets retained $90 million of the money owed to Scherzer and Verlander. That money will count towards New York's luxury tax figure over the next few years.

The cost of those deals was a hard reset on the vision for the franchise. The other players still on the team can't be thrilled heading into 2024.

St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals have been a mess all season and unloaded a number of players at the deadline. The return for those guys wasn't substantial and makes you wonder what the future of that roster is. They traded Paul DeJong, Jordan Montgomery, Chris Stratton and Jordan Hicks and didn't get a whole lot value-wise in return.

They netted six prospects, none of whom moves the needle much or has a high-ceiling. This was a punt to get rid of guys who will be hitting free agency. But given the roster the Cardinals began the season with, they should have been buying at the deadline.

New York Yankees

The Yankees entered the trade deadline 55-51. They are 10 games behind the Baltimore Orioles for first place in the AL East but sit only 3.5 games out of the final Wild Card. They're fully in contention with a roster that could go on a run in the postseason. And they opted to ... do nothing other than getting reliever Kenyan Middleton?

The Yankees could have sold fringe pieces and retooled for 2024. Or they could have opted to buy a bit to help a run this season, maybe by infusing some youth. Instead, they opted to stand pat in a division that is surpassing them while getting younger.

I don't really understand the plan in the Bronx.

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers added two underperforming pitchers in Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly hoping they could turn them around. They also had a deal in place to land Eduardo Rodriguez, but he invoked his 10-team no-trade clause and blocked the trade. In the end, LA didn't get the high-end, veteran starting pitcher it was seeking, which means the team will have to rely on its young hurlers down the stretch. And they've been a shaky bunch so far.

Even without a deadline boost, the Dodgers are in a good spot. They lead the NL West by 2.5 games and only the Atlanta Braves have a better record in the NL. That said, if you stack the Dodgers and Braves up against each other right now, Atlanta would have a massive advantage. Another starter would have been huge for LA. The front office didn't get it done.