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MLB trade deadline review: Verlander, Scherzer, Ohtani and more

Recap all the major moves that went down before Tuesday's 6 PM ET trade deadline.

It may not have been the most thrilling trade deadline in recent years, but with star names on the move and teams categorizing themselves as contenders or 're-builders', there is plenty to digest before we head into the home stretch of the 2023 MLB season.

Let's run through all the major moves that went down before Tuesday evening's deadline.

Justin Verlander reunites with Astros

In the biggest move of MLB trade deadline day, three-time Cy Young Award winner and two-time World Series champion Justin Verlander is headed back to where he came from: the Houston Astros. 

Verlander, who signed a two-year, $86.7 million deal with the Mets in December 2022, departs the floundering NL East club having made just 16 starts. 

Along with Max Scherzer, who was dealt to the Rangers on Saturday, Verlander was meant to be a key cog in a Mets World Series run when new owner Steve Cohen constructed the team last winter.

In return, the Mets received outfielders Ryan Clifford and Drew Gilbert.

O's bolster pitching with Jack Flaherty

The American League leading Baltimore Orioles were always going to add pieces ahead of the deadline as they navigate unfamiliar territory - at the helm of the AL East entering August.

They did so in the form of right-handed tarting pitcher Jack Flaherty, who comes over from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for two prospects - IF César Prieto and LHP Drew Rom - and RHP Zack Showalter.

Flaherty's 4.43 ERA in 109.2 innings this season wont make Baltimore fans jump out of their seats, but adding another experienced arm to the mix heading into the fall can only be seen as a positive for the Birds.

Other deals from deadline day

Marlins acquire 1B Josh Bell, send IF Jean Segura and SS Khalil Watson to Guardians

Royals send RHP Scott Barlow to Padres

Tigers ship All-Star SP Michael Lorenzen to Phillies 

Cardinals send SS Paul DeJong to Blue Jays 

Yankees land reliever Kenyan Middleton from White Sox

Diamondbacks acquire OF Tommy Pham from Mets

Pirates send LHP Rich Hill and 1B Ji-Man Choi to Padres 

Rockies send LHP Brad Hand to Braves

Rays get Civale from Guardians

Right-handed starting pitcher Aaron Civale has been dealt to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for first baseman prospect Kyle Manzardo.

Civale joins a Rays rotation that has been marred by injury all season, with Jeffrey Springs (Tommy John), Drew Rasmussen (elbow), Josh Fleming (elbow), and Shane Baz (Tommy John) all currently on the injured list.

The 28-year-old has made just 13 starts this season and boasts a 2.34 ERA, but possesses a less-than-ideal 6.8 strikeouts per nine innings.

Angels add bats with Cron, Grichuk

The Los Angeles Angels continue to be far-and-away the most aggressive buyers at the trade deadline, this time sending two pitching prospects to the Colorado Rockies in return for 1B C.J. Cron and OF Randal Grichuk. 

Cron, an All-Star selection in 2022, is batting .260 this season with 11 home runs. Grichuk is batting over .300 for the first time in his 10-year career.

Other moves from the weekend

Royals send infielder Nicky Lopez to Braves for LHP Taylor Hearn 

Cardinals send LHP Jordan Montgomery, RHP Chris Stratton to Rangers for IF Thomas Saggese, RHP Tekoah Roby and LHP John King 

Cardinals send RHP Jordan Hicks to Blue Jays for two Double-A pitching prospects

Mets send Scherzer to Rangers

The latest development in the New York Mets' nightmare season? 

Future Hall of Famer Max Scherzer is no longer a Met, just a year-and-a-half since signing a 3-year, $130 million deal with the team. 

After New York traded away closer David Robertson on July 28, Scherzer expressed disappointment and a desire to speak with the front office. A day later, he's gone. 

Scherzer is off to the AL West-leading Texas Rangers, where he will team up with Nathan Eovaldi and Jacob deGrom to form an imposing starting rotation, in exchange for shortstop prospect Luisangel Acuna.

At the time of the trade, the Mets sit at 49-55, 18 games back of the first-place Braves and seven games back of the last NL Wild Card spot.

Dodgers acquire Lance Lynn, Joe Kelly

The Chicago White Sox continue to be sellers at the deadline, this time sending starting pitcher Lance Lynn and reliever Joe Kelly to the Dodgers. 

Lynn, 36, has a 6.47 ERA in 21 starts this season and is on pace for the worst statistical campaign of his career. A two-time All-Star and veteran, Lynn has the capability to turn it around for a playoff run with LA. 

Kelly, 35, was a member of the 2020 World Series-winning Dodgers team before being shipped to Chicago in 2021. He was a key cog in the Red Sox championship season in 2018, too, so the veteran right-hander has plenty of postseason experience. In return, LA sent outfielder Trayce Thompson (brother of NBA star Klay Thompson) and two minor league pitchers to Chicago.

Ohtani staying in LA, for now

After weeks and months of anticipation of a potential Shohei Ohtani trade ahead of the Aug. 1 deadline, the Angels have reportedly taken their star two-way player off the market as they push for a playoff spot. 

It’s a very bold and risky move by LA, who will lose Ohtani for free this offseason should the MVP frontrunner opt to sign elsewhere. The alternative for the Angels would be trading Ohtani ahead of the deadline while they can still get a sizeable return. 

As of July 7, the Angels are +625 to make the playoffs.

Angels swap prospects for pitching

Shortly after reports emerged that LA would not be dealing Ohtani at the deadline, a trade sending starting pitcher Lucas Giolito and reliever Reynaldo Lopez from the White Sox to the Angels was finalized. 

LA sent two top prospects to Chicago in return. 

The additions of Giolito and Lopez, plus Ohtani staying, indicate the Angels are going ‘all-in’ even though they sit outside of the MLB playoff picture as things stand.

Enrique Hernandez back in Los Angeles

A Los Angeles baseball team did make a recent trade, although it's not the Angels with Ohtani. The Dodgers are getting back utility man Enrique Hernandez from the Boston Red Sox. 

Hernandez has spent the majority of his major league career as a Dodger, donning the uniform from 2015-2020. We'll see if this change of scenery will help Hernandez get back on track this season, as he's having arguably the worst season of his career.

From both a defensive standpoint and a hitting perspective, Hernandez has been well below average this season. He holds just a .599 .OPS in 297 at-bats in 2023. 

In the field, he's been primarily playing shortstop due to injury and has truly disappointed with a dreadful .935 fielding percentage. Look for Los Angeles to move him back to the outfield where he's more comfortable, which, in turn, might give home some confidence at the dish, too.

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