We always talk about the winners and losers at the Trade Deadline, more so at this Trade Deadline, as crazy and fun as any we’ve ever had. And when the dust had finally cleared, we talked mostly about the Cubs and the Nationals, because they didn’t trade away the most guys to teams trying to win, they traded away so many guys who already had won: Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Báez, Max Scherzer, Trea Turner, Kyle Schwarber, Jon Lester, Craig Kimbrel, Daniel Hudson and Yan Gomes.
All of them have World Series rings, and they now head off to New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco and Boston and San Diego and Oakland and even St. Louis looking for more. (Note: They traded more than just these guys, these are just the players who had won a ring with those teams who were moved.)
The Cubs and Nationals weren’t the only teams moving players last week. They just moved the most. So which one of the players from those teams might do the most to win another World Series for his new team?
Let’s count them down for the fun of it, after the most fun Deadline of them all. Not who won the 2021 Deadline, but who’s going to have the biggest impact the rest of the season?
10. Jon Lester, LHP, Cardinals
The Cards sit at 53-53, 7 1/2 games out of the second National League Wild Card. Lester is 37, was just 3-5 with the Nats and got bounced around by the Braves in his first start for the Cardinals on Tuesday. But Lester is still an innings-eater, won with the Red Sox and might have pitched the most important game in Cubs’ World Series history by winning Game 5 in ’16, when they were facing elimination, and eternal heartbreak, down three games to one. The Cards are betting he might have one more stretch run in him, if they do.
9. Daniel Hudson, RHP, Padres
He was 4-1 with a 2.20 ERA for the Nats this season in 31 games. Even in third place behind the Giants and Dodgers in the NL West, the Padres still think they can make a run at first place. They needed bullpen help. Hudson gives it to them. Big-time.
8. Yan Gomes, C, Athletics
Remember something: The A’s are second in the American League West behind the Astros, second in the AL Wild Card race. They never go away. Gomes and Josh Harrison (not on the 2019 Nats), catcher and second baseman, respectively, are the two versatile players acquired from Washington who will help in Oakland.
7. Kyle Schwarber, 1B, Red Sox
The Schwarb is one of the stars of the early season in baseball because he went on a wild home run spree, at one point hitting 16 home runs in 18 games. He’s hurt right now, with a right hamstring strain, but not badly. The Red Sox need starting pitching more than another bat. Badly. But they need a bat, too, as they face the prospect of falling from first place in the AL East to fourth in the span of a few weeks.
6. Javier Báez, 2B/SS, Mets
He was having such a fine season with the Cubs before being traded to the Mets. He'll play shortstop until Francisco Lindor has recovered from an oblique injury, then most likely second. Báez (traded to New York along with Trevor Williams, who was not on the 2016 Cubs) hit a homer in his first Mets game. The Mets have been in first place in the NL East for three months. But they came out of Tuesday’s games just four games over .500, and here come the Phillies and Braves.
5. Craig Kimbrel, RHP, White Sox
He was just hanging on when the Red Sox won in ’18, but we’ve witnessed a renaissance for him as a closer this season. When the regular season is over in the American League, the White Sox might be the best team in the league. And they just got better.
4. Trea Turner, SS, Dodgers
No one was surprised when Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo traded away Scherzer. But Turner, hitting .322/.369/.521 this season, was way more of a surprise for the Dodgers, because he’s a shortstop and because Corey Seager is coming back. They’ll eventually have a Lindor/Báez situation at Dodger Stadium. And in a year when Cody Bellinger is hitting an unfathomable .165, the Dodgers need Turner’s stick, and his speed, as they try to repeat.
3. Kris Bryant, 3B/OF, Giants
Bryant joined the Deadline party late on Friday, when the Cubs sent him to the Giants. The upside for him, and for them, is tremendous because of his talent and his versatility. The Giants have been the best team in the sport this season in what has been the best division. Maybe Bryant will help them show everybody they haven’t forgotten how to win the World Series in San Francisco.
2. Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Yankees
He’s the mover who’s done the most shaking so far for the Yankees -- home runs in his first two Yankees games, seven hits in his first 16 at-bats, a .438 batting average and an OPS of a cool 1.358. If the Yankees make a run at first place in the AL East, which I believe they will, Rizzo might turn out to matter more than Aaron Judge or Giancarlo Stanton or Joey Gallo or anybody in their batting order. A Yankee who doesn’t need to hit home runs. Imagine that.
1. Max Scherzer, RHP, Dodgers
Our winner. I still think this is the most impactful move of all. The Dodgers are the defending champs, they needed somebody to replace Trevor Bauer, they get one of the great pitchers of his time and one of the great big-game pitchers. Of all the potential difference-makers come October, the 37-year-old Scherzer still has the chance to do for the Dodgers what he did for the Nationals two years ago.