*DIAMONDBACKS GENERAL MANAGER MIKE HAZEN DID THE BEST HE COULD: Joakim Soria became the fourth traded this month going to the Jays for two players to be named later, likely dependent on Soria’s performance. Nick Ahmed, Asbrubal Cabrera, Kole Calhoun, David Peralta, and likely others, were not dealt because declining performance.
*THE FIRST-PLACE GIANTS IMPROVED AT THE LAST MINUTE: Kris Bryant brings a bat with pop plus he provides position versatility if regular third baseman Evan Longoria returns from injury. Giants GM Scott Harris and Cubs GM Jed Hoyer worked together in Chicago and are friends, so the Bryant trade should not have been surprising, something we mentioned during Friday’s Sports Zone BEFORE the trade.
*THE DODGERS ADDED THE BEST PITCHER AND BEST POSITION PLAYER: Max Scherzer and Tra Turner are great additions for the post-season, but the Dodgers still have too many questions, starting with Cody Bellinger and the bullpen, to catch the Giants during the regular season.
*THE PADRES HAD A TWO-DAY STRETCH OF INEPTNESS THAT ENDED THEIR CHANCES OF WINNING THE DIVISION: A.J. Preller, known as a wheeler-dealer, got knocked out by the Dodgers for Max Scherzer on Thursday before apparently being outbid by the Blue Jays for Jose Berrios on Friday. Prior to Thursday, four Padres starting pitchers (Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, Chris Paddock and Joe Musgrove) had ERAs of more than 6.00 over the past month.
*THE ROCKIES HAVE BECOME THE MOST CLUELESS ORGANIZATION IN PROFESSIONAL SPORTS: They failed to trade Trevor Story, who declared after the deadline that he “was confused.” The most recent monumental mistake comes just months after the Rockies completely botched the trade of franchise player Nolan Arenado.
AROUND THE MAJOR LEAGUES
*NL EAST: The Mets added Javier Baez, but that is not enough with Jacob deGrom now apparently out until September and Francisco Lindor out for more weeks, not days. The Braves are going to win this division after the Friday additions of closer Richard Rodriguez and outfielders Adam Duvall, Eddie Rosario and Jorge Solar. Also, Travis d’Arnaud, Ian Anderson and Huascar Ynoa are scheduled to come off the injured list within the next week.
*NL CENTRAL: The Brewers further clinched the division by adding Eduardo Escobar to help their shaky offense and John Curtiss and Daniel Norris to their already deep bullpen. The Reds did add three relievers, but, inexplicably, failed to add Trevor Story to solve their season-long shortstop issue.
*AL EAST: This has gone from a two-team race to a four-team brawl. The first-place Red Sox must believe J.D. Martinez and Kyle Schwarber can both DH in the same game. The second-place Rays traded closer Diego Castillo because of his three remaining years in arbitration eligibility. The Yankees added much need lefthanded power and superior defense with Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo. The Jays moved from bogus to legitimate with the addition of now ace Jose Berrios.
*AL CENTRAL: The White Sox have the deepest pitching staff in the American League and now the best bullpen following the Friday addition of Craig Kimbrel. The big question is will they overcome their horrendous defense, likely the worst of the post-season participants?
*AL WEST: The Astros wisely added bullpen depth, but not adding an legitimate centerfielder (Starling Marte) could prevent them from reaching the World Series. The Athletics have new life in the Wild Card race after adding Marte. The highly overrated Mariners should have waived the white flag and traded Mitch Haniger and Kyle Seager.