As soon as July 31 ends, we're flooded with report cards and assessments and lists of who won and who lost. Who made themselves better? Who got fleeced by the opposition?
The point is, we always seem to forget that there are still two months remaining in the regular season. We won't know the answers to the questions posed on Aug. 1 until after the last out is recorded in the World Series, and perhaps, in the case of deals struck for prospects or players with long-term contracts, for long after.
With that in mind, let's take a look back at some of last year's most notable Trade Deadline deals, how they panned out into October, and how they look today.
Trade: On July 27, the Blue Jays dealt reliever Jason Frasor and right-hander Zach Stewart to the White Sox for right-hander Edwin Jackson and infielder Mark Teahen, then traded Jackson, relievers Octavio Dotel and Marc Rzepczynski, outfielder Corey Patterson and three players to be named or cash to the Cardinals for outfielder Colby Rasmus and relievers Brian Tallet, Trever Miller and P.J. Walters.
Result: This was the only three-team deal around the Deadline last year, and it was a doozy. Most prognosticators loved the trade for the Blue Jays because of Rasmus, who has five-tool potential, and didn't pay much attention to the Cardinals' haul. But Dotel and Rzepczynski ended up being huge cogs in manager Tony La Russa's bullpen as St. Louis rallied for the National League Wild Card and then stormed through the postseason to their memorable seven-game World Series triumph over the Rangers.
Rasmus remains the prime talent in the deal, and a change of scenery might be doing him some good. Heading into Monday, the outfielder, who turns 26 on Aug. 11, had 17 home runs and 60 RBIs, which means he's on pace for career-best numbers in both categories. There is room for improvement -- his slash line is .246/.314/.465, not as good as expected -- but he's still young. Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos could very well end up deserving the praise he got last year when he made this move.
Trade: On July 31, the Cardinals acquired shortstop Rafael Furcal and cash from the Dodgers in exchange for outfielder Alex Castellanos.
Result: The Cardinals waited until the Deadline to pull it off, and it didn't seem like a big deal at the time, but it ended up being another enormous boost for the eventual champions.
Furcal hit seven homers, drove in 16 runs and scored 29 runs in the last two months of the season and solidified the top of the lineup as St. Louis pulled off its spectacular comeback. Oh, and then he made the All-Star team this year. Apparently he's still got something left at age 34.
Trade: On July 30, the Rockies traded right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez to the Indians for left-hander Drew Pomeranz, right-hander Alex White, and Minor Leaguers Joseph Gardner and Matt McBride.
Result: The most hotly debated Deadline deal from a year ago remains a mystery. While Jimenez, so brilliant in 2010 and so enigmatic since, has clearly not panned out as the ace the Indians wanted, he's still only 28. If he can iron out the command problems that have plagued him since before the trade, the Tribe will still have the big arm it wanted.
Meanwhile, Pomeranz and White, the prospect prizes for Colorado, have undergone growing pains that are typical for pitchers of their age (both are 23) and experience levels. Pomeranz has had good starts this year but has been roughed up in his past two outings, including a July 20 start in which he gave up seven runs on nine hits in three innings. White has struggled in his big league starts and is back at Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Rockies manager Jim Tracy, when recently discussing White, could have been talking about Pomeranz, too. Both are seen as works in progress but very big pieces of the future in Colorado's starting rotation.
"Over time, you'll get to a point where you get really consistent," Tracy said of White. "And with the stuff that he has and the capability he has, you'll have a very good pitcher."
Trade: On July 29, the Phillies landed outfielder Hunter Pence from the Astros for Minor Leaguers Jarred Cosart, Josh Zeid, Jonathan Singleton and Domingo Santana.
Result: The Astros were struggling last year and decided to rebuild. Pence was -- and still is -- a talented, high-priced big league outfielder in his prime, so then-Houston GM Ed Wade decided to begin restocking his organizational coffers by unloading one of his most coveted players. The move worked out very well for the Phillies and for Pence. The outfielder put up huge numbers in Philadelphia -- a .324/.394/.560 post-trade with 11 homers and 35 RBIs in 54 games -- and became a fan favorite. This year, Pence has kept on doing his thing. Through Sunday, he had 17 homers and 57 RBIs. He can be a free agent after next season, though, and he's bound to get even more expensive if he keeps up his production at the age of 29.
The Astros continue to build up their system, so it might be a few more years before we can properly assess this deal.
Trade: On July 31, the Braves acquired outfielder Michael Bourn and cash from the Astros for outfielder Jordan Schafer, right-handers Juan Abreu and Paul Clemens and left-hander Brett Oberholtzer.
Result: The same theory behind the Pence deal was at work here, and, as a result, it seemed like a huge win for the Braves at the time, since they were getting a pure leadoff hitter in his prime years without giving up their best prospects. It still might be. Bourn is having his best overall season for a team that is starting to click, entering Monday with a .301 average, 64 runs scored and 28 stolen bases. The Astros, now led by GM Jeff Luhnow, continue to wait on their return from these trades.
"As was the case with Hunter Pence, this is not the position that we want to be in, to have to move not only outstanding players, but outstanding people," Wade said after the Bourn deal. "But time and circumstance dictates that we have to be able to build the type of depth in the system that at some point in time will allow us to have sustained success here."
Trade: On July 31, the Mariners traded right-hander Doug Fister and reliever David Pauley to the Tigers for outfielder Casper Wells, left-hander Charlie Furbush, reliever Chance Ruffin and third baseman Francisco Martinez.
Result: While the Mariners were busy stocking their system for the future, the Tigers got a hold of Fister and watched as the right-hander blossomed down the stretch, going 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA in a Detroit uniform and winning two games in the postseason. This year, he's been banged up and inconsistent, but his most recent start (eight innings, two hits, 10 strikeouts) indicates that he might be back to full health and effectiveness.
Trades: On July 31, the Rangers acquired reliever Mike Adams from the Padres for lefty Robbie Erlin and righty Joe Wieland, and they also acquired reliever Koji Uehara from the Orioles for right-hander Tommy Hunter and infielder Chris Davis.
Result: We'll lump these two together because they both involved Texas and were made with the intent of beefing up the bullpen of a club that would make it all the way to the Fall Classic for a second consecutive year. The deals worked in both instances, with Adams and Uehara playing vital roles in the Rangers' World Series run. This year, they're back in that mix and both have ERAs under 3.00, although Uehara hasn't pitched since June 9 because of a lat strain.
Trade: On July 28, the Mets traded outfielder Carlos Beltran to the Giants for right-hander Zack Wheeler.
Result: It appears that there were two winners from this deal: the Mets, who landed one of the biggest pitching prospects in baseball, and, well, Beltran. Beltran hit well for the Giants, landed himself a two-year, $26 million free-agent deal with St. Louis, and is an All-Star again. Wheeler is 21 years old and is tearing through the Minor Leagues, topping out at 100 mph and having scouts mention his name in the same sentence as Stephen Strasburg and Justin Verlander.
In a word, wow.