One could argue that all 5 spots in the NL Playoffs are already solidified, after some of the wheeling and dealing leading up to yesterday’s trade deadline.
The league-leading Dodgers were very busy acquiring three pitchers: Yu Darvish, and relievers Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani. The Central-leading Cubs traded for Jose Quintana, as well as setup man Justin Wilson and catcher Alex Avila from the Detroit Tigers. The trade winds were also blowing in our nation’s capital, where the Nationals acquired three arms in an attempt to shore up their only perceived weakness: the bullpen.
The Rockies and Diamondbacks, who currently hold the two Wild Card spots, look to have all but guaranteed their place in October because of the moves both teams made before the deadline. Former Tiger JD Martinez makes the D’backs’ lineup even more dangerous. The opposition can’t just walk Paul Goldschmidt in crucial late game situations anymore with Martinez hitting behind him. Colorado helped themselves by acquiring reliever Pat Neshek from the Phillies. The veteran gives the Rockies more bullpen depth, which they can always use, considering they play their home games at high altitude. They also acquired Jonathan Lucroy from the Texas Rangers.
The aggressiveness of the current five NL playoff teams, as compared to the relative inactivity of the Brewers, Cardinals, and Pirates (who just made three trades combined, around the deadline) illustrates that these three front offices realize that in all likelihood the playoffs are already set. So they cried “uncle” and waved the white flag.
It’s going to be a long two months for National League baseball fans until the playoffs begin. We know the teams. Let’s just hope none of them suffer any catastrophic injuries between now and October. Can the playoffs please start right now?