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How the Trade Deadline shook up the latest Power Rankings

The Trade Deadline is but one mere day on the calendar, but all you have to do is take a look at how much every team’s rosters have changed since you last checked to understand how much of a difference the Deadline can make. Buyers, sellers, holders, hedgers — they all shake things up a little: They all move.

So, thus, the first Power Rankings post-Deadline are always among the most fascinating of the season. Teams move not just from what they’ve done in the standings over the last week, but what they’ve done in the front office. And it’s not just about how much they’ve changed: It’s about how much they’re going to. The rest of the season will tell us so much. This is where everyone stands right now.

Biggest Jump: Did the Angels make the right decision by not only not trading Shohei Ohtani but aggressively adding at the Deadline, despite facing some steep playoff odds? We won’t know that for a couple of months, but the voters certainly approved: The Angels leapt five spots, all the way up to No. 12. If they’re still in that spot come the end of the season, it will all have been worth it.

Biggest Drop: One of the teams who tried to have it both ways at the Deadline was the D-backs, who were leading the National League West not long ago but have been reeling lately. That awkward spot — how much do they push, and how much do they hold? — led them to both add and subtract. The voters noticed the indecision, as well as all the losses lately: The D-backs fell five spots, all the way to No. 14. They remain one of the most fascinating teams in the sport headed down the stretch.

1. Braves, 69-37 (last week: 1)
For all the rumors about the Braves potentially picking up a starting pitcher — they were even attached to Justin Verlander in a few rumors — they stood pat, rotation-wise, at the Deadline. They did bring in former All-Star Brad Hand to give them another lefty in the bullpen and infielder Nicky Lopez to shore up the defense. This is the nice thing about being the best team in baseball: You don’t have to blow anything up. You just have to improve a little bit. The Braves did that.

2. Orioles, 66-42 (last week: 2)
As relentlessly pleasant as this season has been for Orioles fans, you can forgive them for sweating it out a bit at the Deadline: With just 20 minutes left, the O’s still hadn’t added a desperately needed starting pitcher. They ended up with one, though, bringing in Jack Flaherty, who hasn’t been able to match his NL Cy Young Award-contending 2019 season but has been terrific for the last month. The Orioles’ young rotation is running up against some innings limits here pretty soon, but adding Flaherty does more than just alleviate that: You’re going to see this guy start a postseason game.

3. Rangers, 62-46 (last week: 5)
The Rangers are barely holding onto the American League West lead, and they suddenly have to deal with Justin Verlander in their division again, but clearly the voters liked the Rangers’ aggressiveness at the Deadline. For all the (understandable) discussion of Max Scherzer, it’s worth pointing out that the pitcher on the move with the highest WAR this season is the other rotation piece Texas added: Jordan Montgomery. The team now almost has more starting pitching than it has room for. Which is not a bad place to be.

4. Rays, 66-45 (last week: 3)
The Rays are battling the Orioles and (to a lesser extent) the Blue Jays for first place in the AL East, and those teams mostly just added players from the 2023 Cardinals at the Deadline. Meanwhile, the Rays brought in Aaron Civale, who has been a revelation for the Guardians and sure seems like the type of guy who will benefit from all the Rays can do. The difference between winning this division and finishing second, come playoff seeding time, is profound. Every game counts, and the Rays don’t look like a team ceding anything to the Orioles … or anyone else.

5. Astros, 62-47 (last week: 6)
Verlander sure is going to look nice back in that Astros uniform, isn’t he? Will we ever even remember him in a Mets jersey? The Astros certainly are delighted to have Verlander back atop their rotation, and it’ll be a blast watching him and his new/old team battling his former rotation mate Scherzer and the Rangers down the stretch. This is a good old-fashioned Texas showdown. We can’t wait.

The rest of the field of 30:

6. Dodgers (4)
7. Reds (11)
8. Blue Jays (8)
9. Giants (10)
10. Brewers (7)
11. Phillies (12)
12. Angels (17)
13. Marlins (16)
14. D-backs (9)
15. Red Sox (13)
16. Twins (15)
17. Yankees (14)
18. Mariners (19)
19. Guardians (20)
20. Cubs (21)
21. Padres (18)
22. Mets (22)
23. Tigers (24)
24. Pirates (25)
25. Rockies (28)
26. Cardinals (23)
27. Nationals (27)
28. White Sox (26)
29. Royals (29)
30. A’s (30)

Voters: Will Leitch, Alyson Footer, Anthony Castrovince, Paul Casella, Mark Feinsand, Nathalie Alonso, Mike Petriello, Sarah Langs, Arturo Pardavila, Andrew Simon, David Venn, Sweeny Murti, Doug Gausepohl, Travis Miller

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