<
>
EXCLUSIVE CONTENT
Get ESPN+

Bowden: Grading all 30 GMs at deadline

While the Cubs' Jed Hoyer (left) and Theo Epstein earned high marks for the moves they made at the deadline, White Sox GM Rick Hahn (right) did not. AP Photo

This year's trade deadline was another exciting period of wheeling and dealing, highlighted by the movement of two impact closers and the New York Yankees selling off veterans for a massive haul of prospects. On Monday alone, there were 18 trades with 50 players changing teams.

So how did all 30 front offices do at this year's deadline period? Here are my annual grades and rankings.

1. Chicago Cubs

GM: Theo Epstein/Jed Hoyer

Grade: A+

Analysis: The Cubs won the trade deadline when they rebuilt their bullpen with the acquisitions of Aroldis Chapman, Joe Smith and Mike Montgomery. Chapman has the potential to be a difference maker in the postseason with possible matchups against Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy of the Nationals and/or the hefty left-handed lineup of the Giants. The move allows Hector Rondon to move back to the eighth inning, which shortens the game for their starters. Smith gives them a different look with a lower arm angle from the right side, and Montgomery gives them versatility. The Cubs on paper were the best team in baseball before the trades, which only improved their chances of winning the World Series.

2. Texas Rangers

GM: Jon Daniels

Grade: A+

Analysis: The Rangers were targeting starting pitching at the deadline, but when the potential cost in prospects became prohibitive, they changed their plan on the fly and focused on offense and bullpen help. They benefited from Jonathan Lucroy exercising his no-trade clause to prevent a trade with the Indians, jumping in and trading two top prospects to the Brewers for him in the final hours. Lucroy's game-calling and above-average framing should help the entire staff, beyond his All-Star offensive contributions. The Rangers did well in getting Jeremy Jeffress in the same transaction; he'll give them another option at closer. Acquiring Carlos Beltran was important because not only does he replace the injured Prince Fielder at DH, but his track record of postseason success with both Houston and St. Louis could be a factor come playoff time. The best part of the Rangers' trades? They didn't give up any of their top young players, such as Nomar Mazara, Jurickson Profar and Joey Gallo.