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Trade Deadline's Biggest Surprise: The Players Who Were Not Dealt

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With Its Logjam in the Outfield, the Reds Should Have Dealt Hot-Hitting Tyler Naquin at the Deadline

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Much discussion has taken place in the aftermath Major League Baseball's 2021 trade deadline last weekend, as there were a couple of dozen deals made during a span of twenty four hours. Most of the players involved had already been awash in talks weeks before the July deadline, including numerous All-Stars and even a Cy Young Award winner.

“It was easily the wildest, most frenetic trade deadline in major league history, (as)ten players who were All-Stars in mid-July were traded by Friday afternoon,” stated Tyler Kepner in the July 30 edition of The New York Times. “Two recent champions, the Chicago Cubs and the Washington Nationals, scattered pieces of their souls across the baseball landscape. Every team made at least one deal this week, and 27 of the 30 made a move on Friday.”

Few were shocked when the Chicago Cubs sent packing a quartet of veterans, each who was eligible to enter free agency after this season. First baseman Anthony Rizzo joined the New York Yankees, shortstop Javier Baez went to the Mets, Kris Bryant found a new home with the San Francisco Giants, and closer Craig Kimbrell moved across town to the White Sox.

None of those deals came as a surprise, nor did most of the others that transpired on July 30. Predictably joining Rizzo in the Bronx was Texas slugger Joey Gallo, whose teammate Kyle Gibson was shipped to help anchor the Philadelphia pitching staff.

Fellow pitcher Max Scherzer, a former Cy Young Award winner, heads from the Washington Nationals to the Los Angeles Dodgers along with shortstop Trea Turner in a trade that had been discussed the prior week. In addition to those already mentioned, the Atlanta Braves swapped several prospects and virtually changed their entire outfield.

Since the Braves had lost leadoff hitter Ronald Acuna to season-ending injuries, fans had been expecting them to be in the market for outfielders. Some folks, however, are wondering why Atlanta did not acquire All-Star Starling Marte, who slipped from the Miami Marlins to the Oakland A's.

The biggest surprises overall were not the players who were traded, but the ones who were not. Here are seven stars that somehow managed to remain with their clubs, in spite of persistent trade rumors.

1. Trevor Story

Ever since the Rockies traded away perennial MVP candidate Nolan Arenado to the Cardinals last winter, trade rumors of their free-agent eligible shortstop had been swirling throughout the baseball world.

2. Andrelton Simmons

Minnesota shocked the general managers around the game when the Twins signed this Gold Glove free agent shortstop, but what was even more eye-opening is the fact that he was not dealt to Cincinnati or one of the other contenders looking for infield upgrades.

3. Byron Buxton

Granted, the guy has trouble staying on the field but, because of his MVP like performance this season, many people expected a club to pry his talent from the Twins.

4. Josh Donaldson

While we are on the subject of the Twins, the team for some reason chose to hold on to this expensive, underachieving and aging former MVP third baseman who most pundits assumed would be wearing a different uniform after July 30.

5. Willson Contreras

Already earning six million heading into an arbitration and just a year from free agency, the catcher was assumed to be heading out of Wrigley Field on the same train as Rizzo, Bryant, Baez and Kimbrel.

6. Jon Gray

Colorado's right hander is on pace to reach double figures in wins for the fifth straight time (not counting shortened 2020) and will therefore be one of the biggest free agents on the market, leaving many to scratch their heads as to why the rebuilding Rockies did not move him for some valuable prospects.

7. Raisel Iglesias

Losing teams like the Angels have very little need for a closer, especially when relievers are such a hot commodity, yet Los Angeles mysteriously decided to hang on to the free agent to be.

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