Yes, the "Winners and Losers" article. Where the fan goes to seek solace in the opinion of another, only to have their dreams dashed when the author says that the guy your team acquired is terrible at his chosen profession. Said fan then surmises that the author is biased against their team and sends angry e-mails. But never mind that, let's look at the results!
The Winners Circle:
When you are a terrible team, the only hope your franchise has is the future, and the trade deadline is the perfect opportunity to get pieces for whatever players you have that are somewhat valuable to contenders. The Astros carried this out admirably, acquiring prospects L.J. Hoes and Josh Hader from the Orioles for Bud Norris, Kyle Smith from the Royals for outfielder Justin Maxwell, and Danry Vasquez from the Tigers for Jose Veras. All four players were consensus top twenty prospects for their respective former teams, so that's a nice haul for a team that was assumed to be nearly devoid of talent.
Jake Peavy is a good pitcher (5.4 fWAR in the last two seasons). Opinions differ on just how good, but I certainly would argue he (and reliever Braylan Villereal) is more than worth than Jose Iglesias and three low-level minor leaguers. Trading Iglesias fits the concept of "selling high" perfectly, as his .377 BABIP is most likely to regress to something more similar to his minor-league levels. Peavy slots perfectly into the third spot in Boston's rotation.
I really like the Ian Kennedy deal for the Padres. It's a similar principle to if they had acquired Phil Hughes, but Kennedy is still arbitration-eligible and under team control. They traded for a pitcher who's been successful before, is prone to home runs and was having a down year. The best piece surrendered was merely a relief prospect in Matt Sties. Kennedy is now one of the Padres' best pitchers by default.
The Losers Lounge:
The Royals are a team that found themselves in the middle of nowhere. Their GM thinks they can contend, but they probably can't. In trying to help them towards that goal, all they acquired was a platoon outfielder in Justin Maxwell. As noted by John Sickels, even at the lower end of the opinions on Kyle Smith he's considered a pretty solid prospect. So the beat goes on for General Manager Dayton Moore.
The Phillies are 8.5 games out of the final Wild Card spot and desperately need an infusion of young talent, but they balked at moving any of their big-name veterans, even the venerable Michael Young. I would hope for the sake of their fans that this is one of the more active teams during the waiver season. I think GM Ruben Amaro Jr. and Dayton Moore need to go to the same support group.
The Rangers netted Matt Garza for what I consider a reasonable share of prospects and he joins what was already an exceptional staff. The problem for them is that it appears a suspension for slugger Nelson Cruz is imminent, and those trade chips would have arguably been better served helping to replace the second best hitter on an average offense. There were reasons why rumors of Garza's availability were being floated around as the deadline approached.
There you have it, a list so definitive that it couldn't possibly be disputed by anyone ever. And in case you were curious, I would err on the loser side of the table for the Yankees, but including them would be far too predictable for your friendly neighborhood PSB writer.