The Cubs did get better, but it's certainly not clear that they got that much better to warrant giving up what they did. For this deal to truly work out for the Cubs, the flags will need to actually fly.
With a few more teams being little more than a sweep of a fellow Wild Card wannabe away from a playoff spot, there's more intrigue in the standings in the AL (eight teams fighting for two spots!!!), even if it means less excitement in the form of bodies on the block before the trade deadline.
The Astros jumped on an interesting player who was available with no strings attached other than cash money. If it works out, they address the so-called problems of figuring out where to play players or trading them later.
On the Dodgers' rotation gamble, the Giants' old-school approach, the half-mortal Cubs, Washington's pitchers, Mets' issues, Pirates' cheapness, Cardinals' devil magic and whether the Marlins are for real.
Baltimore's uptick in OBP means those dingers count for more a lot of the time and it's paying dividends for the Orioles' offense and giving them the runs they need to stay in and win games when their rotation needs help.