10 returning players as good as a trade deadline blockbuster

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

If you came away from the 2023 MLB trade deadline wishing there were more stars on the move, here's a suggestion: Shift your focus to the injured list.

The vast majority of teams stayed conservative ahead of Tuesday's 6 p.m. ET deadline, opting against making aggressive decisions in one direction or the other largely because of the uncertainty caused by an expanded playoff field. In many cases, though, teams were also banking on a return of some impact players -- at a time when injuries are dominating the baseball landscape.

The 2023 season was 124 days old by the end of July, and already there had been 610 stints on the injured list. That's the third-most through that many days in the last 40 years, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The two years ahead of it: 2021 and 2022. The two years behind it: 2018 and 2017. A lot of that might be a function of the shorter 10-day IL, which teams often exploit for roster maneuverability. But once again there have been a plethora of big names who have suffered major injuries this summer.

Many of them have either come back recently or will do so in the near future, perhaps providing a greater impact on the standings than any player who was traded in recent days.

Here are 10 of the most important.