It was a very busy final 24 hours of trade week, busy enough that I couldn’t keep up. Now it’s been more than 24 hours after, enough time to digest it a bit.
Below is a quick synopsis of what each AL East team did. I’m not assigning grades or “winners” and “losers” of the trade deadline. Ultimately that is determined by what happens the rest of the season for those who bought big, and even what happens in future years for teams that stocked up on prospects by selling off their better players now. That said, I will voice some opinions. The other divisions will be addressed in turn.
Boston Red Sox—With a weak farm system and bumping up against the luxury tax threshold, their ability to make moves was limited. They missed out on Anthony Rizzo, Craig Kimbrel, and others they were linked to in rumors…but they likely just got outbid. They picked up Kyle Schwarber. 16 home runs in 18 games shows he can get really hot with the bat. However, I’m also reminded of that scene in “Moneyball” where Billy Beane tells Jason Varitek it’s easy to play 1B: “Tell him, Wash…” “It’s incredibly hard.” They also did add to their pen with Hansel Robles. Their biggest addition will by Chris Sale if he can perform like he did preop.
Tampa Bay Rays—They added multiple relievers and, most importantly, Nelson Cruz. They also brought up Wander Franco in June. That’s all good. They sent out Diego Castillo and also Rich Hill. With Tyler Glasnow needing TJS and gone for a year, I felt they needed another reliable starter. They didn’t get one.
New York Yankees—They bought big, picking up Anthony Rizzo and Joey Gallo. They also picked up Andrew Heaney hoping he can eat innings; with a 5+ ERA, I wouldn’t count on it. They also sent 6 prospects out. It was a pretty high price to pay, especially if (1) they don’t overtake the teams ahead of them to make the playoffs and (2) in turn don’t get past the wild card game. I really think this was as much keeping their 29 year no losing season streak alive and staying ahead of the Blue Jays.
Toronto Blue Jays—They also bought heavily, picking up Jose Berrios, Brad Hand, and Joakim Soria. They wanted to create some fan base excitement for the two months of play finally back in Toronto. I’d say they did, even though they face an uphill battle to challenge for a playoff spot. However, Berrios is signed through next year, so their buying spree isn’t just about this year either.
Baltimore Orioles—They held onto their main guys rather than selling. We will see next year if their decision equates to being more competitive.