The MLB Trade Deadline is a mere four days away and the trades have already been rolling in. These avid acquisitions were kicked off when two days after the All Star Game the Dodgers won the Manny Machado sweepstakes and they have not stopped since. I don’t want to box myself in on this post so I’m just going to visit each contender and see what they’ve done/where they stand/what they should do/etc. (warning: use of the word “contender” is subjective)
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox bolstered their rotation with the acquisition of Tampa Bay Rays’ righty Nathan Eovaldi, and they only had to give up their No. 15 prospect. This was a great pickup for Boston, as pitching is always key down the stretch and in the Postseason. Already boasting over 70 wins, Boston (in my opinion) really doesn’t need to do anything more, as they have been and will be World Series favorites.
New York Yankees
After the Eovaldi deal was confirmed, the Yankees responded in kind by trading for Toronto Blue Jays’ All Star starter J.A Happ. Happ is well known to be a great pitcher against fellow AL East teams, so he should slide in as a nice No. 3 as Sonny Gray continues to struggle. Prior to the Happ trade, however, was arguably the more impactful acquisition of Baltimore Orioles closer Zach Britton. Britton comes to a team already possessing the most fearsome bullpen in the Majors, and his presence should only further that reality. The Yankees could still be in the market for a first basemen as Neil Walker struggles and both Greg Bird and Tyler Austin refuse to stay healthy, but Brian Cashman has put a winning product out there. Now it all comes back to their biggest rivals…
The Indians were one of the first teams to get in on the trading action, finally convincing the San Diego Padres to give up coveted closer Brad Hand and tacking on rookie sensation Adam Cimber (though it came at a great price). Cleveland has not had as much hype as last season, and barring another 22-game winning streak they will most likely just coast into the Postseason after winning the worst division in baseball. You could argue they should make some moves to improve the offense outside of the dynamic Lindor-Ramirez combination, but in a year where the Red Sox and Yankees are so dominant the Indians should save their breath.
Oh yeah, the Astros…..the AL has more superteams than I can count and the Astros are one of them. After winning the World Series last year they have not regressed at all and continue to charge on in their quest to justify years and years of miserable tanking. Many have speculated they would be in on a closer, but with Britton, Hand, and former Mets’ closer Jeurys Familia all being taken off the market it seems the Astros may have missed out (though they did nab Ryan Pressly from the Minnesota Twins). Even so, their bullpen has a 2.96 ERA (despite Will Harris’s uninspiring season) so it shouldn’t make a huge difference.
They withstood the realization that Felix Hernandez was no longer an ace. They withstood Robinson Cano getting suspended for drug use. They even withstood their new ace, James Paxton, going on the DL. This Mariners team has stayed relevant and in the second AL Wild Card largely due to their 27 wins in one run games, a pace that would break the previous record of 42 held by the 1978 San Francisco Giants. However, the Oakland Athletics are closing in fast and recently dealt for the aforementioned Familia, forcing the Mariner’s hand. They need starting pitching and could use bullpen help, and there are still some underrated options out there (Zach Wheeler anyone?)
Definitely the biggest surprise in the American League this season, the A’s have gone an MLB-best 26-7 since June 16th to surge within a game of the Mariners for the second Wild Card spot. Oakland’s bullpen has been outstanding and they added New York Mets’ closer Jeurys Familia to make it even more potent. Many speculate the A’s are still in on a starter, as they have a 4.07 team ERA, but no moves are on the horizon and with plenty of starters going off the board it seems the A’s are content with what they have.
The team that has been trying to trade for everybody has finally traded for somebody; Asdrubal Cabrera, a former Mets’ infielder. Cabrera is honestly a great fit anywhere as he can play multiple positions and is hitting like his life depends on it, and this move signals the Phillies believe they have a shot this year. Rather than give reps to their young infielders like Maikel Franco, J.P Crawford and Scott Kingery (like they have been), the Phils are going into win-now mode with an experience pro who will provide a tremendous boost. We know Cesar Hernandez is entrenched at second, so Cabrera will most likely shift between short and third.
Another team that has been trying to make a lot of trades, Atlanta so far has only re-acquired former Brave Jonny Venters. With Philly remaining somewhat aggressive and the Nationals lurking (who I will not include in this article because I don’t like Bryce Harper), it seems the Braves would need a few veteran pieces to win.
The Cubs are the Cubs. They did trade for Cole Hamels, and hopefully this mid-season acquiring of a stud lefty in the middle of a 4.00 ERA season from a horrible team goes better than their last one (cough cough Jose Quintana). The offense is clicking, the bullpen looks nice and Wrigley is rocking again. Oh yeah and they picked up Jesse Chavez from the Blue Jays to pad the pitching corps.
It seemed a little random when they got Joakim Soria from the Chicago White Sox, but the trade for Mike Moustakas from the Kansas City Royals combined with the offseason they had made it all clear: the Brewers are going for it. Their rotation has performed well, the offense it good. They look like a team with a legit chance to win the National League.
Los Angeles Dodgers
They got Manny.
Picking up Twins’ utility man Eduardo Escobar is a great move that affords the DBacks some flexibility as the season closes. Their pitching has been good enough, but some inconsistency has plagued the team throughout the year. Adding Matt Andriese from the Rays’ is a solid idea to throw another quality pitcher into the mix, and I would put Arizona (basically) in the same boat as Milwaukee.
One of the many teams that has been surging of late, the Rockies only sit 2.5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West. We all know they need pitching, and veteran (including his games in South Korea) reliever Seunghwan Oh should fit that need nicely. They still need outfield help, but that is not an area this trade market is strong in, so the Rox will most likely just have to hope that either their pitching staff lowers to league average or their offense scores five plus runs a game.