Thursday’s culmination of the MLB trade deadline was one for the ages. Big name players were traded for big name players, as prospects seemed to carry less weight than in years past. Most of the big name trades included veteran starting pitching and there were obvious winners and losers.
Oakland Athletics- The Oakland A;s added to an already dominant staff by acquiring Red Sox ace Jon Lester. Lester has been a dominant figure, especially in the post-season, where he has an ERA of 2.21 and where he pitched the Red Sox to two World Series Championships. In return, the A’s sent back-to-back home run derby champion Yoenis Cespedes to Boston.
Boston Red Sox- The Red Sox were the most active team we’ve seen in recent trade deadline history. Knowing it was time to retool for next season, Boston traded their top three starters from last season’s world series in order to bring in bats and young arms. Lester was traded to the A’s, Peavy was traded earlier to the Giants, Lackey went to the Cardinals, Doubront was sent to the Cubs, and Andrew Miller was traded to the Orioles. Position players Jonny Gomes and Stephen Drew were also shipped off. In return, the Red Sox received Yoenis Cespedes, Allen Craig, and Joe Kelly to be put on the roster right away, and multiple prospects and draft picks as well. With Lester entering free agency after this season, the Red Sox chose to regroup for next season, and with their activity this season they may be contenders in 2015.
St. Louis Cardinals- The Cardinals chose to add to their rotation after failing to go deep in games pitched outside of Adam Wainwright and Lance Lynn. St. Louis did so by adding Indians workhorse Justin masterson and Red Sox veteran John Lackey, who remains under club control next season for just $500,000. The Cardinals also straightened out their crowded outfield by trading away Allen Craig, and only lost one young pitcher, in Kelly, and AA prospect James Ramsey.
Detroit Tigers- The Tigers made a large splash at the end of the trade deadline by acquiring David Price in a three team trade in which they shipped CF Austin Jackson and SP Drew Smyly. Jackson will go to the Mariners and fulfill their need for a right handed bat, and Smyly will take Price’s place in the Rays’ rotation.
Philadelphia Phillies- The Phillies were considered to have the most trade pieces in the market with pitchers Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, and AJ Burnett all available, as well as Marlon Byrd and possibly Jimmy Rollins. Despite their chance to move aging players and a sellers market, the Phillies were unable to make any moves. It’s speculated that the Phillies were asking for too much for Byrd, who was a decently prized trade part, as well as too much for ace Cole Hamels, who’s owed around $90 million in the next five seasons. Although they were unable to make a move before the deadline, it’s possible they’ll be able to move some players before the waiver deadline thanks to the large contracts of their movable pieces.
Pittsburgh Pirates- the Pirates were unable to make any moves as they watched their in division rivals make moves to bolster starting rotations and defense. The Pirates are surging of late and just recently activated Francisco Liriano, so it’s possible his addition and positive play of late may be able to carry the Bucs into the playoffs.
New York Yankees- In Derek Jeter’s final season, the Yankees made one move to make a playoff push. That move? Trading second baseman Kelly Johnson to the Red Sox for SS Stephen Drew, who’s hitting .176 on the season. Drew will play 2nd for the Yankees, who sit 5.5 games back in the division and three games back in the wild card. The Yankees were looking to upgrade in RF and add to their pitching depth, but were unable to gain a foothold during trade talks until late Thursday, adding Martin Prado. It’s hard to tell if Prado is a big enough upgrade over Ichiro Suzuki to push the Yankees over the hill.