The trade deadline has passed, and what a deadline it was. We had big names on the move, guys getting shipped after just being dealt last year, a deal which included thirteen players, and everything in between. It was an action packed week culminating with an explosive final two days, but the question is, who were the winners of the trade deadline and who left us shaking our heads in disappointment.
THE BIG WINNERS:
Toronto Blue Jays-
Additions: SS-Troy Tulowitzki (COL), SP-David Price (DET), OF- Ben Revere (PHI), RP-LaTroy Hawkins (COL), RP-Mark Lowe (SEA)
The Blue Jays went all in this past week and came home big winners. Having the longest playoff drought in all of baseball, Toronto is very much alive for both the American League Wild Card and even the AL East. Toronto lost two of their top prospects in Starting Pitcher Daniel Norris and 2014 first round pick Jeff Hoffman, but adding to an already potent offense, and adding one of the top pitchers in baseball was well worth a shot. Both Troy Tulowitzki and David Price are among the best at their positions, and Ben Revere rounds out a very talented outfield. Toronto is set up nicely down the stretch to get a wild card spot, but I think they will wind up catching the Yankees and winning the AL East outright. However, if they fail to make the playoffs, going all in could be a very costly risk should David Price sign elsewhere at season’s end.
Kansas City Royals-
Additions: SP Johnny Cueto (CIN), INF/OF Ben Zobrist (OAK)
The Kansas City Royals had the tying run just 90-feet away when they recorded the final out in Game 7 of last year’s World Series loss to the Giants. This year, Kansas City looks poised for another deep playoff run but came into the deadline with a scuffling starting pitching staff and a couple big injuries. They did an exceptional job addressing both needs and in my eyes remain the favorites in the American League. After starting pitcher Jason Vargas went down with an injury that could require Tommy John surgery, Kansas City knew they needed to get a big gun to replace him. Many starting pitchers were allegedly on the trading block, and Kansas City struck first by getting Johnny Cueto from Cincinnati. Cueto is set to be a free agent next season, but will be a pivotal part of the rotation heading into October. Kansas City also went out and got utility man Ben Zobrist from Oakland to play primarily left field, but he can also play the infield as well if needed. Zobrist fills a huge void in left field due to the injury to Alex Gordon, and already has had some clutch hits for the Royals, including a couple home runs. With a large lead over the rest of the AL Central, the Royals look ready to represent the American League again in the Fall Classic.
Additions: SP Scott Kazmir (OAK), CF- Carlos Gomez (MIL), SP- Mike Fiers (MIL)
The Houston Astros are one of the biggest surprises in the American League, and perhaps in all of baseball. Loaded with young talent, Houston faced the tough decision to sit pat and fight for the playoffs with what they had, or give up on some prospects and make a splash with some trades. They chose the latter and I think it was the right move. Houston already had a very strong rotation but added some depth by getting a solid #2 starter in Scott Kazmir from Oakland and a back end of the rotation type guy in Mike Fiers. Houston also added Carlos Gomez from the Milwaukee Brewers, who earlier in the week was thought to have been sent to the New York Mets, but the deal fell through. Gomez adds power, speed and some experience to an otherwise young team.
THE BIG LOSERS:
New York Yankees-
Additions: OF Dustin Ackley (SEA)
The New York Yankees enjoyed a comfortable 7-game lead in the AL East late last week, but have too many questions with their rotation to feel all that comfortable. With numerous quality starting pitchers on the market, the Yankees were thought to be a lock to acquire one. Instead, the Yankees sat back until acquiring outfielder Dustin Ackley of the Seattle Mariners. Hitting just .216 with 6 home runs this year, Ackley isn’t by any means a marquee pickup for the Yankees, and considering all the moves made elsewhere around the AL, New York should be on watch. It is also worth noting that Yankees and Blue Jays meet thirteen times the rest of the season.
San Diego Padres-
Additions: RP- Marc Rzepczynski (CLE)
The Padres make this list not for who they didn’t acquire but instead for the contracts/players they didn’t get rid of. San Diego made a lot of upgrades to their roster this past off-season and while their post season hopes may still be alive, it appears to be a steep uphill climb. With the Dodgers and Giants both playing really well, the Padres should have tried to move any (or all) of players like James Shields, Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner, Ian Kennedy, Craig Kimbrel, Joaquin Benoit, or Justin Upton. Instead, the Padres brass decided to contend rather than trying to sell, and that decision could make rebuilding next season even more difficult given the pay raises due to many of the players listed above that could have been dealt.
The trade deadline has come and gone, but not before shaking a lot of things up and setting up for a very exciting final couple months of the regular season. By adding an additional Wild Card team a couple years back, the deadline has created a lot more buyers and thus we have seen a lot more trades. While many of these transactions are the exchange of a proven major leaguer for a prospect or two, time will tell on who the true winners or losers will be, but for this season expect the winners of the trade deadline to be contending down the stretch.