Trade deadline lived up to the billing! As usual, all the big arms were dealt, that were expected to be, including a player involved in last season’s trade deadline. The Tigers decided they would sell away and traded pitcher David Price to the Blue Jays, a day after Toronto made a deal with Colorado to bring in shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and reliever Latroy Hawkins. Now all of a sudden, the Blue Jays have made their presence felt and even though the Yankees are up by 5.5 in the AL East, doesn’t mean Toronto can’t make a hard push for the division or even worst case, a wild card spot. How about this for a wild card match-up: Houston vs. Toronto. Intrigued? Well, you better be now, because not only did Toronto make key moves to possibly propel them into the playoffs, but the Astros are right back into the thick of it. Not that they weren’t, entirely. In fact, they were already in the wild card spot. However, Houston did seem to have the wheels falling off, right around All-Star break, as the team lost the division lead they’d had all season long, to an all of a sudden hot Angels team. The Angels are still playing great, but you’d have to say Houston won the trade deadline battle over the Angels of Anaheim, after getting pitcher Scott Kazmir and outfielder Carlos Gomez. The Angels acquired outfielders David DeJesus, Shane Victorino and David Murphy to improve depth, but instead comes across a little more underwhelming than anything. Plus, after the sweep to the Angels, compliments of the Astros, the AL West becomes more and more compelling. I’m also throwing the Rangers into the mix too, after their recent deal to get Cole Hamels from the the Phillies. I think the Rangers might only push for the wild card, but it’s fun to think about a team making that drastic of a push in the division, but it could happen. Eight games behind the division winner does seem a too steep of a hill to climb, but that’s why they play the game.
Let’s also not forget what the Royals, Cardinals, Dodgers and Giants did at the trade deadline. With all the moves being made really close to the deadline, one might forget what the Royals did early on, by adding an ace type pitcher in Johnny Cueto, to an already pretty solid starting pitching staff and also acquired infielder Ben Zobrist, adding to the best defense in the American League. The Royals, with the best record in the AL only seem to improve without disrupting team chemistry, much why the Nationals could be in trouble, if Drew Storen doesn’t accept his role of set-up man to now closer Jonathan Paplebon. I tend to think Storen will wise up and do what’s best for the team, especially when you have a team like the Mets, who didn’t get Carlos Gomez, after all, but did manage to land the coveted outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. I still lean Washington in the NL East, but when Cespedes left the A’s, the team fell apart and it makes you wonder, could Cespedes have the opposite effect on the Mets and prove to be the missing piece New York needs to make it to finally make it to the playoffs?
I can’t forget what the Dodgers did either. Beefing up pitching by getting a solid pitcher in Alex Wood and veteran Bronson Arroyo. Adding guys like Michael Morse for extra power and oh yeah, adding Matt Latos, who like Morse, came from the Marlins, as Miami looks ahead to next season. The Marlins are without their best player, Giancarlo Stanton, who is still recovering from a fracture in his wrist, which seemingly ended any sort of threat that the Marlins would make a push to the playoffs. The Dodgers were the benefactor. The Dodgers also added more depth in relief, which has been a problem of the years in Los Angeles.
Of course the NL West is still up for grabs to as the Giants make hay and also make a great trade with Cincinnati to get pitcher Mike Leake. San Francisco is just one game behind Los Angeles and it makes you wonder if the defending champs are poised to make another run, to become the MLB’s best.
I just keep rolling with different teams and what they can do to make their presence felt, but there are a lot of teams in the mix, especially in the American League.
The National League still has some stories to write, as the Cardinals, even though they have the best record in baseball, keep having to fend off the Pirates, who are 5.5 back in the Central. That might be why the Redbirds went out and got reliever Steve Cishek and closer Jonathan Broxton. Broxton doesn’t necessarily make sense, due to the fact Trevor Rosenthal is doing very well at the closer position, but say the Cardinals don’t see set-up man Jordan Walden in the lineup for even longer than anticipated, which is now being reported, Broxton could fill that role nicely. Can’t forget about Kevin Siegrist either. He’s been great in the set-up role since Walden went down with a biceps injury early in the season. Can you have too many pitchers going into the playoffs though? I think not!
There is certainly a good chunk of time to go, but now is the time for teams to make their run, before it becomes too late, as the season is now under 60 games left in the regular season. Let’s get ramped up!