By: Joe Laland, KCOU Sports
Typically trade deadlines come and go without much movement or action. Most drama stems from rumors without many deals advancing to a complete stage. However, this year was it was quite the contrary, with Cy Young winners, All-Stars, and Top Prospects, all being dealt. With the amount of quality pieces moving it is inherent to have teams that really increased their season expectation. Here are the top performers on the trade deadline day.
Dave Dombrowski and the Tigers once again proved they are not afraid to make bold moves. This time they added AL 2012 Cy Young winner David Price. The Tigers came into the trade deadline along side the Oakland Athletics as proverbial favorites to represent the AL in the World Series. However after the A’s added Jon Lester the Tigers ultimately trumped that acquisition by bringing in their own lefty in Price. Price once again is putting together a Cy Young worthy season, by leading the majors in innings pitched, strikeouts and owns a 2.00 ERA over the past two months. The Tigers now possess the scariest playoff rotation in the AL by being able to pitch Price, Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez. The first three named have been the past three 3 AL CY Young winners and Sanchez led the AL in ERA amongst qualified pitchers last year. This also will allow the Tigers to let Max Scherzer walk at the end of the season if they can’t come to terms on a deal. Scherzer has already rejected a deal worth up to 144 Million dollars. The Tigers now look to be a big-time World Series contender and have flexibility with their pitching staff in the next couple seasons.
The A’s were another AL contending team that made sure to put emphasis on their pitching staff. Despite leading the majors in ERA, GM Billy Beane feared they lacked a true ace to take the ball in the last game of a playoff series. Beane made the first big move of this deadline by snagging breakout pitcher Jeff Samardzija and his 2.92 ERA. However he wasn’t done, Beane followed that move up by one the most unique trades in MLB history. Despite holding the best record in baseball he decided to part with Cuban youngster and clean-up hitter Yoenis Cesepedes, for Jon Lester and Johnny Gomes. Despite being the most shocking move it makes logical sense for the Green and Gold for their current roster and future plans. Right now it is an improvement because at this current state in their respective career Lester is the better pro. Lester is a proven playoff pitcher who has been as hot as any pitcher over the past month hoisting a 0.93 ERA in 29 innings. Whereas Cesepedes appears to have a very bright future but he still struggles to hit consistently for average and can be shaky in the field despite his highlight plays. This also will set up the Athletics nicely in the long term. Given the small payroll the Athletics possess, they were pessimistic in their hopes to extend Cespedes past the 2015 season. Financial flexibility has always been crucial for Oakland and now this will give them a much stronger opportunity to extend Josh Donaldson who is 4th in the MLB in WAR and Brandon Moss who is 8th in MLB in home runs. The A’s now own a rotation that is capable to beat any team in a playoff series this year and still have plenty of pieces to remain contenders for seasons to come.
New York Yankees
The Yankees were one of the quiet winners of the trade deadline. Typically the baseball world is used to the Yankees making the headline moves, however, that wasn’t the case this year. The Yankees added underperforming bats at a cheap price in Chase Headley, Martin Prado and Stephen Drew. Headley is hitting .303 for the pinstripes, Prados a career .290 and is only 30 years old and Drew whom was a starting piece for the Red Sox’s World Series roster last year. While these moves might not have a giant impact, the Yankees were also winners because the rest of the AL East declared themselves as sellers or remained very reluctant to add more pieces. Tampa Bay dealt Price, and the Red Sox’s dealt the pitchers that started the first four games of their season in Lester, John Lackey, Felix Doubront and Jake Peavy. Whereas the top two teams in division in Baltimore and Toronto both remained silent for the most part. In a wide open and weak AL East, the Yankees sit just five games back of the top of the division. The possibility of Derek Jeter and the Pinstripes making noise in October no longer sounds extremely farfetched if they can get healthy.