By Ryan Mayer, CBS Local Sports
The trade deadline has come and gone and we have begun the sprint to the playoffs. There were some surprising moves at the deadline, most notably the Detroit Tigers deciding to initiate a mini-rebuild by trading both starting pitcher David Price and left fielder Yoenis Cespedes.
Overall, the deadline moves can propel a team to the playoffs or can make them look dumb in the long run for what they gave up. It’s too early for trades to fall into the latter category because we don’t know if any of the prospects moved on Friday will turn into the next big star, but it’s still a fun exercise to play the “winners and losers” game. We begin with the teams that improved the most with their moves.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays have been trying to figure out the right combination of big offseason trades and free agent signings for the past couple of years in an attempt to make the playoffs after having missed the postseason every year since 1993. This year’s moves were absolutely huge. Toronto picked up shortstop Troy Tulowitzki from the Colorado Rockies to add to an already loaded offense and David Price to bolster a rotation that’s been shaky to say the least. In addition to the starry names, Latroy Hawkins and Mark Lowe help solidify the bullpen while Ben Revere gives them another bat off the bench. Price had a pretty good debut for the Jays too.
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New York Mets
It’s hard to not count the Mets among the winners of the deadline considering how bad it was looking up until about 4pm. Everyone knew the Mets needed a hitter, they completed the trade that wasn’t for Carlos Gomez, backed off of Jay Bruce, before finally picking up slugger Yoenis Cespedes. The best part of this move? New York didn’t give up any of their top young arms for the rental of Cespedes. It was originally rumored that Zach Wheeler (out with Tommy John surgery) was part of the deal, but they ended up keeping him. Cespedes is already making an impact:
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They added the pitcher they needed at the top of the rotation (Scott Kazmir) and a bat to help the line-up (Carlos Gomez) without giving up their top guys. They’ve also won 5 of 7 to take the lead in the AL West. Looking like the story of the year.
New York Yankees
For as good as the Mets did at the deadline in acquiring the bat they needed to inject life into the line-up, the Yankees for seemingly the first time ever, didn’t make a big move on deadline day. That said, the Bombers are still in first place in the AL East and didn’t sell their top prospects so while it’s a loss because they didn’t help their immediate cause, it may look better in the long run that they stood pat.
San Diego Padres
I have no idea what GM AJ Preller is doing at this point. I didn’t really have an idea when he started his experiment in the offseason of bringing in a bunch of high priced guys that didn’t fit together. The Padres still sit 6 games out of the wild card as of today and really have a minimal shot at making the playoffs. Yet, they didn’t move any of their impending free agents to try and build for next year. I’m just confused.
You can’t convince me that adding Jonathan Papelbon to this team and displacing Drew Storen from the closer role was a good idea. I’m sorry but it seems to me that pissing off Storen by replacing him yet again for a guy he had better numbers than is just a terrible idea. Plus, you add Pap’s outsized personality to what has already been an up and down team? Not optimal.
Five of the six teams here will play a factor in the playoff race as the Yankees, Blue Jays, Mets, and Astros would all currently be in if the playoffs were to start today and the Nationals are only 1 back in the division 3 back in the Wild Card. Those deadline acquisitions (or lack thereof) will play a huge part in these teams’ chances to make the postseason.
Ryan Mayer is an Associate Producer for CBS Local Sports. Ryan lives in NY but comes from Philly and life as a Philly sports fan has made him cynical. Anywhere sports are being discussed, that’s where you’ll find him. Agree/Disagree? Thoughts, comments, complaints? Email or tweet him.