American League Trade Deadline Recap: Yankees, Red Sox big winners

Red Sox acquire IF Eduardo Nunez and RP Addison Reed without giving up top prospects.

The Red Sox addressed their two biggest needs at the deadline by adding a solid bat in Eduardo Nunez who is capable of filling in at 3B which has been a nightmare spot for the Sox and adding Reed to the back of their bullpen that has been good, but shaky at times other than the dominant Craig Kimbrel.

The Sox also called up their top prospect Rafael Devers, who has been manning the hot corner while Nunez has been at 2B during a brief injury related absence of Dustin Pedroia.

Both of these guys have been swinging the stick really well for the Sox over the past few games and have brought life to this offense. However, it still is not an intimidating offense by any means, as it sits in last place in the AL in HR as it has done for most of the season.

The Red Sox hitters will all need to be clicking at once to keep up with the other AL powerhouses, and that’s a lot to ask of the young, powerless lineup.

AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

If the Red Sox are going to make any noise in the postseason it will be on the back of their starting pitching. The pitching has been great this year, but with the injury to Price and Pomeranz’s tendency to burnout towards the end of the season, it will remain to be seen whether or not the staff will be able to carry them.

While the Red Sox definitely got better at the deadline, their playoff chances took a hit due to what other AL teams did around them, mainly their heated rivals in the New York Yankees.

Yankees acquire SP Sonny Gray and SP Jaime Garcia

Between their pre-deadline trade with the White Sox and these two recent acquisitions, the New York Yankees are officially the winners of the 2017 trade deadline. They were able to boost their MLB roster while simultaneously not having to sacrifice the entire farm of prospects they have developed over the past few years.

With Sonny Gray and Jaime Garcia, the Yankees now have a formidable 5-man rotation that should be able to propel them to an AL East title. These two SPs also give the Yanks a much better-looking playoff rotation that will go four deep, featuring a dangerous 1-2 punch of Severino and Gray, followed by any combination of Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, and Jaime Garcia.

With the newly added depth and expected dominance of their bullpen, the starters will not face the same pressure to be lights out as those on other postseason teams.The Yankees acquisitions turned their biggest weakness, pitching, into arguably their biggest strength heading into the home stretch and makes them a much more likely candidate to win the Pennant and World Series.

The Yankees acquisitions turned their biggest weakness, pitching, into arguably their greatest strength improving their chances to win the Pennant and World Series.

Sonny Gray is controllable through 2020 and will be cheap while earning arbitration money. Moreover, the reactions to all their trades made it seem like everyone expected they would give up more than they did. While OF Blake Rutherford, OF Dustin Fowler, P James Kaprielian and IF Jorge Mateo are all solid prospects, the Yankees were able to keep SS Gleyber Torres, OF Clint Frazier, and other future MLB talent.

Cashman has done a marvelous job in the past two deadlines. He sold his assets, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman, for top dollar, and acquired impressive talent this season.

The Yankees are the winner of this year’s deadline bringing stability and success to the franchise for presumably many years to come.

Houston Astros acquire Francisco Liriano

Via Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

Houston desperately needed a top of the line SP and RP to go along with baseballs’ best offense, yet failed to address both of those needs. With Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers Jr. both coming off or going on the DL, Houston’s starting pitching is a major concern.

The addition of Gray, Darvish, or Verlander would’ve made the Astros the team to beat in the AL. Now, it looks like the clock might strike midnight on the Astros early in the 2017 postseason.

Houston still has the opportunity to potentially land Verlander before the waiver-trade deadline, but have seemed pretty firm on not relinquishing their top prospects to do so.

In regard to Liriano, he has struggled as a starter for Toronto this year, but is expected to move to the bullpen in Houston. He has dominated lefties this year and that will most likely be his primary focus out of the pen. However, he does not bring the amount of help the Astros’ staff needed.

It wouldn’t be smart to count Houston out yet. The team has been dominant to this point in the season, but their lack of a big acquisition certainly didn’t give any confidence that they’ll have the ability to roll through the postseason like they have done in the regular season. 

AL Central Teams Make Minor Adjustments

The Cleveland Indians added RP Joe Smith to further bolster their already excellent bullpen. The upgrades they needed were internal, and the emergence of Bradley Zimmer, combined with the improved play of Michael Brantley, Francisco Lindor, and Edwin Encarnacion has helped give the Tribe a major boost lately.

The Kansas City Royals decided to make one final push for a World Series and remain buyers at the deadline. With Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas all hitting free agency in the offseason, the future looks grim for the Royals, but their recent success led management to take one last shot at a World Series before the core of their 2015 Championship team hits free agency for a massive pay day.

Via Flickr/Keith Allison

The Royals added OF Melky Cabrera from the fire sale formerly known as the Chicago White Sox as well as SP Trevor Cahill and RP Brandon Maurer from the San Diego Padres. These moves did not cost the Royals much due to Cahill and Cabrera being rentals and they obviously don’t bring as much to KC as some of the more high-profile names on the market would have, but these moves make sense.

Kansas City was able to fill the few small holes the team had and while the roster may not look primed for a World Series, the Royals seem to have found the secret recipe for post season success making them an interesting competitor in the AL if they’re able to hold on to a Wild-Card spot or take over the division from the Indians.