*Team transactions shown date back to 7 days before trade deadline to qualify as a “deadline deal”
*Playoff spot indicates division leaders, and wild card spot holders through August 1st
Additions: LHP Wade Miley (from SEA), OF/IF Steve Pearce
Subtractions: LHP Ariel Miranda (to SEA). C Jonah Heim
Much like the Boston Red Sox, the Orioles didn’t exactly make the splash we all thought they would. But, much like the Miami Marlins, the Orioles don’t exactly have their prospect depth to gun it and compete with the Red Sox, or Toronto Blue Jays in the AL East. We all know they can hit the long ball, but we also all know their starting pitching is bad. Their great bullpen can only do so much late in the game, especially if the bats are having an off day. A shutdown bullpen isn’t exactly highly important when the runs don’t show up.
Buck Showalter is a very smart man with a very smart mind. He gets the best out of his players everyday, but the truth of it is, the Orioles are just not on the same level as the Red Sox or Blue Jays. They don’t have what it takes to hold on to this division lead down the stretch and you could argue the Detroit Tigers are more balanced to take on a Wild Card spot.
Prediction for the Orioles: Orioles miss playoffs completely by being out-dueled by the Red Sox, Jays, Tigers, or Astros.
Additions: LHP Andrew Miller (from NYY), OF Brandon Guyer (from TB)
Subtractions: OF Clint Frazier, LHP Justus Sheffield, RHP J.P. Feyereisen, and RHP Ben Heller (all to NYY), OF Nathan Lukes, and RHP Jhonleider Salinas (to TB)
Perhaps one of the most disappointing teams on trade deadline day this season is the so far, very successful 2016 Cleveland Indians. Already selling a ton for great reliever Andrew Miller, the Indians just couldn’t afford to add to any other part of their lineup. It might have been a good thing their deal with catcher Jonathan Lucroy was vetoed by him, because in my opinion, they can compete without him. The move for Lucroy wasn’t needed for the Indians to continue to compete.
With the best pitching staff in the American League, it is going to be very interesting and very fun to see what the Indians pitching staff can do against some of the crazy good offenses. Offenses like the Rangers, Red Sox and Blue Jays can very well be shut down by this great pitching staff and the sneakily productive lineup.
Prediction for the Indians: Indians hold off the Tigers for the division and lose in the ALDS.
Additions: OF Carlos Beltran (from NYY), RHP Lucas Harrell, and LHP Dario Alvarez (from ATL), C Jonathon Lucroy and RHP Jeremy Jefress (from MIL)
Subtractions: RHP Dillon Tate, RHP Erik Swanson, and RHP Nick Green (to NYY), 2B Travis Demeritte (to ATL), OF Lewis Brinson and RHP Luis Ortiz (to MIL)
Well, the Texas Rangers sold the farm for a new and much-needed outfielder, and superstar catcher. We can safely say they are the scariest team in the American League, and could quite possibly put up better offensive numbers than the always powerful Toronto Blue Jays lineup. Their mix of switch-hitters that are all composed of power and speed is definitely a sight to see.
This is a team good enough to have Beltran batting 7th in its lineup and a team that will allow Jonathan Lucroy to have RBI chances almost every at-bat. With Darvish back in the Rangers rotation paired with Cole Hamels, the Rangers have everything going for them to set up a World Series run in 2016. Jeremy Jeffress is also a very good shut-down reliever in the back-end of the pen that can hold down any lead.
Prediction for the Rangers: AL West title as AL’s best team with a loss to the Cubs in the World Series.
Toronto Blue Jays
Additions: OF Melvin Upton Jr. (from SD), RHP Joaquin Benoit (from SEA), RHP Scott Feldman (from HOU), RHP Mike Bolsinger (from LAD), Francisco Liriano, OF Harold Ramirez and C Reese McGuire (from PIT)
Subtractions: RHP Hansel Rodriguez (to SD), RHP Drew Storen (to SEA), Jesse Chavez, (to LAD), Guadalupe Chavez (to HOU), Drew Hutchison (to PIT)
The Toronto Blue Jays were sneaky winners at this deadline. Acquiring much-needed pitching depth for when Aaron Sanchez is sent to the bullpen soon for arm preservation. The Jays were able to flex their financial muscle and snag two of the Pirates’ top 10 prospects. Maybe Rogers Centre had something to do with it, and he will probably enjoy some nice performances on the Pittsburgh Pirates, but Drew Hutchison’s career in Toronto wasn’t exactly what the Jays expected from him. Bringing in Melvin Upton Jr. also allows Toronto to use Jose Bautista and Michael Saunders in the DH spot more often and keep Justin Smoak on the bench, something the Blue Jays lacked up until this point when being compared to the Indians or Rangers. Those two teams are often always moving players around daily to make the most of the DH luxury.
The Jays now have an underappreciated bullpen of Benoit, Grilli, Cecil, Sanchez, and Osuna, a great mix of flexibility that John Gibbons can go to when thinking of a 7-8-9th inning punch down the stretch of the season. The Jays rotation of Liriano, Estrada, Happ, Stroman, Dickey, and possibly Feldman when needed is definitely above American League average.
Prediction for the Blue Jays: With all the pieces to lock up the division, the Jays take the AL East in back-to-back years, with another loss in the ALCS.
Boston Red Sox
Additions: LHP Fernando Abad (from MIN)
Subtractions: RHP Pat Light (to MIN)
The Boston Red Sox didn’t make the splash we all thought they would at the deadline, but honestly, it’s just fine. They already have the team to make a great run in the American League. Some would argue their rotation needs work, but like other teams in the AL East such as the Orioles and Blue Jays, pitching isn’t exactly something that is held in the highest regard. The Red Sox already have the offense to compete for a World Series, so keeping their prospect depth and lineup core together without making a run at someone like Chris Sale was the correct call to make.
Their bullpen definitely competes with the Orioles’ as the best in the AL East. Brad Ziegler, Fernando Abad, Craig Kimbrel, and Koji Uehara provide solid out-of-the-pen production for any lead the great Red Sox offense can give them. The Drew Pomeranz addition in mid-July might have definitely been an overpay, but the Red Sox are in no shortage of prospects. Pomeranz’s body itself is of good value on this Red Sox team, even if he does only go 5-6 innings per start and is somewhat inefficient.
Prediction for Red Sox: Wild Card spot locked down with a loss in the ALDS.
Additions: RHP Mark Melancon (from PIT)
Subtractions: LHP Taylor Hearn, and LHP Felipe Rivero (to PIT)
The Washington Nationals currently sit in first place of the NL East with a four-game lead on the New York Mets. With the Mets acquiring Jay Bruce from the Reds in exchange for pitcher Max Wotell and infielder Dilson Herrera, they could be looking to creep up on this division lead with certainly more than enough time to do so.
The Nationals have finally played like a top 5 team this season after countless years of underperforming, even with a not-so-MVP-like season from Bryce Harper happening so far. They’ve gotten amazing production from guys like Daniel Murphy and Wilson Ramos, plus bringing in Dusty Baker as manager has certainly looked like the right move. With Mark Melancon acquired on July 30th, the Nationals have bolstered their bullpen that wasn’t up to speed with their above average rotation, and very balanced lineup of power and speed threats.
Predictions for the Nationals: Washington locks down the NL East only to lose in the NLCS.
Additions: LHP Aroldis Chapman (from NYY), RHP Joe Smith (from LAA)
Subtractions: RHP Adam Warren, SS Gleyber Torres, OF Billy McKinney, and OF Rashad Crawford (to NYY), RHP Jesus Castillo (to LAA)
Highly regarded as the best team in baseball for all the right reasons, the Chicago Cubs seemingly went from a great team, to a perfectly flawless team with the acquisition of Aroldis Chapman. The dishing out of the top prospects by the Cubs on the surface looks scary, but it really is amazing how productive the Cubs lineup is with all the youth they already have ready at the major league level. Young talent that will be in the lineup for years to come anyway, with an amazing prospect pool not exactly being of that much importance.
The Cubs have all the makings of a high-octane offense that can score at will, and have the starting pitching and new bullpen pieces to lock down any lead they’re given during the game from their starting nine. All of this, backed by the best manager in baseball in Joe Maddon, if the Cubs weren’t already favorites to win the World Series back in April, they most definitely are now.
Prediction for the Cubs: Finally a trip to the World Series as the NL Central winners, and finally a World Series title.
San Francisco Giants
Additions: SS Eduardo Nunez (from MIN), LHP Will Smith (from MIL), LHP Matt Moore (from TB)
Subtractions: LHP Adalberto Mejia (to MIN), RHP Phil Bickford, and C Andrew Susac (to MIL), 3B Matt Duffy, RHP Michael Santos, and SS Lucius Fox (to TB)
The San Francisco Giants made some very smart moves at the deadline. Additions of Eduardo Nunez and Matt Moore provide huge upgrades to their left side of the infield and to their starting rotation. With Brandon Crawford missing some games recently, and Matt Duffy on his way to Tampa, Nunez gives the Giants solid contact and great speed atop of the lineup while taking over as the everyday third basemen, and being able to play shortstop and second base occasionally. Moore is a pitcher with amazing stuff, and can definitely be the beneficiary of AT&T Park. A place that is on the other end of the spectrum when compared to Tropicana Field in terms of hitter and pitcher friendliness
With a small two-game division lead over the Dodgers, the Giants are not exactly playing consistent lately (having gone 4-6 in their last 10 games), it is going to be very interesting to see if the Giants can hold down the division lead over a Dodgers team who made some great trade deadline moves themselves. If the Dodgers can package their new acquisitions together with a return of Clayton Kershaw, there’s no exact telling on which of these crazily balanced hitting and pitching teams will prevail in the NL West.
Prediction for the Giants: Wild Card entry with a loss in the NLDS.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Additions: OF Josh Reddick and LHP Rich Hill (from OAK)
Subtractions: RHP Frankie Montas, RHP Jharel Cotton, and RHP Grant Holmes (to OAK)
One of the most improved teams after this year’s deadline is the Dodgers. They played it very smart. They didn’t need to go all-in with dealing prospects for superstars. With Yasiel Puig being uncooperative, Carl Crawford being DFA’d earlier this season, and Trayce Thompson and Joc Pederson being relatively young, Josh Reddick provides great starting prowess to a young OF core. Although currently on the DL, Rich Hill also comes in as a great mid-rotation guy to a Dodgers squad that only had three healthy starters up until a few days ago.
There is no timetable for Kershaw’s return, but the Dodgers have shown they can be competitive even without him. If Kershaw was to return in early or mid-September, he could turn in some of the most greatly needed and amazing starts down the stretch to ensure the Dodgers a division title. The Dodgers are one of the game’s most balance teams who can definitely capture the division over the Giants.
Prediction for the Dodgers: NL West title with yet another loss in the NLDS.
Additions: RHP Andrew Cashner, and RHP Tayron Guerrero (from SD)
Subtractions: 1B Josh Naylor, RHP Jarred Cosart, RHP Carter Capps (to SD)
The Miami Marlins just couldn’t afford to give up a whole lot at the deadline. The departure of Josh Naylor could be detrimental to their future eventually, and most would agree it was not worth acquiring Andrew Cashner. They realized they couldn’t really go all-in at the deadline with dishing out prospects because they are a lower-tier team unlike the powerhouse Chicago Cubs, or Washington Nationals and would just try to let their success so far come to them even more for the rest of the season.
The Marlins have some nice pieces that have been great for them this year like Marcell Ozuna, JT Realmuto, Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Jose Fernandez and even Martin Prado, but the simple truth of it is that other teams just have better depth, and more experience down the final few months of the season. Even with the Marlins acquiring a nice bullpen piece in Fernando Rodney a few weeks ago.
Prediction for the Marlins: Cardinals and/or Mets work their magic as wild card entries and as the more experience team(s) forcing Miami to miss playoffs.