July Trade Recap: AL East

We’ll take a look at every division in baseball, but it’s hard not to start here. The division is always fun to watch, and it was full of intrigue in 2014. Here’s what took place over the last month or so, culminating in a whirlwind today:

Blue Jays

Orioles

Rays

Red Sox

Yankees

Synopsis

The Yankees were somewhat quiet buyers, the Red Sox were incredibly loud sellers, and there were multiple inter-division deals. It was decidedly not business as usual in the AL East, but plenty of business was done … except, that is, in Toronto.

Despite long being rumored to be looking for additions to the rotation, bullpen, and/or infield, the Blue Jays (as they did in free agency) largely stayed quiet. Several players actually expressed frustration with the inactivity, but GM Alex Anthopoulos said that clubs were asking for big league players in return and that nothing ended up making baseball sense. He indicated that the August market could hold some possibilities, but at this point, it seems likely that the Jays will sink or swim with their current alignment.

The Orioles, likewise, were known to have a rather similar list of possible needs, and were expected mostly to pursue new arms. Baltimore ultimately did just that, steering clear of a starting pitching market filled with big swaps but ultimately landing the most sought-after reliever who remained available. It cost the club one of its better prospects — Rodriguez, probably the best pre-MLB player to change hands today — but will give the team a high-leverage weapon as it tries to hold onto precious wins. But as with Toronto, if the team comes up just short in a year in which the division seems so tantalizingly open, it will be fair to ask whether one more piece would have made the difference.

The Yankees took something of a different approach, adding a bevy of potentially useful veterans who struggled in the season’s first half and were playing on fairly sizable contracts. Among them, only the most recent addition — Prado — comes with team control beyond the present season. Buried by by other,  larger deals, the Prado swap not only completes an infield makeover for this year but also gives the team plenty of flexibility moving forward.

Reaching the bottom of the division, one finds some fairly atypical selling clubs. The Rays, of course, have been roaring back on the field, even if the playoff picture largely remains the same. Perhaps the failure to climb the ladder drove the club’s decision to move this year’s biggest trade chip in Price. While the return does not feature the kinds of prospects that one might have expected, it delivered plenty of long-term value back to Tampa. And it left the club, notably, with plenty of talent still in the fold for 2014. A nice run from Smyly, and perhaps even a late-season boost from Franklin, could play a role in continuing the Rays’ rise in the standings. None of the teams ahead of them appears poised to run away with things, but it will be interesting to see how the clubhouse responds to the trade.

In a series of moves that were every bit as bold as Tampa’s big stroke, the Red Sox parted with the club’s two best pitchers, two other members of the World Series-defending, Opening Day rotation, a dominant set-up man, and a just-signed veteran shortstop (and what a journey it’s been for Drew). But this was no traditional roster blow-up; instead, Boston returned mostly big league pieces that changed the team’s makeup dramatically but gave notice that it intends to contend next year. Adding power bats to the corner outfield and young arms to the current and near-future rotation — the team now has an impressive array of young arms and other prospects — the Red Sox look primed to add yet more more pieces in free agency and aim for another title run. GM Ben Cherington said that the team will be a player for veteran pitching in free agency, and reports even indicated that the team could have its sights set on a reunion with Lester. It remains to be seen whether Boston would have been better served by pushing its clock further back and perhaps bringing in more upside, but if Cespedes and Craig can return to their 2012 levels of production, Boston will be right back in the thick of things in 2015.


47 Responses to July Trade Recap: AL East Leave a Reply

  1. seththarmon 1 year ago

    How do both yanks and sox give up $$ in the drew deal? And how much $$ changed hands?

    • Ace2095 1 year ago

      Yankees paid 5m and I think the Sox might of kicked in 1m or so.

    • Jeff_Todd_MLBTR 1 year ago

      Typo. Sox are kicking in a little bit of cash to cover a portion of Drew’s salary.

      • Uriel Alessandro 12 months ago

        All over the place! I’m sure y’all are looking forward to a nice quiet August/September

  2. Bill Talley 1 year ago

    Uhh, Valencia went from Royals to Blue Jays. Twins not involved… no?

  3. Gumby65 1 year ago

    Prado… Who AZ insisted on or JUpton trade doesn’t happen. Interesting to see how O’Brian’s power translates past AA, but there’s a pretty good 2 yr history already.

  4. CJ 1 year ago

    disgraceful by Toronto/Pittsburgh/Orioles not “going for it” as their franchises only get these opportunities rarely

    • snowbladerp14 1 year ago

      Dylan Bunday, Gausman, and Havery are all too good to trade i dont think you will find many Oriole fans upset with them not trading away any of those three. Plus their rotation has been real solid for the last month or so.

      • CJ 12 months ago

        They are prospects and even if they turn into MLB stars, which they won’t, no excuse for not getting Lester to attempt to win the WS. How often are they going to get this opportunity? Sox /Yanks and Rays are down this year. Your happy just to make playoffs? See you in 10 more years before you get another chance. Would trade all 3 of those guys for a WS.

        • Jim Johnson 12 months ago

          The Orioles have one of the youngest teams in baseball. They have been above .500 3 years in a row now. Why is this year the year they need to sell the farm?

          • wallywhack 12 months ago

            Exactly. The Orioles continue to get no respect, despite being a consistently good ball club. And as much as I would have loved to have seen David Price in a Jays jersey, giving up Sanchez/Stroman, and one of our big bats didn’t make a lot of sense. How cash strapped would the team be by taking on that much more salary? We certainly wouldn’t be able to retain the core of the team for longer than a brief run. The Jays have hung in there without EE, Lind and Lawrie. Once those guys get back I think we’re in for a great finish to the season. And we still have the August deadline available if the right opportunity is there. This team was built to contend last year and we’re seeing that this season. Relax and enjoy what is already a very good team.

          • CJ 12 months ago

            They have to go for it when the Sox/Yanks and Rays are down. It wont last long. When you get a chance, you have to go for it. Look at Detroit and Oakland. Sox and Yanks will retool and it will be 10 yrs before they win the division again. You gotta have an ACE like Lester to win it all. Orioles have a good team but its fools gold.

        • Lamar Smith 12 months ago

          A) How do you know this? B)As a GM you would be fired if you traded all 3.I am a die hard Red Sox fan,, but I love what the O’s did in the offseasonand what they have?put together in the minors. Best move of the season for thr O’s? Dumping Jim Johnson on the A’s and signing Nelson Cruz. Like you said they may only make the playoffs this year. But the O’s are young and up and coming team.

          • CJ 12 months ago

            No they aren’t a “young and upcoming’ team. They are a small market team and they have to go for it when the chance presents. They play in a division with beasts. If Oriole fans are happy with making the playoffs every once in a while, then ok, but they aren’t going to beat Detroit and Oakland this year without an ace. Oakland went for it but the Orioles held onto their prospects. Gutless.

          • Jim Johnson 12 months ago

            They are one of the youngest teams in baseball. And I don’t understand what Oakland and Detroit has to do with the Red Sox and Yankees? You seem to be spinning this narrative where “Wow, boston and the yankees aren’t great. the orioles should be going for the AL East. But since you won’t be making it back to the playoffs again, you might as well make moves that will allow you to beat oakland and detroit.”
            I guess I don’t see how Lester puts the Orioles at some advantage. In the end, even with Lester, Baltimore goes into the playoffs with the worst rotation in the AL. Except now they really don’t have a future because they have traded it away to have a worse rotation than anyone else.
            Oakland went for it because they have the best team in baseball, so they wanted to shore up their chances. You are advocating the Orioles go all in to give themselves, at best, a puncher’s chance, because the Yankees and Red Sox are close to becoming world beaters again (which really doesn’t appear to be true).

          • CJ 12 months ago

            I should first say I really like the O’s although I’m a Sox fan. You made my argument why the O’s should go for it. They didn’t have to trade all 3, just one. If you don’t think the Yanks and Sox are retooling and will be back soon, you haven’t been watching the last 20 years. The opportunity to get Lester or Price doesn’t come around often.

          • Jim Johnson 12 months ago

            Retool. Great. That hasn’t stopped the Rays from making the playoffs year and year. Right now a lot of AL East teams are at a crossroads. I’m not sure the Orioles should be trading away their best shot at being a perennial contender, because the Yankees might take on another bad contract in the off-season.

          • CJ 12 months ago

            I think that’s where we disagree, the small market O’s will not be a perennial contenders and the small market Rays/A’s have been outclassed in the playoffs. Yanks made playoffs 17 of 18 yrs. Sox are a powerhouse. No small market team has won since 2001. Guess O’s fans are satisfied with making the playoffs every 10 years. Jim…..you only had to trade ONE of them, not the whole farm.

          • Jim Johnson 12 months ago

            They have been defeated by better teams in the playoffs. I still don’t understand your point as it concerns their chances of getting to the playoffs? The Rays not being the best team in baseball, has nothing to do with whether the Rays are capable of making the playoffs. Same thing with the A’s.
            And the Orioles made the playoffs in 2012, just missed it last year, and appear to be well on their way to making it this year. So once again, I don’t understand what your point is about them making them playoffs once every 10 years?

          • CJ 12 months ago

            I guess it comes down to whether you want to win the WS or “make the playoffs”. O’s made playoffs once since 1997. Its 2014. You might make it this year but the chances of beating A’s or tigers not good. Gotta go for it Jim!

          • Jim Johnson 12 months ago

            You can’t guarantee Lester gives them a WS. The WS is, in many ways, a crap shoot. No team has great betting odds come playoff time. Really, the way you really increase your chances of winning the WS? Continually making the playoffs.
            Lester doesn’t really move the needle for the Orioles. Lester can only pitch one game. In the end, you’re still stuck with an average rotation, very good defense, and an offense that requires the home run to do anything. The Orioles would still be significant underdogs with Lester. The only difference is now one of the pieces they are banking on to hopefully give them the rotation they need in the near future, and allow them to be a perennial playoff contender, is now gone.
            Add in the EdRod trade, and all of a sudden the Orioles have given up a lot of their future to just have a fighting chance against Detroit and Oakland in the playoffs. That’s not really how you build an organization. Unless of course one takes the view towards baseball that you seem to be doing, which is it belongs to NY and Boston, and any year it doesn’t is a gift.

          • For what it’s worth, I just did some quick math on the total number of wins for each team in the AL East since 2012. Here’s how it broke down:

            BAL: 239
            NYY: 235
            TB: 235
            BOS: 215
            TOR: 207

            So — objectively — the Orioles have been the most consistently good team in the division since 2012.

            They got that way by building a strong farm system, making a few strategic, low-risk trades, and signing folks in the offseason. It’s working: they’re in playoff contention for the third year in a row, and are leading the division.

            I fail to see why they should sell the farm. The franchise isn’t broken. It’s a whole new era in the AL East. Adjust your mindset.

      • Lamar Smith 12 months ago

        Totally agree with you about the O’s. I don’t think Tornto needed to make a big move as they have plenty of guys coming back from the dl. Now I do agree Pittsburgh seriously blow a golden opportunity, they have the best farm system in baseball and should have gottena premium starter.

  5. Ace2095 1 year ago

    The best trade of the day was dumping Drew on the Yanks :)

    • start_wearing_purple
      start_wearing_purple 1 year ago

      I wouldn’t call it the best of the day. I think the best of the day goes to the Tigers. But Drew to the yanks has to be the Vegas odds most unlikely for this year and years to come.

      • Ace2095 1 year ago

        Oh I meant for the Red Sox, But am I crazy to think that the Mariners got a greater bang for their buck then the Tigers got?

        • start_wearing_purple
          start_wearing_purple 1 year ago

          I’d argue that goes into the “time will tell” analysis file and will have be revisited after 2015. So definitely not crazy,

          But I feel the Tigers got more presently in return for what they lost and ultimately entered into an arms race against the A’s. I still am hoping for an A’s/Tigers ALCS. A Price/Scherzer/Verlander rotation has the smell of a legendary knockout blow.

          • Ace2095 1 year ago

            I’d have to bet against that rotation and go with Lester/Shark/Gray that rotation just screams best in the league and Verlander is having an off season. But I do not expect that to continue, once they get down to the home stretch I think he will return to form, but the best part for the A’s though is that they have four starters with an era under 3 who can all go the distance and win them games when it matters. Plus overall Oakland has the better offense and the better bench.

          • start_wearing_purple
            start_wearing_purple 1 year ago

            Actually I agree. Just on paper Price/Scherzer/Verlander sounds better.

            But here’s the thing, I think even with small sample size for Price, I’d rather have Lester in the playoffs than Price. Lester has proven himself as a playoff hero, the guy you can give the ball to in final game of the season scenario and be confident in a win. Price, less so. If ever there was a year to bet on the A’s, it’s this one. Lester is the kind of playoff proven leader the rest of the rotation can take advice from.

          • Ace2095 1 year ago

            If the A’s make it to the World Series, they got it in the bag…I think Lester has like a career ERA of around 1 in the World Series. Also put this into perspective, while Lester has dominated October in his career, Price has stumbled to a 1-4 record, and that is why I value Lester more due to the fact he is a more clutch player.

          • MB923 12 months ago

            Wouldn’t say they got it in the bag. LA can beat any team in the league.

          • Ace2095 12 months ago

            I think Oakland could beat LA in the World Series due to the fact that the rotation of LA has not been really thrived in situations when the stakes are high. If I remember correctly in the NLCS last year Kershaw didn’t do all that well. Oakland has somebody who has been on that stage twice before and thrived both times in Jon Lester and he can help the guys who have never been there to get the mentality that they need to get when making a run deep into the playoffs. But if it is Oakland vs LA it should be a pretty interesting World Series.

          • MB923 12 months ago

            Any WS is an interesting World Series to me. Know what would be something? If both the A’s and Tigers lose in the first round (Hey it’s definitely possible). Sometimes the best teams on paper don’t even make it to the postseason to begin with.

          • Ace2095 12 months ago

            A good example of that would be the 2011 Red Sox and 2012 Blue Jays, they were definitely hyped up and then failed expectations. Personally I would like to see the Angels against the Nationals or Dodgers just to see if the media would try to hype up Trout vs Harper or Trout vs Puig 😛

          • Lamar Smith 12 months ago

            I disagree, Oakland has the better rotation, better offense and better bench than the Dodgers. The Dodgers offense hasn’t been dominating games like Oakland has, the Dodgers outfiled situation is a mess and that could cause problems in the post season. And as the saying goes Pitching wins championships. I would take Lester, Gray, Kazmir and Samazja (sp) over Kershaw, Grienke, Ryu and Beckett. And Lester has the experience and can mentor the rest of the rotation. Remember the Dodgers offense was shut down by Stl in the playoffs last year.

  6. dc21892 12 months ago

    I can’t believe Tampa got rid of Price for nothing basically. Makes me feel good about the value Boston received.

  7. Mike1L 12 months ago

    I think Boston is the clear winner on a macro scale. They traded players they didn’t have long term control over (some of whom they may resign) and got very good value for them. I like the Drew/Johnson swap for both sides. The Red Sox cleared the way for younger players, they cleared some salary, and the Yankees actually have a use for Drew. Drew isn’t as bad as he played, and he isn’t as good as Boras made him out to be. If he has a modest recovery the rest of the year, he will be oceans better than Roberts, and maybe even gets a 2 year offer as well. I like the Prado deal for the Yankees–gives them a lot more flexibility for this year and next.

  8. Mike1L 12 months ago

    Tampa is one of the really terrific organizations. The yield on the Price trade is lower than expected, and I wonder if that’s because he went last and the biggest suitors had already picked someone to dance with. Their biggest handicap is that Price’s last year of control would probably have been way too high for the team to afford. I’m curious to see what Lackey does. I didn’t expect him not to honor the contract, and I expect that St. Louis will try to lock him up.

  9. Steve Corbett 12 months ago

    I’m strangely interested in the fact that Boston will face Chris Capuano tonight and John Lackey next week.

  10. Ace2095 1 year ago

    I think Boston got a good amount of upside for their pitchers, they traded pitching for offense and it looks like they are all in for next year, it seems like they had a plan in mind. But I do agree about the Ray’s

  11. redsox4434 1 year ago

    I can understand how you could consider Tampa failed…could’ve gotten a much bigger haul for Price.

    But the Red Sox sold high on a rental player who they’ll probably make a run to reacquaire in the offseason, sold high on an aging Lackey and sold high on Miller.

  12. start_wearing_purple
    start_wearing_purple 1 year ago

    I disagree on Boston. They blew up the team but in the end they:
    -Traded 2 months of Lester who they thought they couldn’t re-sign for a year of a power hitting outfielder with a solid arm in Cespedes (Something their farm lacked). Add to that deal they got a draft pick for Gomes who no longer had a place on the team.
    -Got 2 upside major league ready players for Lackey. One a potential solid back end starter and the other a possible solid hitter just having a down year.
    -Got a decent prospect for Miller, a lefty reliever.
    -And were able to reshuffle the infield by trading Drew.

    Boston managed to still manage to be a possible contender in 2015. I consider that a complete success.

  13. snowbladerp14 1 year ago

    i think you failed to remember them trading for Eduardo Rodriguez who i am very disappointed the Os traded away and might actually end up being the biggest piece the red sox got today

  14. Ace2095 1 year ago

    I remember it, he’s just having a down year and everybody seems to be down on him at this point but I feel he can bounce back and be a solid piece of the red sox in the coming years.

  15. Jim Johnson 12 months ago

    The Miller trade was the only one I liked from Boston.

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