Next up on our July trade recap series is the always-interesting AL East …
- Did not make a trade.
- Acquired right-handed starter Scott Feldman and catcher Steve Clevenger from the Cubs in exchange for righty Jake Arrieta, reliever Pedro Strop, and an international bonus pool slot.
- Acquired minor league infielder Alex Liddi and an international bonus pool slot from the Mariners in exchange for a more valuable international bonus pool slot.
- Acquired right-handed reliever Francisco Rodriguez from the Brewers in exchange for minor league infielder Nick Delmonico.
- Acquired right-handed starter Bud Norris and an international bonus pool slot from the Astros in exchange for minor league outfielder L.J. Hoes, minor league left-hander Josh Hader, and a 2014 Competitive Balance pick (Round A).
- Acquired right-handed reliever Jesse Crain from the White Sox in exchange for compensation to be negotiated.
- Acquired left-handed reliever Matt Thornton from the White Sox in exchange for minor league outfielder Brandon Jacobs.
- Acquired right-handed starter Jake Peavy from the White Sox and right-handed reliever Brayan Villarreal from the Tigers in a three-team trade, sending shortstop Jose Iglesias to the Tigers and three minor-leaguers (J.B. Wendelken, Francellis Montas and Cleuluis Rondon) to the White Sox. (Outfielder Avisail Garcia also went to the White Sox from the Tigers in the deal.)
After a quiet deadline period last year as the team emerged as one of baseball's biggest surprises, and a relatively non-impactful offseason, the Orioles upped the ante this time around. The O's were the division's most active team overall during the course of July, adding two highly-sought-after starters and a major bullpen piece. After slotting Feldman into its rotation earlier in the month, Baltimore added a rotation piece with present and future value in Norris on deadline day, with many observers surprised at the relatively light price he commanded.
Right on the heels of the Orioles in terms of action were the Red Sox. With reported interest across a wide swath of the market, the Sox ultimately made their biggest splash with a creative, three-time deal that landed them a veteran starter. Opting to forego a blockbuster deal for ace Cliff Lee, Boston decided to pay a more modest price for the excellent, if injury-prone Peavy. As has been noted, the deal also allows the club to shore up its injury-plagued bullpen (which it also did by acquiring Thornton) while bolstering its overall rotation depth.
For the division-leading Rays and fourth-place Yankees, meanwhile, the moves took place in the days prior to the deadline. Tampa picked up the injured Crain in a deal that has not yet been completed. Should he return to form, the Rays may have added one of 2013's most successful relievers at a discount. (Of course, it remains to be seen what price the club paid.) New York, meanwhile, brought former star Soriano back into the fold to add some much-needed power. The Yankees will only pay $6.8MM of the hefty remainder of Soriano's salary over this year and next, and gave up a relatively marginal return. Nevertheless, some observers felt that the move (which took place over the advice of GM Brian Cashman) was insufficient to boost the team this year and constituted an unnecessary outlay of assets. Despite reportedly dangling righty Phil Hughes and pursuing Phillies infielder Michael Young, nothing materialized on those fronts, though Young could still be an August trade target for the Yankes (or the Red Sox and Orioles, for that matter).
Finally, the disappointing Blue Jays ultimately decided to hold entirely. There were some rumblings that the team might look to pick up some pieces with future value (such as Howie Kendrick), and may have considered dealing veterans like Darren Oliver, Emilio Bonifacio, and Melky Cabrera. Ultimately, the club's most important decision was to hold onto its biggest potential trade chips, underpaid sluggers Jose Batista and Edwin Encarnacion. While neither seemed particularly likely to be dealt, they would easily have been the best available bats and could have brought back a huge return. By standing pat, the Jays seem prepared to keep their core intact to make another run in 2014.