With the calendar now turned to September, and teams no longer able to add outside talent to their post-season roster, it is worth taking a moment to look back. After a quiet non-revocable trade deadline on July 31, several contenders were left to work the waiver wire over the month of August to shore up their squads. While we did not see a blockbuster like last year's Red Sox-Dodgers stunner, there were several notable deals that could have a big impact on the final month of the season and the tournament that follows.
Which team do you think made the wisest late-summer acquisition(s) for the stretch?
- Rangers acquire Alex Rios — After losing slugger Nelson Cruz to suspension, the Rangers acted to add the up-and-down Rios from the White Sox. While only giving up the team's 20th-rated prospect (per Baseball America, before the season), the Rangers did take on the most substantial salary obligations of any August deal.
- Royals acquire Jamey Carroll and Emilio Bonifacio — Having struggled to find a regular second baseman all year, but facing long odds to make a playoff run, Kansas City made two low-cost middle infield acquisitions in three days by adding veterans Carroll and Bonifacio. Since the move, neither has manned the keystone regularly, but their versatility has allowed them to step in at multiple positions.
- Rays acquire David DeJesus — The acquisition of DeJesus gave Tampa a solid veteran who can man all three outfield positions. His left-handed bat increases the Rays' flexibility. DeJesus has been swinging the stick well since reporting from his very temporary stay with the Nationals.
- Athletics acquire Kurt Suzuki — With the team's catching depth tested by injuries to John Jaso and Derek Norris, the A's brought back the one-time stalwart Suzuki. Still an athletic backstop and solid veteran presence, the 29-year-old was strong for the Nationals down the stretch last year and will look to do the same for Oakland.
- Pirates acquire Marlon Byrd, John Buck, and Justin Morneau — After standing pat in July, the Pirates' front office launched into action, first adding the suddenly excellent Byrd and steady Buck. The Bucs did send youngsters Dilson Herrera and Vic Black to the Mets, which was probably the biggest prospect haul of any of the August deals. Next, the Pirates added Morneau to the club's first baes mix from the Twins for little more than the remainder of his salary
- Orioles acquire Michael Morse — Having already sent out future value to bolster the squad during the non-waiver trade period, the O's doubled down by bringing the slugging Morse back to the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan region. Hoping that Morse's right-center-field power will yield better results at Camden Yards than it did in Seattle, Baltimore was willing to part with its tenth-ranked pre-season prospect, Xavier Avery.
- Indians acquire Jason Kubel — The defensively-challenged Kubel has been one of baseball's worst players this year, but has a much better history at the plate than he's shown in 2013. This deal seems to be a low-cost roll of the dice: the Tribe paid very little for a player who has struggled mightily and does not have an obvious role.
- Cardinals acquire John Axford — St. Louis picked up the pricey former closer for a player to be named later that could be 24-year-old reliever Michael Blazek. Looking to shore up its injury-ravaged pitching staff, the Cards will hope that Axford can restore his strikeout rate to its previously excellent level while holding down the free passes.
- Dodgers acquire Michael Young — Ast the ever-active Dodgers look ahead to a hopeful run at the World Series, the veteran Young represents the last piece of the puzzle. Though he offers a similar bat and less defensive value than current third baseman Juan Uribe, Los Angeles figures to utilize Young in a super-utility role that will allow the team to benefit from his steady hitting and leadership.