Here’s a recap of some of the biggest moves made by American League teams on what ended up being a very busy day of trade deadline action…
Astros Add Arms: It was no surprise that Houston was looking to acquire starting pitching, but the Astros struck the day’s biggest trade just minutes before the 3pm CT deadline, acquiring Zack Greinke from the Diamondbacks for a four-prospect package. While the Astros gave up some of their best minor leaguers to make the deal happen, the idea of a Greinke/Justin Verlander/Gerrit Cole trio atop the rotation (and, of course, the idea of another World Series trophy) was just too tempting for GM Jeff Luhnow to pass up.
If that wasn’t enough, the Astros also picked up right-handers Aaron Sanchez and Joe Biagini from the Blue Jays, with minor league outfielder Cal Stevenson also coming to Houston while Derek Fisher went to Toronto. Biagini’s addition will bolster the relief corps while Sanchez will add even more depth to what now looks like a truly fearsome rotation, though Sanchez could potentially also be used out of the bullpen down the stretch. Finally, the Astros acquired a familiar face behind the plate to help guide these new pitchers, sending Tony Kemp to the Cubs for catcher Martin Maldonado in what marks the second straight year the Astros have traded for Maldonado at the deadline.
Twins Land Sam Dyson: After adding Sergio Romo earlier in the week, Minnesota continued to augment its bullpen by acquiring Dyson from the Giants for three low-level prospects. While relief pitching was a need, the Twins arguably needed just as much help in the rotation, yet the club couldn’t land a starter despite talks with multiple teams about some very notable names.
Athletics Trade For Tanner: While the A’s are still counting on some of their young arms to return from the injured list and make an impact on the postseason race, Oakland supplemented its rotation with a veteran in Tanner Roark. The Athletics got Roark and $2.1MM in cash considerations for outfielder Jameson Hannah. Despite a pretty solid year in Cincinnati, Roark was something of an odd man out after the Reds picked up Trevor Bauer on Tuesday, and the A’s pounced on the opportunity to add a rental player to their starting mix.
The Rays’ Shuffle Continues: Tampa Bay continued to be one of the deadline season’s most active teams, facing the need to both add reinforcements for the wild card chase and also pare down some names from a forthcoming 40-man roster crunch. To this end, the Rays picked up the right-handed bat they had been seeking in Jesus Aguilar, landing the former All-Star first baseman from the Brewers in exchange for righty Jake Faria. Another deal with the Marlins also saw the Rays bolster their their injury-riddled rotation with a regular starting pitcher (Trevor Richards) and also add a young and controllable reliever (Nick Anderson), though these adds came at a steep cost — top outfield prospect Jesus Sanchez and erstwhile “opener” Ryne Stanek are headed to Miami. In other moves, the Rays sent Adam Kolarek to the Dodgers and, in a swap of minor leaguers, outfielder Joe McCarthy to the Giants.
Rangers And ChiSox Swing A Deal: The White Sox and Rangers combined on an interesting under-the-radar trade that saw Nate Jones and $1MM in international bonus pool funds head to Texas in exchange for two minor league pitchers. The deal may have been more about the int’l signing money in the short term for the Rangers, though Jones could help the club next season if he gets healthy. From Chicago’s perspective, the Pale Hose save some money in getting the oft-injured Jones’ contract off the books.
The Rebuild Continues In Detroit… Matt Boyd, Shane Greene, and Nick Castellanos were the three biggest trade chips on the Tigers’ plate, and while the controllable Boyd is staying put, Greene and Castellanos were shipped out. The Tigers acquired minor league outfielder Travis Demeritte and lefty Joey Wentz from the Braves for Greene, and Castellanos went to the Cubs for two more young arms in Paul Richan and Alex Lange.
…and in Seattle… After weeks of speculation, the Mariners finally dealt Mike Leake, sending the right-hander to the Diamondbacks for prospect Jose Caballero. The M’s will also eat roughly $12.66MM of Leake’s remaining salary (through the 2020 season) in the trade. Roenis Elias and Hunter Strickland also departed the Emerald City, going to the Nationals in a pair of trades that netted the Mariners three minor league pitchers.
…and in Toronto: In addition to the aforementioned Sanchez/Biagini deal with the Astros, the Blue Jays also sent Daniel Hudson to the Nationals for high-A ball right-hander Kyle Johnston. The Jays were such clear deadline sellers that it’s also worth noting who they didn’t trade, as veterans Justin Smoak and Freddy Galvis are still with the team. Ken Giles received some late buzz, though as expected, the closer’s elbow problem all but erased his trade candidacy.
The Quiet Deadlines: The Yankees and Red Sox almost entirely stood pat, so the arch-rivals will head down the stretch with major question marks still remaining on the pitching front. Boston’s acquisition of Andrew Cashner two weeks will mark its only noteworthy new arm of the summer, while the Yankees were linked to virtually every pitcher on the market but came away empty-handed. New York is still one of the league’s best teams simply by dint of its incredible lineup and bullpen, though the Astros’ big pitching additions stand in stark contrast to how the Yankees didn’t address their most prominent weakness.
The Angels were another team with a need in the rotation, though since the Halos are only on the fringes of the playoff race, they opted not to make any big moves and only added backup catcher Max Stassi from the Astros. The rebuilding Royals and Orioles also stayed quiet on Wednesday, while the Indians took it easy after their huge three-team blockbuster on Tuesday.