Assessing contending teams' MLB trade deadline activity
The MLB non-waiver trade deadline brought a flurry of entertainment on Monday, as contending teams made last-minute moves to improve their rosters.
While Monday's deadline was exciting, a number of teams had already made key moves before July 31. Like every year, there were a number of big trades that should have a profound impact on the remainder of the season.
Now that the dust has settled, here's a look at the contending teams' hauls:
Los Angeles Dodgers
The clock was ticking Monday with it looking as though Los Angeles were going to miss out on all their targets. But the Dodgers made moves for relievers Tony Cingrani and Tony Watson before completing the blockbuster everyone was waiting for.
Reports started flowing that Yu Darvish was not going to be traded, but the Dodgers worked out a deal with the Texas Rangers right before the trade deadline. The Dodgers, who already had the best record in baseball, now have one of the most dangerous rotations in baseball -- assuming Clayton Kershaw is able to recover from his back injury.
The Dodgers wanted a left-handed reliever and another starter. Darvish alone would have been a good haul, but Watson's presence will really help their bullpen. This was an all-around good day for Dodgers fans.
Glad I don't have to face yu this year https://t.co/5o6djhoY96-- CodyBellinger (@Cody_Bellinger) July 31, 2017
Late on the eve of deadline day, the Cubs sent top prospect Jeimer Candelario to the Detroit Tigers for catcher Alex Avila and closer Justin Wilson. Earlier this month, the Cubs sent a group of prospects, including Eloy Jimenez, to the Chicago White Sox for starting pitcher Jose Quintana.
While Jimenez and Candelario were big subtractions to the farm system, Chicago received a promising young starter, a backup catcher and another flame-throwing reliever. Wilson and Quintana will be the most impactful additions for the Cubs, but Avila's ability to help pitchers through tough situations should come in handy during the postseason.
Injuries have hurt Washington's lineup, but they have received decent production from Adam Eaton and Trea Turner's replacements. The bullpen, however, was one area the team have been struggling to get consistent production from all season.
Early additions of Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson helped quench the panic in Washington. But the Nationals were not content with the two new relievers from Oakland, so they went out and added Minnesota Twins All-Star closer Brandon Kintzler on Monday at the deadline.
The Nationals also added Howie Kendrick, who has quietly enjoyed a solid season despite injuries. If Turner and Michael A. Taylor return soon, this team could give the Dodgers some trouble in the postseason.
Injuries to Carlos Correa and George Springer have spun this team's needle in the wrong direction, but there was hope from fans that it would add a couple pieces before the trade deadline ended.
Instead, the Astros stayed relatively quiet, only managing to acquire Francisco Liriano from the Toronto Blue Jays. Liriano will likely head to the bullpen. He is a solid addition, but Houston needed another strong arm alongside Dallas Keuchel. They did not get it.
New York Yankees
The inevitable trade sending Sonny Gray to the Bronx finally happened Monday. Gray, while no longer considered an ace, is a great piece in New York's rotation. The Yankees did not have to give up any of their major prospects in the trade, either.
While the Yankees suffered a little slump before the All-Star break, they are back leading the American League (AL) East heading into Monday's action. Gray's arrival, along with southpaw Jaime Garcia will give fans hope that this team is capable of making a World Series run this season.
Colorado Rockies/Arizona Diamondbacks
Living in the Dodgers' shadow in the National League (NL) West, both the Rockies and Diamondbacks made nice moves. Colorado added All-Star reliever Pat Neshek and catcher Jonathan Lucroy.
Lucroy has endured a rough season, but his bat could come alive in Colorado. Neshek gives them a much-needed reliable arm in the bullpen to help setup closer Greg Holland.
Arizona made a huge splash by adding Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez. After getting hit in the hand, Martinez has been launching home runs in the desert. Both teams should make the playoffs, and they are both dangerous to the frontrunners.
The Indians entered Monday with nine wins in their last 10 games. The rotation is starting to come together, and the lineup, led by Jose Ramirez has been hard to stop. Cleveland were quiet, but did add reliever Joe Smith on Monday.
Smith gives the Indians their third strikeout-oriented reliever. Cody Allen and Andrew Miller are two of the best relievers in MLB, so Smith will likely see most of his action in the seventh inning along with right-hander Bryan Shaw. With a rotation starting to find their way, and an elite bullpen, the Indians are in position to make noise in the postseason once again.
Boston Red Sox
Boston were desperate for a third baseman, and they helped their cause by acquiring All-Star Eduardo Nunez. Nunez has already helped the team with a two-home run game. He may have been the piece this team was missing.
The Red Sox also added reliever Addison Reed from the New York Mets. Reed will be the team's setup man in front of Craig Kimbrel, and he could be an important piece during the postseason. Boston did not make huge splashes, but they made a couple of important moves.