The dust has settled on the 2014 Trade Deadline and the AL East looks a lot different than it did just a few days ago. So lets survey the work they did and see what the changes mean for both this season and beyond.
Acquired: RP Andrew Miller
Dealt: AA SP Eduardo Rodriguez
Short of pulling off a blockbuster trade for a starting pitcher for one of their prized prospects, it looked like the O's weren't going to do too much. And that's what occurred, as their only notable acquisition was lefty reliever Andrew Miller from the Red Sox in exchange for their consensus #3 rated prospect Eduardo Rodriguez. Miller has been excellent this season, compiling 1.4 fWAR while striking out more than 14 batters per nine innings. Giving up a highly rated prospect for two months of a middle reliever is a difficult proposition, but it's possible the O's just found no other avenues for improving their first place squad.
Toronto Blue Jays
All was quiet on the Canadian border as the Blue Jays made nary a deal to improve their club. Even on the rumor front things seemed awfully silent for the second-place Jays, so I suppose they're confident to ride it out with the horses they've got or are hoping something comes along on the waiver wire.
New York Yankees
Acquired: IF/OF Martin Prado , SS Stephen Drew
Dealt: AA C/DH Peter O'Brien , IF/OF Kelly Johnson
Obviously much has been/will be said about these moves here at PSA. But in the context of the AL East I'd say the Yankees likely have improved the most, particularly if you choose to include their moves prior to the deadline flurry. But the bar was set really low, so take that as you will.
Tampa Bay Rays
Acquired: SP Drew Smyly, 2B/SS Nick Franklin, A SS Willy Adames
Dealt: SP David Price
I was always of the opinion the Rays would deal Price if they got a great offer, even as they zoomed back into the playoff race. That's kind of their mantra: trade established, pricey assets for cheaper pieces. This return though, seems a little light for one of the league's best pitchers under control for this season and next. Smyly is a solid starter (3.77 ERA/4.17 FIP in '14) with some upside and Franklin is a former consensus Top 100 middle infield prospect that's struggled in the majors thus far. Adames is only 18 and intriguing but miles away from the big leagues. I expected a blue-chipper here like the Cubs got from the A's in the Jeff Samardzija deal, but the Rays didn't get one. The Rays do have a history of doing very well in the end with these sorts of deals, so you'll have to take my analysis with a grain of salt. Unfortunately for the Yankees, they did get enough back for the big league squad that they won't drop off enough to not be a threat in the playoff race.
Boston Red Sox
Acquired: SP Joe Kelly, 1B/OF Allen Craig, OF Yoenis Cespedes, IF/OF Kelly Johnson, AA SP Eduardo Rodriguez
Dealt: SP Jon Lester, SP John Lackey, SS Stephen Drew, RP Andrew Miller, LF Jonny Gomes
The Red Sox made it clear they're going to reload for 2015 by acquiring almost nothing but major league talent from their fire sale. Cespedes is obviously the big name they got back and it will be interesting to see the damage he does at Fenway Park. He's a borderline star, but in actuality has yet to top 3.0 fWAR in a season and can leave after the 2015 season. Craig has fallen off a cliff (81 wRC+) and the hope is he'll bounce back after being one of the better hitters in the NL the last few years. He seems to be the heir apparent to David Ortiz since his glove is positively awful. Kelly is an okay young starter (career 4.07 FIP as a starter) and under team control for the next few years. And as noted above, Rodriguez is a good prospect return for a reliever. The Drew/Johnson swap has about zero bearing on the team or its future.
The plan is pretty much contingent on bringing Lester (or someone similar) back into the fold next year, because the Red Sox haven't exactly reloaded themselves with a lot of difference-makers. They're a creative bunch over there, though, so we will see what they surround their new acquisitions with in addition to their corps of prospects that are on their way.
All in all, it's mostly good news for the Yankees. The AL East has three fewer good starters that the Yankees will have to face and the Rays made themselves slightly worse as they chase a playoff spot. The Orioles and Blue Jays not swinging a blockbuster deal is probably what you should be happiest about , though. New York is having enough trouble keeping up with them as it is.
So who do you think fared best at the deadline?