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MLB trade deadline: AL East recap

Who bought and who sold before the deadline this season?

MLB: New York Yankees at New York Mets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time in years, the Yankees went into the trade deadline looking to make moves to improve their roster in future seasons instead of the current one. Going into deadline day, they were 52-52 on the season, seven games out of first place and five and a half out of the second wild card spot. An anemic offense and inconsistent starting pitchers didn’t let the team take advantage of its dominant late inning bullpen. Recognizing that there wasn’t a quick fix to make the team competitive, the Yankees sold three of its most valuable players in order to restock their farm system. Without the usually competitive Yankees, who in the AL East made moves to improve and who, like the Yankees, looked to sell?

Baltimore Orioles
The first place Orioles, with a record of 59-45 this season, didn’t make any major moves to improve. They acquired an old friend in Steve Pearce from the Tampa Bay Rays, who can play the corner positions, first, second, and third. He’s hitting well this season with 147 wRC+ and can really hit lefties well. Baltimore also got LHP Wade Miley from the Seattle Mariners. Miley, who has a 4.98 ERA in 112 innings, rarely dominates but should deliver some quality starts for Baltimore down the stretch. In return, Seattle got Ariel Miranda, a 27-year-old LHP prospect who has been in Triple-A this season.

Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox went into the deadline at 57-46, occupying the second wild card spot. They are only one and a half games out of first place. The Red Sox currently own the best offense of this season with 574 runs scored, but has had mediocre pitching (4.36 ERA). The lack of quality pitching was the driving force for the Red Sox, who acquired three pitchers before the deadline.

Earlier in July, they sent prospects RHP Jose Almonte and SS Luis Alejandro Basabe to the Arizona Diamondbacks for RHP Brad Ziegler. Ziegler has already pitched in eight-plus innings for the Red Sox only giving up one earned run so far. A few days later, the Red Sox acquired a starter, LHP Drew Pomeranz from the San Diego Padres for prospect RHP Anderson Espinoza. Since the trade, Pomeranz has given up 12 earned runs in just 14.1 innings for the Red Sox. Lastly, the Red Sox acquired another relief pitcher, LHP Fernando Abad, from the Minnesota Twins for prospect RHP Pat Light. Abad has pitched alright this season with a 3.43 ERA in 34 innings.

New York Yankees
The Yankees made some big, uncharacteristic moves before the deadline. First, they decided to sell from the bullpen, their main strength. On July 25th, they sent RHP Aroldis Chapman (1.92 FIP) to the Chicago Cubs for SS Gleyber Torres, RHP Adam Warren, OF Billy McKinley, and OF Rashad Crawford. Warren should give some quality innings, either in relief or as a starter, and the big return is Torres who is a top-25 prospect. Next, they traded another star reliever, sending LHP Andrew Miller (1.77 FIP) to the Cleveland Indians for OF Clint Frazier, LHP Justus Sheffield, RHP J.P. Feyereisen, and RHP Ben Heller. Frazier is the big piece for the Yankees, who might see the major league soon.

The Yankees weren’t done though, just before the deadline, they traded their best offensive player Carlos Beltran (.890 OPS) to the Texas Rangers in exchange for RHP Dillon Tate, RHP Erik Swanson, and RHP Nick Green. Tate was the Ranger’s first round pick just last year, and although he has struggled so far, he has a very high ceiling. The Yankees also acquired RHP Tyler Clippard from the Arizona Diamondbacks for RHP Vicente Campos. The Yankees will rely on Clippard and Warren to pitch some of the innings this season that they lost from Miller and Chapman. The prospect haul for the Yankees is really overwhelming and fans should be excited to see them break through over the coming seasons.

Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays started deadline day 15.5 games out of the wildcard spot and 17 games out of first place. Needless to say, they made moves with future seasons in mind instead of improving the current club. The Rays sent 30-year-old OF Brandon Guyer, who mashes left handed pitching, to the Cleveland Indians for prospects OF Nathan Lukes and RHP Jhonleider Salinas. The Rays also sent LHP Matt Moore to the San Francisco Giants for 3B Matt Duffy and prospects RHP Michael Santos and SS Lucious Fox. Moore is a decent starter who hasn’t been able to match his early-career success in recent seasons. Lastly, the Rays made a rare trade within the AL East, sending OF Steve Pearce to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for 21-year-old C Jonah Heim. Like the Yankees, the Rays are hoping that the prospects they acquired can help them compete next season and beyond.

Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays are in second place in the division, just a half game back from the Orioles, and occupying the first wild card spot on the beginning of deadline day. Looking to make moves to reach the post season for the second year in a row, the Blue Jays have been busy. First they acquired OF Melvin Upton Jr., who has 16 home runs this season, in exchange for RHP Drew Storen. Next, they acquired some average relievers, receiving RHP Scott Feldman from the Houston Astros for prospect RHP Guadalupe Chavez, and receiving RHP Mike Bolsinger from the Los Angeles Dodgers for RHP Jesse Chavez and cash. They also sent RHP Drew Hutchison to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for LHP Francisco Liriano, and prospects OF Harold Ramirez and C Reese McGuire. The Blue Jays are hoping that the addition of Upton will add some more outfield production and that Liriano will bounce back from a poor season and be a quality starter once again.