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Recapping the trade deadline moves from the AL East

It was a busy couple days across pretty much the entirety of the AL East.

Toronto Blue Jays v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The trade deadline season ended up being quite a busy one for the Yankees. In total, they ended up acquiring Andrew Benintendi, Scott Effross, Frankie Montas, Lou Trivino, and Harrison Bader, while shipping out Joey Gallo and Jordan Montgomery, in one unsurprising deal and another very surprising one.

While we have, can, and will continue to debate those various moves, let’s take a look at the picture beyond the Yankees. Let’s dive into what the rest of the AL East did over the last couple days.

The Yankees still have a decently-sized lead in the division, but their closest competition is the Blue Jays, who made a couple notable moves.

Toronto’s headline move is probably the deal that landed them second baseman/outfielder Whit Merrifield from the Royals. Merrifield is having a down season by most metrics, but he is a two-time All-Star. However, the main reason this deal got a larger deal of attention was that Merrifield was one of several Royals who didn’t make the Toronto trip a few weeks ago because of his vaccination status. He almost certainly will have to get vaccinated now, or else this situation is going to become very weird.

Another big deal the Jays made was shoring up their bullpen with the acquisitions of Anthony Bass and Zach Pop from the Marlins. Bass is the headliner in this day, having had a dominant season out of the bullpen for Miami, with a 1.41 ERA and 2.06 FIP in 44.2 innings. Toronto’s bullpen has several pitchers having good seasons, but no one having a truly dominant, lockdown year like Bass, so this could go a long way to making them tougher to beat in close games.

The price the Blue Jays paid for that one is potentially steep, however. In return, Miami got shortstop Jordan Groshans, a former first-round pick and a consensus top-100 prospect as recently as 2021. Groshans hasn’t been great in 2022, following up on an injury-hit ‘21, but he’s definitely a possible interesting player for the future.

The last deadline deal Toronto made was an interesting one with their acquisition of pitcher Mitch White. A former top-100 prospect, White has been good, but not great since making his MLB debut with the Dodgers in 2020. He’s was probably the odd man out in the Dodgers’ deep pitching ranks, but could be a solid starter or swingman in Toronto.

An infamous series against the Blue Jays a couple weeks ago potentially doomed the Red Sox into being sellers, but in the end Boston ended up doing a little bit of both, apparently deciding to try and stick around in the playoff race.

The one notable piece the Red Sox did decide to move, which could have an impact on the Yankees in multiple different ways, is catcher Christian Vázquez, who they sent to the Astros. Vázquez is set to be a free agent at the end of the season, and Boston decided to move him for a couple of minor league bats.

However other than that, all the other potentially moveable big names stayed, and they made some notable additions. Replacing Vázquez behind the plate will be Reese McGuire, who Boston got for reliever Jake Diekman. Beyond that, they also added Tommy Pham, and in a spinoff move from one of the bigger stories of the day, Eric Hosmer. Initially included in the Juan Soto trade, Hosmer used his no-trade clause to turn down a move to the Nationals. Still looking to pawn him off somewhere, the Padres instead sent him to Boston.

Currently in third in the AL East, the Rays made a couple minor moves. They added outfielders David Peralta from the Diamondbacks and Jose Siri from the Astros, as part of a three-team deal that we’ll get to in a second. They also acquired a couple of relievers currently in the minors, most notable Garrett Cleavinger from the Dodgers, and who knows if Tampa Bay can end up turning those guys into something.

Last and in this case least, seemingly massively bumming out their fans, the Orioles, who had been fairly surprising playoff race contenders, decided to sell a couple very notable players. While it’s unlikely that Baltimore would be able to turn their sorta in the Wild Card race status into contending for a World Series this year, the moves they ended up making seem a bit unnecessary.

The first was their sending of Trey Mancini to the Astros as part of the aforementioned three-way deal that had Siri go to the Rays. Mancini had been one of the best stories in baseball and a beloved member of the Orioles’ organization after his diagnosis, recovery, and eventual return after being diagnosed with cancer. Mancini is set to be a free agent after the season, but it seemed a bit needless and overly robotic to get rid of him for two pitching prospects who aren’t exactly top-100 in all of baseball. It hasn’t gone down well in some parts of the Orioles’ fanbase.

The other move they made, which you could also argue against, was sending closer Jorge López to the Twins for four prospects. Unlike Mancini, López isn’t set to become a free agent until the 2024-25 offseason. He theoretically could’ve been part of a contending Orioles’ team in a year or two. However, with López in the midst of a great, All-Star season, they decided to try and sell him. I’m not going to pretend to be an expert of the Twins’ farm system, but it’s unclear how exactly good a package they got. A couple of the players in the deal are a long, long way from the majors.

It was a busy couple days across the whole of the AL East, but the dust is settled now and it’s time to let the action play out on the field.