For Yankees fans, this trade deadline was largely a snooze fest. The front office waited the entire month of July to determine whether to be buyers or sellers, only to do nothing except trade for a rental reliever whose name — Keynan Middleton — the autocorrect on my phone has had a surprising amount of trouble with (and pick up demoted arm Spencer Howard on essentially a waiver claim).
For the rest of the American League East, however, the deadline was little bit busier. While Sam discussed the implications of the Yankees’ decision to mostly stand pat earlier, let’s take a look at what the division rivals have been up to, starting from right above the cellar-dwelling Yankees.
Oh how the mighty have fallen. The once-great rivalry has devolved into two teams simultaneously competing for the third Wild Card spot and last place in the division. Unlike the Yankees, who mostly opted to stay the course and let the chips fall where they may, the Red Sox decided for the second year in a row to engage in some good ol’ fashioned wheelin’ and dealing. In the days leading up to the deadline, they sent Kiké Hernández to the Dodgers for pitching prospect Nick Robertson and shopped James Paxton before deciding to hold onto him. Then, on the deadline day itself, they acquired young infielder Luis Urías — who is under team control through 2025 — from the Brewers.
Since the deadline passed, Boston also expressed interest in Kolten Wong, whom the Mariners DFA’ed yesterday.
Looking up at the Orioles and Rays in the division and in the thick of a dense Wild Card race, the Toronto Blue Jays were one of the most active teams in the last week of July. On Sunday, they reinforced a bullpen that lost Jordan Romano to the injured list by reeling in Jordan Hicks, the flamethrowing former Cardinal; minor league pitchers Sem Robberse and Adam Kloffenstein — the former of whom was one of Toronto’s Top 10 prospects — were sent to St. Louis in the deal. The next day, after Bo Bichette went down with an injury, the Jays picked up the phone and dialed St. Louis again; this time, they brought in 2019 All-Star Paul DeJong, with minor league reliever Matt Svanson headed the other way.
Outside of St. Louis, Toronto looked to reunite with former outfielder Teoscar Hernández, but were ultimately unable to pull together a deal. He ultimately stayed put in Seattle.
After opening the season as the darlings of baseball, jumping out to a 27-6 record after defeating the Yankees on May 5th, the Rays have crashed down to Earth in a big way; since that day, they have gone just 39-38, including an 8-16 July that was actually even worse than the Yankees’ wretched month. In an attempt to claw back the lead in the division, they were extremely active at the deadline. On Monday, they sent slugging first-base prospect Kyle Manzardo to the Guardians for starting pitcher Aaron Civale; he looks to slot into the Rays rotation for the foreseeable future, as he still has two years of team control remaining. Then, on the deadline itself, they acquired relievers Manny Rodriguez and Adrian Sampson from the Cubs and minor league catcher Alex Jackson from the Brewers.
In order to make room on the active roster, the Rays also shipped out Luis Patiño, one of the prospects acquired in the Blake Snell deal, to the White Sox for cash considerations. They were also evidently shopping Manuel Margot — they were in fact discussing a possible move with the Yankees! — and were in the market for both a bat-first outfielder and a catcher, but to no avail.
For the first time in years, the Baltimore Orioles were definitively buyers at the deadline, and they did ... OK, I suppose. After missing out on Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and Michael Lorenzen, they dealt César Prieto, Drew Rom, and Zack Showalter to the Cardinals for former up-and-comer Jack Flaherty. While injuries and ineffectiveness have plagued him since the end of 2019, he was one of the few pitchers remaining on the market with the potential to be a difference-maker, and well, the Orioles’ starting rotation is in dire need of innings.
Outside of that one move, the O’s were remarkably quiet. They added Shintaro Fujinami from the A’s back on the 19th of July, and he’s been so-so out of the bullpen. Ultimately, it seems that Baltimore is opting to mainly roll with the squad that has gotten them into first place in, well, the first place. Should they have used some of their many, many prospect trade chips to do something bigger? That is a question for Camden Chat, not us.