The Major League Baseball trade deadline has come and gone and in some years, what is left in the wake is nothing more than a few small waves and debris. This particular trade deadline has left a tidal wave and the debris left behind is the rest of the baseball as far as a few of the teams involved are concerned.
The first trigger pulled yesterday was by Oakland who started an arms’ race by acquiring Jon Lester from Boston. Already with a very good starting rotation, the A’s got even better with Lester. Also included in the deal was Jonny Gomes who goes with Lester to Oakland and on his way to Boston is Yeonis Cespedes.
It’s expected that Gomes will platoon with Sam Fuld in an effort to replace Cespedes’ offensive production which was good, but not great. The A’s offense might take a slight step back, but they’ve been consistently good all year so it shouldn’t hurt too badly. The knock on Cespedes was his on-base percentage which was lacking significantly and that area will be improved by Gomes.
Lester is 10-7 with a very good ERA of 2.52 and a WHIP of 1.12. He also brings leadership to a young team and championship experience as well so this is a huge win for the Athletics and a nice pick-up for the Red Sox as well.
Once the A’s made their move, the Detroit Tigers countered by swinging a three-team deal to land Tamp Bay Rays’ ace David Price. It has to be a hard, somewhat sickening day for the few, real Rays’ fans out there who felt like the team was going to keep Price in light of their recent winning streak. It wasn’t to be and Price now becomes the third Cy Young Award winner in the Tigers’ rotation joining Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer.
The Rays receive left-hander Drew Smyly and minor-league shortstop Willy Adames who was considered one of the Tigers’ top three prospects. Smyly was 6-9 with an ERA of 3.93 and a WHIP of 1.35. He’s been basically all or nothing this year for the Tigers. He seems to pitch really well or is the complete opposite.
Also involved in the trade were the Seattle Mariners who get Tigers’ centerfielder Austin Jackson who was pulled in the middle of the game with Chicago yesterday as the trade was unwrapping. Seattle then sent shortstop Nick Franklin to Tampa Bay and quite frankly his stats aren’t even worth mentioning here.
Jackson was a fan-favorite in Detroit who had been the centerfielder throughout Detroit’s recent run of division titles and playoff appearances. He is currently hitting .273. Jackson has always been a defensive stalwart for Detroit covering tons of ground in Comerica Park and it appears the Tigers will platoon that position.
Rajai Davis who is already on the roster will share some time in center with Triple A call-up Ezequiel Carrera. Davis has played over 400 games at center and Carerra is a speed guy who has over 40 stolen bases at Toledo this season.
Most will want to pencil in Detroit and Oakland into the AL Championship Series right now and I understand that, but the Tigers still have a significant bullpen and closer problem that I still think will be addressed in August.
For Oakland, everything seems to be in place. If the offense maintains it’s consistency they should be able to hold of the Angels in the West.
Let’s remember this day when we get to October. That way we can decide whether these trades were were ultimately worth it.