2014 Post Trade Deadline Predictions- AL
Deadline day of 2014 will be remembered as one of the most exciting to ever take place. Surprises were occurring about once and hour with minor, but important, deals filling the gaps. Since the introduction of a two team wildcard, it seems every team in arms reach of it are making big deals to bolster their roster in hopes of capturing those precious spots. That’s why after 4:00 ET, new evaluations need to be made, focusing on the biggest sellers and buyers. Plenty of teams attempted to strengthen up, but which ones did enough to push themselves into the playoffs. Without further ado, here are my AL postseason projections.
Winners- Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Twins
When you look at the Tigers’ rotation before the deadline, you see a World Series caliber bunch. However, after the blockbuster deal involving David Price, it isn’t unreasonable to assume they could take over the world. Having Justin Verlander as a number three starter means Detroit will be extremely deep come playoff time. The loss of Austin Jackson will stick for a few weeks, but the reemergence of Rajai Davis insures the Tigers will have speed somewhere in their lineup. Expect a showdown with the Oakland A’s when that time comes.
Since July 2nd, the Twins have had a less than two percent chance of a postseason appearance. It seemed players like Josh Willingham and Kurt Suzuki would wind up somewhere else. After not trading Suzuki, the Twins decided to give him a two-year extension. Not a bad move considering Kurt was an all star this year. There was a small rumor that the Twins would attempt to get Matt Kemp from the Dodgers, but once again, they stuck to their guns. Acquiring Tommy Milone from Oakland was a fantastic move in my opinion. I believe he has tremendous upside that could potentially make him a two or three starter for the Twins someday. It will be a few years before the Twins are relevant again, but hold tight Twins’ fans, that time will come.
Loser- Kansas City Royals
One of the biggest names on the block this year was James Shields. Last month, I predicted he would be traded, but I was wrong, and I think the Royals made a huge mistake. Shields is refusing to sign an extension during the regular season, and unless the Royals make the postseason, it seems unlikely he will resign at all. It was possible that the Royals could have returned some valuable prospects, which were lost in the deal for Shields (remember Jake Odorizzi and Wil Myers?) There were plenty of buyers on the market to unload Shields to. Unfortunately, that was not the case on Thursday.
Winners- New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles
One of the most balanced divisions in baseball, the East was bound to make some noise as the clock ran down. Some teams sold, some bought, and one flat out donated. Either way, this division is far from won.
The Red Sox made headlines left and right early Thursday morning. The first trade, Jon Lester for Yoenis Cespedes, had the baseball world sweating. It wasn’t too long after that John Lackey was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Allen Craig and Joe Kelly, another big transaction. Everyone knew the Red Sox were selling, but it almost looked as though they were buying with the major league ready talent they brought in.This year is over for the Sox, but next year ought to be interesting.
The Orioles and Yankees weren’t big names, but both made respectable moves to fill holes. The Orioles traded for Andrew Miller, a lefty reliever, to bolster the pen. The Yankees made moves for Stephen Drew and Martin Prado to hopefully fix the infield instability. The next two months should be fun to watch, so don’t lose track of the AL East.
Losers- Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Rays
Let’s start off with the obvious. The Rays traded away their playoff hopes in return for above average talent. David Price is easily a top-5 pitcher, and to only receive Drew Smyly and Nick Franklin seems as if they were held at gunpoint. I was excited to see the Rays reemerge from the bottom, but after that deal, it looks as if they will wither right back down where they started.
The Blue Jays made no moves Thursday. As you can probably tell from some of the recent articles here on Baseball Hot Corner, this upset a lot of fans. I totally agree. Making a trade doesn’t just help talent wise, it also helps the morale in the clubhouse. It gives a sense of confidence the players really need down the stretch. That didn’t happen in Toronto. I’m not saying the Jays are out, but don’t be surprised if they’re stuck in third place after the season.
Winners- Los Angeles Angels, Seattle Mariners
The Angels aren’t winners because of what they did Thursday, but for what the A’s did. The Angels have spent most of the year in second place, watching as the A’ s tear through opponents. The true win won’t be seen in 2014. The A’s now have the best rotation in baseball, but Jon Lester is likely a rental player, so they only have to worry about him for two months. That means two months of Lester was worth more than a season and two months of Cespedes, not to mention a chance at an extension. This sounds like a report on the A’s, but it’s what the A’s did that make the Angels look good.
The Mariners are in a tough place. They look in line for a wild card birth, but with the team they had a week ago, they weren’t going to get much further. Kendrys Morales was acquired early last month, but management knew he wasn’t going to change much. Instead of staying still, the Mariners wiggled their way into the Price deal, snagging a good Austin Jackson. Do I think the Mariners are better than LA and Oakland? No, but at least the Mariners are trying.
Losers- Oakland Athletics, Texas Rangers
Oakland went big, not home. Not only did they trade a top prospect for the services of Jeff Samardzija, but they gave up a very good outfielder for another number one starter. I will admit, pitching wins championships, but in the playoffs, do you need five fantastic pitchers? Recent champs have gone on four, sometimes three, man rotations for a series. The absence of Cespedes will be felt in tight game 6s and 7s. This year, I expect the A’s to make it to the WS, but potentially losing Lester at the end hurts their future chances. Oh well, we’ve doubted Billy Beane in the past, why stop now?
The Rangers had a big trade target on Thursday. Alex Rios was coveted by plenty of contenders, but somehow winded up staying in Texas. The Rangers aren’t going anywhere this year, but instead of picking up prospects for tomorrow, they decided to keep Alex. Yes, there is still the waiver period, but will the return still be that of what could have been obtained July 31st? I doubt it. Texas will sign big time players come free agency, but was keeping Rios the way to go?
Angels over Mariners
Tigers over Orioles
A’s over Angels
A’s over Tigers