Did you think that it might be a relatively quiet trade deadline? Lots of sound and fury, still signifying nothing? That went out the window early in the morning with the Jon Lester/Yoenis Cespedes trade, and just kept right on going until the afternoon deadline.
Trading Aces, or the next Arms Race?
I loved what the A's did at the start of the morning, getting Jon Lester to lead an already extremely strong rotation that would be as formidable as any in the playoff hunt. Daniel Kelley looked at the fantasy implications of the move for the players changing teams early on in the day, and the trade completed the message that GM Billy Beane had started with the Samardzija trade: This is the year we go all-in. The shock of Cespedes being traded led to some swearing when the alert came over on my phone, but as the move sank in, it made more and more sense to me, and slowly came to grips with it. The A's had gone out, and had made the likely strongest move available to them to match up against the team that has eliminated them each of the last two years, the Detroit Tigers.
That was just the start of the morning, and there were still aces to be found potentially. Cliff Lee's name was rumored at times as the morning progressed, but the great white whale out there remained the Rays' David Price. Then, the news started trickling in, albeit in tiny details that didn't add up at first. The Rays have traded David Price, and the Mariners are involved. But then the Tigers are involved too, and Austin Jackson is being pulled from the game. The craziness ensued like this for half an hour as all the pieces finally came together.
Not to be outdone, the Tigers somehow added another Cy Young winner in Price, while giving up a potentially very interesting Low-A prospect, a potentially very interesting (but not of the same caliber) young, starting pitcher, and a center fielder who had become potentially expendable with the emergence of J.D. Martinez. And followed this up with some elite level trolling, per Billy Beane:
Re: Price to Tigers, Beane "had a feeling it was going to happen." Dombrowski jokingly texted, "You have 1 minute to acquire Chris Sale"— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) August 1, 2014
The race for the American League crown has turned into a full out arms race, and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top of it.
Red Sox trade away all their trade chips, add key pieces for 2015 instead of rebuilding.
The Red Sox weren't done, sending John Lackey out and getting back two players under team control for the next three years in Allen Craig and Joe Kelly. They sent out Andrew Miller and Stephen Drew in separate deals with the Orioles and Yankees, respectively. All in all, they sent out nearly all of the players rumored to be traded with the possible exception of Koji Uehara, got back players that will help next year or allow them to acquire those pieces, and will look to compete again in 2015. We're going to see a number of prospects that are the beneficiaries of all these moves, with Oscar Taveras (now likely an everyday player in right field) leading the way.
You can find the rest of the trade analysis that Daniel Kelley wrote up yesterday as follows:
Despite all the trade activity, there were still games on Thursday, so let's round up a couple of the notes from those as well:
Jake Arrieta had another great outing against the Rockies, throwing seven innings of one run ball with seven strikeouts. I want to see him continue the performance through the rest of the season, but Arrieta looks like a top 30 starting pitcher going into the 2015 season.
Cliff Lee and Tyler Skaggs both left their starts early last night, both with apparent injuries. Skaggs had already struck out seven in 4 2/3 innings pitched, but the bigger question surrounds Lee, who was placed on the disabled list after the game and hopefully there will be better news than is expected.
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