By Michael Rushton, MLB Contributor, The Sports Network
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) – Twelve trades were completed on Thursday ahead of the non-waiver deadline and the majority didn’t just involve spare parts getting moved around to plug holes.
Former American League Cy Young winner David Price found a new home, as did one-time Rookie of the Year candidate Austin Jackson and previous All-Stars Jon Lester, Martin Prado, Yoenis Cespedes and Asdrubal Cabrera.
When all was said and done, the American League saw most of the shakeup, while a number of contending NL clubs opted against making a splashy move.
Then there are the Philadelphia Phillies, a sub-.500 club that had a number of players scattered amongst trade rumors, yet did not make a single deal prior to the deadline.
So with 12 trades being the number, here are 12 teams that can be classified under the winners, losers and TBD columns.
DETROIT TIGERS: When you acquire a former Cy Young winner, you find yourself at the top of most lists in regards to who won the trade deadline. But not only did the Tigers get David Price for the low, ahem, price of Austin Jackson, Drew Smyly and prospect Willy Adames, he isn’t a rental either.
Now, giving up a starting center fielder in Jackson, valuable bullpen piece in Smyly and a rising prospect in Adames isn’t K-Mart level prices, but don’t forget that Price isn’t eligible to be a free agent until after the 2015 season.
And in case you are keeping score, the Tigers now have the last three AL Cy Young winners in their rotation, with Price joining reigning winner Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. And of course, Verlander has an MVP trophy on his shelf along with reigning two-time winner Miguel Cabrera.
OAKLAND ATHLETICS: Like the Tigers, the Athletics have gone all-in for a shot at October glory. Thursday saw general manager Billy Beane finish the overhaul of his starting rotation, a quest he began in early July with the acquisition of Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel from the Chicago Cubs.
The first-place A’s added left-hander Jon Lester and his 2.52 earned run average this season into the fold, boosting a rotation that already leads the AL with a 3.32 ERA. Lester will slot in with Samardzija, Scott Kazmir and Sonny Gray, with either Hammel or Jesse Chavez getting the bump.
Yes, the same Hammel who had a 2.98 ERA in 17 starts with the Cubs before getting off to a slow start in Oakland, or Chavez and his 3.44 ERA will be moved out of the rotation.
Lester is a three-time All-Star and pending free agent, and the cost to acquire his services, along with outfielder Jonny Gomes, was slugger Cespedes. But given his .256 batting average and Oakland’s ability to keep teams off the scoreboard, Cespedes’ power was probably more of a luxury than a need at this point for Oakland.
BOSTON RED SOX: While the first two teams on this list came out on top because of additions, the Red Sox did an excellent job turning towards 2015.
Lester will be missed, but there is still an, albeit unlikely, chance the Red Sox re-sign the hurler this winter, while Cespedes is signed through 2015 along with outfielder Shane Victorino. Those two will be complimented by right fielder Allen Craig, who was acquired from St. Louis on Thursday and is signed through 2017 with a club option, and prospect Jackie Bradley Jr.
Boston will be major winners down the road if they are able to re-sign Lester while keeping Cespedes, but their haul for John Lackey from the Cardinals can’t be dismissed either. Though Craig has struggled this year, he was a postseason performer for the Cardinals, while the 26-year-old Joe Kelly adds more youth and upside to the rotation.
Not wanting to be left folding a hand with an ace, general manager Ben Cherington also sent coveted reliever Andrew Miller to the Baltimore Orioles for prospect Eduardo Rodriguez.
Miller has certainly proved his value as a reliever and would be a major contributor to a playoff club, something the Red Sox are not this year. So, Cherington cashed in for Rodriguez, another rising prospect with three solid pitches.
ST LOUIS CARDINALS: On the other side of the coin, props to the Cardinals for bolstering their rotation with Lackey, who has proved there is nothing to be concerned about from his lost 2012 season due to Tommy John surgery.
While Lackey didn’t come cheap, he will be a huge financial plus next season as the club option put into his five-year contract with Boston sees him pitching for the league minimum of $500,000 due to his missed season because of injury.
The Cardinals made the move to get Lackey a day after adding starter Justin Masterson and there is still the pending return of young hurler Michael Wacha from injury. Suddenly, another NL Central crown seems more like a given than a possibility.
SEATTLE MARINERS: In the hunt for a wild card spot, the Seattle Mariners had the pieces to make a bold move, but instead worked their way into the David Price deal.
When the dust cleared, the Mariners had a new right-handed leadoff hitter in Austin Jackson, who reunites with his former hitting coach in Detroit, current Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon.
McClendon has seen what Jackson can do and the talented outfielder seems to be back on the upswing. And the only cost was infielder Nick Franklin, whose struggles after the offseason addition of Robinson Cano left him really without a spot anyway.
TAMPA BAY RAYS: Is there a chance that the Rays thought they were getting Austin Jackson in the Price deal too, only to be fooled by the addition of the Mariners to the trade?
Given that Lester netted the Boston Red Sox an All-Star in return, it is surprising that the Rays couldn’t get more for Price given the Tigers control him for next season too.
Tampa Bay will claim that the return for Price will help down the line, but does getting a back end of the rotation guy in Smyly, a career-hitting .214 Nick Franklin and an 18-year-old prospect get Rays fans excited?
LOS ANGELES ANGELS/MILWAUKEE BREWERS: Both the L.A. Angels and Milwaukee Brewers are in the thick of division crown battles and both saw the team they are battling make major moves.
But both the Angels and Brewers largely stood pat.
Los Angeles is two games back of Oakland for first place in the AL West and was perhaps handcuffed by an expensive roster. Plus, the Angels had already added some bullpen pieces, including closer Huston Street, long before the deadline and you can never count out a team that has Mike Trout.
The Brewers, meanwhile, are two games ahead of the Cardinals and their long move saw them acquire former Gold Glove winner Gerardo Parra, but he is hitting just .259 with six homers so he isn’t exactly a scary counter to St. Louis’ pitching moves.
Given the tight races they were involved in, it’s got to be disappointing that the Angels and Brewers didn’t make bigger waves.
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES: They’ll always have 2008 and after not making a move at the deadline, the legacy of that team remains intact for all to see.
In all honesty, few expected the Phillies to move second baseman Chase Utley and shortstop Jimmy Rollins, a pair of local legends who were key to the ’08 World Series title. Not to mention the struggling Ryan Howard, armed with a massive contract, probably couldn’t be given away on Craigslist at this point.
But the fact that general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. failed to move the likes of Cliff Lee, Jonathan Papelbon, A.J. Burnett, Antonio Bastardo and Marlon Byrd is almost criminal.
Amaro continues to lose support amongst the Phillies faithful and should probably avoid walking down the streets of Philadelphia at the moment.
Of course, given his reputation at the moment, maybe he thought the deadline was Friday.
TIME WILL TELL
NEW YORK YANKEES: There is certainly debate on the status of the New York Yankees, who are just five games back of first place in the AL East despite an injury-ravaged rotation and aging core. Yet, the Yankees bought a key piece before the deadline in Chase Headley and on Thursday took a chance on the struggling Stephen Drew.
Drew is expected to play second base, where he has never played before in the majors, but the grab of super utilityman Martin Prado from Arizona gives Joe Girardi flexibility in his lineup.
But will it mean anything, or did the Yankees miss a chance to add for the future?
PITTSBURGH PIRATES: The Pirates also are in the thick of the NL Central race, but didn’t make a move prior to the deadline. That should classify them as deadline losers, but the Pirates have been called losers enough over the past 20 years so they get a break.
Besides, just making the playoffs is enough for this club and that can still be done with the current roster and some August deals. Plus, the club will get starter Gerrit Cole and outfielder Starling Marte back from injury and you can’t shake your head at those additions.
NEW YORK METS: The Mets did not move veteran Bartolo Colon before the outing and that may end up being a solid choice. Colon seems to have something left in the tank and could still fetch a solid price down the road, so giving him away before Thursday’s deadline was a mandated transaction.