Deadline Primer: The American League East
Image courtesy of Raj Mehta, USA TodayAfter reviewing the National League teams last week, Nick reviewed the AL West teams yesterday.
Boston Red Sox 56-47
New York Yankees 53-46 1.0 GB
Tampa Bay Rays 53-49 2.5 GB
Baltimore Orioles 48-53 7.0 GB
Toronto Blue Jays 47-54 8.0 GB
The Yankees are currently sitting in the first of two wild card positions, a half-game ahead of the Royals. The Rays are a half-game out of the second wild card spot. The Orioles are 4.5 games back, and the Blue Jays are 6.5 games back.
Unlike other divisions that we have highlighted, the AL East has three of their five teams which could fit into the buyers’ category.
The Red Sox are already making moves. They released Pablo Sandoval, eating millions upon millions of dollars in salary. They called up top prospect Rafael Devers, and they traded a couple of prospects for former Twins infielder Eduardo Nunez.
Last week, the Yankees made a big move, adding third baseman Todd Frazier and closer David Robertson from the White Sox. They are believed to be in serious talks with the A’s regarding Sonny Gray.
The Rays don’t have the economic means to compete with the Red Sox and Yankees for high-priced talent, but they’ll certainly be on the phone a lot over the rest of the week. Also noteworthy, any rumors (real or imagined) a few weeks ago that Chris Archer might be available are certainly untrue now.
As the Twins continue to fall behind Cleveland and Kansas City and are further out of the wild card race, the Twins could find interest in the likes of Ervin Santana, Brandon Kintzler and even Jaime Garcia in the AL East.
That leaves two teams that should fit into the sellers category, the Baltimore Orioles and the Toronto Blue Jays.
That the Orioles are only a handful of games under .500 is pretty impressive when you consider their starting pitching.
- Kevin Gausman is 7-7 with a 5.79 ERA and a 1.72 WHIP.
- Wade Miley is 4-9 with a 5.69 ERA and a 1.79 WHIP.
- Ubaldo Jimenez is 4-6 with a 7.19 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP.
- Chris Tillman is 1-5 with a 7.01 ERA and a 1.94 WHIP.
The Orioles do have a couple of intriguing relievers. 31-year-old Brad Brach has been very good in the late innings. In 43.1 innings, he has a 2.70 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP. He’s got 46 strikeouts over 43.1 innings. Side-winding Darren O’Day is also likely available. Though he’s posting a 4.67 ERA over 34.2 innings, he has 43 strikeouts. Zach Britton has missed most of the season. He was the best reliever in baseball a year ago, but he’s only had limited time since returning and hasn’t yet returned to dominance.
The Blue Jays
The Jays got off to a terrible start. Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitski have missed significant time with injury. They lost Edwin Encarnacion to Cleveland and Jose Bautista got off to a miserable start. Bautista might be of interest since he’s come on a bit and his contract is up after the season. The name that Toronto should be throwing out is 1B Justin Smoak who, frankly, hasn’t been very good until this year when he has become a huge power hitter. Sell high.
As it relates to the Twins and their need for pitching, the Jays probably aren’t a likely partner. They do, however, have Marcus Stroman who is one of those pitchers that has incredible talent and years of team control remaining. He’s the kind of guy that a team will be willing to give up a lot for, a couple of high-ranking prospects and more.
Francisco Liriano hasn’t been particularly good (5.99 ERA, 1.67 WHIP), but he’s rumored to be of interest for the Royals. Marco Estrada (4-7, 5.52 ERA, 1.49 WHIP) does have 118 strikeouts in 109.1 innings. He could be intriguing. J.A. Happ is 3-7 with a 4.13 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. He’s pretty Jaime Garcia-like.
As noted, the Twins have gone from buyer to we’ll-see, and there’s a chance they could be sellers by the deadline on Monday. That change likely means that Derek Falvey and Thad Levine will not go overboard in terms of what they’d be willing to give up right now.
However, if they still are buyers, there are some players, particularly a few bullpen guys, who the Twins could have some interest in acquiring.