The 2016 MLB Trade Deadline brought a flurry of moves throughout the MLB. Teams such as the Yankees and Rays sold big, while others such as the Red Sox and Blue Jays were buyers.
The American League East division featured plenty of activity at the deadline, with 15 total trades occurring during the trade period.
How did each team fare? Let's take a look.
Tampa Bay Rays
As we all know, the Rays have had a rough go of it in 2016. They are currently 20 games under .500 and 17 games out of 1st place. With that, they unsurprisingly made moves with future seasons in mind.
Their first deal was shipping OF Brandon Guyer to Cleveland for prospects OF Nathan Lukes and RPH Jhonleider Salinas. Guyer was under team control for two more seasons but completely out of options. Pair that with a jammed outfield and it makes sense why the Rays would deal him. Nathan Lukes, at just 22 years old, was recently promoted to High-A after batting .301/.375/.453 at the Class-A level, including 14 SB's and 5 HR's. Salinas, 20, is a rookie ball pitcher who has turned in a 2.66 ERA and 2.81 ERA over the last two seasons in the low minors.
Their next move was dealing Matt Moore to the Giants in return for SS Lucius Fox, RHP Michael Santos, and major league IF Matt Duffy. Moore has been on a tear recently and should help San Francisco’s rotation in the midst of a playoff run. Lucius Fox is a switch hitting infielder with some nice tools that project him to be a potential everyday shortstop. Matt Duffy has a great swing and glove, and according to Matt Silverman, he'll take over the SS position once he returns from injury in a week or so. Santos has some nice MiLB stats and boasts a full array of pitches but is a long way form the majors.
Their last deal was the longest-anticipated one in trading left-handed-pitching-masher Brandon Pierce away to Baltimore. His contract expired at the end of the year so it makes sense why the Rays would want to receive something of value for him. In return, the Rays acquired 21 year old prospect (#13 on Baltimore's list) Jonah Heim, a catcher currently in A+ ball who is said to have pitch-frame skills on par with Yadier Molina. The Rays have struggled to find a catcher in their 16-year history and are hoping Heim can break the trend.
The Rays continue to abide by the "one eye on the present, one on the future" philosophy that they live by. The trades they made help should help in the present and in the future with a couple promising prospects in Fox and Heim paired with an major league caliber infielder in Duffy. They didn't blow up their major league roster, or sit silently. They did a small mixture of both.
The AL East leading Orioles didn't make a huge splash some people were expecting them to, but they did fill in some holes by acquiring smart, cheap players from noncontenders.
They acquired an old friend in utility man Steve Pearce, who will assuredly help (.377/.476/.736) their lineup against left handed pitching. Baltimore also got LHP Wade Miley from the Mariners. Miley has a below-average 4.98 ERA in 112 innings this year, but he just recently came off a start against the Cubs in which he pitched seven innings and allowed only one hit. The Orioles hope to see more of that from Miley going forward.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays were busy during the deadline.
First, they acquired Padres OF and former Ray Melvin Upton Jr., who is currently hitting .251 with 16 HR's, 45 RBI's, and 20 SB's on the year. Soon after, they acquired some bullpen help by adding relievers Scott Feldman (2.90 era) and Mike Bolsinger (6.83 era). They finished by trading for LHP Francisco Liriano, who is having a less-than-stellar year (6-11 with a 5.46 era).
None of the players the Blue Jays traded for are stars, but some of them have been and could be again. Liriano has been underperforming this year, but he was lights out in previous years. Upton Jr. has never been one to hit for average, but his power, speed, and defense can provide the Jays with a better chance to win every day. Feldman is a proven reliever and should provide the Jays with extra depth in the bullpen, but the trade for Bolsinger leaves something to be desired.
Boston Red Sox
Boston currently holds the 2nd AL WC spot, so they're right in the thick of things. Their offense has been great, while they're pitching has been mediocre (4.36 ERA). With that, improving pitching was their priority.
They ended up adding bullpen help in Brad Ziegler (2.51 era) and Fernando Abad (2.86 era). They finished their deadline moves by acquiring starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz (3.09 era). All have had solid seasons with their respective teams.
However, their biggest deadline acquisition didn't come through trade. It came from within, as they promoted OF Andrew Benintendi. Benintendi, the number-two rated prospect in Boston's system, has hit .312 with 9 HR's, and 16 SB's between Class A Salem and Double-A Portland.
Dombrowski originally tried to add more outfield depth through trade, but eventually decided promoting Benintendi was the best move, as he believes he can contribute right now at a major league level.
Dombrowski also bolstered their outfield depth with Benintendi, adding to their already league-best offense, and he acquired some much-needed pitching, both in the form of a starter and some bullpen help.
New York Yankees
Because the team was 5.5 games back from a Wild Card Spot this year, and doesn’t appear to be a promising playoff team this year or next, the Yankees sold three of their most valuable players in order to restock their farm system.
In a week's time, they shipped Chapman, Miller, Nova, and Beltran for some highly-regarded prospects around the league. Ranked baseball's No. 21 prospect in BA's Midseason Top 100 and the Indians #1 prospect as well, OF Clint Frazier is the prospect to watch here. Although before the season the Yankees’ farm system was average enough to be boring, they have become a top-5 farm system as a result of this trade deadline.
The Yankees always want to be the best, so even just slipping into the playoffs with a mediocre team doesn’t sit well with the management or the fans. They made moves that will likely diffuse their chances of making the playoffs this year, but the management believes that the prospects gained at this deadline will make the Yankees a force to be reckoned within just a few years.
Overall, the course each AL East team took was projectable. The top three teams in the division (BAL, BOS, TOR) were buyers and filled holes through trades by giving up prospects, while the bottom two (TB, NYY) bolstered their farm systems by trading valuable commodities to contenders for highly regarded prospects.