Earlier today I detailed the major trades that benefited teams in the National League before Major League Baseball’s trade deadline on Monday.
That leaves the big moves in the American League to cover.
All three current division leaders in the AL made moves, and another contender made multiple moves as well.
Rangers trade for Beltran and Lucroy
When the Cleveland Indians traded for Andrew Miller late last week, to many they usurped the Texas Rangers as favorites in the American League.
Executives in Arlington decided to put their team back on top.
Texas made a pair of moves Monday that brought two All-Stars to the Lone Star State.
The first move the Rangers made was acquiring left-handed veteran Carlos Beltran. Beltran’s services were acquired in exchange for a trio of prospects, including last year’s number four overall pick, Dillon Tate.
The former Yankee outfielder is in the final year of his contract, so for the Rangers he becomes a two-month rental, but he does have upside.
Beltran is a pro’s pro and will be a big help to a team that, although does have experienced players, also has younger players that could benefit from Beltran’s guidance.
Not only will he be a help in the clubhouse, but he also will help on the field.
The 39-year-old is having a bounce back season at the plate, hitting for a .304 average with 22 home runs, and has stayed healthy enough to be an everyday player. He cannot only take over as the designated hitter in Texas, but can also play right field until Shin-Soo Choo returns from his stint on the disabled listed.
Catcher Jonathan Lucroy is also heading to Arlington.
It was reported yesterday that Lucroy had been traded to the Cleveland Indians, but that was before he vetoed the trade as part of his no-trade clause that included the Indians.
Texas, however, wasn’t on the list, and the Rangers and Brewers struck a deal. The deal included Lucroy and reliever Jeremy Jeffress going from Milwaukee to Texas, in exchange for three players, one to be named latter.
Lucroy is a good-hitting catcher, who has hit 13 home runs and 17 doubles while hitting for a .299 average and .359 on-base percentage.
As I mentioned, Beltran is a free agent after the season, but Lucroy is controllable as there is a $5.25M club option in his contract for next season.
In total, the Rangers give up six players for two current All-Stars and none of those players were Joey Gallo or Jurickson Profar. Although a trip to the World Series is far from a sure thing at this point, the Rangers enter August in a better place than they were just 24 hours ago.
Orioles bring back Steve Pearce
The Baltimore Orioles offense saw its lowest numbers of the season throughout the month of July. In attempt to jumpstart the offense, GM Dan Duquette brought back an old friend.
Steve Pearce had some of the best years of his career the past three seasons in Baltimore. His best season was 2014 when he belted 21 home runs and batted for a .293 average, but after a rough 2015 campaign the Orioles let him go.
However, in 60 games played this season, he’s hitting for a career-high in average at .309.
Pearce doesn’t exactly fill a big need for the Orioles, whose primary need heading into the trade deadline was starting pitching. Though the Orioles did pick up Wade Miley in a deal on Sunday, he’s far from the final answer to the problem.
Pearce is a true utility player that can play both positions on the right side of the infield, as well as the corner outfield spots at Camden Yards if needed.
In return for Pearce, the Orioles sent over their 2013 fourth-round pick Jonah Heim, a catcher who had only risen to High-A Frederick since being drafted.
Pearce doesn’t exactly solve the Orioles biggest problem, and he wasn’t the best player available, but Baltimore fans will be happy to see Pearce back in the orange and black.
Blue Jays swap players and prospects for Liriano and Feldman
Staying in the American League East, the Toronto Blue Jays made a pair of moves as they try to stay near the top of the division.
The biggest move from the team north of the border was trading for Pirates starter Francisco Liriano. Liriano, a 32-year-old starter, saw his career revitalized a bit in Pittsburgh, going 32-35 with a reasonable 3.26 ERA his first three seasons there, although this year has not been as kind.
The southpaw is just 6-11 this season with an ERA nearing 5 ½, but Toronto is hoping the change of scenery will do both him and his new club some good.
Liriano, an 11-year veteran, has a 53-54 record as a starter in the American League, but both AL teams he pitched for were in the Central and not the East.
The other move Toronto made was trading for Scott Feldman.
Feldman has been a starter for most of his career, however, had made the transition to being a relief pitcher earlier this season in Houston, having made just five starts.
Since having a career year in 2009 when Feldman went 17-8 with the Rangers, he has not had the same luck. He has gone 45-55 with four different teams since the start of the 2010 season.
Liriano is the more viable option for both the present and the future to have a positive contribution to Jays as he has more playoff experience, and he is also under contract through the end of next year. Feldman, on the other hand, in the final year of his current deal.
It doesn’t appear Toronto gave up too much to acquire either pitcher, with the biggest loss being pitcher Drew Hutchinson, who was traded to Pittsburgh. Hutchinson does have a good amount of experience at the big league level, but has spent much of this season in Triple-A.
As result of the two moves, Toronto also demotes Aaron Sanchez to the bullpen, which is odd considering Sanchez hasn’t lost a decision as a starter since late April, and has an 11-1 record.
Trading for Liriano makes more sense than getting Feldman for the Blue Jays, but sitting just one half game out of the division lead, both could prove to be key arms on the mound late in the season.
Boston gets bullpen help in Fernando Abad
Boston desperately needed bullpen help.
Abad is having a bit better season than he had last year, but the numbers still aren’t great, having allowed 11 runs on 27 hits over 34 innings of work.
Boston was also trying to make a last-ditch effort Monday to acquire starter Chris Sale, but was unable to strike a deal.
In the trade for Abad, Boston sends just one player to Minnesota – Triple-A reliever Pat Light.
Abad, a lefty, begins to balance out the backend of Boston’s bullpen, which is riddled with right-handers, including closer Craig Kimbrel who was reinstated from the DL Monday.
It’s not the big move that Boston was hoping to make, but Abad could prove to be the pitcher that goes a long way in solving the Red Sox bullpen woes.
Cleveland Indians trade for Brandon Guyer
The AL Central leading Indians made a splash Sunday by trading for Andrew Miller to bolster the bullpen.
Monday they made a move that wasn’t nearly as loud.
In exchange for a pair of minor leaguers, Cleveland traded for Rays outfielder Brandon Guyer.
Guyer will much improve the Indians lineup against left-handed pitching, which is said to be the arm side that he hits off of the best, and also is a versatile outfielder who can play all three positions.