Photo credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
The trade deadline has come and gone, and as the dust settles, we’re seeing a race in the American League East that hasn’t dramatically changed in shape, but one that yet might.
The division had no team with a deadline to compare to the Texas Rangers, who made an enormous upgrade behind the plate by adding Milwaukee’s Jonathan Lucroy (who had a day earlier spurned Cleveland by refusing a trade to the AL Central leaders), and an outstanding switch-hitting DH in the form of the Yankees’ Carlos Beltran. But with starting pitching at a premium, and nobody of the calibre of David Price or Cole Hamels (both of whom were moved at last year’s deadline) changing teams, one could argue that the best the three AL East contenders—the Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles, and Boston Red Sox—could do was make incremental improvements to rosters already loaded with positional talent.
Boston had already made its big pitching move, betting big on starter Drew Pomeranz two weeks ago, sending top pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza to the Padres in exchange for the left-hander. But Pomeranz was never going to be a difference maker for a Red Sox team that will need to hit its way into the playoffs—and so far he’s struggled to live up to even the most conservative expectations.