1. AL East
Woof. So many trades for our truest rivals. It’s exhausting. Let’s start with the Rays, though, who got under our skin last week and proceeded to not do much after.
Rays acquired DH Nelson Cruz from Twins
A nightmare scenario for sure, but Aroldis Chapman struck Cruz out twice this week to save games this week, and he’s already dealing with a foot issue.
Rays acquired OF Jordan Luplow and RHP DJ Johnson from Indians
Thankfully, these were underwhelming acquisitions. Luplow, an outfielder, is hitting .173 in 36 games this year while Johnson has appeared in 36 career games (he’s 31 years old) and owns a 4.91 ERA. But hey, it’ll somehow work out for Tampa, right?
Blue Jays acquired LHP Brad Hand from the Nationals
Though the Yankees own Brad Hand (3.59 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 21 saves), it’s still more bullpen stability for the Jays … who had none. If they can get a semblance of a decent relief corps, they’ll be tailing New York for the remainder of the year. And they weren’t done there.
Blue Jays acquired RHP Joakim Soria from the Diamondbacks
Another very experienced righty reliever who’s solid. Not going to blow you away by any means, but Soria’s (4.30 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, six saves) been a fixture for quite some time and has featured on some postseason teams. Accruing such characteristics for a bullpen is important. And don’t forget, the Jays acquired Trevor Richards and Adam Cimber (from the Brewers and Marlins) much earlier in the month. Soria and Hand were the finishing touches.
Blue Jays acquired RHP Jose Berrios from the Twins
Berrios was a Yankees target as well, but the Twins were reportedly asking for a lot. And they got a lot from the Blue Jays in the form of two of their top-four prospects. Let them pay the price … they needed the pitching way more anyway. Berrios is a 3.50 ERA pitcher and has been right there (3.48 ERA) through 20 starts in 2021. He’ll help provide stability in the Jays rotation through 2022.
Red Sox acquired OF Kyle Schwarber from the Nationals
Thank goodness Cashman stole Rizzo from Boston, or else he’d be among the few missing pieces for the Red Sox. Instead, they still don’t have a first baseman and it’s unclear what Schwarber’s role will be. There’s been chatter of him playing the outfield (though that would take reps away from one of Alex Verdugo, Jarren Duran or Hunter Renfroe) or first base (what??). A fun hitter for the Sox but … not exactly an established role. They’ll figure it out, though, and Schwarber will mash against us.
Red Sox acquired RHP Hansel Robles from the Twins
You could call this a bullpen reinforcement but Robles isn’t having a good year. Maybe getting him out of Minnesota will help, but his 4.82 FIP is right in line with his 4.91 ERA. Not encouraging. Too many walks this year from the right-hander as well. He’s averaging five per nine innings. Nonetheless, some experience and depth for the Sox bullpen, but nothing to be afraid of.
Red Sox acquired LHP Austin Davis from the Pirates
This deal sent Michael Chavis to Pittsburgh! Wow. Chavis was traded for a 28-year-old with 65 games under his belt. Davis owns a 5.65 ERA and 1.49 WHIP for his career, and a 5.59 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 10 games this year. Nothing much here. Way to put an exclamation point on everything, Boston.