The 2014 MLB trade deadline was arguably the greatest one we have ever seen. Jon Lester went to the Athletics. Yoenis Cespedes went to the Red Sox. David Price went to the Tigers. Those were the biggest moves on a day that featured 12 trades around the league. Fans were glued to Twitter. Fake Twitter reporters were fooling real ones. It was a day unprecedented in MLB history. Let’s take a look at the five winners from the non-waiver trade deadline Thursday.
1. Boston Red Sox
(Acquired OF Yoenis Cespedes, OF Allen Craig, P Joe Kelly, P Eduardo Rodriguez)
The Red Sox went from worst to first to worst, but could be back on their way to first again. Sox GM Ben Cherington had himself a day on this year’s deadline day. He traded away two rental players in Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes and got slugger Yoenis Cespedes in return. Lester and Gomes will both be free agents when the season ends, while Cespedes still has another year on his contract. The Red Sox badly needed some offense and a power bat. They get a perfect fit at Fenway Park and a great defensive player in Cespedes. They weren’t done there, though.
The Red Sox also acquired Allen Craig and Joe Kelly in exchange for John Lackey. Craig has struggled this season, but was the best hitter in baseball last season with runners in scoring position. He gives them another productive bat in the lineup. Craig is also a winner and a guy under contract through 2017. Joe Kelly is also young and cheap and fills a major void now in the starting rotation. Both trades were wins for the Red Sox as they are building a roster to win in 2015 and will have around $80 million to spend in the off-season. Hat tip to Cherington.
2. Detroit Tigers
(Acquired SP David Price)
Some people were fooled when the fake Ken Rosenthal Twitter tweeted that the Tigers had acquired David Price. Hours later, they did. How about that? What a curveball and what a robbery. The Tigers, Rays, and Mariners made a three-team deal that added another Cy Young winner to Detroit’s starting rotation. The Rays got back pitcher Drew Smyly and shortstop Willy Adames from the Tigers as well as Nick Franklin from the Mariners. The Tigers also sent Austin Jackson to Seattle. Was that really the best the Rays could do? Price now joins Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez, and Rick Porcello in a stacked rotation. They could face off in a tremendous ALCS with the next team on the list.
3. Oakland Athletics
(Acquired SP Jon Lester, OF Jonny Gomes, OF Sam Fuld)
The Athletics are clearly all in this year. It’s World Series or bust in Oakland. Losing Yoenis Cespedes could hurt their lineup, but their starting rotation is scary and has plenty of depth now. Jon Lester is a proven winner and a two-time World Series champion with postseason success. The A’s are throwing out a stud every night and that will send fear into their opponents come October. Jonny Gomes is no Cespedes, but a good fit, especially in that locker room. Sam Fuld also re-joins the team after being designated for assignment. They traded away Tommy Milone to get him. Billy Beane has turned this into the best team in baseball, and now it’s time for them to finally win a title.
4. Seattle Mariners
(Acquired OF Austin Jackson, OF Chris Denorfia)
The Mariners did not do a lot, but they made a couple of minor moves to make their offense better. In the three-team deal with the Tigers and Rays, they got outfielder Austin Jackson. The 27-year-old outfielder gives Seattle a much-needed bat in the outfield at the top of the order. Jackson won’t light up the box score, but he’s a major upgrade from the likes of James Jones and Dustin Ackley. They also got some more depth by acquiring Chris Denorfia from the Padres for outfielder Abraham Almonte and pitcher Stephen Kohlscheen. It might not be enough to get them the second Wild Card spot, but they should come pretty darn close.
5. Miami Marlins
(Acquired SP Jarred Cosart, SS Enrique Hernandez, OF Austin Wates)
The Marlins strongly believe they can make a push for the playoffs, and why not? They’re only 4.5 games back in the Wild Card and have played very well of late. They needed some starting pitching desperately and they got that in Jarred Cosart from the Astros. He’s just 24 years old and has good stuff and a change of scenery from a bad Houston team should be good for him. Enrique Hernandez is just 23 and gives them some infield depth. Austin Wates is a speedy outfield prospect that also makes them younger at just 25. The Marlins are going to be a good, young team in 2015.