Across the American League East, teams fortified their pitching and depth for the final stretch. There were not many blockbusters in the division, but several teams went for reinforcements to their bullpen and added lineup depth. The AL East has been hyper-competitive, and this trade deadline only increased that focus.
3 Changes to the AL East After the Trade Deadline
The Rays will have to live with potentially missing out on Manzardo’s impact bat. The pitching staff is always a strength for the Rays, but some serious injuries have derailed that plan. The rotation was depleted after Shane Baz, Drew Rasmussen, and Jeffrey Springs all suffered season-ending injuries.
Civale offers another chance for the Rays to work with an accomplished starter and take him to the next level. Zach Eflin is having a career year for the Rays. What do they see in Civale that they want to build upon in a similar way? Civale is having a career year of his own, but there has been some suspicion over how sustainable it is. His expected ERA (3.66) is well over a tick higher than his actual ERA (2.34).
Tampa has recently fallen behind Baltimore in the standings and reestablishing their dominant rotation could be a step back toward winning the division.
Pitching seemed to be the name of the game for Toronto heading into the trade deadline. Their Team ERA of 3.84 was good enough for the fifth-best in all of baseball after the deadline. Trades with the St. Louis Cardinals that brought in both Jordan Hicks and Génesis Cabrera bolster that strength.
The Blue Jays have had a good, but not incredible offensive season. They rank 7th in wRC+ and 14th in total runs scored. While that is not an elite output from the lineup, reinforcing their lockdown bullpen will make an impact in close games as the season comes to a finish.
The Jays also added Paul DeJong after an injury scare to Bo Bichette. While it might be more important news to hear that Bichette’s injury was not serious, DeJong is a former All-Star who adds to Toronto’s depth in the infield. While DeJong is not the blockbuster name they might have wanted, he will hit against lefties which is a dynamic Toronto was hunting for. His 85 wRC+ against righties this season is unimpressive, but he has a 129 wRC+ against lefties.
The Orioles have recently taken the division lead behind their lineup filled with potential future stars. The pitching side has been much more dubious. Career years from Kyle Bradish and Tyler Wells have led the way. Grayson Rodriguez has had his moments but carries a 6.21 ERA. So, the Orioles took a chance on one of the most interesting names available at the deadline in Jack Flaherty.
Flaherty has seemed far away from the peak of his abilities in recent years as he struggled to stay healthy or dealt with underperformance. This season, he has a 4.43 ERA, but there are some reasons to believe the Orioles can help a player who has previously shown elite talent.
Flaherty is giving up home runs at the lowest rate of his career. His strikeout rate has dipped from his 2018-2020 numbers, but he has done a good job of limiting hard contact. In July, he had a 3.03 ERA. He is a high-upside player that should be competitive every fifth day. If the Orioles can work with Flaherty to find that low-3.00s ERA player for the rest of the year, this rotation will start to look a lot more threatening for October.
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