LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — As the trade deadline approaches, most teams have made their moves in order to establish themselves as legitimate playoff contenders.
Every year, there are winners and losers at the trade deadline, so we compiled a list of the biggest winners of this year’s deadline.
While the official trade deadline is at 1pm Friday, the major pieces in this year’s market, David Price, Cole Hamels, Carlos Gomez, Johnny Cueto and Troy Tulowitzki have all already been dealt.
1. Toronto Blue Jays
Key Additions: Troy Tulowitzki, David Price
The Toronto Blue Jays last made the playoffs in 1993, the longest current drought in the MLB today. They did end up winning the World Series in 1993, but in the 22 years it has been since they last made it to October, it hasn’t been pleasant for Blue Jays fans.
The Blue Jays statistically have the best offense in the major leagues. Before play began on July 30, the Blue Jays had scored a major-league high 530 runs, which is 53 more runs than the second-ranked New York Yankees.
Their offense is explosive, and with the addition of All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, the potency of the Blue Jays offense has only increased. In his debut with the club, Tulowitzki went 3-5, with a home run, two doubles, three runs and three RBIs. The Jays traded Jose Reyes and prospects to the Rockies in order to acquire Tulowitzki.
Acquiring perhaps the best shortstop in baseball was not all the Blue Jays had in mind for this year’s trade deadline shakeup, as they also made a deal with the Detroit Tigers for ace David Price.
Price was traded to the Tigers last season at the trade deadline, but as the Tigers failed to make a serious push at the taking the AL Central and with the injury to MVP Miguel Cabrera, the Tigers turned into sellers this time around at the deadline.
Price was 9-4 with a 2.53 ERA in 146 innings pitched before being traded to the Blue Jays, and he struck out 138 batters thus far as well.
Price joins a staff that has Mark Buehrle, Drew Hutchison, R.A. Dickey and Marco Estrada. Buehrle and Hutchison rank in the top three in the MLB in run support this season, both garnering over seven runs from their offense per game.
Buehrle is having a great season with an 11-5 record and a 3.29 ERA, while Hutchison is 9-2 despite a poor 5.42 ERA.
Price should thrive pitching behind Toronto’s high-octane offense, as in Detroit he was 61st in the MLB in run support (4.06).
The Blue Jays sit seven games behind the first place New York Yankees, but the Blue Jays front office hopes the additions of Tulowitzki and Price will help narrow their deficit, and help the team make the playoffs for the first time in 22 years.
2. Houston Astros
Key Additions: Carlos Gomez, Mike Fiers, Scott Kazmir
The Astros made a splash Thursday when they traded for Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez just a day after he was supposedly traded to the Mets.
After a trade fell through between the Mets and Brewers that would have sent Gomez to New York, the Astros capitalized and were able to acquire the All-Star.
The Astros are one game ahead of the Angels in the AL West and have young talent that has led them to a 57-45 record on the season so far. Their Rookie of the Year candidate Carlos Correa has impressed everyone since being called up from Triple-A earlier in the season, while their second basemen Jose Altuve continues to put up incredible offensive numbers as he was selected to his second All-Star team in as many years.
With Gomez now manning center field, the Astros have a veteran presence that can guide these young yet talented players through October. The Astros also acquired Brewers pitcher Mike Fiers, who is 5-9 with a 3.89 ERA this season.
Carlos Gómez reportedly heading to the Astros Most defensive runs saved by CF since 2007 Gomez: 82 Michael Bourn: 65 pic.twitter.com/1dm1hhP0dx
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 30, 2015
Star outfielder George Springer has been on the disabled list since July 2, but when he returns, he will have a fantastic mentor right next to him in center field in Carlos Gomez. Springer is hitting .264 with 13 home runs and 29 RBIs, and last played on July 1.
The Astros previously acquired pitcher Scott Kazmir from the Oakland A’s, and with the addition of Fiers now have a core rotation made up of Kazmir, Fiers, Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers, and either Colin McHugh or Scott Feldman.
3. Kansas City Royals
Key Additions: Johnny Cueto, Ben Zobrist
The Kansas City Royals needed an ace, and they got one in Johnny Cueto. In 2014, Cueto was selected to his first All-Star game as the right-hander won 20 games while posting a 2.25 ERA in a league-leading 243 2/3 innings pitched.
This season, Cueto is 7-6 with a 2.62 ERA in 130 2/3 innings pitched, with 120 strikeouts and only 29 walks.
The Royals’ Opening Day starter, Yordano Ventura, was sent down to the minors after a collection of miserable outings, and the Royals were known as buyers for pitching in the trade market early on. Due to an injury to Jason Vargas, Ventura was called up the following day to remain in their rotation, along with Edinson Volquez, Danny Duffy and Jeremy Guthrie.
Cueto reunites with former Reds’ teammate Edinson Volquez, who is 10-5 with a 3.21 ERA this season, as the two sit atop the Royals new-look pitching staff. The back end of their bullpen is the best in the MLB, as Kelvin Herrera garners the seventh-inning role, while Wade Davis takes the set-up role and Greg Holland is the closer. All three relievers have been All-Stars at some point in their careers, including Herrera and Davis this year.
The Royals also added utility player Ben Zobrist after a trade with the A’s was completed earlier in the month. Zobrist will take over in left field for the injured Alex Gordon but can also play second base, shortstop, third base and the other outfield positions as well.
Zobrist will be a free agent at the end of the season but will help the Royals on their quest to return to the World Series after losing the 2014 World Series to the Giants.
Before this season, Zobrist had spent his entire career with the Tampa Bay Rays. He has hit as many as 27 home runs in a season, and collected 91 RBIs on two separate occasions. Zobrist can run, hit and field and is an asset to any team. Even when Alex Gordon does return from injury, it will not be hard for manager Ned Yost to find a spot for Zobrist in the lineup.
Honorable Mention: Nationals acquire closer Jonathon Papelbon from the Phillies.