What’s going on in the American League East? While in-division trades are not unheard of by any means, there have been quite a few deals made between AL East teams this week. Yesterday the New York Yankees traded with the Toronto Blue Jays for starting pitcher J.A. Happ. Before that, the Boston Red Sox brought in Nathan Eovaldi from the Tampa Bay Rays after the Yankees picked up reliever Zach Britton from the Baltimore Orioles. Even before this week such deals were happening as the Red Sox traded with the Blue Jays for Steve Pearce at the end of June.
If you noticed, only the Red Sox and Yankees were the teams that added players who can come in and help a team right now. That speaks to just how far ahead of the rest of the division the two rivals are. The Red Sox have the best record in baseball (71-33) while the Yankees are 4.5 games back and tied for the second-best winning percentage in baseball with the Houston Astros. Meanwhile the Rays are 17.5 games out of first place, the Blue Jays are 23.5 games out and the Orioles still haven’t won 30 games yet.
If the AL East division race was a little tighter and more varied in who was competitive, many of these deals probably wouldn’t have happened. It wouldn’t make sense to give the Red Sox the rotation help they need or bolster the Yankees’ bullpen if the Rays, Orioles and Blue Jays were trying to leapfrog them in the standings. Instead the haves are taking from the have nots in the division and cementing their place as division front runners for the foreseeable future.
Nathan Eovaldi is stoked about stepping into the Red Sox’s rotation. (Michael Silverman; Boston Herald)
But perhaps he will serve a bigger role in the bullpen during the postseason. (Jen McCaffrey; The Athletic) ($$)
That would be useful since the Red Sox bullpen has not been all that great in the second half. (Christopher Smith; MassLive)
Would the Red Sox be smart to trade for a second baseman? (Evan Drellich; NBC Sports)
Blake Swihart is playing pretty well recently and his work with Jason Varitek has contributed to that. (Christopher Smith; MassLive)
Some trades end up helping one team way more than the other. (Eric Stephen; SB Nation)