The American League East still has three teams who will be “going for it” in August, but all of them could use some help at the trade deadline. The Red Sox took the head start, already trading its top pitching prospect for Drew Pomeranz to try to help bolster its rotation.
The Blue Jays and Orioles will try to make similar moves by August 1st, while the Yankees and Rays will likely be watching from the sidelines or actively moving parts over the next couple of weeks. The following is a look at team needs and potential matches in the AL East by the August first trade deadline:
Contender: Blue Jays
Team Needs: Late inning reliever, starter.
Why? The Jays, much like their AL East rivals, are set on offense and will concentrate on pitching. With Marco Estrada often and currently injured, Gavin Floyd possibly out for the year and Aaron Sanchez potentially facing an innings limit, Toronto is in dire need of a starter. With Drew Storen mostly playing like a bust and Jason Grilli currently in the mix, the Blue Jays could also use a reliever. Being in the division will leave guys like: Nate Eovaldi, Michael Pineda, Jake Odorizzi, Matt Moore, Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller likely off limits since they come from rivals, but the other pitchers remain an option to pursue either starting or finishing games.
Contender: Red Sox
Team Needs: Back end pitcher, middle reliever
Potential Acquisitions: Rich Hill, Will Smith, Sonny Gray
The needs are similar though perhaps not as dire long-term. Boston has David Price, Pomeranz and Rick Porcello locked up long-term. Assuming he was tipping his pitches and has corrected the issue, Eduardo Rodriguez might solve the back of the rotation internally and though the bullpen is thin now, Craig Kimbrel, Junichi Tazawa and Sean O’Sullivan could get healthy, Clay Buchholz could emerge and Carson Smith will be back next year. Will Smith and Rich Hill would be attractive targets for the right price and Gray is a long-term option should the Sox see the right opportunity with a plethora of highly ranked prospects.
Team Needs: Front end starter
Chris Tillman and Yovani Gallardo aren’t winning a championship unless you’re the 2006 St. Louis Cardinals. The Orioles need an ace for the rest of the rotation to fall behind and to allow Dylan Bundy back into the bullpen. Baltimore is notorious for having difficulty making outside deals and will likely try to go for a band aid like Hellickson, Hill or Niese but the reality is they should target Gray or Teheran to really make a splash. What it would cost and what they would be willing to part with (Bundy included) is another story.