Reactions to a busy non-waiver trade deadline

The July 31 non-waiver trade deadline is gone, but that doesn’t mean trades have stopped. They get trickier, though.

Now, if a team wants to trade a player, he has to clear waivers. For example, if the Orioles wanted to trade a pitcher to the Yankees, that pitcher would have to be offered to every other team in the standings before the Yankees could get him.

If, say, Cleveland wanted him, the Indians would put a claim on him. Then, the Orioles could either pull the pitcher back and or let the Indians have him.

Teams have to decide: Do they claim a player to block a rival team? Is it worth picking up a contract for that? That’s what happened last year when San Francisco picked up Cody Ross in an effort to keep him from San Diego. Ross was a key to their World Series run.

This year, August deals could see players such as the Cubs’ Carlos Pena or the Twins’ Jason Kubel or Jim Thome moving. The Rays could move reliever Kyle Farnsworth in that manner.

Other thoughts:

Nobody’s talking about Detroit, but the Tigers have a new third baseman (Wilson Betemit), starter (Doug Fister) and reliever (Dave Pauley) as they take aim at winning their first division title since 1987. Fister is 3-12, but, with Seattle, he had the lowest run-support in the AL. His 3.33 ERA will play well with a team that can score. And, the Tigers’ rotation, with Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello and Fister will be a staple not only this year, but down the road.

Interesting that Tampa Bay GM Andrew Friedman was making phone calls and talking trades from a hospital bed while recovering from an appendectomy on Sunday.

J.J. Hardy signed a long-term contract with the Orioles, but, if he hadn’t, I wonder if he would have been playing championship baseball now: San Francisco and St. Louis each added shortstops.

Anything short of a World Series championship in Philadelphia will be considered a failure this season. The Phillies, who acquired right-fielder Hunter Pence, are the new version of the Yankees. With the money and prospects they’ve spent, the Phillies have to win or else.

The Nationals would have loved to have had Astros outfielder Michael Bourn, but apparently weren’t interested in paying the price that the Braves did. Bourn has speed and can steal. He can hit .300 and gets on base 36% of the time. And, he has 26 infield hits. What’s not to like?

The Angels didn’t make a trade for a bat, and now they have to hope that Torii Hunter, Vernon Wells and Bobby Abreu can spike their numbers. Otherwise, the Angels’ top-notch rotation will be watching October baseball at home.

No question, Texas is the most improved team after the deadline. They added relievers Koji Uehara of the Orioles and Mike Adams of the Padres to a bullpen that has Mark Lowe and Neftali Feliz. Combined, those guys have 111 strikeouts and 17 walks in 95 innings. Next year, Adams will likely close with Feliz moving to the rotation.

All of a sudden, the Yankees can’t get pitching. Andy Pettitte retired. They missed on Cliff Lee, and weren’t able to pay the price for Ubaldo Jimenez. Now, they’ll go into the final two months with CC Sabathia and questions in their rotation.

The most debatable trade was Cleveland trading four prospects, including their two top pitchers, Alex White and Drew Pomeranz, to the Rockies for Ubaldo Jimenez. Is he regressing or does he need a new place to pitch? Did the Yankees and Red Sox see something in his mechanics that the Indians missed? Will be pitch Cleveland to the AL Central title? There’s no way to know now, but it will be fun to watch.