Teams across baseball loaded up on pitching and the final day before the non-waiver deadline didn’t disappoint with big-name players going everywhere. Here’s a breakdown:
* Oakland: The Athletics added lefty John Lester to a rotation that already has Jeff Samardzija, Jason Hammel, Scott Kazmir and Sonny Gray and this should help them correct a trend: Since 2000, they’ve been to the postseason seven times, but have advanced past the first round just once. A platoon of Jonny Gomes and Sam Fuld will take over in left field for Yeonis Cespedes, who had 17 home runs. But the A’s still have plenty of power with Brandon Moss and Josh Donaldson.
* Detroit: The Tigers have their best chance to win a World Series, given they have three former American League Cy Young winners in their rotation in David Price, Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. Anibal Sanchez and Rick Porcello round out the rotation that gives the Tigers an edge over the Athletics. The Tigers also fixed their bullpen depth by adding Joakim Soria, so the Tigers are still the best team in the AL.
* Boston: A year after winning the World Series, the Red Sox are in rebuilding mode, and they did a great job loading up on young pitching, Joe Kelly and Eduardo Rodriguez, and getting right-handed power in Cespedes, which has been their biggest weakness this season. Chances are Lester will return to the Red Sox after the season as a free agent, so the Red Sox will be the long-term winner of the Cespedes-Lester deal. Interesting that the Red Sox traded three of the starters that pitched for them in the World Series last October in Lester, Lackey and Felix Doubront.
* Baltimore: The Orioles added the best left-handed reliever in the game when they acquired lefty Andrew Miller. He’ll gets lots of strikeouts and groundballs and will be effective against right- and left-handed batters. He’s a former No. 1 pick as a starter with the Tigers and has a nasty slider.
* Tampa Bay: Lefty Drew Smyly isn’t David Price, but he’s under control for the Rays through 2018 and his future is bright. Smyly is 25 years old and has a 3.46 ERA in 35 big-league starts for the Tigers. Nick Franklin, acquired from Seattle, can play either shortstop or second base and projects to be a guy with strong gap power and 15-20 home runs. He’s a switch-hitter who would have been in Seattle’s infield this year had the Mariners not signed Robinson Cano.
* Seattle: The Mariners have pitching, but they need bats. Outfielders Austin Jackson, who has excellent base-stealing speed, and Chris Denorfia will boost the Mariners’ offense starting this weekend when they play in Baltimore. Denorfia, 35, is a right-handed batter and hits lefties well. Overall, he’s at .275 with a .335 on-base percentage.
* New York: Give the Yankees credit for never giving up. They’ve added starter Brandon McCarthy and infielders Chase Headley and Stephen Drew as they try to make the postseason in Derek Jeter’s final season. It’s still not enough. The Yankees are going to fade because their rotation isn’t good enough.
* Philadelphia: Who knows what happened to the Phillies? They should have traded outfielder Marlon Byrd and pitchers Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon. Now, they are stuck with another aging, over-paid team for another year, unless they dump salary in waiver trades in August.
* St. Louis: The Cardinals added starters Justin Masterson from Cleveland and John Lackey from Boston. Masterson is a gamble because he’s on the disabled list with an injured right knee. Lackey has pitched well for the Red Sox all year, and the Cardinals paid a lot in Allen Craig and pitching prospect Joe Kelly. Kelly made a World Series start for the Cardinals last season. In the last two seasons, Craig has been a .400 hitters with runners in scoring position, but he fell off the map this season. The Cardinals’ rotation has Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller, Lackey and Masterson.
* Washington: If Ryan Zimmerman hadn’t been injured, the Nationals would have been set. But infielder Asdrubal Cabrera, acquired from Cleveland, is an upgrade over Zach Walters. Cabrera came up in August of 2007 and helped the Indians reach the ALCS vs. Boston. He’s been on two All-Star teams. He’s a switch-hitter with power and though he hasn’t played second base since 2009, he’s a good enough athlete to handle the switch. Now, the questions for the Nationals: Will they look for lefty in the bullpen to help a struggling Jerry Blevins?
* Atlanta: The Braves added a lefty reliever in James Russell and utility infielder Emilio Bonifacio. The Braves wanted Miller of the Red Sox, but couldn’t match the Orioles’ offer for him. The Braves also would have liked another starting pitcher, but they were limited by money.