The Boston Herald's Steve Buckley says the Red Sox' starting-pitching depth will enable them to win the A.L. East 'by nine games.'
SEATTLE -- The 2016 trade deadline is in the rearview mirror.
After all the talk, all the rumors, the dust has settled. In the American League East, three teams improved by making additions, while two others sold off.
A look at how the division was recast by the deadline and where the five teams stand:
The Red Sox were relatively quiet in the final few days, adding only lefty reliever Fernando Abad, who could be a useful bullpen piece.
The bulk of the Red Sox upgrades had come in the weeks before, when they landed a starter (Drew Pomeranz), another bullpen option (Brad Ziegler) and an experienced right-handed hitting infielder (Aaron Hill).
As Dave Dombrowski noted Monday, had the Sox shoe-horned all that activity into the 48 hours running up to Monday's deadline, the Sox moves would look more dramatic.
As it is, the Sox addressed every major need but one, failing to land a run-producing bat for left field. They hope that Andrew Benintendi, who joins the team Tuesday, leapfrogging from Double A, can provide a jolt in left.
Degree to which they improved: Significant.
The O's were hamstrung by two factors: they couldn't add a lot of salary to their payroll and they didn't have a deep inventory
of prospect from which to deal.
Dan Duquette did pick up Wade Miley, a back-end lefty starter, and re-acquired Steven Pearce from Tampa Bay, giving them a versatile player who mashes (1.212 OPS) against lefties.
What the Orioles didn't go, however, is land a front-of-the-rotation starter, someone who could team with Chris Tillman to give the O's two
top starters in their rotation.
Baltimore's rotation is ranked 26th in baseball with a 5.00. Miley isn't going to change that.
Degree to which they improved: Moderate.
TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Having emptied their farm system last summer to pick up David Price and Troy Tulowitzki, the Blue Jays didn't have as much to offer teams this time around.
They got lefty starter Francisco Liriano from Pittsburgh and got pitching depth in Scott Feldman and Mike Bolsinger.
The idea is that Liriano will essentially replace Aaron Sanchez in the rotation, since the Jays are worried about Sanchez's workload and innings total. Feldman and Bolsinger provide depth in long relief.
Liriano resuscitated his career with the Pirates and could be a nice middle-of-the-rotation addition. And Sanchez will provide a dominant arm in the eighth inning to help set-up closer Roberto Osuna.
More than any team in the division, the Jays must hope that their key veterans in the everyday lineup -- Tulowitzki, Edwin Encarnacion
and Jose Bautista -- stay healthy.
Degree to which they improved: Somewhat.
NEW YORK YANKEES
After years of resisting a rebuild, the Yankees finally succumbed to common sense this time and wisely moved two veterans headed for free agency (Aroldis Chapman and Carlos Beltran), a controllable valuable bullpen asset (Andrew Miller) and a rather ordinary starter (Ivan Nova) who didn't fit in their future.
The Yankees aren't so far out of contention that they are absolutely out of the running for a playoff spot. But situated in fourth place in
their division, they did the right thing by selling off some big pieces.
In return, the Yanks replentished a farm system that had been set back by injuries and under-performance.
For a number of years, the Yankees stubbornly clung to the notion that they had to compete for a World Series every year, an impossible notion given the limits imposed by the last CBA. By smartly determining they were highly unlikely to win this year, the Yanks took a huge step toward re-stocking their system for several seasons to come.
Degree to which they improved: Considerable -- a few seasons down the road.
TAMPA BAY RAYS
The Rays have hit a wall. They haven't qualified for the postseason since 2013 and have't won a post-season series since 2008.
Their stadium situation continues to go unresolved and some of their recent top draft picks have underachieved.
The Rays were in full sell mode, dealing off lefty starter Matt Moore, along with platoon pieces Brandon Guyer and Steve Pearce.
For Moore, the Rays got third baseman Matt Duffy from San Francisco and plan to return him to shortstop, his original position. The return on Pearce and Guyer featured mostly low--level prospects, years away from contributing.
To the degree than the Rays retained starters Chris Archer, Alex Cobb, Jake Odorizzi and Drew Smyly, they continue to boast of a strong,
But it's hard to look at the Rays as an organization spinning its wheels.
Degree to which they improved: Somewhat in present, uncertain in the future.