Alex Anthopoulos made a big splash on Tuesday when he acquired All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins from the Rockies in exchange for Jose Reyes and prospects. That wasn't the only blockbuster move that he would make before the trade deadline, however.
On Thursday afternoon, the Blue Jays’ general manager snagged perhaps the top available pitcher in the market, acquiring All-Star hurler David Price from the Tigers for a trio of left-handed pitching prospects including Daniel Norris.
While it may seem a steep price to pay for a two-month rental of the 29-year-old southpaw, Price gives the Blue Jays the true ace that they were so desperately lacking atop their starting rotation. He's in the midst of another outstanding season, registering a 2.53 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 138/29 K/BB ratio over 146 innings in his 21 starts for the Tigers. He instantly makes the Blue Jays a favorite to land one of the Wild Card spots, ending their league-worst 22-year playoff drought.
This is a deal that seemingly works out well for both sides. Instead of letting Price walk as a free agent in the winter and getting nothing but a compensation pick, the Tigers add an infusion of youth and talent to a pitching corps that was sorely lacking on both fronts. Daniel Norris, widely regarded as the Jays' top overall prospect, will jump immediately into the Tigers rotation and makes for an interesting addition in all mixed leagues. In addition, the Tigers were also able to land Matt Boyd and Jairo Labourt. Boyd has been dominant in the minor leagues this season and projects as a solid mid-rotation starter, while Labourt is more of a raw power arm.
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Carlos Gomez actually traded this time
Just one day after a proposed deal to send Carlos Gomez to the Mets fell through, the Brewers turned around and dealt the dynamic young outfielder to the Astros with Mike Fiers in exchange for a package of prospects.
There had been rumblings that the deal to the Mets fell apart due to concern over Gomez' hip issue, but agent Scott Boras assured the world that his client is "injury free" and had "no problem whatsoever" with his hip. Given the fact that the Astros were willing to pay a steep price for him after reviewing his medicals, we will side with Boras on this one.
The Astros have drastically improved their roster via trade in the past few days, and with another dominant outing by acquisition Scott Kazmir on Thursday they completed a sweep of the Angels and retook first place in the American League West. Not only should they now be considered the favorites to win the division, but they are poised to make serious noise in October.
On the flip side, the Brewers didn't sit around and pout after their deal with the Mets fell through on Wednesday, they simply packaged Gomez with Mike Fiers to land an impressive quartet of prospects from the Astros. Headlining that group is outfielder Brett Phillips. The 21-year-old outfielder ranks 21st on Baseball America's list of top prospects in the league and has been demolishing the ball in the minor leagues, slashing .320/.377/.548 with 16 homers, 71 RBI and 15 stolen bases between High-A Lancaster and Double-A Corpus Christi this season. In addition, the Brewers also nabbed outfielder Domingo Santana and pitchers Josh Hader and Adrian Houser.
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Giants plug hole in rotation with Leake
The Giants were able to upgrade their starting rotation late Thursday by agreeing to a deal for right-hander Mike Leake from the Reds. The 27-year-old is having his finest season as a professional, compiling a 3.56 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 90/34 K/BB ratio across 136 2/3 innings.
It's unclear who exactly he will supplant in the Giants’ starting rotation, though Tim Hudson and Matt Cain seem to be the most likely candidates. Leake should see his fantasy value spike with the move away from the bandbox that is the Great American Ballpark to the pitcher's paradise of AT&T Park.
In return, the Reds receive a pair of minor leaguers, Keury Mella and Adam Duvall. The 21-year-old Mella was considered the top pitching prospect in the Giants organization, and represents a nice haul for the impending free agent.
Pirates solidify setup corps with Soria
The Pirates were active on the trade front as well on Thursday, taking advantage of the Tigers' fire sale by sending minor league shortstop JaCoby Jones to the Tigers in exchange for closer Joakim Soria. He has been terrific in 43 outings on the season, posting a 2.85 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 36/11 K/BB ratio over 41 frames.
The 31-year-old right-hander has had success in his career in both the eighth and ninth innings, and will solidify the setup corps in front of closer Mark Melancon. Between he, Tony Watson and Jared Hughes, the Pirates will now have the ability to shorten games even further, requiring only six strong innings from their starting pitching.
In exchange for a couple months of Soria, the Tigers wind up with minor league shortstop JaCoby Jones.
American League Quick Hits: Rival executives believe that the Yankees are the favorites to land Craig Kimbrel from the Padres ... Yankees acquired Dustin Ackley from the Mariners for Ramon Flores and Jose Ramirez ... Yoenis Cespedes homered and drove in three runs in a final audition for teams interested in acquiring the outfielder ... The Orioles have expressed interest in acquiring Gerardo Parra from the Orioles ... Yovani Gallardo looks like a lock to be dealt before the deadline, with the Cubs, Dodgers, Blue Jays and Yankees as possible suitors... The White Sox have expressed interest in Justin Upton and Yoenis Cespedes ... The Rays are listening to trade offers for Nathan Karns ... Devon Travis (shoulder) received a cortisone shot on Wednesday and will be re-evaluated on Friday ... Michael Pineda was placed on the disabled list due to forearm discomfort ... Alex Wilson recorded the final five outs on Thursday to earn his first save of the season ...Mike Trout returned to the Angels lineup after missing two games with inflammation in his left wrist ...
National League Quick Hits: Brandon Phillips had an epic day at the plate Thursday, blasting two home runs, stealing two bases and driving home seven in a rout of the Pirates ... The eight-player deal between the Phillies and Rangers involving Cole Hamels will be officially announced on Friday ... The Cardinals landed Brandon Moss from the Indians in exchange for Rob Kaminsky ... The Cubs are pushing hard to acquire Tyson Ross from the Padres ... They're also reportedly "aggressively shopping" Starlin Castro ... The Diamondbacks made a formal trade offer to the Reds for Aroldis Chapman ... The Mets are interested in acquiring Jay Bruce from the Reds, while the Reds are believed to want Zack Wheeler in a return package ... Ben Revere is expected to be the next Phillie traded before Friday's deadline ... The Pirates traded for Joe Blanton from the Royals ... Corey Dickerson is considered day-to-day with a rib contusion ... Dodgers designated Brandon Beachy, Michael Morse and Chris Heisey for assignment ... Justin Upton crushed a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning to beat the Mets ... Matt Holliday was diagnosed with a Grade 2 strain of his right quadriceps and could miss the remainder of the regular season ... Jonathan Papelbon converted his first save chance as a member of the Nationals ... Max Scherzer hurled seven shutout innings in a victory over the Marlins ... Matt Carpenter homered twice and plated four in a victory over the Rockies ...