The dust has settled following the non-waiver trade deadline and of all the West Coast teams, the American League West Division-leading Athletics made the most headlines, especially trading their cleanup hitter for a starting pitcher.
General manager Billy Beane raised some serious eyebrows sending Yoenis Cespedes to the Red Sox for Jon Lester. The deal is somewhat reminiscent of a deal that went terribly sour for the Mariners, who traded Adam Jones, among others, to the Orioles for left-handed pitcher Erik Bedard.
That was the swap that finally got GM Bill Bavasi out of the Mariners’ front office – not a moment too soon.
The Angels improved with the addition of closer Huston Street and the Mariners went up a notch with the acquisition of center fielder Austin Jackson.
The Athletics and Angels have the two best records in the American League as of August 1, making them near shoo-ins for post-season play while the Mariners are in the hunt for one of the two Wild Card playoff positions.
Jackson should help what has been the worst offense in the Majors, but he needs help from the likes of Kendrys Morales, acquired from the Twins several days prior to the trade deadline. He played for Seattle last season and was one of the best run-producers on the team. But he rejected a one-year $14.1 million offer (perhaps on the advice of his agent) and sat out most of the season.
The NL West was, for the most part, quiet. The division-leading Dodgers did nothing and the second-place Giants added right-handed pitcher Jake Peavy, who brought with him a 1-10 record, from the Red Sox. Not a blockbuster.
Now for the GW Power Rankings:
1. Athletics (1): General Manager Billy Beane stole the show during July’s Major League Swap Meet.
2. Dodgers (3): Clayton Kershaw can make room in his trophy case for another Cy Young Award.
3. Angels (2): Closer Huston Street is a virtual lock to notch his first career 40-save season.
4. Mariners (5): Does anyone else think skipper Lloyd McClendon should hit-and-run more often?
5. Giants (4): Run support for Jake Peavy didn’t pick up much after his departure from the Red Sox.
6. Padres: (7): A 20-hit game against the Braves on Friday was the most hits in one game since 1995.
7. Astros (6): One of the most improved MLB teams in 2014 is on an uplifting second-half roll.
8. Diamondbacks (8): A painful season hurts even more with All-Star Paul Goldschmidt out of action.
9. Rockies (9): Hopes are a mile high that Jason Pridie can add some much-needed pride to the team.
10. Rangers (10): No fan of the DH, a bum ankle gives Shin-Soo Choo little choice but to play the role.
(Last week’s ranking in parenthesis)