BOSTON — The American League East has been one of the more hotly contested divisions all season, and the race for the pennant got even more interesting following Major League Baseball’s trade deadline.
While the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays weren’t very active, the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays each made moves to help their chances of reaching the postseason.
Tampa Bay filled its need for relief pitching by acquiring Dan Jennings from the Chicago White Sox, and also picked up a powerful bat by bringing in Lucas Duda in a deal with the New York Mets. Boston followed a similar path, as the acquisition of Addison Reed gives the Red Sox a true set-up man, while Eduardo Nunez’s arrival will help the Sox’s need at third base.
But while both the Rays and the Red Sox made impressive moves, the Yankees undoubtedly had the most noteworthy series of deals.
The Yanks kicked things off by acquiring Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle in a blockbuster deal with the White Sox. And if that trade didn’t grab enough headlines, New York had the baseball world buzzing when it acquired Sonny Gray in a trade with the Oakland Athletics on Monday.
So, now that the trade deadline has passed, how do the Red Sox stack up with the rest of their division foes?
Boston hasn’t gotten off to the best start since returning from the MLB All-Star break, while New York conversely has been surging. The Yanks have garnered considerable praise for their trade deadline activity, but as Dave Dombrowski noted Monday afternoon, it doesn’t mean anything unless you produce on the field.
“I’ve been in a position where we made acquisitions and we’ve been praised to the hilt that we were going to run away with the division,” he told reporters. “And I’ve been looked at in a secondary basis after we’ve done things, and we played very well. It really comes down to how you play. If we play like we’re capable of playing, we can play with anybody. But we have to do it.”
The Red Sox recently relinquished first place in the AL East after having a hold on it for over a month. And while Boston hasn’t been playing to its full potential as of late, Dombrowski likes where his club stands following the deadline.
“I like our club, I think we have a good club,” he said. “We’re in a position where we’re very talented, we’ve got some youthfulness, we’ve got some veteran guys, our starting rotation has been strong. We just strengthened the bullpen. We like our pitching, our defense actually has been good since the beginning of the year. We need to score more runs, but we’re not a power-hitting team. I think we’re capable of that if we swing the bats like we’re capable of doing. But I think we have a good ball club.”
It’s been eight years since the Red Sox and Yankees were the top two teams in the AL East at season’s end, but it looks like the rivalry will make its triumphant return as the clubs fight for the division crown.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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