Yankees, Dodgers land aces
Yu Darvish and Sonny Gray headed a parade of prized arms on the move Monday, leaving little doubt on trade deadline day that the top teams made a big pitch for the playoffs.
All-Star Brandon Kintzler, Addison Reed and Justin Wilson were among the many relievers swapped before the cutoff. There were 14 deals involving major leaguers, and all six division leaders got someone new.
“We’re trying to go from good to great,” New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, owners of the best record in the majors and the top payroll, gave up three minor leaguers for Darvish. The Texas ace will join three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw, currently on the disabled list, as the Dodgers try
to reach the World Series for the first time since their 1988 title.
“We’re not going to be lining up our playoff rotation quite yet,” Dodgers General Manager Farhan Zaidi said.
Darvish was an All-Star this year for the fourth time in his five seasons playing for the Rangers. He joined Texas before the 2012 season and missed all of 2015 after elbow surgery. In 22 starts this season, he is 6-9 with a 4.01 ERA.
In 122 starts overall for the Rangers, he was 52-39 with a 3.42 ERA and 960 strikeouts over 7822/3 innings.
“It’s an honor to be wanted by the team,” Darvish said through his translator, adding that he had “nothing but appreciation” for his time in Texas.
The pitcher who turns 31 on Aug. 16 was 0-5 with a 5.81 ERA in his past eight starts. He was tagged by the Miami Marlins for a career-worst 10 runs Wednesday, and he later revealed he was tipping his pitches.
In return for Darvish, Los Angeles sent the Rangers second baseman/outfielder Willie Calhoun, right-hander A.J. Alexy and infielder Brendon Davis.
Los Angeles also added relievers Tony Watson from Pittsburgh and Tony Cingrani from Cincinnati.
The Yankees bolstered their rotation by getting Gray from Oakland for three minor leaguers.
A 27-year-old right-hander who has been slowed by a series of injuries, Gray is 6-5 with a 3.43 ERA in 16 starts this season and 4-2 with a 1.37 ERA in his last six outings. He makes $3,575,000 and is not eligible for free agency until after the 2019 season.
“I think we’ve definitely improved ourselves,” Yankees Manager Joe Girardi said. “When I look at ownership and the front office, they’ve given us an opportunity to do something special here. Now we have to go out and do it.”
A few stars mentioned in trade speculation stayed put, including Orioles closer Zach Britton, Detroit starter Justin Verlander and San Diego reliever Brad Hand.
“We just didn’t line up at this time,”
said Padres General Manager A.J. Preller, adding there was “no rush” to make a move right now.
Teams had until 3 p.m. Central to make trades without waivers. For the rest of the season, players can be dealt only if every other club passes on a chance to claim them.
A year after the champion Chicago Cubs and Cleveland used deep bullpens to reach the World Series, several teams boosted their relievers. As did the Cubs and Indians.
Chicago got Wilson, a valuable lefty, along with backup catcher Alex Avila from Detroit. Avila was traded away by his dad, Tigers General Manager Alex Avila.
Joe Smith, who relieved for Cleveland from 2009-2013, was sent from Toronto to the Indians.
“A lot of fans of Smitty in this organization, so getting him back will be a lot of fun,” Cleveland Manager Terry Francona said.
NL East-leading Washington got Kintzler from Minnesota. The Nationals also recently acquired relievers Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle from Oakland.
The Houston Astros, already running away with the AL West, plucked left-hander Francisco Liriano from Toronto. He can either patch a rotation that’s dealt with injuries to Dallas Keuchel (Arkansas Razorbacks), Lance McCullers and Collin McHugh this year or provide a weapon out of the bullpen.
The 33-year-old Liriano is 6-5 with a 5.88 ERA in 18 starts this season.
The Astros traded outfielders Nori Aoki and Teoscar Hernandez for Liriano.
The contending Boston Red Sox added Reed, who had been serving as the New York Mets’ closer. Reed is 1-2 with a 2.57 ERA and 19 saves in 21 chances, and he joins a bullpen that includes dominant closer Craig Kimbrel.
Like a lot of other executives, Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski was on the prowl for pitching.
“We liked a lot of the guys. We were inquiring about a lot of the guys,” he said at Fenway Park, adding, “My list is long.”
The Texas Rangers traded pitcher Yu Darvish (above) to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday for three minor league players. Darvish, 30, is 6-9 with a 4.01 ERA in 22 starts this season. The Dodgers (74-31) entered Monday leading the National League West by 14 games over the Arizona Diamondbacks and are attempting to win their first World Series title since 1988.