American League East – 2011 Trade Deadline Buyers & Sellers

When it comes to big spending, nobody does it quite like the AL East. It’s the Yankees world and everyone has to race to keep up.  The BoSox usually keep pace, but their slow start this year meant that they had even more ground to make up as the season progressed.  The Orioles were everyone’s darling during the first two weeks of the season, but they have slowed down considerably.  Will they be looking to get rid of some big names in exchange for money or future prospects?  We will certainly see.

American League East

New York Yankees

  • First Place, AL East
  • Playoff Chances: High
  • Strengths: Offense, Pitching
  • Weaknesses: Pitching

I put pitching as both a strength and a weakness for the Yankees, largely due to the fact that their staff ERA is respectable, but their quality starts border on the atrocious. Still, the Yankees are built to outscore anyone on any given day, but you do have to wonder if the pitching will hold them back at all come playoff time.  Looking at the Yankees lineup, I don’t see too many holes.  The only big move I see the Yankees making is going after a strong, experienced starter.  They would be looking for someone who has playoff experience and I wouldn’t be surprised if they looked out to the NL West for a new arm. The Dodgers have a few pitchers who have experience, but aren’t really helping them win too many games.  Lily and Garland could probably do well in Pinstripes. This potential trade is only good if the Dodgers have the ability to make such moves, in light of their recent financial troubles.  It’s always a gamble when a first place team makes big moves at the trade deadline, but nothing scares the Yankees. Look for a big deal coming out of NYC before too long.

Boston Red Sox

  • Second Place, AL East
  • Playoff Chances: High
  • Strengths: Offense
  • Weaknesses: Pitching

The Red Sox are the cream of the crop offensively, but their pitching has been largely ineffective this year. With the exception of Beckett, none of their regular starters have an ERA lower than 3.5, Lackey’s is currently over 7.  The Sox are going to be a team that is very interested in some pitching, namely starters.  They will probably make similar moves as the Yankees to shore up some weak spots on their roster before making a playoff push.  The only thing stopping the Sox from making the playoffs this year will be the Yankees.  It will be interesting to see who lands some of the big names at this year’s MLB trade deadline. There are going to be some big moves coming out of Boston.

Tampa Bay Rays

  • Third Place, AL East
  • Playoff Chances: Moderate
  • Strengths: Pitching
  • Weaknesses: Offense

Unlike the division leaders in the AL East, the Tampa Bay Rays are actually pretty solid on the mound.  It is their offense (or lack of it) that has given them fits this year.  Out of all the teams in this division, I think that the Rays could actually benefit the most from picking up some talent at the trade deadline.  I say that because the Yankees and Sox have both done well despite their lack of pitching, there really isn’t much room for improvement there, either way.  The Rays, on the other hand, could probably have won a few more games with timely hits or big innings that never materialized.  They need another bat and shortstop is the position where they could use the most help.  We have said before that Reyes is potentially going to be on the market, but whether the Rays will have enough money to go after him is a big question. The Rays kind of missed their window to win a championship with the young, cheap talent they had in the past. If they want to compete with the big dogs, they are going to have to make trades and spend spend spend.

Toronto Blue Jays

  • Fourth Place, AL East
  • Playoff Chances: Low
  • Strengths: Offense
  • Weakness: Pitching

The Blue Jays are in a tough position.  They have a decent team that isn’t costing them too much, but it’s also not a team that is going to get them into the playoffs.  They can make all the moves they want to at this year’s trade deadline and they will most likely still fall short of the post-season.  So what does a team like the Blue Jays do?  Nothing.  They just sit and wait for a couple of their draft picks to come up through the farm system and hopefully they will be in a position to vie for first place next year.  They’ve been making some pretty smart moves lately, so it’s only a matter of time before they pop.

Baltimore Orioles

  • Fifth Place, AL East
  • Playoff Chances: Low
  • Strengths: None
  • Weaknesses: Pitching, Offense

On paper, the Baltimore Orioles should be scoring a lot more runs than they currently do.  Their team AVG, Slugging % and OBP are all in the top half of the league, but their runs scored fall in the bottom 20. With a pitching staff like theirs, they need to score a lot of runs every chance they get.  The Orioles quickly fell from one of the top teams in the league to one of the worst. It’s not helping that Brian Roberts can’t seem to stay healthy, but the rest of this team should be able to put up some offense. D Lee, Mark Reynolds, and Vlad Guerrero can all still mash.  Their real weakness lies on the mound, however.  Only one of their starting pitchers has an ERA under 3.75, with most pushing 4.5 or higher.  The numbers might be skewed slightly, since the AL East features some of the league’s top offenses, but that is no excuse for poor pitching. Look for the Orioles to get rid of some players this year. Maybe JJ Hardy or Luke Scott to a contender.  They have some valuable pieces that could be attractive to other teams and they are in no position to turn down trades.

 

About Aaron Garcia

Aaron is an avid sports fan who passionately follows the NFL, NBA and MLB, in addition to NCAA Sports. He is an Arizona State University grad who loves the Dodgers and the Patriots.