Going into Monday – the trading deadline in Major League Baseball – it seemed clear that the market was in pitching. And while Justin Verlander stayed put in Detroit, plenty of other pitchers were on the move. Most will profit by relocating.
Imagine lefty reliever Tony Cingrani’s glee at leaving the ever-floundering Cincinnati Reds for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are playing .700 baseball and lead the National League West by 14 games. The Reds are 14 ½ games out in the NL Central.
Or Sonny Gray’s move from the Oakland A’s, 22 ½ games out in the American League West, to the New York Yankees, who narrowly lead the AL East. The Yankees also picked up bullpen help, which should further enable manager Joe Girardi’s relentless use of every pitcher on the staff in every game.
The Dodgers, who will be even more pitching-rich when/if Clayton Kershaw returns in a month or so from his back injury, also acquired Yu Darvish from the Texas Rangers. Darvish had some rough outings lately, but the change of scene will benefit him. The Rangers are 19 games behind the Houston Astros in the AL West; now Darvish will be pitching for a team that might well be playing the Astros in the World Series.
Last nod: The Washington Nationals. Their bullpen has been a weakness all season. They picked up righty relievers Brandon Kintzler and Ryan Madson and lefty Sean Doolittle. Their 14-game lead in the NL East seems mighty secure.
Baseball continues to be a game of home runs and strikeouts. Pitching is always paramount. And these teams certainly made moves that give them depth not only in the starting rotation but in relief.
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman