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Week That Was

Week That Was: Deadline Frenzy

by Nick Nelson
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Whew. We're still trying to catch our breath after the most action-packed trade deadline in memory. Numerous big names switched teams during the past week, and we'll get you caught up with all the most important developments here.


Who could we start with other than the Blue Jays, who made an emphatic statement this week that they are all-in with their quest to reach the playoffs (and then some) for the first time since 1993?


First, there was the blockbuster addition of Troy Tulowitzki, bringing more firepower to an offense that was already far-and-away the best in the American League. Tulo, who swaps with Jose Reyes at shortstop, wasted no time making his presence felt by blasting a home run and two doubles in his Toronto debut on Wednesday.


Although moving away from Coors Field is always a negative for a hitter, Tulowitzki is relocating to another very hitter-friendly home park and has started out hitting ahead of guys like Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. He's in a good place.


The more pressing need for Toronto was a frontline starter, and they addressed that as well with the addition of David Price on Thursday. Price is simply one of the best pitchers in the game and was enjoying another terrific season in Detroit. He may be a little more susceptible to the long ball pitching at Rogers Centre but we'd expect him to keep on cruising as usual.


Adding both Price and Tulowitzki is one of the most impactful deadline upgrades you'll ever see, and the Blue Jays now must hope that it pays off because they gave up a whole lot of young talent to get it done. Among the high-end prospects departing in these trades were pitchers Daniel Norris, Matt Boyd, Jairo Labourt, Jeff Hoffman and Miguel Castro.


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* The overlooked offshoot off all this wheeling and dealing is that Reyes ended up in Colorado. Although that doesn't make a whole lot of sense in terms of where the Rockies are at, it could give the veteran shortstop a nice fantasy boost. Reyes was slugging just .385 with four home runs in the first four months with the Jays, but figures to benefit in those categories from playing at Coors.


* The Blue Jays made one more move to bolster their lineup, bringing in Ben Revere from Philadelphia to make up for some of the speed they lost with Reyes' departure. It sounds like Revere will start out hitting near the bottom of the order, but he seemingly has a chance to move to the top since Toronto lacks a prototypical leadoff hitter. He'd have considerable value batting in front of those big boppers.


* The Royals, running away with the AL Central, made their own massive upgrades this week, first acquiring Johnny Cueto from the Reds and then adding Ben Zobrist from the Athletics. With Yordano Ventura scuffling, Kansas City was badly in need of an ace and they got one; Cueto has the best ERA in baseball outside of Clayton Kershaw dating back to 2011. Zobrist should benefit from the move away from Oakland's Coliseum, where his OPS was almost 100 points lower than on the road. It will be interesting to see if he runs more under Ned Yost's aggressive system. Zobrist has notched double-digit steals in each of the last six seasons but was just 1-for-2 with the A's this year.


* Price and Cueto weren't the only top-tier starters moved this week. Cole Hamels is now a Ranger, with Texas shipping a hefty package of young players headlined by Matt Harrison to Philadelphia in order to land him. The Rangers are fringe contenders this year, but they'll control Hamels for the next three seasons and can pair him with Yu Darvish as a potent one-two punch at the front of their rotation going forward.


* The Nationals, needing another power arm at the back end of their bullpen, went and got Jonathan Papelbon from the Phillies. It's great news for Pap's owners, as he will have far more opportunities for saves in Washington. However, it's very unfortunate news for Drew Storen and his fantasy owners. The righty has been excellent in the closer role for the Nats, but now gets bumped to eighth-inning duties with Papelbon taking over the ninth.


* The Mets reportedly came very close to completing a deal for Carlos Gomez, but it fell apart with rumors circulating that New York had concerns about the condition of Gomez's hip. Evidently the Astros had no such concerns, because they swooped in and grabbed Gomez, as well as right-hander Mike Fiers, in exchange for a prospect package.


* After missing out on Gomez, the Mets did finally make the big offensive addition they sorely needed, trading with the Tigers to get Yoenis Cespedes on the brink of Friday's deadline. Cespedes is having a heck of a year and has been on a tear lately, with eight home runs in his last 21 games. He'll be a revelation for a Mets lineup that ranks last in the majors in OPS.  


* With 40-year-old Tim Hudson failing to impress, the Giants went and got Mike Leake from the Reds to round out their rotation. Leake went 4-1 with a 1.25 ERA in July and ought to benefit from the move away from Great American Ballpark, where he has struggled this year.


* I'm not even going to attempt to dissect the jumbled 13-player, three-team deal involving the Dodgers, Braves and Marlins. The key takeaway is that Los Angeles upgraded its rotation substantially by bringing on Mat Latos and Alex Wood. They also received a nice bullpen infusion with Jim Johnson and Luis Avilan joining the mix.


* The Pirates got some much-needed relief help with the addition of Joakim Soria, who will slot into the eighth inning. It's a tough break for fantasy owners that were banking on his saves, but the move was expected with Detroit shifting into full "seller" mode.


* Although they don't fall in the "blockbuster" category, the Angels made three nifty moves to improve their outfield depth, acquiring Shane Victorino, David Murphy and David DeJesus in three separate deals. None are expected to be full-time players at any particular position, but they should each fill valuable roles.


* The Yankees made a sneaky little move by picking up Dustin Ackley from the Mariners. It's not clear whether they plan to use him in the outfield or as a replacement for Stephen Drew at second base but either way, Ackley figures to play, and he gains immediate deep-league intrigue with the move to a hitter-friendly park and superior lineup.


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* After adding Steve Cishek to their bullpen last week, the Cardinals further supplemented that unit by snagging righty Jonathan Broxton from the Brewers. The Cards also picked up Brandon Moss to provide depth at first base and the outfield, where injuries to Matt Adams and Matt Holliday have thinned them out. Moss certainly has some offensive ability but was batting just .215 in Cleveland this year, and St. Louis paid a fairly steep price to get him in the form of promising pitching prospect Rob Kaminsky.


* The Cubs, just a game behind San Francisco for the second wild-card spot in the NL, acquired Dan Haren from the Marlins. Even with his velocity continuing to decline, it's been a nice rebound year for the 34-year-old Haren, who has turned in four quality starts in his last five turns. 


* On to some non-trade news: Henderson Alvarez will miss the rest of the season due to shoulder surgery. His long-term outlook is in doubt, because he's had shoulder issues for a while and they can be tricky to conquer even after going under the knife. Alvarez posted a 2.98 ERA over the past two seasons with Miami.


* Uh-oh: Michael Pineda was scratched from his Thursday start for the Yankees and immediately placed on the disabled list. The bad news is that it's forearm soreness, which can be very problematic for pitchers and sometimes leads to Tommy John surgery. The good news is that his Grade 1 strain diagnosis is the same one Yanks closer Andrew Miller received earlier this year. Miller missed a month but returned and picked up right where he left off.


* The Royals designated Joe Blanton for assignment to make room for Cueto, but quickly hammered out a deal to send the righty to the Pirates. Blanton has been very solid this year, with a 40-to-7 K/BB ratio in 41 innings, and he'll continue to function as a swingman in Pittsburgh.


* Is Justin Verlander back? He had been alternating between great and awful starts since joining the Tigers rotation, but delivered his best start since 2013 on Wednesday with eight innings of one-run ball against the Rays. Mixing in his off-speed pitches far more effectively, Verlander racked up 10 strikeouts with no walks. He's a very interesting two-start option in the week ahead.

Nick Nelson

Nick Nelson is a frequent contributor to NBC Sports Edge's baseball coverage and regularly blogs about the Minnesota Twins at Twins Daily. Follow him on Twitter @NickNelsonMN.