Where’s the AL-only windfall?

With less than 24 hours remaining before the expiration of the non-waiver trade deadline, things are looking pretty dire for AL-only owners that hoarded their FAAB dollars in the hopes of getting a big windfall. Correct me if I missed anyone significant, but here’s the grand, overwhelming list of major league players that have come over to the AL

  • Brad Hand
  • Jeurys Familia
  • Brett Phillips
  • Brian Goodwin
  • Adam Cimber

Virtually every significant cross-league trade has involved a player going over to the NL. Hoarding FAAB is a strategy I typically eschew anyhow, but this year seems particularly vexing for those employing that tactic.

One of the big problems is that there are only six AL teams that are contending any longer. I think we can safely rule out the Angels at this point – not that nine games out of the wild card can’t be overcome, but (a) it’s extremely unlikely, and (b) they’re not behaving as a contender, trading away their starting catcher. Martin Maldonado might be underwhelming and they just got a massive weekend from Francisco Arcia, but I’m pretty sure trading Maldonado to clear room for a 12-year minor league veteran was not part of a master plan to contend.

And it only gets worse beyond the Angels. The next two plausible teams are the Rays and Blue Jays, and they just traded away starting pitchers in J.A. Happ and Nathan Eovaldi – to their top division rivals in the Yankees and Red Sox respectively. It’s possible that either team could land someone significant as part of a bigger deal – the Rays in particular if they deal Chris Archer, as rumored.

But the other big problem is that even when the AL contenders have added players, it’s often been from other AL bottom-dwelling teams. Besides Happ and Eovaldi, the Astros dealt for a closer … the Blue Jays’ Roberto Osuna (who I *keep* wanting to call Antonio – though that’s the least of his problems). They also added a set-up guy – Ryan Presley, from the Twins. Hey, the Yankees got another starter! Oh, never mind, it’s Lance Lynn, who has the double-whammy effect of being from the Twins and being a painful-to-watch nibbler. A change of scenery might help, but it’s hard to imagine him providing much of a boost if your AL home league owner of Lynn dropped him.

Meanwhile, more interesting talent has gone over to the NL from the AL. As Joe Sheehan detailed in a recent Newsletter (subscribe!), the NL playoff races are a lot more interesting. There are basically 10 teams still alive in the race, though if recent rumors of the Nats making Bryce Harper available are true, that number has been cut down by one. The NL has received Manny Machado, Mike Moustakas, Eduardo Escobar, Cole Hamels, among others, and the Padres’ closer job has opened up for Kirby Yates.

I always root for chaos at the trade deadline. More trades, more jobs opening up from vacancies created by trades, etc… We really need Harper to get moved, though I’m seeing the Nationals tomorrow night, which is bad luck for me. At least I’ll get to see Juan Soto – if he homers in person for me, I *might* move him ahead of Mario on my All-Time Soto rankings. And yes, I did just gratuitously link to one of my favorite all-time tweets, thank you very much.

I get an idea that trades are going to start coming fast-and-furious – so much that by the time I post this my blog will be obsolete. In fact, my Reds did just make a trade. However, it’s not Matt Harvey (though that could still happen), but instead Adam Duvall. Naturally, he’s going to another NL team, the Braves. I like the Reds’ return of Lucas Sims, Matt Wisler and Preston Tucker. Tucker is going to play right away, so there’s one bit of windfall, but again for NL owners.

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Here’s hoping that one AL team lands a blue chip player. Maybe the Yankees will have another big injury to go along with the Aaron Judge news, giving them some sense of urgency. Let’s go – Harper to the Yankees! Also – go pick up Victor Robles now if you have the spot. He’s going to be ready very soon, and he was an inner-circle top prospect in baseball before his injury in April.