Regardless of the glut of teams in contention for at least a Wild Card spot, the non-waiver Trade Deadline period was an active one. And as teams continue to evaluate their positions by the day, and injuries or other unforeseen circumstances arise, there will be other opportunities to improve or address a club before the season's end.
Here are seven clubs who could make an August move.
They were suspiciously quiet at this Deadline, particularly in light of the upgrades made by the Blue Jays and Orioles (Toronto, especially) and, of course, the injury that yanked Michael Pineda out of an already wobbly rotation. Rather than make a splash or even a small external upgrade at the Deadline, the Yankees announced that they're calling up hot prospect Luis Severino, who has been mowing down hitters at Triple-A, to take Pineda's spot in the rotation. If they get into a spot where they need to more closely guard Severino's innings, perhaps they put him in the 'pen and move Adam Warren back to the starting five.
But let's obviously not rule out the possibility of the Yanks finding that external solution sometime between now and Sept. 1. For one, they've got the financial wherewithal to take on the kind of contracts that often go unclaimed in this period (perhaps a C.J. Wilson or a James Shields). Or maybe a short-term asset such as Yovani Gallardo or ol' friend Ian Kennedy wiggles through the waiver period.
Whatever the case, the AL East leaders will continue to be a fascinating team to monitor, even after their quiet July on the trade front.
Well, like we all expected, the Padres added at the Deadline.
All right, so the addition -- left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski -- wasn't some major splash. But still, the lead-up to the close of non-waiver business had us believing there would be a mass exodus from San Diego -- a reverse of the wild winter that marked general manager A.J. Preller's first few months at the helm. In the end, Preller basically stood pat, despite the Padres sitting 7 1/2 back of an NL Wild card spot and eight back in the division when the 4 p.m. Deadline hit. It was a surprise, to say the least, especially with the Padres holding Justin Upton, Joaquin Benoit, Will Venable and Ian Kennedy -- all guys approaching free agency.
So we'll see what happens as the Padres let it ride. Maybe they continue to step back in the standings, but Upton, who has had a sagging bat and a sore oblique, catches fire, re-establishing his value as a possible rental pickup in the waiver period. Maybe a contender gets desperate in the rotation or bullpen and comes after Kennedy or Benoit.
Maybe somebody steps up and claims that costly Shields contract (roughly $66 million through 2018, with a $16 million option or $2 million buyout for '19), and the Padres view it as an opportunity to free up some finances long-term.
Or maybe Preller, who placed some big gambles on this club already, keeps letting it ride.
With 2015 looking lost, the Red Sox's only addition on Deadline day was right-handed reliever Ryan Cook, whom they view as a bounceback candidate that could help them next year. As far as outgoing assets are concerned, the Red Sox were sort of stuck between a rock and a hard place with some of their cumbersome contracts and ultimately did nothing.
That could change in August, because the Red Sox have a handful of waiver candidates. Mike Napoli, who is still owed more than $5 million this year, and Justin Masterson, who is still owed more than $3 million, are the two most obvious ones. The Red Sox would let either walk if a club claimed those salaries. Other waiver candidates include Alejandro De Aza and Craig Breslow, two other pending free agents.
And just because this is the Red Sox we're talking about -- and we all remember what happened in August 2012 -- let's just throw it out there: If somebody wanted to step up and take on the Pablo Sandoval or Hanley Ramirez contracts, Boston would probably be willing to listen, at the very least.
They did great work in the lead-up to Deadline day, winning seven of eight to resuscitate their season in a watered-down AL Wild Card race. Not bad for a club that had the Majors' worst record as recently as June 29.
Now things get interesting, because if the White Sox are able to continue their hot stretch, you could see vice president and general manager Rick Hahn perhaps adding another offensive piece to this club's stable. (The team explored the possibilities of Yoenis Cespedes and Upton leading up to the Deadline, but ultimately didn't want to go all-in on a rental.)
Or, hey, maybe things take another downturn, and the Sox expose Jeff Samardzija to waivers. He'd surely get claimed by a Wild Card contender, as the waiver pecking order goes in the reverse order of the standings, and the Sox can try to work out a trade that is more valuable to them than a compensation Draft pick after the first round next summer -- unless, of course, they have reason to believe they can sign Samardzija this offseason.
So, options abound on the South Side. But they're in a better spot than they were a few weeks back, when dealing the Shark felt like a foregone conclusion.
Nobody throws money around like the Los Angeles Dodgers right now, so we can't rule out the possibility of them taking on a big contract by month's end, if it somehow suits their playoff push.
Though fans and many in the media were undoubtedly surprised at the lack of bold strikes (a la Cole Hamels or David Price) in July, Andrew Friedman and Co. went about the process of upgrading this club for the short- and long-term in more creative ways, throwing caution to the wind with regard to finances in the acquisition of talent (Mat Latos for the short-term, Alex Wood for the short- and long-term and Jose Peraza for the long-term).
Is Friedman finished? Maybe, maybe not. Though doubtful at the moment, another move to improve the injury-depleted rotation can't be totally ruled out.
The full-on rebuild signaled by the Troy Tulowitzki trade is clearly not complete. They still have to decide what to do with Carlos Gonzalez, who is due to make $37 million total in 2016-17. He's been swinging a red-hot bat of late to improve his trade stock, and his colossal contract makes him a candidate to be moved this month.
The caveat, of course, is that the team claiming CarGo would have to match up with what the Rockies are looking for in the return, and the complication of that process is evidenced by the fact that he remained a member of the Rox through July 31. Again, though, you never know what can happen in the dog days of August.
Everything said about the Rockies applies here. The Reds' rebuild is underway, and that's why there was so much (ultimately unfruitful) discussion about Jay Bruce and Aroldis Chapman in the days before the Deadline.
As with CarGo, though, you can expect both guys to be claimed on waivers, so it would take the perfect alignment of trading partners to make this work. One way or another, it's clear the Reds have a lot of big decisions ahead of them, now that four-fifths of their rotation -- Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, Latos and Alfredo Simon -- has been dealt away since December and the system has a need for more young talent.