As the Yankees and Mets made their own moves to bolster their rosters ahead of Friday’s MLB trade deadline, their respective roads to a playoff spot only got more challenging.
While the Yankees added Joey Gallo, Anthony Rizzo and Andrew Heaney and the Mets landed Javier Baez, their rivals hardly just stood pat.
The Blue Jays, who entered Friday trailing the Yankees by one game in both the AL East and AL wild card race, made one of the biggest splashes of the day by acquiring Twins right-hander Jose Berrios. The best pitcher not named Max Scherzer to be dealt, Berrios (3.48 ERA) will fortify a Blue Jays rotation alongside Hyun Jin Ryu and Robbie Ray. Berrios is under control through 2022 and the price showed, with the Blue Jays having to give up a pair of top-100 prospects.
Toronto also shored up its bullpen, acquiring veteran reliever Joakim Soria from the Diamondbacks a day after adding Nationals closer Brad Hand.
The Athletics, who owned the AL’s second wild card spot and led the Yankees by 3 ½ games entering Friday, improved their depth by getting in on the Nationals’ fire sale — acquiring two veterans, infielder Josh Harrison and catcher Yan Gomes, for a trio of prospects. Oakland had previously traded for Marlins center fielder Starling Marte earlier in the week.
The AL East-leading Red Sox, after adding a big bat in Kyle Schwarber on Thursday, made minor moves Friday to acquire relievers Hansel Robles from the Twins and Austin Davis from the Pirates.
The Mets’ road to the NL East title, meanwhile, got tougher. Though the Nationals were huge sellers and the last-place Marlins also traded valuable pieces, the Braves and the Phillies added to make a run at the Mets.
The Braves, fresh off taking three of five games against the Mets earlier this week at Citi Field to inch within four games back, remade their outfield to help make up for the loss of Ronald Acuña Jr. After trading for Joc Pederson earlier this month, the Braves on Friday acquired Eddie Rosario from the Indians, Adam Duvall from the Marlins and Jorge Soler from the Royals.
Atlanta also strengthened the back end of its bullpen, trading for Pirates closer Richard Rodriguez.
The Phillies, who trailed the Mets by only 3 ½ games at the deadline, improved its rotation and bullpen in one big move. They traded for All-Star right-hander Kyle Gibson and closer Ian Kennedy from the Rangers for a package headlined by Spencer Howard, a 25-year-old right-hander who entered the season as the No. 42 prospect in baseball, per MLB.com.
Elsewhere on Friday:
The White Sox, who already have one of the top closers in Liam Hendriks, further bolstered their late-inning bullpen options by making a crosstown trade for Craig Kimbrel. The closer is having a throwback season with 23 saves and a 0.49 ERA, but was part of the Cubs’ teardown, netting them second baseman Nick Madrigal and reliever Codi Heuer.
The Giants, the surprise leaders of the NL West with the Dodgers and Padres close behind, added some star power by trading a pair of prospects for Kris Bryant. The Cubs third baseman/outfielder was a potential fit for the Mets, but instead will take his .267 batting average and .861 OPS to the Bay Area.