Duquette: Three biggest Deadline winners
While the actual Deadline day didn't feature many high-profile moves, the last week has been filled with them. Now that the dust has settled, here are the three clubs that I think improved the most as a result of Trade Deadline deals.
They are the clear the winner at the Deadline. Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos pushed all of his trade chips to the front in acquiring five players, headlined by starter David Price and All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Price becomes the ace of a pitching staff that has ranked toward the bottom in the American League in ERA, while Tulo improves an already deep Blue Jays lineup and upgrades their infield defense.
Outfielder Ben Revere gives the Jays a true leadoff hitter and stolen-base threat, while relievers LaTroy Hawkins and Mark Lowe add major bullpen leadership.
Simply put: This is a much deeper and more dynamic team than it was a week ago, which now appears on course for a Wild Card spot and could even challenge the Yankees for the AL East crown.
The acquisitions of right-hander Johnny Cueto and two-time All-Star Ben Zobrist make the Royals -- already a good bet to go back to the World Series -- even better. If there were one criticism you could make of this year's Royals, it was that they lacked a true ace, and Cueto fills that void. He instantly takes the place of the injured Jason Vargas in the rotation and becomes Kansas City's No. 1 starter, while taking the pressure off of youngsters Yordano Ventura and Danny Duffy.
Zobrist will fill in for the injured Alex Gordon in left field and hit in the middle of the lineup, and then will become a super-utility player when Gordon returns -- making the Royals one of the elite teams in the AL.
General manager Jeff Luhnow traded for three significant pieces and positioned Houston as the front-runner for its first AL West title. Lefty Scott Kazmir and right-hander Mike Fiers are big upgrades for a rotation that also features All-Star starter Dallas Keuchel, the underrated Collin McHugh and rookie Lance McCullers.
Gold Glove center fielder Carlos Gomez becomes an important piece at the top of the Astros' lineup and also adds needed depth with George Springer on the disabled list and Jake Marisnick and Colby Rasmus both struggling at the plate.