It’s hard to say what the New York Yankees are happier about these days – Taking over the first place in the AL East again, or having a terrific trade deadline (on paper), especially compared to the Boston Red Sox.
The Yankees have won 10 of their last 13 games to take a small lead over the Red Sox in the division, and they seem to be heading into the final two months of the season with plenty of momentum and reasons to feel confident.
Their most recent move was the acquisition of Sonny Gray, which doesn’t just give them a terrific, borderline ace starter to add to the rotation, but also someone they control for two more years which means their potential rotation problems in 2018 due to departures suddenly don’t seem so bad. Now the Yankees have a rotation that includes Luis Severino, Gray, Masahiro Tanaka, C.C. Sabathia and Jaime Garcia.
Garcia is another summer acquisition, coming from the Minnesota Twins. He’s not playing the best baseball of his career and is a free agent at the end of the season, but he’s a good pickup to solidify the end of the rotation, and make sure that an injury to one of their key guys doesn’t destroy everything they’ve worked for. The Yankees have a lot of power in their bullpen (which seems to be doing better) and in their lineup (2nd most runs in the league). Now, their rotation looks deep and fearsome. The Yankees added Todd Frazier, Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson as well, sensing they have a shot at doing something special this season.
The Red Sox have been slipping. They haven’t won two games in a row in almost two weeks, and a four-game losing streak split between series against the Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Angels helped take the division lead away from them.
When we looked at both teams before the season began, it looked like the Red Sox were built to win now, in 2017, while the Yankees had a bit of growing up to do before their bright future materialized. However, the Red Sox spent so much of their prospect cash on acquiring talent to take over their division that they left nothing for a rainy day, in case they weren’t as good as projected.
And they aren’t. While they might still be, on paper, the most talented team in the division, the Yankees have closed that gap quickly. The Red Sox had nothing in terms of coin to trade with, so all they managed to do is add Addison Reed to the bullpen. Not bad, but possibly not enough. Last season they were more aggressive in acquiring talent to fend off the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays. With an offense that’s struggling (7th in the American League in runs scored), they needed more than minor bullpen help.