After 18 trades on deadline day, baseball probably deserves a chance to take a deep breath.
That calm period may not last for long.
Teams had until 4 p.m. EDT on Monday to make trades without waivers, and it was the busiest deadline day since at least 1995, according to Major League Baseball. In a sense, the deadline marks the unofficial start of each season’s pennant races. From now on, it’s hard for any team to make a major move, so the contenders will have to hope the rosters they have are good enough.
Some of the biggest trades were made by teams already in first place, like Texas, Cleveland and San Francisco. But the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets, who are trying to come from behind in their divisions, were also active.
Now the focus turns to the aftermath — and how all these moves will affect the postseason chase.
Here are a few things to watch as the dust settles following Monday’s deadline:
GOING FOR IT
This year’s biggest buyers were the Texas Rangers, who have the American League’s best record and added two of the top prizes on the trade market. The Rangers acquired catcher Jonathan Lucroy from Milwaukee and outfielder Carlos Beltran from the New York Yankees.
Texas also got Brewers closer Jeremy Jeffress. The Rangers had to send two former first-round draft picks to Milwaukee, but with Houston within striking distance in the AL West, Texas decided to be aggressive.
The Astros were 10 games behind Texas on July 29, but the deficit is now 5 1/2 games. Houston had a fairly quiet trade deadline and will now have to try to chase down the revamped Rangers.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are two games behind San Francisco in the NL West, but they added left-hander Rich Hill and outfielder Josh Reddick in a deal with Oakland. The Giants weren’t about to stand pat, acquiring left-hander Matt Moore from Tampa Bay.
The Dodgers still have their share of drama hanging over them in the form of Clayton Kershaw’s injury problems and Yasiel Puig’s situation, but Hill and Reddick will have a chance to give them a boost.
SHUFFLING THE STAFF
Aaron Sanchez is 11-1 with a 2.71 ERA for Toronto, but the 24-year-old righty has already surpassed his previous high in innings. That means the Blue Jays are set to move him to the bullpen, a decision that may not be popular with everyone in Canada. The team feels it’s the best way to enable him to keep contributing this year.
The Blue Jays acquired left-hander Francisco Liriano. He may help the Toronto rotation withstand the loss of Sanchez — but only if he improves on the 5.46 ERA he posted in 21 starts with Pittsburgh this season.
The New York Mets added another power hitter to their lineup when they acquired Jay Bruce from Cincinnati, but now they have four outfielders who can start. With Bruce and Yoenis Cespedes figuring to be in the middle of the lineup, either Curtis Granderson or Michael Conforto could end up as the odd man out. Both bat left-handed.
ONE IS ENOUGH?
Cleveland’s attempt to acquire Lucroy fell apart when he refused to waive the no-trade provision in his contract, but the Indians did make one major move, adding reliever Andrew Miller in a deal with the Yankees. Will that be enough for them to hold on in the AL Central?
Nobody else in the division made any significant additions. After years of being active around the deadline, Detroit didn’t make any trades this time, although the Tigers can look forward to getting Jordan Zimmermann and J.D. Martinez back from injuries.
Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtrister