Oakland general manager Billy Beane acted boldly, trading top prospect Addison Russell in a deal that brought starters Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Athletics.
Then it was Jerry Dipoto's turn. The GM of the Los Angeles Angels acquired closer Huston Street on Friday night, giving his team another option in the late innings and adding more intrigue to an already-spirited AL West race. The A's have baseball's best record, but the Angels are only 1 1/2 games behind, and both teams have aggressively improved themselves with major trades since the beginning of July.
That's just the beginning, of course. With the trade deadline coming up at the end of the month, several big names could be on the verge of switching teams during what is annually one of baseball's most compelling stretches of the season.
The A's and Angels have already made big moves. Here are five more ways the trade deadline could affect this year's postseason races:
DETROIT'S BULLPEN: Joe Nathan is still testing the Tigers' patience with a 6.06 ERA, and whether he holds onto the closer role or not, Detroit's relief corps could use a boost. Street has been traded to the Angels, but Philadelphia's Jonathan Papelbon is still out there — and having a fine season.
Trading for Papelbon would be a fairly audacious move for a Detroit team that spent so much to bring Nathan in last offseason. Joakim Soria of Texas is another relief alternative who could fit in well with the Tigers — and perhaps a more realistic target.
ROTATION HELP: The New York Yankees are barely above .500, but they trail first-place Baltimore by only three games in the tight AL East. With CC Sabathia out for the season and Masahiro Tanaka dealing with an elbow injury, the starting rotation is an obvious area of concern.
Philadelphia's Cliff Lee is set to come back from a strained left elbow and could be dealt shortly thereafter. Tampa Bay's David Price is having another impressive season, but the Rays are playing much better of late and now trail the Orioles by only 7 1/2 games. Does that mean they could hold onto their ace and try to make a postseason push of their own?
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