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Acquired RHP J.J. Hoover in exchange for a 2018 third-round pick [7/6]

Usually these deals are made closer to the trading deadline, but Hoover was likely to be a mildly hot commodity come the end of the month and the Orioles had seen enough of their seventh-inning leads blown this season. (They lead the majors with six.) The end-game combination of Zach Britton and Dylan Bundy has been as good as advertised, but given the pedestrian rotation (outside of Kevin Gausman), Buck Showalter needed a third option who didn't make him want to drink immediately, and stretching Bundy out for a 100-inning relief workload might do irreparable damage to his shoulder. Hoover is plenty good enough to play that role, as he's accustomed to pitching in a bandbox and he's posted an ERA+ of at least 110 in each season if his career, except for his rough 2014. Plus, his relatively even career splits (.635 OPS versus right-handers and .621 versus lefties) makes Showalter's job of deploying him even easier.

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Acquired LHP Jose Quintana from the White Sox in exchange for 2B-L Carlos Asuaje and RHP Christopher Acosta; optioned RHP Pat Light to Triple-A Pawtucket [7/7]

It hasn't been that long since the Red Sox tried to accumulate an army of third starters. Of course, some of that has been forgotten forgiven due to their surprising 2016 season that saw them fall just one game short of getting to the World Series, though, with the $50 million or so remaining on Rick Porcello's contract, maybe all isn't quite water under the bridge. With similar October aspirations this year, the Red Sox are going back to that well, but this time, it's to serve as their actual third starter behind David Price and Eduardo Rodriguez. Beyond that, Quintana is someone else's problem/solution, as he marches into free agency at season's end.

Quintana continues to be one of the most underrated starting pitchers in baseball, but he should not be mistaken for a savior. He's survived pitching at U.S. Cellular over the last five and a half years as a durable and consistently above-average starting pitcher. He's thrown at least 200 innings in each of the last four seasons, registering a career-high 213 in 2016, though he won't get to that number this year after missing May with "mild" shoulder inflammation. On top of that, his DRA/cFIP numbers make him look slightly better, mostly due to the below-average framing of Carlos Ruiz. The back end of the Boston rotation hasn't been all that terrible this year, but the added benefit of Quintana being a potential playoff starter, rather than seeing Hisashi Iwakuma or Brian Johnson out there, makes this even more of an upgrade.

With just two and a half games separating Boston from the suddenly vulnerable Blue Jays in the American League East race, and their playoff odds ticking up toward 40 percent, the 1.5 WARP that Quintana is projected for over the remainder of the season could mean all the difference for a team that, despite only sporadic playoff success, has spent the majority of this decade as a disappointment in the eyes of projection systems and Red Sox fans alike.

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Acquired 2B-L Carlos Asuaje and RHP Christopher Acosta from the Red Sox in exchange for LHP Jose Quintana; optioned Asuaje to Triple-A Charlotte [7/7]

If the White Sox were on the fence about extending Quintana a qualified offer at the end of the year, which they were rumored to be, they are no longer burdened with the weight of that decision. Of course, it's a different thought process now that the free-agent-compensation structure has changed again; with teams no longer losing picks for signing free agents who turn down a QO, the markets have opened back up again. Maybe the shoulder inflammation that Quintana suffered in May is more of an issue for the White Sox than they're leading on, which is why they didn't want to hold out until later in July for a slightly better return. Then again, the two prospects coming back should help their consistently middle-of-the-pack farm system.

The big prize here for Chicago is Acosta, who signed for $1.5 million out of the Dominican Republic back in July 2014. During his stateside debut in 2016, he showed off an uptick in velocity and paired it with a changeup that easily flashed plus, though the results were inconsistent. They've remained so this year, as the Red Sox gave the 19-year-old a pretty aggressive assignment to Low-A, but the high-three upside is noticeable. The curve has lagged behind his change during the developmental process thus far, to the point where the Red Sox were reportedly having him tinker with a slider instead. Regardless of where the breaker ends up, Acosta can be a mid-rotation starter even if it's just average due to his potential plus command.

On the other hand, the White Sox will hope that Asuaje turns into the player Carlos Sanchez couldn't: a potential second-division infielder with a utility floor. He's remained mostly at second base over his minor-league career, including his 45-game major-league sample last year while filling in during yet another Dustin Pedroia injury. He's put in enough concentrated work at the keystone to bring his defense up to slightly above average. He has fringy speed and even less power, but the draw is a solidly average hit tool that plays up due to his approach. White Sox fans will love him, as there was no way Asuaje could have competed with Brock Holt's hair among the Boston faithful.

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Signed RHP Ernesto Frieri to a minor-league contract [7/5]

You know when you step on a spider and you're pretty sure it's dead, so you go to the counter to get a paper towel and clean it up, but when you get back it's still limping along just trying with all its might to avoid its fate? Well, in this analogy, Frieri's gopheritis is the foot. Fortunately for him, despite spending the vast majority of 2016 struggling in Durham, he's finally got another shot at a major-league job due to the Cubs' never-ending search for a bullpen worthy of the offense they've assembled. This won't help, even if he does somehow find his way off the kitchen floor and onto Wrigley Field.

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Acquired a 2018 third-round pick from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for RHP J.J. Hoover [7/6]

We've had teams dealing draft picks for nearly a month under the new CBA's rules; this is the third deal to include a pick that was not previously eligible to be swapped. With such a small sample, we've yet to learn a ton about how teams value their picks, especially given the complicating factor of the transition toward the international draft, but we're starting to see glimpses.

We don't quite know the exchange rate, as it were, from old draft picks to new. If we figure this third-rounder will be around the 100th overall selection, we can guess at the number of players who will be in the 2018 pool that would not have been in the previous iterations, but it's hard to know how many international players will go in the first 100 picks. Ten? Thirty? It's difficult to visualize the 100th-overall player in the draft if we can't even understand the distribution of international picks.

All this just as we were starting to get the hang of valuing competitive-balance picks.

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Acquired OF-R Champ Stuart from the New York Mets in exchange for UT-R Skip Schumaker [7/5]

Getting anything of value for Schumaker, who continues to hang around as a 25th man, is a success for Jeff Bridich and company; Stuart actually qualifies as something. The plus-plus runner has completely stalled out with the bat, but he can still provide value as a pinch-runner and defensive specialist, along the lines of a poor man's Jarrod Dyson. However, if he gets more than about 100 at-bats in Colorado over the course of a full season, it means things have gone terribly wrong. In the end, the lack of development in his hit tool is likely just comeuppance for not going by his given name, Jervis.

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Acquired UT-L Skip Schumaker from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for OF-R Champ Stuart; recalled IF-R Matt Reynolds from Triple-A Las Vegas; designated SS-R Ruben Tejada for assignment [7/5]

Schumaker looked like he had finally crossed the end of the line in late 2015, but a key role on the surprising Indians last year (accompanied by his heroics in Game Four of the ALCS) landed him another one-year deal with the Rockies this offseason. It doesn't hurt his marketability that Schumaker put up a Coors-inflated .303/.343/.434 line in his 99 at-bats so far this season. The Mets will look to him for depth on a team that has continually been unable to shake the injury bug with its position players. Look for Schumaker to pick up the occasional start at second base and left field over the final months of the season and then reprise his role from last postseason in October if the Mets are able to outlast the other flawed teams in the NL East.

After the season Tejada had in 2016 as the Mets' primary shortstop, some of the more optimistic in Queens were hoping he'd keep it going long enough for the Mets to offer the 27-year-old a qualifying offer. Of course, those hopes, driven by the improvement he represented over Wilmer Flores on defense, were unrealistic from the start: He's been roughly league average over the last two and a half seasons. It would have taken a large step forward from his career-best .276 TAv in 2016 to even warrant the discussion; instead the conversation has shifted to what sort of pittance the Mets can get for him after he lost his 40-man spot.

It's only fitting that this is what sparks the first major-league opportunity for Matt Reynolds, who has stalled out at Triple-A in recent years and missed out on his cup of coffee last year (his first year after being added to the 40-man) due to the high ankle sprain he suffered in August. However, it's been more than a year since even the most fervent Reynolds supporters on #MetsTwitter have thrown their weight behind him, so this serves as a nice story and an excuse to fly the family in from Oklahoma rather than a meaningful contribution to the active roster. He should be back in Triple-A once Michael Conforto returns from his strained hamstring in a week or two.