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American League

National League

DETROIT TIGERS
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Acquired LHP Randy Wolf from the Blue Jays in exchange for cash considerations. [8/20]

Is it worse that the Tigers needed Wolf, or that they had to give up something to get him? Anibal Sanchez and Daniel Norris are on the disabled list; Shane Greene is having his own health problems; Kyle Lobstein struggled in his most recent rehab outing; and Kyle Ryan is Kyle Ryan. Shy of resorting to a bullpen game (never an advisable strategy for Detroit) or rushing Luis Cessa or Michael Fulmer to the majors, the Tigers didn’t have many internal choices. Hence Wolf.

Realistically, this could be Wolf’s final big-league stint. Now 39, he had spent the season in the minors, where he pitched well, just not with the kind of stuff that normally works in the majors, including that slow, looping curve. Perhaps Wolf hangs around for another season, but odds are he’ll pass on potentially celebrating his 40th birthday on a Triple-A bus. The Tigers just hope he can gnaw on some innings and buy time for their younger pitchers before he submits his retirement papers. —R.J. Anderson

MINNESOTA TWINS
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Acquired LHP Neal Cotts from the Brewers in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations. [8/21]

Sure, why not? The Twins have faded recently, but technically remain in the race, meaning small upgrades still matter. Besides, Cotts will provide insight to Paul Molitor‘s thinking on platoon splits and sample sizes. If Molitor focuses on this season alone, he’ll use Cotts as a LOOGY; if Molitor instead defers to the larger body of work, or to career numbers, then Cotts will be used against righties at least as often as lefties. Either way, Cotts’ biggest problem with the Brewers was avoiding the long ball. Presuming a move to Minnesota helps curb that issue, he ought to be a cheap, worthwhile get for the Twins. —R.J. Anderson

TAMPA BAY RAYS
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Recalled LHP Enny Romero from Triple-A Durham; placed LHP Jake McGee on the 15-day disabled list (knee surgery). [8/20]

McGee’s absence for the remainder of the season means an already weak Rays’ bullpen will require new faces in unfamiliar places. While Alex Colome is more likely to take on high-leverage work, Romero becomes Kevin Cash‘s only power lefty. In his first season as a reliever, he’s shown an upper-90s fastball that has some tailing action. Unfortunately, his command has always been problematic, and he doesn’t have a consistently above-average pitch. Should Romero make gains in those areas, he has a real chance to become an end-game fixture. For now, the Rays figure to use him as a long man. —R.J. Anderson

CINCINNATI REDS
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Acquired RHP Stephen Johnson from the Giants in exchange for OF-R Marlon Byrd. [8/20]

Johnson gained some top-100 talk coming out of the 2012 draft, but concerns about his delivery and secondary offerings saw the right-hander from St. Edward’s University in Texas fall to the sixth round. He has an elite fastball, occasionally touching the high 90s and sitting 94-96. He’ll also show a power curve that isn’t often in the strike zone, but the spin and late break keep hitters off balance and make it a swing-and-miss pitch. Unless he can learn to limit the walks, he likely won’t be much more than a middle reliever. —Christopher Crawford

MIAMI MARLINS
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Purchased the contract of RHP Scott McGough from Triple-A New Orleans; optioned C-S Tomas Telis to Triple-A New Orleans. [8/20]

The smaller piece of the Hanley Ramirez payout—literally and figuratively—McGough’s arrival took longer than anticipated after he missed 2014 following Tommy John surgery. The Marlins wasted no time returning McGough to the fast track once he returned, promoting him to the majors following 32 minor-league innings. The hope has always been that he’d find enough consistency with his command and secondaries to maximize the effectiveness of his mid-90s fastball. The upshot here is a seventh-inning arm, but it’s more likely he’ll settle into a middle-relief role. —R.J. Anderson

PITTSBURGH PIRATES
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Signed OF-L Travis Snider to a minor-league deal. [8/19]

Perhaps Snider just missed Pittsburgh? Traded to Baltimore following a seeming breakout effort, Snider’s numbers have looked more like, well, his old set. Truthfully, he had an okay season going until a 3-for-36, zero-extra-base-hit stretch that dropped his OPS from .734 to .659. The Pirates will try to get Snider straightened out—again—with the premise that he could provide value during the final few weeks as a left-handed pinch-hit option. He has a season of team control remaining, so this could be a relationship that extends into 2016. —R.J. Anderson

SAN DIEGO PADRES
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Acquired RHP Jon Edwards as the player to be named later in the Will Venable trade. [8/21]

Edwards has been in professional baseball since 2006, and the profile hasn’t changed much since he was a 14th-round pick by St. Louis nine years ago. The fastball is above average and will touch 96, and he’ll also show a fringe-average slider that sits in the mid-80s; he added a curveball this year to keep hitters off his two-pitch arsenal. That arsenal is only so-so, and is made worse by serious control issues (113 walks in just over 168 innings). As you would expect, his command is equally bad.

Websters doesn’t define what an “up-and-down arm” actually is, but if it did, the editors could just paste in a picture of Edwards. —Christopher Crawford

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
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Acquired OF-R Marlon Byrd from the Reds in exchange for RHP Stephen Johnson. [8/20]

With the Giants thinking playoffs and Hunter Pence out for at least a few weeks due to a strained oblique, Bobby Evans needed to find an upgrade over Justin Maxwell. Mac Williamson seemed like the best internal option—he’s 25 and has performed well this season in the high minors—but in the end Evans decided to grab a veteran stopgap. So what does Byrd bring to the nest—er, table?

Power. Lots of power. Byrd has continued his late-career surge by homering 19 times in his first 388 plate appearances, an important figure given he’d homered 20-plus times in a season just once before turning 35. It’s a good thing Byrd has learned to leverage his strength more often, because his aggressive approach results in tons of strikeouts and few walks. There’s also the matter of Byrd’s declining performance against same-hand pitchers; his .268 on-base percentage versus righties would be the lowest single-season mark of his career by nearly 30 points. In theory, the Giants could use someone like Ryan Lollis to spare him against tougher righties, but it’s unclear if that’s in the plans.

What seems more certain is that Byrd won’t be a long-term fixture in San Francisco. The Giants hold a cheaper club option on Nori Aoki than on Byrd, whose contract would call for an additional $2.5 million. Besides, Byrd’s age and all-or-nothing approach make him a legitimate attrition risk heading forward. Best-case scenario: Byrd helps the Giants reach the postseason, and does so with enough offensive gusto to draw trade interest. —R.J. Anderson

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mnsportsguy1
8/25
The Twins are "technically" in the race? 1.5 games seems very legit in the race to me