The Tigers were not the only team active at the trade deadline. While the additions of dos Joses can help, did they keep up with the competition?
First looking within the Central Division, with a victory today the Indians are only two games back. Their big acquisition was this past offseason, some guy named Raburn who added two home runs and four RBIs today. At the trade deadline, Cleveland picked up Marc Rzepczynski from St. Louis. While the lefty reliever has pitched well for the Cardinals in the past two postseasons, his overall numbers are mediocre. Basically the Indians got themselves Phil Coke. He can get left-handed hitters out, but Terry Francona will use him too much. This move only hurts the Tigers if the Indians make the playoffs, and if that happens we have bigger problems.
The Royals could be considered competitors, two games over .500 and seven games back. They picked up outfielders Justin Maxwell and Gorkys Hernandez. Maxwell can help in a platoon role, slashing .253 / .370 / .455 against lefties. But it will take much more than that for the Royals to catch the Tigers. Gorkys is only 25 but already with his fifth organization. He was a prospect back when traded by Detroit with Jair Jurrjens for Edgar Renteria, but no longer.
So the intra-division rivals did not significantly affect their playoff odds, but are potential playoff opponents more fearsome?
The Athletics picked up Alberto Callaspo. I suppose he could go all Marco Scutaro for them (another veteran Venezuelan utility man picked up at the trade deadline to play second base for a Bay Area team chasing the pennant), but that is really a stretch.
The Rangers picked up Matt Garza, needed because their rotation has been hit hard with injuries. Both the Tigers and Indians are done facing the Rangers this regular season, so it will not affect the Central Division results. But the Rangers could be a problem in the playoffs, just as in 2011. If Garza is healthy, which has been an issue for him the last two years, he would displace the likes of Nick Tepesch, Justin Grimm, or Martin Perez in the playoff rotation. With his ERA of 2.95 and WHIP of 1.10 I do not care for that at all.
Tampa Bay acquired Jesse Crain. Crain was an All-Star right-handed reliever, but is on the disabled list due to a shoulder injury. If he shows up healthy in their bullpen in October, kudos to the Rays for once again showing creativity.
Baltimore was very active with the most significant acquisitions being starting pitchers Scott Feldman and Bud Norris, and reliever Francisco Rodriguez. This will increase their chances of at least earning a wild card spot, but Feldman and Norris are exactly the kind of pitchers a team hopes to face in the playoffs.
Boston was also busy, picking up pieces to try to fend off surging Tampa Bay. Jake Peavy can fill the void left by Clay Buchholz's injury. Matt Thornton and Brayan Villareal were added as relievers. Thornton has not dominated Detroit over the years, allowing a .266 / .328 / .443 slash line. And if Boston wants to employ Villareal in a playoff game against Detroit, so be it. But Peavy is a problem. I would much rather face Ryan Dempster than Jake Peavy in a must-win playoff game. In the mean time, the Tigers have nine games remaining against White Sox while the Indians have only six. The Tigers may get one extra chance to face Peavy's replacement, which could help win one more game.
So unless Detroit faces Texas or Boston in the playoffs, the Tigers came out ahead on deadline deals.