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Tigers address a need at the deadline, but what are the Royals thinking?

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No team in the AL Central deserves an A-plus grade for their work at the (non-waiver) trade deadline, but the Tigers made themselves a better team. Meanwhile the Royals confused everyone with their indecisiveness.

Leon Halip

Heading into the trade deadline, the Tigers needed to think about the bullpen. A lot. Outside of Joba Chamberlain, there weren't a lot of good feelings to be found thinking about the guys who sit beyond left field at Comerica Park. Joe Nathan struggled, and the rest sometimes pitched so bad we were starting to like Phil Coke again.

The Tigers addressed that -- or so they thought. They sent a pair of prospects, starting pitcher Jake Thompson and reliever Corey Knebel, to Texas for closer Joakim Soria. Except they didn't decide to use him as closer in Detroit. And so far since putting the Old English D on his head he's kinda sorta really stunk. This trade has definitely not started off on the right foot, but given Soria's track record and numbers this season in Texas, there's still plenty of reason for optimism.

A need they didn't know they had until Billy Beane kept adding pitchers to the A's? Another starter. Even though the Tigers had been talking to the Rays about David Price for several weeks, maybe Oakland bringing ace lefty Jon Lester into the fold was the final straw. The Tigers now have a solid rotation -- extremely solid of Justin Verlander gets his act together. But thinking of their possible playoffs rotations may result in excess salivation. However, the cost was high: two major league contributors, Austin Jackson and Drew Smyly. Jackson's not having a great season but the dropoff may be noticeable with Rajai Davis out there. Ezequial Carrera is having a great Triple-A season but we'll have to see if he can carry the success to the big leagues.

The offense may not be the highest scoring, but with a higher average, better on-base percentage and higher slugging average than the A's, no work had to be done there.

At the deadline the Tigers could have done more to help their bullpen, but there's another month to pick up additional help before rosters have to be set at the end of August. It would not be a surprise to see Detroit do more. They look like a good team that has gotten better and will challenge the A's for a trip to the World Series. However, they certainly gave up some of their future to be in that position.

Grade: B+

Royals

The Royals added Jason Frasor. To their bullpen. The Royals who have the fewest number of runs scored in the AL Central and among the worst offenses in baseball only added a reliever. Well, OK then. They are 4.5 games out at the deadline, but as neither sellers nor buyers the confused Royals should neither expect to catch the Tigers nor -- in all likelihood -- a wild card spot. They could have been sellers to reload, like always, but they decided not to do that either. So their two-year rental of James Shields, for which they gave up Wil Myers, will likely be all for naught. No wonder the Rays are often in the mix and the Royals are not. Their fans are not pleased. More than 60 percent gave the team a failing grade at Royals Review.

Grade: D-

Indians

They traded Justin Masterson and Asdrubal Cabrera. Both players' contracts were up at the end of the year. Cleveland probably was not going to make the playoffs. Stranger things have happened but even if they made the playoffs they didn't seem to have enough team to do anything when they get there. So, they sold. The interesting acquisition was outfielder James Ramsey, who does a little bit of everything well. Infielder Zach Walters is a bit of a lottery ticket, a player whose power is apparent but who gives up contact to make it. In theory he's a shortstop but more likely he's a second or third baseman. The Indians could have tried to compete and got nothing. They seem to have make smart moves for the players that they got.

Grade: B

White Sox

Nada y pues, nada. There was discussion involving John Danks but nothing came of it. They probably should have found something to sell. They're definitely not in the same situation as the Royals, who basically had to win now. Danks will still be around Chicago through 2016, if he's not traded first, so not moving him if they didn't get the value they were seeking makes good sense. Kinda hard to grade a team that did nothing though, so, um ...

Grade: C (I guess?)

Twins

Sam Fuld began the season with the A's. The A's designated him. The Twins picked him up. Then they traded him to the A's to Tommy Milone. That seems like pretty smart business there, doesn't it? They also sent Kendrys Morales, who wasn't doing much of anything anyway, to Seattle for Stephen Pryor, a reliever who may be able to help if he can control his walks. A nice lottery ticket. I see you, Minnesota!

Grade: B-