Now that the much-anticipated midseason trade deadline has passed, it's probably a good time to take stock of what happened over the past week and consider how it might impact the Orioles and the American League East.
Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette didn't surprise anyone with his acquisition of solid outfielder Gerardo Parra. The Orioles were looking for corner-outfield help and they weren't expected to do anything earth-shattering because of their lack of a big-talent surplus in the minor leagues.
The Toronto Blue Jays went all in with the dynamic deals for superstar shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and pitching ace David Price, which shocked the baseball world even though it really shouldn't have considering their long absence from the postseason.
The first-place New York Yankees essentially stood pat, acquiring only light-hitting outfielder Dustin Ackley from the Seattle Mariners to give them additional position depth, while the fourth-place Tampa Bay Rays traded away reliever Kevin Jepsen and outfielder David DeJesus even though they're still in wild-card contention.
Here's a quick capsulized look at what it all might mean as the AL East contenders head into the final two months of the season.
The Orioles offensive chemistry just got better: There was a time not so long ago when it didn't appear to have anywhere to go but up. The O's attack was so inconsistent during their lengthy July slump, there was talk of dealing away Chris Davis and essentially throwing the postseason out with the bathwater.
Parra isn't a superstar, but he appears to be the kind of player the Orioles need right now to add some continuity to the offense and blend into the club's major league-best defensive alignment. The club had high hopes that Chris Parmelee would do all that after he joined the major league club with such a flourish in mid-June, but he just didn't pan out.
It's winning time in Toronto, or else: The Blue Jays haven't been to the postseason since they won their second straight World Series in 1993. That's the longest playoff drought in the major leagues and it's not sitting well with the club's ownership.
If their amazing deadline flurry really was a shocker, it probably shouldn't have been. This is the same team that tried to hire Duquette away from the Orioles last winter, so it's fair to assume that the current front office believes that it is living on borrowed time.
The Blue Jays have given up a lot of talent for a team that has quite a bit of ground to make up in the division standings, but they now are the most talented team in the division and should at least get into the playoffs as a wild card.
Yankees don't mess with success: Everyone thought the Yankees would go out and add a big piece to try and make their comfortable division lead even more cushy. But general manager Brian Cashman refused to dip deep into the team's store of minor league talent to acquire one of the front-line starting pitchers available.
He might come to regret that over the short term with Michael Pineda now on the disabled list and Masahiro Tanaka's elbow still a question mark. But the confidence that the Yankees are showing in their player-development pipeline should send a shudder through the division. They have proven in the past that the combination of strong up-and-coming minor league talent and the league's best revenue stream is a scary thing.
The Rays are still dangerous: The Rays shed a couple of good players as they continue to try and compete on an economic shoestring, but dismiss them at your peril. They still have a very solid starting rotation and good late-inning relief, which means they should remain competitive in spite of their budget-conscious front office.
No doubt, Orioles fans are waiting and hoping for the team to make a late-season push like the one that propelled them to a runaway division title last year, but the landscape just changed dramatically.
The inconsistent Orioles offense seems to have awakened since they returned home last week and the addition of Parra should help, but they have to prove they can win on the road and another big test — a grueling 10-day trip to the West Coast — looms ahead.
Read more from columnist Peter Schmuck on his blog, "The Schmuck Stops Here," at baltimoresun.com/schmuckblog.