The Mets finally landed the bat they were looking for in Yoenis Cespedes just ahead of Friday's trade deadline, and Cole Hamels confirmed he blocked a trade to Houston before Philadelphia dealt its ace to Texas.
Sixteen trades were made Friday ahead of the annual deadline for deals without waivers, but San Diego was among the buyers, not the sellers, to the surprise of some.
Hamels was the only top starting pitcher dealt following earlier trades that sent Scott Kazmir to Houston, Johnny Cueto to Kansas City and David Price to Toronto. The Blue Jays scheduled a blowout news conference at Rogers Centre to introduce Price, but instead the left-hander was sidetracked by a blowout to one of the tires on his gray sports car
The 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner, traded by Detroit on Thursday, tweeted just after 10 a.m. saying he'd blown a tire. About an hour later, he posted again to say he couldn't find anyone to fit a new tire on his car.
Blue Jays fans tweeted back, telling him they'd pick him up wherever he was waiting. One fan cautioned "If you change the tire..RIGHT HAND ONLY!!!"
"I got the extra tire put on and the guy was like 'Where are you headed?'" Price said. "I was like 'I'm going to Toronto,' and he was like, 'You can't make it there on this tire.' I went to Discount Tires. They didn't have a tire to fit my back tire, and then I just had to sit in a Target parking lot and wait for the tow truck to come and wait for my ride to arrive."
Eleven of 15 AL teams began the day within five games of a playoff berth, and seven of 15 in the NL, where the races are more defined.
"There are a lot of buyers out there," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said. "And that probably has something to do with the second wild card, and maybe just the reality of that second wild card has sunk in, and the tightness of various races around both leagues."
Cespedes, eligible for free agency after the season, hit .293 with 18 home runs and 61 RBIs in 102 games for the Tigers. Seeking to make the playoffs for the first time since 2006, the Mets have a talented starting rotation but rank last in the majors in runs and batting average, and 29th in on-base percentage and slugging.
"He's a very dynamic player," Alderson said. "We think he's going to impact us in a number of different ways. But I think also just his presence in the lineup and his presence on the team will raise the energy level — and I hope it raises the energy level in the dugout and in the stands. I think that this is the kind of player that could have a big impact both in terms of the game on the field and how the team is perceived."
New York already had added infielders Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson, and reliever Tyler Clippard. The moves increased New York's payroll by about $8.2 million within the last week. Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin said a trade fell through Wednesday night that would have sent outfielder Carlos Gomez to the Mets.
"When you're in the hunt, what you want is general managers on your team to be somewhat aggressive," injured third baseman David Wright said as news of the Cespedes trade was breaking. "And it seems like Sandy has done that. So give him credit."
Texas completed its deal to acquire Hamels and left-handed reliever Jake Diekman for left-hander Matt Harrison and five prospects. The Rangers will receive $9.5 million — $7 million in 2016 and $2.5 million in 2018 — to offset part of the contract for Hamels, who is due $22.5 million per season through 2018 with a club option for 2019.
"I'm excited to start the next chapter of my baseball life," Hamels said. "They have a lot of great players and there's always a chance in that league. I don't think they are too far away, even this year."
Hamels, 6-7 with a 3.64 ERA, figures to be part of a rotation next year with Japanese ace Yu Darvish, who had Tommy John surgery in March. Hamels, who had a limited no-trade provision, vetoed a deal to the AL West-leading Houston Astros.
"You don't want to say no to anybody and you don't want to let a city down or an organization down," Hamels said. "But you want to do what's best not just for my baseball career, but for my family."
Philadelphia got Double-A catcher Jorge Alfaro, outfielder Nick Williams and right-hander Jake Thompson — three of the Rangers' top prospects — and Triple-A right-handers Jerad Eickhoff and Alec Asher.
"We're in a world where teams are buying talent. This is one of the ways we can use our economic muscle to buy talent," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "We bought talent with talent, and we bought talent with dollars and cents, as well. Based on all the information that we had and the package we ended up getting, we think we used our money wisely."
Toronto acquired right-hander Mark Lowe from Seattle and outfielder Ben Revere from Philadelphia, following up on its deals for All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, reliever LaTroy Hawkins and Price.
"We're excited and I love the fact that we were in a position to do some things and be this close," Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos said.
Among other deals:
—The Chicago Cubs acquired right-hander Dan Haren and cash from Miami and right-hander Tommy Hunter from Baltimore for outfielder Junior Lake.
—The Orioles got outfielder Gerardo Parra from Milwaukee.
—San Diego obtained left-hander Marc Rzepczynski from Cleveland.
—Pittsburgh got left-hander J.A. Happ from Seattle and first baseman Michael Morse from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
—Minnesota acquired right-hander Kevin Jepsen from Tampa Bay.
AP Baseball Writers Mike Fitzpatrick and Howie Rumberg; AP Sports Writers Stephen Hawkins and Rob Maaddi; and AP freelance writer Ian Harrison contributed to this report.
Here's the day's play-by-play (all in Eastern time):
One more deal announced, bringing the total for the deadline day to 16 trades. The Pirates acquired first baseman Michael Morse for enigmatic outfielder Jose Tabata.
Morse was part of a massive three-team, 13-player deal on Thursday that ended with the 33-year-old traded from Miami to the Dodgers, who then designated him for assignment.
Tabata never lived up to expectations after signing a $21-million contract in 2011.
The non-waiver trade deadline passed with a flurry of deals, the biggest being the Mets' acquisition of Tigers slugger Yoenis Cespedes for minor league pitchers Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa.
In all, there were 16 trades completed before today's 4 p.m. cutoff, up from 12 year ago.
Some highlights: Phillies ace Cole Hamels went to Texas after he nixed a move to Houston. Brewers outfielder Gerardo Parra was dealt to Baltimore. The Blue Jays wrapped up a busy week by acquiring Seattle reliever Mark Lowe and Philadelphia outfielder Ben Revere. Miami shipped pitcher Dan Haren to the contending Cubs after acquiring him in December.
Check out AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum's roundup of all the deals and what the 2015 swap meet means for the playoff picture.
The Athletics traded right-hander Ryan Cook to the Red Sox for a player to be named or cash in yet another cost-cutting move by general manager Billy Beane.
Beane also has traded left-hander Scott Kazmir to the Astros, closer Tyler Clippard to the Mets and second baseman Ben Zobrist to Kansas City.
Earlier Friday, Oakland acquired left-hander Felix Doubront from Toronto for cash after he was designated for assignment by the Blue Jays on Wednesday.
The Chicago Cubs got some help for their bullpen, acquiring Tommy Hunter from the Orioles for outfielder Junior Lake.
Hunter was 2 -2 with a 3.63 ERA in 39 appearances for Baltimore this season. Since moving into a full-time bullpen role with Baltimore in 2013, Hunter is 11-9 with 15 saves and a 3.05 ERA.
Lake batted .224 with one home run and five RBIs in 21 games with the Cubs this season.
The Indians made their third trade this week, sending left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski to the San Diego Padres for outfielder Abraham Almonte.
Rzepczynski went 2-3 with a 4.43 ERA in 45 games this season. Earlier this week, the Indians, who recently lost six straight games and fell back in the AL wild-card race, dealt outfielder David Murphy to the Angels and sent slugger Brandon Moss to St. Louis.
The 26-year-old Almonte has split the season between San Diego and Triple-A El Paso, batting .275 with four homers, 35 RBIs and 11 steals in 61 games in the minors.
The Mets have acquired slugging outfielder Yoenis Cespedes from Detroit in their strongest attempt yet to boost a punchless lineup that has threatened to derail their postseason hopes.
Cespedes hit .293 with 18 home runs with 61 RBIs in 102 games with the Tigers this season. The Mets trail first-place Washington by three games in the NL East, but New York ranks last in the major leagues in runs and batting average, and is 29th in on-base percentage and slugging.
The Mets sent minor league pitchers Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa to Detroit.
The Pirates added depth to their pitching staff with a deadline trade, acquiring left-hander J.A. Happ from the Mariners for minor league pitcher Adrian Sampson. Happ was 4-6 with a 4.64 ERA for Seattle.
The 32-year-old Happ went 4-6 with a 4.64 ERA in 21 appearances for the Mariners this season, with 20 starts. The move is the latest in a series of pitching additions made by the Pirates at the trade deadline as they try to chase down St. Louis in the NL Central.
Pittsburgh acquired relievers Joakim Soria from Detroit and Joe Blanton from Kansas City on Thursday.
The Pirates have the second-best ERA in the majors behind St. Louis but have seen starters Charlie Morton and A.J. Burnett struggle since the All-Star break. Burnett has given up at least five runs in each of his last three starts.
The Rangers, who acquired Cole Hamels earlier today, just pushed back the opening of their clubhouse by 15 minutes. Also, the scheduled availability for general manager Josh Daniels and manager Jeff Banister was moved back 45 minutes.
Could it be that Texas has something else to announce?
Cole Hamels had a limited no-trade clause in his contract. During his farewell to Philadelphia news conference this afternoon, he said he vetoed a deal to Houston. He said he was doing what was best for his family in rejecting the trade to the playoff-contending Astros.
MLB has hit its 4 p.m. EDT deadline for trades in which players don't have to pass through waivers first.
The dealing might be largely done, but with approvals, announcements and a full slate of games set for Friday night, more action is expected on the trading front.
The Blue Jays have acquired Ben Revere from the Phillies for minor league pitchers Alberto Tirado and Jimmy Cordero. The Blue Jays already added Mark Lowe on Friday and will soon be introducing ace David Price, obtained from Detroit on Sunday.
Toronto also has brought in All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and reliever LaTroy Hawkins as they try to make the playoffs for the first time since 1993, the longest drought in the majors.
The Blue Jays are six games back of the Yankees in the AL East, tied with Baltimore but with one more win and loss at 52-51.
The Cubs have acquired right-hander Dan Haren from Miami for two minor leaguers, right-hander Ivan Pineyro and infielder Elliot Soto.
The A's have acquired left-hander Felix Doubront from Toronto for cash after he was designated for assignment by the Blue Jays on Wednesday.
Doubront has split time between Toronto and Triple-A Buffalo, going 1-1 with a 4.76 ERA in five games with four starts while with Toronto.
Doubront was the odd man out after the Blue Jays acquired shortstop Troy Tulowitzki this week.
AP Sports Writer Rob Maaddi in the Phillies clubhouse says outfielder Ben Revere is telling media that he has been traded to Toronto.
There's 20 minutes to the deadline.
Cole Hamels explains in a farewell Philadelphia news conference why he's happy to go to Texas, saying he thinks the Rangers are close to being ready to compete for a playoff spot.
With one hour to the non-waiver trade deadline let's take a look at the players who have switched teams so far on Friday: Cole Hamels to Texas, Gerardo Parra to Baltimore, Mark Lowe to Toronto, Jonathan Broxton to St. Louis, Kyle Jepsen to Minnesota.
There's less than 90 minutes to the deadline — although deals will continue to be announced after 4 p.m. because MLB has to approve the trades.
In the most recent deal, the Tampa Bay Rays sent righty reliever Kevin Jepsen to the Minnesota Twins, who have a hold on the second AL wild card.
The fading Rays got two low-level minor league pitchers in return. They called up right-hander Kirby Yates from Triple-A Durham to fill Jepsen's spot in the 'pen.
Jepsen was 2-5 with a 2.81 ERA in 46 games this season for Rays.
The busy Blue Jays have made another deal, acquiring reliever Mark Lowe from the Seattle Mariners for three minor league pitchers.
Lowe joins another newcomer, LaTroy Hawkins, in a much improved bullpen. Lowe has allowed just four earned runs over 36 innings (1.00 ERA) for the Mariners this season.
The Blue Jays also added lefty ace David Price in a deal with Detroit Thursday. Price's arrival arrival in Toronto today has been delayed by a flat tire.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is talking about the Cole Hamels trade, saying "there was no shortage of suitors" for the lefty ace.
The deal with Texas, in the works for months, gave the Phillies exactly what they were looking for, depth and talent.
Amaro doesn't appear to be worried about minor leaguer Jorge Alfaro's ankle injury. The Phillies expect him to be a catcher, though he's athletic enough to play first base and outfield. He also said veteran pitcher Matt Harrison probably won't make his next start but needs to be evaluated by team doctors.
One thing Amaro wouldn't shed new light on: Hamels shooting down a trade to Houston, though, he did say: "Cole earned the right to decide where he wants to go."
David Price's arrival in Toronto fell flat — the ace got a flat tire on his way to the introductory news conference.
Blue Jays fans on Twitter offered to rescue the stranded pitcher, who was acquired from Detroit on Thursday. One fan offered advice to the star, too: "If you change the tire..RIGHT HAND ONLY!!!"
The Blue Jays announced they were postponing the 3:30 p.m. start to the news conference, just as Price tweeted a photo of his gray sports car being loaded onto a truck.
We're three hours from the deadline Friday and there's a lot of activity — even with stars such as David Price, Troy Tulowitzki, Johnny Cueto and Jonathan Papelbon having already been dealt in the past week.
The Texas Rangers finalized their deal to acquire premier pitcher Cole Hamels from the Philadelphia Phillies. The MLB-leading Cardinals bolstered their bullpen by picking up right-hander Jonathan Broxton and the Baltimore Orioles got outfielder Gerrardo Parra from Milwaukee in an effort to keep up with the busy Blue Jays.
Other big names that could move before the 4 p.m. EDT deadline: San Diego's Craig Kimbrel and Justin Upton, Cincinnati's Jay Bruce and Aroldis Chapman, Detroit slugger Yoenis Cespedes, Phillies outfielder Ben Revere and Cleveland pitcher Carlos Carrasco.
The St. Louis Cardinals have acquired reliever Jonathan Broxton from the Milwaukee Brewers, supplementing their bullpen with another veteran.
The NL Central-leading Cardinals sent minor league outfielder Malik Collymore to their division rivals. St. Louis also received an unspecified amount of cash in the deal announced hours before the trade deadline on Friday afternoon.
The 31-year-old Broxton has struggled this season in Milwaukee. The right-hander is 1-2 with a 5.89 ERA.
Last week, St. Louis acquired another right-hander, former closer Steve Cishek from Miami, also for a minor leaguer.
The last-place Brewers continue to trade away veterans. They dealt outfielder Gerardo Parra earlier Friday to Baltimore for minor league pitcher Zach Davies.
Broxton and Parra were both acquired at last year's deadline by the Brewers, who were contending at the time.
The Baltimore Orioles have obtained left fielder Gerardo Parra from the Milwaukee Brewers in a trade for a minor league right-hander Zach Davies.
The deal was reached hours before Friday's non-waiver trade deadline.
The 28-year-old Parra batted .328 with nine homers and 31 RBIs in 100 games this year. He's hitting .279 over 6-plus seasons, most of them with Arizona.
Parra has played all three outfield positions and is a two-time Gold Glove winner. He had a 14-game hitting streak through Thursday.
Davies is 5-6 with a 2.84 ERA in 19 games with Triple-A Norfolk. He was assigned to Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Baltimore cleared a roster spot by designating right-hander Bud Norris for assignment.