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MLB

Yu Darvish, Sonny Gray among top arms moved at MLB trade deadline

| Monday, July 31, 2017, 8:45 p.m.
Texas Rangers' Yu Darvish, of Japan, watches play against the Baltimore Orioles in the ninth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, July 30, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Texas Rangers' Yu Darvish, of Japan, watches play against the Baltimore Orioles in the ninth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, July 30, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
TORONTO, ON - JULY 25: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics delivers a pitch in the first inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on July 25, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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TORONTO, ON - JULY 25: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics delivers a pitch in the first inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on July 25, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Yu Darvish and Sonny Gray headed a parade of prized arms on the move Monday, leaving little doubt on trade deadline day: Top teams made a big pitch for the playoffs.

All-Star Brandon Kintzler, Addison Reed and Justin Wilson were among the many relievers swapped before the cutoff. There were 14 deals involving major leaguers — all six division leaders got someone new.

“We're trying to go from good to great,” New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said.

The Yankees bolstered their rotation by getting Gray from Oakland for three minor leaguers. That swap came a day after the AL East leaders acquired starter Jaime Garcia from Minnesota.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, owners of the best record in the majors and the top payroll, gave up three minor leaguers for Darvish. The Texas ace will join three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw, who is on the disabled list, as the Dodgers try to reach the World Series for the first time since their 1988 title.

“We're not going to be lining up our playoff rotation quite yet,” general manager Farhan Zaidi said.

A few stars mentioned in trade speculation stayed put — Orioles closer Zach Britton, Detroit starter Justin Verlander and San Diego reliever Brad Hand, among them.

“We just didn't line up at this time,” Padres GM A.J. Preller said, adding there was “no rush” to make a move right now.

A year after the champion Chicago Cubs and Cleveland used deep bullpens to reach the World Series, several teams boosted their relief corps. As did the Cubs and Indians.

Chicago got Wilson, a valuable lefty and former Pirate, along with backup catcher Alex Avila from Detroit. Avila was traded away by his dad, Tigers GM Alex Avila.

Joe Smith, who relieved for Cleveland from 2009-13, was sent from Toronto to the Indians.

“A lot of fans of Smitty in this organization, so getting him back will be a lot of fun,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said.

NL East-leading Washington got Kintzler from Minnesota — the Nationals recently acquired relievers Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle from Oakland.

The Houston Astros, already running away with the AL West, plucked lefty Francisco Liriano from Toronto. He'll help patch a rotation that's deal with injuries to Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers and Collin McHugh this year.

The contending Boston Red Sox added Reed, who had been serving as the New York Mets' closer. Reed is 1-2 with a 2.57 ERA and 19 saves in 21 chances, and he joins a bullpen that includes dominant closer Craig Kimbrel.

Like a lot of other executives, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski was on the prowl for pitching.

“We liked a lot of the guys. We were inquiring about a lot of the guys,” he said at Fenway Park, adding, “My list is long.”

How long?

Dombrowski reached into the left pocket of his suit jacket and pulled out an 8x11-inch piece of paper. He then counted — by ones — “20 right-handed relievers that were on our list at one time or another, and a lot of lefties, too.”

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