Waiver trades in late-August have been known to influence a division title or wild-card race in previous seasons. But baseball hasn't seen anything like the blockbuster that the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers are reportedly close to pulling off, according to ESPN.
The deal sending Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to the Dodgers in exchange for James Loney, Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster, Ivan De Jesus and Jerry Sands will obviously affect the fortunes of the Red Sox and Dodgers for years to come.
But this trade also has immediate consequences on the current playoff races in the American League and National League, most especially in the NL West. Did the balance of power just tip between the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants? Are both teams now also favorites for one of the NL wild-card playoff bids?
The trade's effect on the AL East and wild-card races can't be overlooked, either. Have the Red Sox made themselves a punching bag for the New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles through the rest of the season?
Even if the Rays and Orioles can't catch the Yankees in the AL East, how much could playing the Red Sox give them an edge over the Oakland Athletics, Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels in the AL Wild Card playoff race? Could this break up some ties or develop more of them?
As many as 11 teams could be affected by this trade and the ripples it's created throughout baseball. But these are five of the immediate implications we see for the AL and NL playoff races.