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8/1/2014 12:16 A.M. ET

All the answers to your Deadline questions

Which division race was affected most? How are post-July trades completed?

You've got questions about Thursday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, and we've got answers. Here is all you need to know about one of the wildest days in the history of the Major League Baseball transaction wire.

Was that the busiest Deadline in history?

No, but it wasn't far off.

There were 12 trades involving 18 teams, 37 players and two competitive balance Draft picks -- all by 4 p.m. ET.

To put that in perspective, since the Deadline was moved from June 15 to July 31 in 1986, there has been only one other year with so many trades on the final day. That was in 1998, when 13 deals (including the one that sent Randy Johnson from the Mariners to the Astros) went down. That day, 49 players from 18 teams changed hands.

What really made Thursday interesting, relative to recent Deadlines, was the number of trades involving big leaguers on both sides. The A's, Tigers and Cardinals -- three legitimate World Series contenders -- respectively traded away their starting left fielder, center fielder and right fielder in Yoenis Cespedes, Austin Jackson and Allen Craig.

The players dealt Thursday have a little less than $40 million combined remaining on their contracts this season, have amassed a combined career WAR of 246.7 (per Baseball Reference) and have earned a combined 13 All-Star appearances and -- thanks to David Price -- one Cy Young Award.

Quite a day.

Deadline pressure
In three-way trade, Tigers acquire David Price, the Mariners acquire Austin Jackson and the Rays acquire Nick Franklin, Drew Smyly, Willy Adames
A's acquire Jon Lester, Jonny Gomes from Red Sox for Yoenis Cespedes
Cardinals acquire John Lackey, Corey Littrell from Red Sox for Allen Craig, Joe Kelly
Yankees acquire Martin Prado from D-backs for Peter O'Brien.
Marlins acquire Jarred Cosart, Enrique Hernandez, Austin Wates from Astros for Jake Marisnick, Colin Moran, Francis Martes and a 2015 competitive balance pick
Braves acquire James Russell, Emilio Bonifacio from Cubs for Victor Caratini
Nationals acquire Asdrubal Cabrera from Indians for Zach Walters
Twins acquire Tommy Milone from A's for Sam Fuld
Brewers acquire Gerardo Parra from D-backs for Mitch Haniger and Anthony Banda
Mariners acquire Chris Denorfia from Padres for Stephen Kohlscheen and Abraham Almonte
Orioles aquire Andrew Miller from Red Sox for Eduardo Rodriguez
Yankees acquire Stephen Drew from Red Sox for Kelly Johnson

What caused the flurry?

For starters, the daunting Wild Card round inspired A's GM Billy Beane to make a big move that well might have caused other dominoes to fall.

The A's have the best record in baseball, but they are in a tough fight for the American League West title with the Angels, and they'd very much like to win the division and avoid the one-game Wild Card playoff. That's why Beane pulled the trigger on the dramatic deal for Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes, on the heels of his early-July trade for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel.

The early-morning deal with Boston set the tone for the rest of the day, which was essentially capped by the Tigers swinging the three-team swap for Price. It was a dramatic punch and counter-punch by two elite AL teams that could very well be on an October collision course.

What about the division races? Which division was most affected by the day's dealing?

Certainly, the A's rotation is even more fearsome now than it was before, and that could be bad news for the Angels. And the Price move could mean lights-out in an AL Central in which the Tigers were already heavy favorites.

But the National League Central is even more interesting now than it was before, because the Cardinals, in landing both Justin Masterson on Wednesday and John Lackey on Thursday, left no stone unturned in their rotation, which has taken some injury hits and had trouble going deep into games in recent months. The Cards took on a decent amount of risk with both guys, but it could be worth the effort in their bid to erase a 2 1/2-game deficit behind the Brewers. The Brew Crew did its part to stoke the fires by landing a defensive upgrade in outfielder Gerardo Parra, but some thought Milwaukee would acquire starting or relieving help.

Curiously absent from all the activity were the Pirates, who had outfield depth to dangle but opted to stand pat. The Reds also abstained from activity at a time when they were treading the line between buying and selling.

So now it's August. What's the deal there?

Players can still be moved in August, but it's a bit more complicated.

In short, a team puts a player on waivers, the 29 other teams (in reverse order of standings) have a chance to claim him, and if one does, the original team can either let him go, pull him back or work out a deal with the claiming club. If a player clears waivers, he can be dealt free and clear. Players must be acquired before September in order to be eligible for postseason rosters.

There were 11 post-July trades last year, and we expect similarly bustling activity this year. The Rangers' Alex Rios and the Twins' Josh Willingham are possibilities in a market in which several contending clubs are looking for bats.

Beyond the A's and Tigers, which other contending clubs did the most to improve on Deadline day?

First and foremost, the Mariners showed a lot of aggression, even with the AL West lead likely out of reach. The best they can hope for might be a road date in the Wild Card round, but they haven't been to the playoffs since 2001, and they're going for it, having landed a capable right-handed hitter in Chris Denorfia and a bona fide starting center fielder in Austin Jackson. Their offense needed a boost.

We've also got to give credit to the Yankees for capping a busy month (they had already acquired Brandon McCarthy, Chase Headley and Chris Capuano) by landing Stephen Drew from the rival Red Sox and Martin Prado from Arizona. It will be interesting to see how the Yanks juggle a suddenly crowded infield that has been completely reshaped in recent weeks. The first-place O's countered by landing Andrew Miller, arguably the best left-handed reliever available.

Finally, the Nationals and Braves both made relatively low-profile moves that are going to affect their NL East race. The Nats needed infield assistance in the wake of Ryan Zimmerman's right hamstring injury, and they got it in landing former All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, who can also play second base, from the Indians. The Braves also made a nice move with the Cubs to land left-handed reliever James Russell and utility man Emilio Bonifacio, two solid, underrated pieces.

Speaking of underrated, what's the one Deadline trade that deserves more ink than it will get?

Many fans might overlook the Astros-Marlins swap, in light of all else that transpired, but it was a really interesting one involving a ton of young talent. The Marlins added big-armed, 24-year-old righty Jarred Cosart to a rotation that could be scary good once Jose Fernandez is healthy, in addition to Enrique Hernandez and outfield prospect Austin Wates. Meanwhile, the Astros dealt from their starting depth to add speedy, powerful outfielder Jake Marisnick, as well as 2013 first-round pick Colin Moran, 18-year-old right-hander Francis Martes and a pick in the Competitive Balance round of next year's Draft.

So it wasn't just the contenders that added Major League talent at the Deadline?

No way. Look at what the Red Sox did, positioning themselves for a rebound in 2015 by adding three established big leaguers -- Yoenis Cespedes, Allen Craig and Joe Kelly -- that they'll control next year, in addition to the 21-year-old pitching prospect, Eduardo Rodriguez, they acquired from Baltimore in the Miller trade.

And the day's sneakiest trade might have belonged to the Twins. For Sam Fuld, a guy they picked up on waivers in April, they landed Tommy Milone, a left-hander with a league-average career ERA whom they'll control through 2017.

Why did the Rays move Price?

Tampa Bay went 19-6 from June 28 through July 30 and gained just three games in the AL East standings. They were still eight games back -- a large hole to erase in two months. And the thought of keeping Price and watching his trade value drop before the winter, when several attractive pitchers will be available in free agency, all in the name of fighting for a spot in the Wild Card round (most likely on the road) did not appeal to them.

Did they get enough for Price?

That's probably the biggest question of the day. They are enamored with young shortstop Willy Adames, and, like the Red Sox, they landed attractive Major League pieces in Nick Franklin and Drew Smyly.

But that's the thing about this and all Trade Deadline activity: It's best assessed in the long frame.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.