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MLB trade deadline slow burn pays off with last minute fireworks

As the dust settles, we've got a new baseball universe to explore. Isn't it glorious?

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

I often try to imagine what it must have been like in the moments before the Big Bang. Quiet. Darkness. Nothingness. Anticipation that seems to last forever. And then suddenly, violently, there is an explosion of light and matter and energy and suddenly the now-expanding universe is full of possibilities. And then those possibilities begin to take shape into clouds, and galaxies, and stars, and planets. That's what this trade deadline was like.

We waited so long for something to happen, and it stayed so quiet until eight days ago, when the A's broke the seal and decided they were going to be sellers in 2015. They sent Scott Kazmir to the Astros for two prospects, and we thought we were off to the races.

But aside from the A's, it took longer for other teams on the fringe to make up their minds. The clubs selling and buying in the earl goings were clearly on one side of the fence or the other. The Marlins matched up with the Cardinals for Steve Cishek. The Brewers with the Pirates for Aramis Ramirez. There were a lot of rumors, but much of the universe was chaotic and formless.

Then, responding to the Astros, the Reds then made the first true blockbuster of the summer, trading ace Johnny Cueto to the Royals for three good left-handed pitching prospects. Only then did the floodgates open. The A's made two trades in two days, seding away Ben Zobrist and Tyler Clippard. The Phillies finally unloaded Jonathan Papelbon. The Rockies stunned everyone when they sent Troy Tulowitzki to the Blue Jays for Jose Reyes and three young arms. The next day the Phillies agreed to trade Cole Hamels to the Rangers for six players.

Then things really got complicated and beautiful as the stardust of rumor coalesced into moves coming fast and furious. The Mets had Carlos Gomez and had made their shortstop cry, but pulled back at the last moment. So the Astros stepped in and acquired him and Mike Fiers. The Dodgers, Marlins, and Braves agreed to a trade that was in limbo forever, while everyone worked out the details. In the end, the Marlins got minor leagers, the Dodgers essentially got a new bottom 3/5 to their starting rotation, and the Braves shed salary, got an intriguing Hector Olivera, and somehow wound up with Miami's compensation draft pick.

The Tigers decided to become sellers at the last moment and injected David Price, Joakim Soria, and Yoenis Cespedes into the market. Price quickly went to the Blue Jays and Soria to the Pirates. Then today, oh God! Mike Leake to San Francisco! Gerardo Parra to Baltimore! Jay Bruce to the Mets, and then not to the Mets when they pulled back again at the last minute! The Cardinals get Jonathan Broxton! Mark Lowe, Dan Haren, Kevin Jepsen, Ben Revere, Tommy Hunter! Gone, gone, gone, gone, gone! And then, finally, Yoenis Cespedes to the Mets, giving them the big outfield bat they'd been coveting.

A new, beautiful baseball universe for us to explore for these last two months of the season. The Blue Jays, Astros, Mets, and Royals boldly preparing themselves for deep postseason runs. The Tigers and Phillies finally breaking down and preparing to retool. Except for the Padres, who stayed exactly the same. Misshapen and ugly, and unable to go anywhere.