The first notable deals ahead of the July 31 trade deadline are in and rather than big-game hunting, a couple of contending clubs have gone fishing for value instead.

First, it was the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox trying to bolster their rotation with the addition of righty Andrew Cashner from the Baltimore Orioles, who also kicked in cash to get a pair of 17-year-olds in the Dominican Summer League. Next up, the Oakland Athletics added Homer Bailey from the Kansas City Royals for infielder Kevin Merrell, a 2017 first-round pick with a .631 OPS at double-A Midland.

Tepid, low-risk, low-ceiling stuff from two clubs with October aspirations, which is very much of note for the Blue Jays now that they can accelerate the peddling of Marcus Stroman. The right-hander returned from the left pectoral cramp that kept him from pitching in the All-Star Game to throw six innings of three-run ball with seven strikeouts Sunday in a 4-2 loss to the New York Yankees, an outing about showcasing his health as much as anything else.