So the July 31 deadline has come and gone. Several big names were traded before the deadline; Cliff Lee, Victor Martinez, Jarrod Washburn, Jake Peavy and Matt Holliday (yes, last weekend counts before the deadline). So let's look at all the winners and losers from the last few days of trades.
Philadelphia Phillies - They were able to get the 2008 AL Cy Young Award Winner, Cliff Lee, for four very good prospects, but they did not trade the elite prospects (Kyle Drabek, Dominic Brown and Michael Taylor) that the Blue Jays so desperately wanted. Ben Francisco gives them a solid righthanded bat and speed off the bench. Lee and Hamels make a great one-two punch, which gives the Phillies an excellent chance to repeat as world champs this season AND next season. Real nice work by Ruben Amaro Jr.
St Louis Cardinals - Yes, they paid a hefty price for Matt Holliday, but they so desperately needed a major bat to complement Albert Pujols. Holliday has already paid dividends for the Cardinals, going 17 for 29 with 8 RBIs in 8 games (and has hits in each of the eight games). Now it's not so easy to pitch around the Machine.
Boston Red Sox - Again, another team was able to add an elite player, Victor Martinez, without giving up their elite prospects. Masterson, Hagadone and Price are solid prospects, but they didn't give up Clay Buchholz or Ryan Westmoreland, their two best. Being able to trade Adam LaRoche for Casey Kotchman, who will only make 3.5 million next year, solidifies their bench this season and gives them a very cheap first baseman for next year. Yes, they didn't get the front line starter that they really needed, but Ricciardi's demands were absurd and Theo Epstein knew it.
Detroit Tigers - The Twins did a nice job getting Orlando Cabrera. But the Tigers shrewd trade for Jarrod Washburn not only made the Tigers a lot better but forced the White Sox to give up a lot for an injured Jake Peavy. The Tigers playoff rotation of Verlander, Washburn and Edwin Jackson looks awfully good. Dave Dombrowski - Super Genius.
Pittsburgh Pirates - Yes, you read this right. The Pirates are winners from the deadline. They recovered from the absolutely awful Adam LaRoche deal with their trades of Jack Wilson, Freddy Sanchez and John Grabow. Jeff Clement will be their first baseman for the next few years, Tim Alderson looks to be a front line starter, and Kevin Hart looks to be a solid back of the rotation pitcher. Throw in several other players that will beef up their minor leagues and Neal Huntington may have turned the corner. Key term "may" (I still also think the McLouth deal was horrid).
Cleveland Indians - Yes, just like the Pirates, the Indians had a fire sale. However, when you can land seven quality prospects like Lou Marson, Jason Donald, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Knapp, Justin Masterson, Nick Hagadone and Bryan Price, you've done well. Lee was going to be a free agent after next season and they weren't winning with Martinez. Both Carrasco and Masterson will be fixtures in the rotation next season. Marson and Donald should be both playing regularly next year. The rest give them pitching depth in the minors the Indians didn't have.
Oakland A's - Billy Beane did a nice job getting three top prospects - Brett Wallace, Clay Mortensen and Shane Peterson. Wallace can help immediately and Mortensen and Peterson should be helping out sometime in 2010. Wallace could become an elite hitter.
Los Angeles Dodgers - George Sherrill gives the Dodgers they were sorely lacking - a bridge from the starters to Jonathan Broxton. The overworked LA pen just got a lot better. Yes Josh Bell could be very good. But the Dodgers have a chance to win it all. This had to be done.
Toronto Blue Jays - Yes JP Ricciardi still has Roy Halladay for next year. And sure, you can say Toronto has enough talent to be contending next year. But that's IF, pitchers like Shawn Marcum and Dustin McGowan among others can come back strong. And remember, the Blue Jays play in the AL East with the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays, all teams better than them currently. So it's certainly far from a sure thing than the Jays can do any better in 2010 than the last two years.
But when you make it PUBLICLY known that you will take offers for Roy Halladay, knowing full well that you probably won't be able to resign him after 2010, and you don't make any deal by the trading deadline, you have already now lowered the price tag for him in the offseason. No team in their right mind is going to give you anywhere near the offers the Phillies and apparently the Angels made before the deadline. Any team that wanted Halladay, wanted him for two pennant races, not one. When the Phillies decided to deal for Cliff Lee instead, Ricciardi was in serious trouble. He was banking on the Phillies bending to his will, but they didn't.
Also trading Scott Rolen, an excellent defensive third baseman, for Edwin Encarnacion, a not so good defensive third baseman, but much cheaper, signals "salary dumping". If you're Roy Halladay, you wonder if Ricciardi truly believes in the Jays after that trade. So that, along with the whole fiasco of the past month, will ensure Halladay doesn't resign with the Jays. Ricciardi just basically slit his own throat with this non-deal. He's gone after next year for sure and maybe even sooner.
Cincinnati Reds - Please explain to me how a team that has gone into the tank like the Reds (having lost nine of their last ten) decides to trade a 26 year old third baseman for 34 year old third baseman who is making 11.8 million next year?! Yes Scott Rolen is a defensive upgrade from Edwin Encarnacion, but adding significant salary to basically rent a player for a year and two months? Also, the Reds didn't dump any of their veteran talent like Arthur Rhodes, David Weathers, Aaron Harang or Bronson Arroyo. They should have been able to get some mid level prospect for both Weathers and Rhodes. Just some really questionable moves here for a mid market team that really needs to shed payroll.
Seattle Mariners - Someone please also explain to me whether or not the Mariners have multiple personality disorder? One minute they look like they are going for broke by trading for Jack Wilson (and giving up on former first round pick Jeff Clement), who's owed $8 million next year and Ian Snell, not cheap at 4.2 million for a Triple A pitcher. The next minute, they are sending Jarrod Washburn off to the Tigers for two pitching prospects (one grant you is Lucas French, who was pitching for the Tigers at the time of the trade). Either you are in or you're out. Decide.
Los Angeles Angels - The Angels tried to make a late push for Halladay yesterday, but they were denied by Ricciardi the Absurd. They also tried to make a run for Heath Bell and also fell short. Thus the Angels did not improve themselves. They may still win the AL West, but they are likely to get knocked out in the first round of the playoffs.
New York Mets - Yes, they are probably out of the wild card hunt after losing two games in a row, prior to that five game winning streak. But to do nothing, whether it was buy or sell, just shows how dysfunctional the Mets are. They could have traded a Pedro Feliciano, a very useful lefty and got some needed minor league depth in return but Omar Minaya is too busy trying to recover from a horrible week of PR.
The In Between
Chicago White Sox - Yes, they finally got the man they have wanted for three months in Jake Peavy. But in May, Peavy was healthy. Now it's a question whether he will come back this season at all. And he's still owed a chunk of change for the next two years in a league he is not familiar with, so it may take him a while to be an elite pitcher in the AL. Still, he can be a dominant pitcher. The question is, was it worth depleting the pitching depth in the minors to do this? And trading for Mark Kotsay? Seriously?
San Diego - Kudos to them for dumping $40 million off the books for a pitcher currently hurt. The question is Clayton Richard, Adam Russell, Aaron Poreda and Dexter Carter worth an elite pitchers such as Peavy. It's not quite the bounty the Indians got for Cliff Lee, so we'll see. You have to also wonder why they considered trading Adrian Gonzalez. His salary seems pretty reasonable to me. Ditto for Heath Bell.
Atlanta - Explain to me how trading Casey Kotchman for Adam LaRoche helps, other than my fantasy team (where LaRoche goes from part time on the Red Sox to full time on the Braves)? LaRoche is a little better offensive upgrade for this season, but Kotchman was only making $3.5 million next year and LaRoche is a free agent after this season. So yes, you helped your team this season, but good luck finding a first baseman for less than $4 million next year.