Despite what Buster Olney, Peter Gammons and practically everyone else said, this year's trade deadline had a lot of big trades. Let's check out some of the bigger trades and see who won and who lost.
The Brewers jump the trade deadline gun and Brewers trade OF Matt LaPorta, RHP Rob Bryson, and LHP Zach Jackson, for C. C. Sabathia. For the Brewers this is a message to the fan base and to everyone else that they mean business and want to win now. And so far, C.C. has delivered the goods; 3 complete games and an E.R.A. under 2.00. But for the Indians, this could be the coup in the long run. LaPorta is a stud and just the bat the Indians need in the middle of their lineup. 20-year old Bryson projects as a good closer down the road. Jackson has been struggling in his career in the minors.
Advantage: Unless the Brewers go deep in the playoffs, the advantage goes to Cleveland, since Milwaukee has no chance at keeping Sabathia long term.
The Cubs strike back by getting a shiny new stud of their own the very next day. RHP Rich Harden (who's seemingly been on the trading block out of Oakland since the womb) and RHP Chad Gaudin head to Chicago in return for RHP Sean Gallagher, OF Matt Murton, 2B/OF Eric Patterson, and C Josh Donaldson.
Now if Harden stays healthy, a big if, this seems like a coup for the Cubs. Harden is a flat-out ace. And Gaudin isn't so bad himself, posting some nice numbers out of the pen. As for Oakland, it seems shocking that they acquired nothing of serious value in return for Harden. Gallagher has done well so far in Oakland, but doesn't exactly project to be the second coming of Bob Gibson. Murton has been a little bit of a disappointment since being a supplemental first round pick in 2004. Patterson has been solid in the minors, but hasn't burst into while in the majors. A second basemen who projects to left field, he has some pop to his bat. Donaldson is a low-minor league prospect who has a ways to go both behind the plate and up at it.
Advantage: Big time advantage goes to the Cubs.
The Yankees get the guy the needed to get—both of them. For a song. The Bombers get tough on lefties LHP Damaso Marte and OF Xavier Nady for RHPs Jeff Karstens, Ross Ohlendorf and Dan McCutchen as well as OF Jose Tabata.
The Yanks absolutely kill on this deal, getting the right-handed bat they need to balance their lineup—who's also a healthy corner outfielder having the best season of his career—as well as a lefty out of the pen who's lefty BAA this season is .200. And all they gave up is three middling prospect pitchers and a once-hot prospect in Tabata who's suffered through a horrible 2008 coupled with some disciplinary problems. Only McCutchen was viewed by the Yankees as anything as a plus-potential pitcher, and that was as a good middle reliever.
Advantage: Major advantage to the Yankees
Last year's biggest trade deadline acquisition gets traded again at this year's trade deadline. Atlanta, realizing any chance at making the postseason this year was over when Tim Hudson went down—and also thinking of getting some payroll security—trade 1B Mark Texieira to the Angels of somewhere in southern California for Casey Kotchman and prospect RHP Stephen Marek. While the trade of first basemen is definitely in the Angels favor, as Texieira bests Kotchman in almost all offensive categories (both are excellent glovemen), the trade is truly made for Atlanta's financial security. The Braves knowing they won't contend this year take Kotchman knowing he's locked up for a few more years at a low salary. Texieira, on the other hand, is a free agent at the end of the season and will command beau coup bucks. So if the Angels don't resign him, they would have rented him for two-three months and get a couple of compensatory picks in return. Marek is a mid-level prospect.
Advantage: Angels—they may have just won the AL.
The Yankees pull off another shrewd deal in getting C Ivan Rodriguez from the Tigers in return for RH Kyle Farnsworth. The Yankees fill a big need as Jorge Posada was done for the season and while Jose Molina is a defensive diamond behind the plate, his .226 BA is 70 point behind Pudge's .295 BA, not to mention Pudge has a slugging percentage over 100 points better than Molina. And hey, Pudge is no slouch at this catching thing either. To get the 14-time All-Star, the Yankees gave up Farnsworth, who had been pitching better of late, after two bust years in pinstripes. That said, Farnsworth career numbers are 28-47 and a 4.42 E.R.A. And after getting Marte, the bullpen—now, a Yankee strength—really didn't need him anymore.
Advantage: Yankees again.
Chicago GM Kenny Williams finally fulfills his dream of having OF Ken Griffey Jr. in the White Sox outfield. But isn't it maybe a decade too late? Also, where does he play? The White Sox have Jermaine Dye in right field and Carlos Quentin in left. And even if they play Griffey in center—a risky proposition at best—recent trade acquisition Nick Swisher is there. Also, Jim Thome is locked in at DH and Paul Konerko is at 1st. And it's any one's guess how well Griffey plays at any one of these positions at a very old 38. In return the Reds got two average performers; RH Nick Masset is an unpolished reliever with good stuff, but gives up a walk every couple of innings and gets into trouble because of it. AAA 2B Danny Richar is average across the board. All in all, a salary dump for the Reds.
Advantage: Nobody, really. But slight edge to the White Sox, as they get some flexibility.
Completed by a desperate Red Sox organization at something like 3:59:59 PM at the trade deadline, the Bosox rid themselves of one of the best hitters of his generation—and a complete headcase in OF Manny Ramirez—as well as 7 million dollars to the Dodgers. In return, the Red Sox got OF Jason Bay from the Pirates. Pittsburgh received 3B Andy Laroche and RH Bryan Morris from the Dodgers, and OF Brandon Moss and RH Craig Hanson from the Red Sox.
Obviously, the Dodgers made out huge in this one. Combined, the Dodgers had a .377 slugging percentage, 4th lowest in the majors. Manny brings credibility and a serious threat to their lineup. Immediately. Even in this, a "down year," Manny has a slugging percentage 150 points higher than the Dodger average. His 20 HRS is 8 higher than the next Dodger.
Jason Bay is no slouch though. His slugging percentage is right there with Manny, and actually has a couple of more home runs. More importantly for the Red Sox, (at least for the time being) he is a solid citizen. Bay is also six years younger, a better defender and is signed up affordably through next season.
LaRoche has a good eye and according to most scouts figures to be a solid player if he can stay healthy. Hanson, a big draft signing by the Red Sox has powerful stuff and has been fantastic in the minors, compiling a 2.61 E.R.A and averaging almost a SO an inning. However, he hasn't been able to put it together in the majors, where he has a 1.7 WHIP. He'll certainly get his chance in Pittsburgh to win the closer role. Morris, a former first-round pick is a big time prospect with 3 plus pitches. Moss figures to make a play for the Pirate's RF job soon, and if he doesn't succeed, should be a solid fourth outfielder.
Advantage: Everybody actually. How nice.
All in all, this is all just speculation, as Manny may pull an Andruw Jones out in L.A. or Marte could turn into Steve Trout in Yankee Stadium. But that's the fun of the game. you never know. Enjoy the rest of the season.