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Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on August 03, 2008
Now that the non-waiver trading deadline has passed, it’s time to look at the scorecard to determine who got better for the stretch run, who got worse, and just who is looking to the future.
C Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez (to Yankees) for RP Kyle Farnsworth (to Tigers)
With Jorge Posada all but done for the season, the Yankees had a big hole at catcher and the Tigers helped them fill it. For their part, the Tigers felt Pudge was expendable due to age and the fact he is no longer an everyday player and making a lot of money. He still hits for average, but his power and speed are but a shadow of what they used to be. He’ll plug a hole for the team, but he’s nowhere near a healthy Posada’s equal.
The Tigers were in desperate need of bullpen help and Farnsworth will be an improvement to the worst bullpen in baseball and could end up pitching in the seventh, eighth or even ninth inning. This could help them make a run at the central, but they probably need another reliever or two. The cost of the 37-year-old Pudge was one they were more than ready to pay.
1B Mark Teixeira (to Angels) for 1B Casey Kotchman and minor league pitcher Steve Marek (to Braves).
The Angels have been lacking that big, scary bat to protect Vlad Guerrero for a number of years and with this deal they’ve solidified their already potent lineup and made themselves even more fearsome for the stretch run. Forcing pitchers to throw to a Vlad - Teixeira three-four should result in a lot more runs scored.
The Braves ended up with a talented, young and relatively inexpensive first baseman who hits for average and has a good on base percentage while dumping salary.
OF Xavier Nady and RP Damaso Marte (to Yankees) for minor league OF Jose Tabata and RHPs Dan McCutchen, Jeff Karstens and Ross Ohlendorf (to Pirates).
The Yankees fill several needs at no cost to the major league team, adding a late inning reliever to help in the 7th and 8th and an outfielder with some power and defensive ability to replace the injured Hideki Matsui. Nady is nowhere near Matsui’s equal with the bat, but he’s better than a lot of outfielders.
The Pirates, once again, dump salary and grab prospects for players they can’t afford to keep anyway.
The Astros added depth to their middle relief at essentially no cost. The real question here is if this move was meant to free up someone else to trade. It’s a neutral move at best.
OF Manny Ramirez (to Dodgers) for OF Jason Bay (to Red Sox) for 3B Adam LaRoche, OF Brandon Moss, RHP Craig Hanson and minor leaguer RHP Bryan Morris (to Pirates)
For the Red Sox, they seemingly jettisoned salary and attitude issues and sent a message that no matter how good you are, the team, not the star, comes first. Jason Bay is a damn fine player, but he’s a shadow of Manny with the bat.
Quick name a Pirate? Any Pirate. Yeah, it’s getting tough, and while the Pirates grabbed some inexpensive and talented youngsters not a one of them is a proven major leaguer yet.
OF Ken Griffey Jr. (to White Sox) for minor leaguers 2B Danny Richar and RHP Nick Masset (to Reds)
I’m a bit puzzled where Griffey Jr. fits into the White Sox’ plans as he joins an already crowded outfield and a team which has Paul Konerko and Jim Thome as the 1B/DH spots. The only logical move would be to put him in Nick Swisher’s centerfield spot and move Swisher either to first base or the bench.
For the Reds this is a pure salary dump.
RP Arthur Rhodes (to Marlins) for minor leaguer RHP Gaby Hernandez (to Mariners)
For the Mariners this is a salary dump for a young pitcher who is highly regarded and with upside.
For the Marlins, this is a chance to solidify their bullpen at little cost to go for it this year. It’s a solid move for a veteran reliever who can still pitch and can offset some of the youth of the team.
3B Casey Blake (to Dodgers) for minor leaguers RHP Jon Meloan and C Carlos Santana (to Indians)
The Dodgers acquire a power bat for third base, but at the cost of defense and average. Still he fills a hole, or will until the oft injured Nomar Garciaparra is healthy enough to play and will pinch hit after that.
For the Indians, this is another sign they’ve started to rebuild. Meloan is a fireballing pitcher who strikes out almost a batter and a half per inning, but has yet to truly find full control of his pitchers. He’s an AAA player who’ll get a cup of coffee this year and could be an impact player in a year or two.
RP Jon Rauch (to Dodgers) for minor leaguers 2B Emilio Bonifacio (to Nationals)
For the Diamondbacks this is a move to strengthen the bullpen at the cost of a player from the depth of their farm team. Rauch will make a good 7th or 8th inning guy and could be a back up closer if the D’Backs need one.
For the Nationals, it’s all about the future.
SP Joe Blanton (to Phillies) for minor leaguers (to A’s)
The Phillies are reaching for starting help and it’s a long reach in this case as Blanton is suffering through one of the worst seasons of his career. They sent three low minor leaguers to Oakland in the deal.
For the A’s this is about picking up new player for a farm system which is among the best in the business at talent development.
The Brewers improve their infield depth and may benefit from Durham’s veteran presence but this move is not a big one. Still the cost was cheap enough. The Brewers gained in terms of pinch hitting and depth, but Durham isn’t an everyday impact player.
SP CC Sabathia (to Brewers) for minor leaguers OF Matt LaPorta, LHP Zach Jackson, RHP Rob Bryson and a player TBNL.
The Brewers acquire perhaps the best pitcher available for a package of highly regarded prospects.
For the Indians this is deal is a winner too as they acquire a 2007 1st round pick in Matt LaPorta, who can hit for power and average and is close to Major League ready. We’ll likely see him next season rather than this year, but the 20 year old looks to be a lock as a solid player for years to come.
SP Rich Harden and RP Chad Gaudin (to Cubs) for OF Matt Murton, 2B/OF Eric Patterson, C Josh Donaldson and RHP Sean Gallager (to A’s)
The Cubs countered the acquisition of CC Sabathia (by the Brewers) by going out and adding another potential ace to their deck of pitchers. The cost was a mixed bag of players with potential, but included no notable names.
For the A’s this is a move for the future - and will pay no dividends this season.