Every year on July 31, the internet slows down due to massive hits on sites like MLBTraderumors.com, Twitter, and Bleacher-Report, as the MLB Trade Deadline approaches.
4pm EST has passed, and I will break down this year's trade deadline winners and losers.
This article, along with the rest of my articles in 2009, are dedicated to the memory of my good friend and Philadelphia Phan, Craig Anderson, who passed away on Feb. 3, 2009 from complications due to cancer. To donate to a great cause, visit www.cancer.org.
The Red Sox got one of their major targets in Victor Martinez. Martinez gives them a potent switch-hitting bat that can work out to spell Jason Varitek, David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis, and Mike Lowell.
No, Martinez won't play 3B...Youkilis takes the hot corner with V-Mart covering the first sack.
This move, in my opinion, makes Boston the favorites to at least win the AL Wild Card, if not the division and the league.
And they did so without giving up any of their major pieces. Not Ryan Westmoreland. Not Lars Anderson. Not Jed Lowrie. Not even Clay Bucholtz.
A+ for the Sox in this one.
The Yankees didn't pony up to get Roy Halladay. They didn't make the move for Jarrod Washburn. They couldn't even grab Brian Bannister from the Royals.
Their only move was adding Jerry Hairston, Jr.--a depth move--while watching the rival Red Sox add a huge bat to their already potent (albeit struggling) lineup.
The Yanks needed to make some kind of move to bolster their pitching, and they couldn't. They're still a good team, and should return to the post-season in 2009, but they failed at the deadline to even add Bannister because they wouldn't spend the extra 650k to pay his remaining salary.
You heard that right (check mlbtraderumors.com for this information).
They didn't blow it, but they didn't do anything to counter the addition of Martinez.
The Phillies got what they sought for months: a legitimate, top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher.
And they did it without giving up their top prospect, or Rookie of the Year candidate JA Happ.
They fought off Toronto GM JP Ricciardi's ransom and instead acquired not just their desired pitcher, but also the right-handed outfielder they'd been looking for, and pretty good one at that in Ben Francisco.
Lou Marson, Jason Donald, and Carlos Carrasco are all solid prospects, but were expendable, especially with the rise of Travis D'Arnaud and Kyle Drabek.
Jason Knapp was tough to part with, but is far enough away that it doesn't completely handcuff the Phillies future, either.
At the risk of sounding like a homer, this might have been the most successful team at the deadline.
How much does it stink to be Roy Halladay right now?
His GM played with him for weeks, he's been overworked by his team because they didn't expect him to stick around, and he's stuck on the sinking ship that is the Toronto Blue Jays for at least the rest of 2009.
Not to mention, JP Ricciardi's games with the media seemed to irk the ace right-hander.
Halladay could have gone to a contender, continued to pitch tremendously, maybe won a championship, and then cashed in after 2010.
Halladay should still be able to cash in, but he's going to have to continue to endure a pretty bad Blue Jays team to do so.
I feel bad for Doc. If Ricciardi wasn't so nuts, he'd be enjoying himself on a playoff caliber team right now instead of hiding behind his shades jogging around the ballpark.
The Cardinals got the big bat they wanted to help solidify their lineup and protect Albert Pujols, and they got one that Tony LaRussa loves.
Holliday is a free agent after the season, but if the Redbirds can't sign him, they'll be able to get two draft picks (assuming they offer him arbitration).
They also got Mr. Versatility, Mark DeRosa. DeRosa will mostly man 3B for the Cards, but can also play anywhere but CF, C, and P (and he'd probably fill them in an emergency). He's also a tremendous clubhouse guy.
They gave up a lot in terms of prospects, including top hitting prospect Brett Wallace and three highly ranked pitchers (Chris Perez, Jess Todd, and Clayton Mortensen), but the Cardinals want to win now, and are built more for today than for tomorrow.
They also kept DeRosa from rival teams like the Brewers and Cubs, and are currently looking the strongest of the teams in the NL Central race (though they trail the Cubs by 0.5 game at press time).
The A's acquired a tremendous hitter in Brett Wallace, who could jump in and play 3B for them as soon as September.
He's not a long-term solution at the hot corner because of his size, but he's no drone there either. Think a Troy Glaus type.
Clayton Mortensen adds depth, and they acquired a possible SS replacement from the Twins in return for Orlando Cabrera.
The A's did what they do best--get talented young players at the trade deadline for players that weren't going to be wearing green and gold the following seasons.
Across the Bay, this year's Wild Card team makes two plays at the deadline to make them the Wild Card favorites.
First, they get Ryan Garko. Garko solidifies their 1B position with a little more power than they already had without giving up too much.
Garko is in his prime and is still cost controlled. He'll help Pablo Sandoval, Aaron Rowand, and Bengie Molina with the middle of the lineup.
Freddy Sanchez coming over from Pittsburgh is the key piece coming to the Giants.
He gives the team a legitimate hitter at the top of the lineup to get on base for Sandoval, Rowand, Molina, and Garko, and he's a decent 2B as well.
A major upgrade over Emmanuel Burris, Kevin Frandsen, and company.
Yes, the Giants gave up a very good pitching prospect in Tim Alderson, but with a top core of Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum, along with Madison Bumgarner (arguably the top pitching prospect in baseball) on the way, the Giants have a very good base for their rotation for years to come, making Alderson expendable.
Jack Wilson. Freddy Sanchez. Adam LaRoche. John Grabow. Tom Gorzelanny. Ian Snell. Nate McLouth.
All gone. Many fan favorites.
The Pirates have some very exciting young players, including Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez, and a pretty strong pitching staff anchored by Zach Duke, Paul Maholm, and Matt Capps.
It will be very interesting to see what happens with this team over the next few years, but if you're a Pirates fan, it's got to hurt right now.
The Dodgers got what they needed most, yet didn't give up a ransom to get it.
The Boys in Blue added the top-notch setup man they craved, while the Orioles added the 3B of the future they needed to replace free-agent-to-be Melvin Mora.
Best of all, the Dodgers didn't give in to JP Ricciardi, keeping Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley.
Honorable Mention: Washington Nationals and Florida Marlins. The Marlins filled their hole at 1B by adding Nick Johnson, and the Nats added a strong prospect in LHP Aaron Thompson.
The Nats also were able to land a couple of pitching prospects for LHP Joe Beimel, an off-season scrap heap pickup. Not too shabby.
The Tigers added what they sorely needed: a starting pitcher. Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson have been great, but they really needed to add another arm behind the pair of righties.
Washburn, a left-hander, fits the Tigers perfectly, and will hopefully allow the team to go easy on the young right arm of rookie Rick Porcello.
Washburn didn't cost the Tigers a ton, giving up a pair of left-handed pitchers to the Mariners, neither a top prospect for Detroit.
The Twins filled their glaring hole at SS with Orlando Cabrera.
The Twins got the A's to help on the financial end, all while giving up just one prospect, and not highly touted 3B of the future Danny Valencia.
It should be a dogfight between the Twins and the Tigers for the AL Central crown.
The White Sox add one of the best pitchers in baseball over the past three seasons, and they lose?
You're probably thinking I must be out of my mind, but hear me out.
Peavy is out for at least another month, and may not pitch again this season.
LHP Clayton Richard, one of the players traded to the Padres in the deal, has been a solid arm in the White Sox rotation, and has helped to keep the Sox in contention.
The White Sox also gave up their top prospect, LHP Aaron Poreda, and now have to take on Peavy's large contract.
If Peavy--who has struggled recently--is not completely healthy (over-use), the White Sox could be handcuffed by his salary.
Meanwhile, the Padres sold high on a player that probably won't return to his glory days as the NL's yearly Cy Young favorite, avoiding a repeat of the Chris Young situation.
Adding four young arms helps a team in desperate need of pitching, all the while retaining its two All-Stars leaves the Padres in a better place than they were 24 hours ago.
The Indians have added a ton of pieces to rebuild a ball club that needed a makeover that began with the CC Sabathia trade of 2008.
Out goes Mark DeRosa, Ryan Garko, Cliff Lee, Victor Martinez, and Ben Francisco.
In comes a plethora of talent that should almost all contribute by the end of 2010 including pitchers Justin Masterson, Chris Perez, Jess Todd, Nick Hagadone, Bryan Price, Scott Barnes, Carlos Carrasco, and Jason Knapp, and hitters Lou Marson and Jason Donald.
The Indians badly needed pitching, and they got plenty of it. They also opened up space to call up power hitting OF/1B Matt LaPorta.
The ability to turn LaPorta loose and let him learn at the major league level is a benefit in and of itself.
In a relatively weak AL Central, the Indians added some very nice pieces to rebuild a pitching staff that should be well supported by the offense of Grady Sizemore, LaPorta, Travis Hafner and company.
This deadline was a disaster for the Blue Jays, who are looking at a major offseason overhaul, at least in the GM's suite.
Not only did JP Ricciardi embarrass the team over the past few weeks, but he failed to get the peak value for Roy Halladay.
Keeping Halladay in hopes of competing in 2010 is nonsense, as the Jays are the fourth best team in their division (at best).
Because of Ricciardi's insistence on holding teams for ransom for the ace, he wound up with nothing, and if Halladay can be moved later on, it won't be for nearly as much.
Then, he turns around and gives up Scott Rolen for a couple of marginal prospects and a guy the Reds have been trying to get rid of for quite some time now.
Yes, he sheds some salary by getting rid of Rolen, but all he did was make the Blue Jays the laughing stock of the league.
Not even the Pirates fire sale looks worse.