Well, another trade deadline has come and passed. Some key players were moved, some were not. But after months of hot stove reports and rumor mills, we can finally look back and reflect on who got the best deals, who got the worst deals, and who made no deals.
National League Winners
Philadelphia Phillies - It's hard not to include a team that acquired a reigning Cy Young award winner in the "winner" department. They missed out on Roy Halladay but got plan B in lefty Cliff Lee. And what makes this acquisition even more impressive is that they did not have to part with any of their top prospects (namely, Kyle Drabek).
Lee features a good sinker, which is key in a band-box park like Citizens Bank. Lee's contract is up at the end of 2009, but the Phils hold an $8 million option for 2010. The Phils now have four lefties in their rotation, and it seems that the division crown has come to Philly from Cleveland this year.
St. Louis Cardinals - In a month's time, the Redbirds managed to obtain Mark DeRosa, Julio Lugo, and Matt Holiday. If that's not good shopping skills, I don't know what is. Lugo gives them a legitimate shortstop with good range, speed and a decent arm.
DeRosa provides this team with versatility, along with a terrific bat. He can play both corner outfield positions, third base, second base—virtually anywhere. And he can flat out hit. This move allows the team to take it's time in getting Troy Glaus back from the DL, and gives Colby Rasmus a chance to develop more.
And Holiday...well, he doesn't really need any explanation. He may be having a "down" year so far, but he's finally playing for a contender and he gives the Cards the much needed protection behind King Albert.
Florida Marlins - Nick Johnson was somewhat of an under-the-radar acquisition for the Fish, but he could become a key component in another winning season in Miami. He gives the Marlins a much needed left-handed power bat in between Hanley and Jorge Cantu.
Johnson is as slick a first baseman as there is in the league. Cantu moves back to his natural third base and pushes Emilio Bonifacio to the bench as a defensive replacement/pinch runner—a role much more suited for a player of his attributes.
American League Winners
Boston Red Sox - When a team is able to pick up a switch-hitting catcher/first baseman, and still keep it's top pitching prospect, that's a winner in anyone's book. Victor Martinez is a top-of-the-line hitter with 30-homer potential, and playing in Fenway Park, he could really thrive in Boston.
He is 30 years old, and becomes a free agent at the end of the season (Boston holds a $7.5 million option on him). Plus, he joins an already crowded offense in Beantown. But the Sox were able to hold on to prized pitcher Clay Buchholz and now should easily compete with the Yankees.
Detroit Tigers - They already had some guy named Verlander. They already had the up-and-coming Rick Porcello. They already had the flamethrower Edwin Jackson. Throw in the crafty left-hander Jarrod Washburn, and all of a sudden the Tigers have themselves an awfully deep rotation, and a legitimate shot at that AL Central crown.
Chicago White Sox - For the second time this season, the White Sox traded for righty Jake Peavy. The trade first happened on May 21, but Peavy nixed it. With school over, however, he seemed to want a change of scenery.
He may or may not pitch again this year (he is currently on the 15-day DL with an ankle injury), but he will certainly pitch for the Sox in 2010 and he's inked until 2012 (with a club option for 2013). And, oh yeah, he's a former Cy Young award winner, too!
National League Losers
Milwaukee Brewers - The Brewers have really begun to fade. They are 9-16 in July (with one to play) and it appeared that if they had any hope in remaining in the wild card chase, they would have to make a deal for a starting pitcher to support Yovanni Gallardo.
But GM Doug Melvin did not pull the trigger on any move, other than acquiring Felipe Lopez from the Diamondbacks. No Sabathia-type trades for the Crew this year, and thus their playoff run seems to be losing steam in '09.
Pittsburgh Pirates - They really have no shot in making the postseason this year, but they really did a disservice to whatever fans they currently have. This team, currently 15 games under .500, managed to trade away almost every recognizable name on their roster.
Ian Snell, Jack Wilson, Freddy Sanchez, Adam LaRoche, John Grabow, and Tom Gorzelanny have all changed addresses. It's got to feel like a whole new team to the vets on this club, like Zach Duke, Paul Maholm and Ryan Doumit.
New York Mets - It comes really as no surprise that the Mets did not make any deadline deals (they did acquire Jeff Francouer from the Braves a couple of weeks ago). They are expected to get a slew of big guns back shortly: Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, Billy Wagner, Carlos Delgado. So any sort of splash deal would not have fit well with this team right now.
But it would have been nice to see them pick up a lefty reliever to relieve Pedro Feliciano. Joe Beimel would have been a nice fit. But they still have August to make any waiver trades, so who knows.
American League Losers
Texas Rangers - Coming into the deadline, the Rangers were only three games out of first place, behind AL West leading Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Yet, they made no moves to try and give them that extra push down the stretch.
They did not improve their bullpen or add any arms to their rotation. If they don't catch the Angels, or Boston in the wild card (they sit a game and a half behind the Red Sox), it can be argued that a quiet hot stove season is primary reason.
New York Yankees - Well, they picked up Jerry Hairston Jr., a fine utility man. But with rumors swirling around names like Roy Halladay, Heath Bell, Jarrod Washburn and Matt Capps, the Yanks came up rather empty on July 31. Granted, they have a stacked roster as it is, but they could have solidified that AL East with any significant transaction.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - Like the Yankees, they already have a really good team all around.
But with injuries to Torii Hunter, Kelvim Escobar, Vlad Guerrero, and Scot Shields, the Angels probably could have helped themselves by grabbing one of the big names on the market. With a slim lead in the AL West, any move could have made all the difference.