MLB news and notes: An in depth 2009 trade deadline dissection and review
With the looming July 31st trade deadline less than a day away, it’s seems only fitting that we recap the biggest moves that have transpired so far this season. In just a few weeks a handful of trades have drastically altered the landscape of the league. Postseason contenders tinkered in an attempt to plug holes and the usual perennial cellar dwellers once again frivolously unloaded anything with talent and or salary in an alleged attempt to become more viable in the future. With that said, here is a breakdown of each trade that has taken place so far leading up to the 2009 trade deadline.
Phillies and Indians- Acquired pitchers Carlos Carrasco, Jason Knapp, infielder Jason Donald, and catcher Lou Marson from the Philadelphia Phillies for pitcher Cliff Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco.
After weeks of heated negotiations the Phillies finally gave up on trying to pry Roy Halladay from Toronto, but Cliff Lee is no doubt an amazing consolation prize that came at a much more affordable price. The former Cy Young winner leaves the team a year after the Indians were forced to deal Sabathia and it officially ends an era of Indian baseball that looked so promising only a few seasons ago. The once acclaimed trio of Sabathia, Lee and Carmona has disappeared into the wind, and it must be an incredibly sad for Tribe fans who I’m sure must be heartbroken and are wondering what could have been. I think Angels Centerfielder Torii Hunter put it best when he said this, “Man, the Phillies won the World Series last year with one great starter Cole Hamels] . . . Now they have two. They’re going to be tough.” Indeed they are Torri, indeed they are. The Dodgers were my early favorites to win it all and the rest of the league knew it too, as the Phillies and Cardinals both made big splashes in an attempt to try and even the playing field. Spot on to both teams for sacking up and making the needed moves.
Carlos Carrasco- 2009 – #2 ranked for PHI. Carrasco has above average stuff (8 K’s/9) but has had issues with control throughout his time in the minors (3.6 BB’s/9). A career 4.14 era and 1.32 whip in the minors are not that impressive, and with a 5.18 era this year in AAA, Carrasco was certainly expendable. I don’t see much future for Carrasco in the big’s and Philly was lucky to be able to cash him in for something useful.
Jason Knapp- 2009 – #10 ranked for PHI. Knapp was the 71st overall player taken in 2008, and is currently in A ball. He has a lot to learn, and is definitely an unproven commodity. Knapp is the epitome of the word prospect. Knapp has solid stuff (11.6 K’s/9), (6.6 H/9) but is another guy that has at times struggled to find the strike zone (4 BB/9). As I said earlier when I discussed whether the Dodgers should make a run at Hallady, I have no problem shipping out a young A baller in a trade for an established player. Knapp looks to have potential, but he’s most certainly a project.
Jason Donald-2009 – #4 ranked for PHI. Donald was the 97th overall pick in 2006 and at 24 is now struggling at AAA where he is hitting a paltry .236. He does have above average power, but the rest of his game has many flaws. His contact and eye are below average and he’s not particularly quick. Again the prognosis for Donald doesn’t look to be very promising, and he was more than expendable.
Lou Marson- 2009 – #3 ranked for PHI. Marson was the 122nd overall player taken in 2004 and at 23 he has finally developed enough to be considered close to MLB ready. With that said he’s another fringe prospect in my opinion. Marson has a mere career .276 average, .760 ops and he has never hit more than 7 hr’s in any season in the minors. Those numbers don’t do much for me and I project Marson to be a career backup if he can even stick in the big leagues. Considering position scarcity and the relative lack of solid catchers in the big leagues, maybe I am being too critical, but I just don’t see anything about his game that I am particularly thrilled with. He does have an above average eye, but he can only utilize his patience if he can make contact, and that remains to be proven.
Grades- The only player I like in the deal is Knapp and he is years away from contributing. I’m going to go out and say it now, this was a terrible trade for Mark Shapiro and I honestly don’t understand how this was the best offer he received, especially considering how stingy the Jay’s have been with Halladay and the relative lack of good sp’s available.
Mariners and Pirates- Acquired first baseman Jeff Clement, shortstop Ronny Cedeno and pitchers Aaron Pribanic, Brett Lorin and Nathan Adcock from the Seattle Mariners for shortstop Jack Wilson and pitcher Ian Snell.
The Pirates continued to unload and have officially entered the running for the Bryce Harper sweepstakes. After years of trying to compete and failing miserably, they have waived the white flag and given up. As unpopular as the moves have been, I actually respect the fact that they have decided to rebuild and have chosen a direction for the franchise. Win big or give up and tank, it’s the American way! The Mariners pick up a decent hitting SS from my home city, Thousand Oaks and a reclamation project in Snell who has proven so far to be nothing more than a quadruple A spct. However I do like the pickup of Snell and think he has a chance to turn it around on a new club and finally fulfill his once promising potential. The kid did strike out 13 batters in a row at AAA. How could he not translate that K potential in the big show.
Jeff Clement- 2008 – #1 ranked for SEA. Clement is a former 1st rd pick who was once considered to be one of the best catching prospects in baseball but his progress has been limited due to injuries, and he has been relegated to playing 1B. He has solid power and a well disciplined eye, but he has yet to show that he can hit for contact in the big’s. Even with the injuries and unproven contact, he has the potential to be a solid MLB player for many years and at 25 he is primed to show his stuff right now.
Ronny Cedeno- 2006 – #3 ranked for CHC. He was once a highly regarded prospect but he’s never been able to live up to the hype. He’s a career .238, .277, .616 guy in 5 plus years in the bigs. Enough said, he’s got a few more minutes of spotlight left and then he will most likely fade into the distance and be forgotten.
Aaron Pribanic- unrated. He’s 22, and only has one year of college ball under his belt. He’s 6-4, 200 and at least has the physical makeup to succeed. He is a relative unknown, but he is still young and has potential.
Brett Lorin- unrated. Lorin was the 162nd overall pick in 2008. He has solid stuff and although he has difficulty with his control I feel as though he will grow out of this once he matures as a pitcher. Consider him a younger Carrasco, with more upside.
Nathan Adcock- unrated. Nathan was the 141st selection in 2006 and he is still toiling in high A ball. He has shown above average stuff, but the control is an issue for him. He’s 21 so he still has some more life in him, but he’s been in the system for 5 years and he has yet to reach AA. Seems pretty expendable to me!
Grades- I think Snell will turn it around, and Wilson is a solid blue collar SS.
Giants and Pirates- Acquired infielder Freddy Sanchez from the Pittsburgh Pirates for pitcher Tim Alderson.
The Giants have been struggling to score runs all year and balked at the chance to sign any FA’s last off-season. They could have signed a guy like Bobby Abreu for 4 million dollars and given up no prospects, but instead they went out and traded one of their best prospects for an over paid middle infielder. With that said, if they had any shot at competing they needed to pick up a bat and at least they attempted to improve their anemic offense, which is a commendable feat for the Giants. The question remains, was adding the former batting champ enough to overtake the Dodgers, or even take the wildcard? Nope, I still like the Cardinals to win the Central and the Braves to end up taking the WC. So in essence I feel the Giants dealt away a stud for a chance at second place in the NL West. Well done gentleman, Sabean you never cease to amaze me.
Tim Alderson- 2009 – #4 ranked for SF. Tim was the 22nd overall pick in 2007. The 20 year old Alderson has steadily progressed and is currently in AA. Although Tim is only the 4th highest prospect in the Giants organization, he is highly regarded and has star written all over him. Baring any major injuries this kid has the upside to be a legit stud in the league. He has superb stuff, control and he understands the art of pitching.
Grades- A hell of a lot to trade for a light hitting 2b. Couldn’t the Giants package Alderson for Lee, Halladay, or Holliday? He is a top notch prospect and it seems odd to me that Giants didn’t go after a more productive player if they were willing to part with Alderson. I realize the Giants have a plethora of pitching, but really? Sanchez has a career .756 OPS, which is terrible!
Cardinals and A’s- Acquired outfielder Matt Holliday and cash considerations from the Oakland Athletics for third baseman Brett Wallace, pitcher Clay Mortensen and outfielder Shane Peterson.
The Cardinals already had a playoff contending team in my opinion and with the addition of Holliday they essentially became a lock to win the Central. Holliday, Ludwick, Ankiel and Rasmus roaming the outfield is just plain nasty. I love the vibe I get from this team and I feel like they are a dark horse to win it all. Pujols, Holliday, Carpenter and Wainwright form a solid nucleus. On the other hand you have got to give the wizard Billy Beane his due credit. He essentially flipped Carlos Gonzalez, Gallagher and company for a half season Holliday rental and when it didn’t work out for the A’s he was able to flip Holliday for Wallace. He tried to put together a winner and if it wasn’t for the terrible injuries to his young sp’s, things might have gone differently, but they didn’t and he was still able to save grace.
Brett Wallace-2009 – #2 ranked for STL. Brett has good contact, exceptional power and plate discipline. He is a bit of a defensive liability but he’s got a big enough stick to overlook his fielding inefficiencies. He has been successful at every level, and will most likely be a solid contributor at the big league level very soon. Brett hit .410, and .423 while at ASU and has .301 average during his two seasons in the minors.
Clay Mortensen-2009 – #6 ranked for STL. Clay has posted a 4.28 era in three minor league seasons. Clay has above average stuff, but needs to work on the rest of his game. I don’t expect much from him, but Billy must have seen something to include him in a deal.
Shane Peterson- unrated. Shane has a solid eye and is the prototypical Athletic. Shane is not particularly athletic nor is he the best power hitter, but he does have some upside. Shane hit .390 while playing at Long Beach and has a .291 average in two minor league seasons.
Grades- The Cardinals are giving up on Wallace right as he was about to contribute, but you can’t complain too much because they finally landed the lineup protection for Pujols that they have so desperately needed for years. A good deal for both parties, but a slight edge to the Cardinals.
By: Morgan Spokny
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