1. Kyle Farnsworth for Ivan Rodriguez
A need for a need. The Yankees needed a catcher, the Tigers needed a reliever. Pudge is well beyond his prime, but he still has the ability to hit, and he won't be expected to be the Pudge of old.
The Yanks could not afford to send out Chad Moeller once a week, and they similarly couldn't send out Jose Molina every day, despite his recent good hitting. Pudge will start fairly regularly, and will make the Yankees' lineup that much better.
Meanwhile, with the emergence of Jose Veras and Edwar Ramirez, the acquisition of Damason Marte, and the expected return of Brian Bruney, Farns became expendable.
The Tigers were already beginning to play Brandon Inge more, and have no problem handing him the starting job. They did, however, need a reliever, as Todd Jones (now on the DL), Fernando Rodney, and Joel Zumaya have not done the job. Farnsworth may even close in the near future.
Pudge and Farns are both free agents after the year. The Yankees will unlikely bring back the veteran catcher, as they expect to have Jorge Posada back, so this is essentially a rental. Plus, they can re-sign Farnsworth if they'd like.
If they didn't plan on bringing him back, then they really didn't need to keep him the rest of the way. I think both teams made a very smart move.
One final note on Farnsworth: While some Yankee fans were thrilled to see him go, he has pitched much better this year, more like the pitcher they expected when they signed him.
He has very good stuff, and he blamed his struggles on Joe Torre before the season. The man has backed up his word this year and has been much better with Joe Girardi. They may want to consider bringing him back, if they need his services.
2. Ken Griffey Jr.
The biggest winner in this deal is Griffey. The White Sox don't need this aging star, and the Reds didn't get anything back in return. But Griffey goes from a lousy team to a division leader, so good for him.
The White Sox didn't have to pay much for him, so even though he doesn't help much, he is certainly a nice guy just to have around. The Reds clear up their outfield logjam, so that's nice. Both teams improve slightly, but like I said, it's Griffey himself that improves the most.
3. Manny Ramirez/Jason Bay
A similar deal had originally been reported involving the Marlins, but that apparently didn't work out. Guess Florida didn't want to double it's entire payroll (no exaggeration).
The Red Sox dumped Manny, which I guess they wanted to do, but they gave up a lot to do that. In addition to losing a very productive player, they also have to pay his salary and give up two young players as well.
Brandon Moss is supposedly a strong prospect and could start right now for Pittsburgh. Similarly, reliever Craig Hanson goes from Boston to Pitt, and he could be the closer there.
Of course, the Red Sox didn't get peanuts back in return. Bay is a very good player. His numbers are very similar to Manny's this year, and he's signed for another season, so they don't have to worry about him walking. It's not a bad deal for them at all, but they did give up a lot.
The Dodgers lost Andy LaRoche, but Joe Torre was never going to let him play anyway, especially now that they have Casey Blake. They got Ramirez, and he significantly improves that team. They don't hit all that well, and that division is very close, so this single move could catapult them into the playoffs.
Oh, and the Red Sox are paying EVERY CENT of his salary. He's there for free. Excellent move for the Dodgers. (I also think it's awesome that Manny now plays for Joe Torre.)
But the biggest winners are the Pirates. They've been trying to move Bay for a while, and they got a very good, young package in return for him. LaRoche, Moss, and Hanson could all have immediate impacts on this team, and should stick around for a long time.
They also acquired Bryan Moss from L.A., who is coming off Tommy John surgery. For a team missing out on the playoffs, they've re-tooled very well.
From the perspective of a Yankee fan, I'm a little mixed on the deal, but satisfied overall. Manny is 37 and was likely leaving Boston after the year anyway, so it's disappointing to see that the Red Sox got a very solid player in return for him.
And despite the fact that they're still paying for the guy, that is more of a Red Sox personnel concern, not something that would affect Yankee fans.
But by the same token, Manny is gone! Every Yankee fan has been praying for this day for a long, long time. While the Red Sox got a younger, less aggravating player, they also gave up a Yankee killer who pisses the hell out of every Yankee fan. The move is good for the Sox, but it may be even better for the Yankees.
Not that Bay is bad, not by a long shot. But Manny always seems to add some extra effort when playing the Yankees, and Manny plus effort does not equal happy time for opponents.
Plus, we've got to be happy that the Red Sox gave up Moss and Hanson. While neither have done anything memorable in the majors so far, they were expected to be on that team for a while.
Finally, it also seems that the Dodgers and Pirates came out better than the Red Sox. Obviously, the Red Sox did well, but they didn't do as well as the other two teams in the deal, so it's a small moral victory. But again, much like the other two trades in this post, every team involved did well.