The MLB trade deadline has come and gone, and with its passing, teams have announced to the rest of the majors whether or not they see themselves as contenders.
While the Mark Teixeira trade was the hot-stove item among baseball writers and enthusiasts just 24 hours before the deadline, it is now quite literally and figuratively yesterday's news.
Two future Hall of Famers made a big splash on D-Day. First, Ken Griffey Jr. waived his no-trade clause to play the rest of the year for the contending White Sox. Then, when it seemed that Manny Ramirez was going to either going to stay in Boston or be shipped to Miami, the Dodgers snatched him up.
Let's look at each division in the AL and analyze their chances of winning the World Series.
Tampa Bay Rays
I don't know how close to making a trade the Rays actually were, but they finalized zero of them. The Rays were one of the best stories during the first half of the year, and yes, they still lead their division, but they needed to make a move.
The phrase, "The (Devil) Rays are in first place," is spoken once every 11 seasons. They have the Red Sox and Yankees breathing down their necks.
To quote the Rays' VP of Baseball Operations, Andrew Friedman, "We have to keep an open mind that we've got a first-place club. And for us, offensively, we have struggled. And we believe that basically we're going to have made an acquisition by the way our guys are going to perform over the last two months. They've got a track record that suggests such and we believe there's a lot more to come."
Sounds like the PR machine is running overtime there. I'm not too confident in a Rays organization that has no experience contending for a playoff spot down the stretch.
Odds of making the playoffs—10:1
Odds of winning the World Series—30:1
Boston Red Sox
The only trade the Red Sox made was the just-under-the-wire deal that sent Manny to L.A. and Jason Bay to Boston. On paper, this seems like a dumb move by Boston management. But by examining it closer, it's obvious that Boston was just tired of the circus.
Manny was becoming too big of a disruption in the clubhouse and wanted a change of scenery. While Bay won't give the Red Sox the fire in the lineup that Manny provided, he's still an All-Star.
Let's see what the former NL Rookie of the Year can do now that he's finally on a team that has a chance to compete.
Odds of making the playoffs—1:3
Odds of winning the World Series—10:1
New York Yankees
You knew that this team would not sit still. As mentioned earlier, they traded Farnsworth straight up for Pudge. More on that trade later. Earlier in the week, the Yankees traded away four prospects to the Pirates in exchange for OF Xavier Nady and P Damaso Marte.
In the end, this team always (since 1996) finds a way to make the playoffs.
Odds of making the playoffs—EVEN
Odds of winning the World Series—15:1
Chicago White Sox
Surprisingly, the South Siders have led this division for most of the season. While currently in a tight race with Minnesota and Detroit for the division crown, they made a big statement with the acquisition of Griffey. In return, the White Sox gave up little for his services—an unimpressive middle reliever and a prospect.
This trade gives Chicago a solid, veteran bat to put in the middle of the lineup and makes them the favorites to win the AL Central.
Odds of making the playoffs—1:5
Odds of winning the World Series—7:1
Just like the Rays, the Twins did nothing. But unlike the Rays, the Twins will have pitcher Francisco Liriano returning to their roster in time for the stretch run.
I am concerned about Livan Hernandez. He seems to be losing a bit of his fastball, and he has only struck out 54 batters in 139-2/3 innings. He has an ERA ballooning towards five-and-a-half.
The Twins will need him if they expect to contend for the playoffs.
Odds of making the playoffs—4:1
Odds of winning the World Series—25:1
To me, the Pudge trade was a head-scratching one. Pudge may be past his peak, but he is hitting near .300 and can handle a pitching staff with the best of them. Farnsworth, on the other hand, is a head case to say the least.
While his stuff is electric, and he is the one pitcher you don't want to charge the mound against, he has never had the mental makeup to be a consistent closer.
Despite what I see as a negative trade for the Tigers, I think they have enough to at least compete for a wild-card spot.
Odds of making the playoffs—7:2
Odds of winning the World Series—20:1
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, California of the United States of America
This team is the only one man-enough to contend for the AL West crown. They have the largest division lead in the majors, and no one can match their record on the road.
To top it off, they added RBI-machine Mark Teixeira. Teixeira will provide some much-needed protection in the lineup for Vlad Guerrero.
Odds of making the playoffs—1:10
Odds of winning the World Series—3:1