MLB Trade Deadline: Grading the Major Deals Each Team Made
We just went through a July that saw a lot of trade predictions turn out to be false.
The trades that did happen were mostly for reliable, everyday players instead of those big flashy names.
The Yankees talked themselves into believing Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia were better than anybody on the market (this just in: there's been a riot in the Bronx).
While this year's trade deadline didn't have its Cliff Lee, it was still interesting to watch.
All the talking heads and writers who were saying B.J. Upton, Hiroki Kuroda or Heath Bell were going to get moved are probably putting a hit out on their sources.
The trades that did happen were of the small-name, big-impact variety, and pretty much ensured every playoff spot except for the NL Central.
Let's get started grading the deals from this trade deadline.
New York Mets: Francisco Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran
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Mets trade P Francisco Rodriguez and cash to the Brewers for two players to be named later.
Mets trade OF Carlos Beltran to the Giants for P Zach Wheeler.
It's entirely possible to be a seller and still end up being a winner at the trade deadline.
The Mets needed to get rid of K-Rod simply because of all the off-field problems that surrounded him when he was on the Mets.
And Beltran's salary had to go for the rebuilding Mets.
At least they got something in return for Beltran. Wheeler has the potential to be a legitimate starter, possibly even a No. 1.
As for what they'll get for K-Rod, it doesn't matter. They just needed to be rid of him fast.
Cleveland Indians: Ubaldo Jimenez
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Indians trade four prospects for P Ubaldo Jimenez.
They also traded away Orlando Cabrera and got Kosuke Fukudome. But, in essence, the Ubaldo trade's the one that's going to impact them the most.
At first, I thought it was a little confusing that the Indians gave away four prospects, all in the "they should be good" range, for Ubaldo Jimenez.
But Ubaldo's a good pitcher, someone you can build around.
They made the trade to help get the team to the playoffs. And that would've been great if the Tigers didn't improve their rotation as well.
It's like the Indians forgot their rotation consisted of Ubaldo Jimenez and...that's it.
St. Louis Cardinals: Rafael Furcal, Edwin Jackson and Others
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Cardinals get SS Furcal and cash from the Dodgers for OF Alex Castellanos.
Cardinals give up Colby Rasmus to get P Jackson, P Octavio Dotel, P Mark Rzepczynski, OF Corey Patterson and three players to be named or cash in a three-team trade involving the Blue Jays and White Sox.
The three-team trade had a lot of names going everywhere, and rather than bore/confuse you with the details of the trade, I decided to just grade the Cardinals' end of it.
Despite the amount of players involved, the Cardinals didn't really come away with anything noteworthy other than Rafael Furcal.
Edwin Jackson won't do much for their rotation. He's too wild, and there's a reason he's been on five teams in the past three years.
The biggest thing is that the Cardinals lost Colby Rasmus, a guy with the potential to be a complete player.
Not to mention the fact that their rival for the division lead, the Pirates, upgraded their lineup with Derek Lee.
Atlanta Braves: Michael Bourn
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The Braves trade OF Jordan Schafer and a bag of chips—I mean prospects—to the Astros for OF Michael Bourn.
It's interesting to note that those three prospects the Astros get are going to help the team in 2014/15, and Jordan Schafer's currently injured. But at least the Braves are happy.
Bourn helps the Braves from the leadoff spot.
He could be the spark the team needs to solidify their hold on the wild-card spot.
Bourn is a solid player with a pretty good OBP and plenty of speed.
The Braves lacked a true leadoff man, and they got one in Bourn.
Too bad the Phillies got better as well.
Boston Red Sox: Erik Bedard
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Red Sox get P Erik Bedard from the Mariners in a three-team trade involving the Dodgers.
First it was supposed to be Hiroki Kuroda, then Rich Harden.
Now the Red Sox have ended up with Erik Bedard, who—when healthy—is one of the better pitchers in the league.
A rotation of Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Erik Bedard can match up with any rotation except for the Phillies.
Of course it's all a big question mark until Bedard proves he can stay healthy.
But at least they managed to outshine the Yankees at the trade deadline for once.
Not to mention it'll be fun to watch a possible ALCS with the Red Sox lining up Beckett, Lester, Bedard and possibly Bucholz (should he heal up) to go against the Yankees' rotation of CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia.
At this point, I'm wondering if the Yankees should call up Andy Pettitte or Mike Mussina to complete their throwback rotation.
Might as well call Pedro Martinez too to really get that 2000's vibe.
Texas Rangers: Mike Adams and Koji Uehara
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The Rangers trade P Robbie Erlin and P Joe Wieland to the Padres for P Mike Adams.
The Rangers trade P Tommy Hunter and INF Chris Davis to the Orioles for P Koji Uehara and cash.
Any time you have a chance to get two great setup men, you go for it.
Now the Rangers just might have the best bullpen in baseball. Adams, Uehara and Neftali Feliz shortens the Rangers' games to six innings.
Just imagine staring down that three-headed beast in October.
Then add the fact that Adams and Uehara combine for only 95 innings and 115 strikeouts. In case you're wondering, they have 17 walks between them, too.
Kinda makes me wonder what was going on in the Yankees' front office when they saw all these deals going through.
"The Red Sox got Bedard and the Rangers got two of the league's best setup men? No problem, we've got Luis Ayala. But just in case, somebody call Tom Gordon."
San Francisco Giants: Carlos Beltran
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The Giants trade P Zach Wheeler to the Mets for OF Carlos Beltran.
The Giants also got Jeff Keppinger and Orlando Cabrera, solid guys with loads of intangibles, but the Beltran trade's the one everyone is focused on.
This is one of the few trades to impact both teams positively.
The Mets get rid of Beltran's contract while the Giants get an actual recognizable threat in their lineup.
Prior to the trade, the Giants had a mix-and-match approach to their offense, with their best active hitter resembling a panda.
Beltran helps out their offensive needs (or is it woes?) and pretty much seals up the NL West for the Giants.
Not many people realize this, but they were winning before they had a position player everyone could recognize other than the panda and their second-year catcher.
Now they have a star-like player?
Bet you Tim Lincecum's happy that he no longer has to pay attention in batting practice.
On a side note, I think Hunter Pence's personality and drive would've fit in with that slightly-off Giants team.
Philadelphia Phillies: Hunter Pence
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The Phillies trade four schmucks—I mean prospects—to the Astros for OF Hunter Pence.
*the grade depends on if those prospects end up becoming the Grady Sizemore, Cliff Lee and Brandon Phillips of this decade.
The prospects aren't exactly top-of-the-line, going-to-be-ready-soon caliber.
But of course, the thing with prospects is that you can never know how they'll pan out until they actually pan out.
If the Astros win the World Series in the next five to 10 years, it'll probably be because they guessed right on the prospects they got this trade deadline.
The flip side is that Hunter Pence is exactly what the Phillies needed.
They needed a right fielder with a good personality who could fit into their team. It also helps that he's a right-handed bat.
Pence helps the Phillies offensively when they've been getting by on pitching alone. I feel sorry for the team that has to play them in October.
Then again, it would've been funny to see them add another high-quality starting pitcher like Ubaldo Jimenez or Erik Bedard, just in case people doubted their rotation.