The 2011 MLB trade deadline has come and gone, bringing with it much excitement as usual.
Two of the most important trades this month involved the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies acquired right fielder Hunter Pence and the Braves acquired center fielder Michael Bourn, both of whom were previously star outfielders for the Houston Astros.
The deals brought each team exactly what they had lacked, which happened to be fairly similar for both.
For the Phillies, it was a power bat in their offensively lacking outfield to assist their offensive struggles. Meanwhile, for the Braves, it was a speedy outfielder who could hit consistently in the leadoff position, also to alleviate their offensive struggles.
Both teams have amazing pitching staffs—possibly the two best in the league—but have been ailing offensively. Their respective deadline acquisitions mean that they could easily be considered the two best teams in baseball.
And although the two teams acquired players of similar talent, it could be said that the Braves made the much better deal. In order to acquire Hunter Pence, the Phillies had to trade away Jonathan Singleton and Jarred Cosart, their top hitting pitching prospects, respectively, as well as Josh Zeid, another pitching prospect with much potential.
The Braves, on the other hand, managed to hold on to their four top pitching prospects as they traded for Bourn, which is quite amazing considering the skills of the player they received. They did give away center fielder Jordan Schafer, as well as three average pitching prospects.
Thus, the Braves may have a slightly brighter future than the Phillies three or four years from now. However, they may still have difficulties catching the Phillies in the 2011 season.
While Bourn will greatly improve the Braves' offense and nearly makes them a lock for the postseason, Pence gives the Phillies the same virtues. Nonetheless, Bourn certainly revives at least the Braves' hopes of surpassing the Phillies in the NL East by the end of the season.
Even before the trade deadline, both the Braves and the Phillies were nearly guaranteed to play postseason baseball in 2011. And now that they have each acquired a consistent provider on offense, it appears very likely that one of the two will finish with the World Series title.