Ryan Howard and the Phillies: Trade Deadline Sweepstakes Early Winners

Evan GuszContributor IIAugust 4, 2011

I Got Your Back...
I Got Your Back...Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

The Giants added what seemed to be the big trade deadline prize in Carlos Beltran. There were numerous headlines involving Beltran and where he might land leading up to the trade.

Supposedly, every contender was all over the Mets to see how they could get the oft-injured Beltran into their uniform. he Giants pulled it off by sending their top pitching prospect and former number one draft pick to the Mets for the two month services of Carlos Beltran.

So how has it worked out after nearly a week? Well, not too good. 

Since acquiring Beltran, the Giants are 2-5 and their first place lead has shrunk from five games down to one (yesterday they were in a tie for first). They actually lost two games to their closest competitor in the NL West, the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Beltran is batting .266 (8/30) with two RBI’s and three runs scored. He also has six strike outs.

Are the Giants recent troubles Beltran’s fault? No, not by a long shot. But, he didn’t really stop it from happening either.

The Phillies, who were reportedly hot on Beltran (although Beltran himself said he was never approached about waiving his no-trade clause to go to Philly), had to "settle" (wink, wink) for two time All Star Hunter Pence. They gave up a first base prospect—who was probably never going to see the light of day with the big league club—and a single A pitching prospect. 

The Phillies, however, are not renting their new acquisition as Pence will remain under team control through the 2013 season. The Phils solved a problem not only for this year, but for the two years as well. Pence, like Beltran, was also sought after but wasn’t really considered a "big-prize-impact-player."

Since acquiring Pence the Phils are 5-0 and their lead in the NL East has moved from five games up to eight. Pence was brought to Philadelphia to protect Ryan Howard and to throw some balance into a left-handed heavy line-up.

Pence’s impact has certainly been felt. 

In Pence's first game as a Phillie, Ryan Howard went 4-4 with an intentional walk. Immediately following the IBB, Pence hit an RBI single to center.

In his second game, a right-handed pitcher was brought in with two outs in the eighth inning to pitch to Pence and spell the lefty whom just got Chase Utley and Ryan Howard out. Pence hit a double and was followed by Raul Ibanez who hit a game tying two run homer. Ibanez had a right-handed pitcher facing him because of Pence’s presence in the lineup. Later in the 10th inning, Pence doubled again and then scored the winning run on an Ibanez walk off double.

There’s been more. Those are just the early highlights.

Since Pence has been in the red pinstripes, Ryan Howard is batting .409 (9/22) with four HR’s, four 2B’s and nine RBI’s.

Pence himself is batting .285 (6/21) with three 2B’s, three runs scored and three RBI’s. He has had a hit in every game he’s played as a Phillie.

Michael Bourn was a late trade deadline deal for the Atlanta Braves, who were desperately in need of a lead-off hitter and a decent center-fielder. The Braves traded four decent pitching prospects and their emerging star center fielder, Jordan Schafer, who was already with the big league club. So what kind of impact has he had on the Braves?

In Bourn's first at-bat with the Braves he got a base hit to lead off the ballgame. He was immediately doubled off on a line drive.

In his first three games with the Braves the team is 1-2. Bourn is batting .307 (4/13) with one 2B, two runs scored and one RBI. This is, of course, the smallest sample size of the three.

So who is the early winner of the trade deadline sweepstakes? 

Well, it appears to be Ryan Howard. The Philadelphia Phillies are riding a respectable six game win streak—five with Pence—and have widened an extremely comfortable lead in their division. 

Congratulations, Ryan Howard. Unfortunately there's no real prize associated with this win.