so another July trade deadline has come and gone. Sure… teams
can still trade for players and postseason roster eligibility
isn’t done. But for the hassle-free trading, we are now beyond
the deadline. So let’s bring up some questions (basic questions)
and see if there are answers (not the normal answers, but surprise
answers to kick around and consider) to a couple of little things
still out there…
a joke. MLB. A winner. Look things over.
and Cleveland went out on the market as buyers.
Pirates and Indians! Imagine that. I’m pretty certain that Pittsburgh
and Cleveland and Milwaukee and Texas all adding parts in moves
to improve for the current season is one of the modern day signs
of impending apocalypse. (Though that could be a slight exaggeration.)
In fact… Texas…
Rangers just so happened to manage landing the best reliever to
move. And the Brewers (who would be wrong, but would argue they
got the best reliever to move) not only added in the bullpen,
they also traded for a need to cover for an injury.
this while the Red Sox and Yankees twiddled their thumbs.
say while they “effectively twiddled their thumbs” but there was
nothing at all effective about the twiddling those two clubs did.)
winners… ok… we’ll look at the big names, and not the prospects
returned. (So this will be things like what Philly and Texas did
and not what Houston and San Diego received.)
having time to research it, I like the Hunter Pence move for Philly
a lot… right now and in the near future. But, I just wonder about
the organization. See… every time you look at Boston and their
moves, you debate money and perhaps scratch your head. Carl Crawford?
Adrian Gonzalez? Seems like they are spending a ton of money.
(And they are.) But then you notice that Ortiz and Drew, and likely
Papelbon, are gone, freeing up a conservatively presented $35-million
or so. In other words, they have a rolling salary that fills itself
in. My point being, Ryan Howard is going to cost a boatload with
his contract kicking in… and that pitching rotation ain’t cheap…
and now, Hunter Pence, who might not really be worth the money
he may get when that hurdle needs to be cleared. Thing is, I’m
nit-picking and kicking tires on a trade that runs really well
for now. Several clubs would have liked to acquire Pence… Philly
did… they needed a regular position player… good for them.
Adams to Texas… awesome acquisition. They have him for next year
as well, and could be thinking of him as the 2012 closer. Good
job. I think it may just be the best trade made in July for what
it means today, tomorrow, and fits into current needs and future
I love what Pittsburgh and Cleveland did as statements. Example…
it’s not that I think Ubaldo Jimenez was a great get for the Indians.
Instead it’s the mindset they are using and the approach they
are taking, setting themselves up to be a threat and saying they
don’t consider their club a bottom dweller for this season and
next. If the Pirates and Indians each manage nothing more than
81+ wins (meaning .500 or better for the year), that’s huge. And
keep in mind… the Indians also traded Orlando Cabrera for a solid
prospect. The Indians made multiple trades. Some with designs
on this year, most with an eye toward 2012 and the future, and
you can’t really fault the aggressiveness or the judgement. Nice
collectively wins during July of 2011 and the trading that took
place. Keep in mind… Cleveland is the same organization that traded
Sabathia and Lee and Martinez in recent years.
don’t know if losers really applies as a tag this year. Take a
Francisco, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Texas… and the list keeps
going… all added interesting players. Pittsburgh and Milwaukee
were in the trade mix as well. In other words… as noted in the
winners section, it was a fairly different trade deadline, and
many teams sought to improve their rosters.
stay with the label of losers, if for no reason than we called
the first segment winners, but for me the reality is that I consider
the funny areas to be more surprises than losses. Consider…
that one makes zero sense. He doesn’t really hit, and he isn’t
exactly Picasso with a glove. I mean… it’s kind of a depth move,
and one that just didn’t seem necessary. Sure… I’ve been harping
on the 40-man roster theme for Boston, and maybe this shakes out
in some way after 2011 is over. Or perhaps Lowrie… injury-prone
and currently down… is done for the year. (Doesn’t sound like
he is. Could be back next week. You never know though.) Still,
this is not much of an improvement for the club (if it even counts
as an improvement).
the real surprising thing for Boston comes in the area of starting
pitching. Everyone knew they were looking for it. We now know
that Buchholz could be down until next spring… and that Boston
likely has known this since well before the afternoon of July
31st. So while Erik Bedard is ok as a risk for a club that should
be able to coast to the playoffs (division title or wild card,
the postseason appears a given), the reality is I have to kind
of unite Boston with New York as losers here, since…
so many teams active and potentially in need of a good starter
(in the American League both Detroit and Cleveland wouldn’t mind
picking up a guy capable of being number three or four in a playoff
rotation… in the National League that could be said for everyone
in the Central to support our point), when we have the Yankees
looking for someone to take the mound other than Sabathia, it’s
kind of mind-boggling that New York doesn’t make at least one
move while they can do it without having to clear waivers.
Wandy Rodriguez… maybe no one touches him before the Yankees when
he gets placed on waivers, and they can pick him up for the full
price of his contract or some prospects, and they do add an arm
in August. Got it. But a lot of players… Bedard would have been,
Harden still is, and so on… are on lower cost deals and wouldn’t
be huge risks for a team like Pittsburgh if they are hanging in
there late in August. We’ve already established that payroll dumping
wasn’t the business model for 2011. The real additions may never
reach the Yankees so they can make a claim.
Boston, slight loser, more of blah grade… and New York, big loser,
because I think on August 20th or so, if they still feel like
they can win the American League (and I don’t think they can,
but they certainly will feel as if they can), they are going to
find there is simply no one to be found that will help them against
Boston, Detroit or Texas in a playoff setting.
hit the Red Sox and what they moved… players apparently on the
cusp of the 40-man roster that wouldn’t have been protected this
off-season and probably would have been lost for nothing in return
before 2012 began. Was it really what you expected?
there are three things going on here. (The short answer is it
was a nice theory from me, but no, I expected something different.)
yeah, I got the Sox right. Their trade for Erik Bedard involved
three players not on the 40-man roster, all with varying levels
of interest from other organizations, and none likely to be considered
for organizational protection after the curtain has lowered on
the 2011 season. They took three players they were almost certain
to lose with no compensation in return before next year and sent
them away for a flyer on a starting pitcher. And even the trade
with Kansas City sort of cleared up 40-man places when it comes
to this off-season. Yup… I got the concept right.
I honestly expected those players to be used as overpayment for
a larger haul. No… I was not expecting Jose Reyes. I didn’t think
they’d be calling Florida for some sensational move. And yes…
I understand that some trades, say with Colorado and Los Angeles,
weren’t even worth getting too deeply involved in. Jimenez comes,
in my opinion, with question marks and in LA we find players that
don’t want to leave. You could argue that Hunter Pence, Ubaldo
Jimenez and Mike Adams were the big positional player, starter
and reliever to move. Boston wasn’t a leader in any of those situations…
even though Pence or Adams would have been fantastic fits for
them. I did think we would see the Red Sox act in some unexpected
way and add something a bit more significant.
third, I missed the changes the small market and usually quiet
clubs would be willing to make. I mean come on… did any of you,
even as recently as early July, see Pittsburgh and Cleveland as
teams ready to be acquiring players?
while many clubs did nothing at all of interest, and even with
so many unavailable targets, it did become a very interesting
version of the story… it was not what I expected. Theo, once again,
had a situation on hand where he could swing for a big haul and
instead seems to have caught the ball strangely off the end of
the bat for a dribbler down the line.
Yankees did nothing. Nothing. But is that a loss? After all, the
trade you don’t make occasionally is the best…
yes, and actually… that’s a good question. Why? Well…
old do you think Jesus Montero is?
let you think about that for a second.)
understand that Sabathia, Colon and Garcia sounds impressive when
you look over 2011 numbers to date. But… I ask you… would you
want that or Beckett, Lester and the hopes Buchholz can get into
some action by late September that makes him worth pitching in
October? Or how about the rotations Texas and California could
be setting up? (Go look those two clubs up. You’re going to be
surprised by the tops of their staffs.) To me, Lackey pitching
well in October is just as possible as Colon and Garcia holding
up, and you can go ask people in Boston how they feel about Lackey
in a playoff spot. (Actually… funny thing… I’m good with Lackey
in the playoffs. I honestly think he might do well there when
you consider the offense supporting him. But I digress… we’ll
get to Lackey in a minute.)
American League club in the postseason discussion, from Boston,
Texas and Detroit all the way to California, Cleveland and Tampa,
has a starter on their roster capable of winning a game Sabathia
starts. I am not kidding. Beckett or Lester, Verlander, Weaver…
you see the idea here. (And, amazingly, each of those six teams
also has a solid option for a number two guy in place now. Right
now. No move of crossed fingers necessary.)
the pitching numbers look good for them now. Don’t they always
look good in the regular season? I mean, the Yankees are the masters
of kicking the tar out of opponents putting their fourth and fifth
best starters on the mound. It’s not showing up today… as they
club teams into submission. But when we get to the playoffs, it
will show up.
is… other than the Red Sox (currently holding a better record
and selecting after them on waiver claims), the Yankees have to
face the possibility that what becomes available in August may
interest every other club looking for pitching. (Remove Boston,
New York and the team waiving the player to be considered. Depends
on the league, but you get the idea. Waiver claims are likely
made for playoff motives, but it isn’t necessarily so. Pence and
Jimenez were not brought in for 2011 only.)
I said before… sure… the Yankees and Red Sox might be the only
two teams willing to take on all of Wandy Rodriguez’s contract.
Is he going to be worth it? Is he the solution? Because if someone
like Rich Harden looks good, he’s never lasting until the Yankees
enter their claim.
hold on… isn’t that a little strong? I mean when doing nothing
may honestly be the best move at times, ripping the Yankees for
doing nothing and holding on to prospects seems a bit rough.
yes… here we go with why I asked about Montero and his age. Because
you might have a point.
Wieters was drafted in 2007. He played 96 games for Baltimore
in 2009 at the age of 23. His offensive numbers haven’t been awesome
in 2010 or 2011, but he came up to the big league and has stayed
Mauer was drafted in 2001. Minnesota had him on their roster for
35 games in 2004. In 2005, at the age or 22, he played in 131
games for the Twins. You don’t need me to fill in much about his
would seem like Montero is a long-term prospect and a head-scratcher
for why he isn’t playing at the top level. Didn’t take these guys
tons of time or arriving at middle age to earn a seat at the top
level. What’s up with Montero?
sit down… here we go…
Montero is only 21 years old. And while I know the debates about
real ages and so on… for now, baseball reference sites, it is
a fact. It’s also a fact that he’s been with the New York organization
since 2007, when he played for their Gulf Coast League affiliate.
So if it seems like he has been a Yankee prospect forever… well…
yeah, he sort of has been a prospect forever. In AAA we have some
good numbers… .290ish average, .350 on-base, 21 homer power in
120+ games. Plus… he’s 21.
I was very surprised to see his age. In a way, I’m guessing you
are as well. He’s very young, very talented, and still has nothing
but a complete big league career as a possibility ahead of him.
I was going to try and compare him to Wieters and Mauer, and make
the case that he’s been a prospect so long that the time has kind
of come for us to at least consider maybe he’s a failed prospect
for right now that needs to prove some things. After all… there
are more than whispers these days that he is better served being
considered a designated hitter than a catcher. And Wieters jumped
inside of two years… Mauer up by age 21 and full-time by 22.
then… there it is… Montero is a teenage signing and only 21. Turns
22 in the off-season. I don’t think you can point at that and
scream he should be on the big league roster by now.
are the types of prospects you probably don’t trade. Look at Boston
and Ellsbury. How many times has his name been brought up? (Answer…
plenty.) How many times has it seemed like he was injury-prone
or that the organization, locker room, and fans were ready to
move on? (Answer… plenty.) He’s still with Boston, and having
a fantastic year.
then end result is more evidence for why I said the trade deadline
featured more surprises than true losers.
Colon and Garcia work out for New York? Sure… they could.
Buchholz be on a mound the first week of September, on a rehabilitation
pace the brings him up to Boston the last week or two of the regular
season to get some work, and then he’s active and pitching in
the postseason? Sure… I heavily doubt it… but he could.
thing is, when you take a deep breath and look over the landscape,
it appears that almost all of the potentially salvageable gems
that would fall to those with dollars are staying put right now.
High-priced pitching is already where it is going to finish the
year for the most part. And if Pittsburgh… or Cleveland… or Detroit…
or St. Louis… sees a chance to add a starter that will cost fairly
low dollars for a month of service, or add something now and next
year, they are going to submit a claim. For that reason… Boston
tried something, and while I don’t trust the move I can say I
sort of get it… both the Red Sox and the Yankees deserve question
alright then. Oh… oh… wait. Erik Bedard. I mean, you just mentioned
you don’t trust it… you must be ticked about the Sox only picking
up Bedard? Pick on them… yes?
sort of. I don’t think Boston truly dove in to the trading arena
the way they could have this season. But… while I consider them
a loser for the trade deadline, at least I can understand it.
know… you doubt it. But watch…
his career Lackey has pitched fairly often in the playoffs. 14
appearances and 12 starts… he’s 3-4 overall with a 3.12 ERA. And…
three of those losses came to the eventual champion (2005 White
Sox, 2007 Red Sox, and 2009 Yankees). He’s put in 78 postseason
innings, and you can view it as a solid bet he’ll get through
6 innings and likely be pitching in the seventh. I’m not saying
he’s consistent… his playoff record actually looks a lot like
his regular season in some respects, some good efforts and some
bad (heck, his ERA improves in the playoffs, but his WHIP is exactly
the same)… I am saying he has a win in a World Series start and
has decent numbers against some really tough opponents.
that’s the third guy Boston is sending to the mound, that’s not