- Three way trade: Astros get Carlos Beltran, A's get Octavio Dotel, and Royals get three prospects. Well, once again the A's are involved in a deal that involves the Royals dumping a good outfielder (Johnny Damon was the first, and Jermaine Dye was a good player at the time of the trade). The Astros get a major defensive upgrade in center, moving Craig Biggio to left. Adding a young guy with speed and power to the lineup never hurts, either. Getting rid of Dotel and naming Paul Manieri product Brad Lidge closer is great for my fantasy team, but isn't too smart for the Astros. They went from the deepest bullpen backend last year, with Lidge, Dotel, and Billy Wagner, to a very weak pen overall - there's basically no one in front of Lidge. The A's did well in getting a replacement for Arthur Rhodes (Rhodes is still there, he just isn't doing too well), but I would have gone for Lidge. The Royals continue to feel the effects of a tight budget, but they did end up with a good catching prospect (Benito Santiago can't play forever... or can he?) and a good 3B prospect (Joe Randa is decent but no superstar).
- Indians sign Aaron Boone. Not a bad idea. A veteran influence on the bench is always good, and it shows the Indians are willing to spend some money to win. However, Boone does have a tendency to be a walking leg injury (or, maybe he's a not-walking leg injury). My favorite quote from Boone's press conference: "I'm fired up." Boone admitted to having chills while putting on his Indians uniform for the first time; his father Ray started his career with the Tribe back in '48. Aaron's wife noticed a close resemblance between the two - I'll let you decide:
Now, the question is, whose place does Boone take. The obvious choice is current third baseman Casey Blake. But, on second look, Blake is on pace to put up numbers very similar to Boone's averages (about .260, 26 HR, 95 RBI). Plus, Blake can play third, first, and (supposedly) second, while Boone can play anywhere on the infield except first (although he prefers the left side). So, let's say we move Blake to first. That means the guy to go is good glove, no hit 1B Ben Broussard. Well, Broussard will have none of this. In the last 5 games, Broussard has responded with 14 RBI, including a game-deciding grand slam, a go-ahead 3 run HR, a walkoff double, and a game-tying 2 run HR in the 9th. He's not going quitely. Option three, with 2B/SS Brandon Phillips (remember him?) and SS/2B Jhonny Peralta (that's not a typo) on the way, would be to make Blake the "extra" (aka utility) infielder. This of course would spell the end of Omar Vizquel (not a huge surprise), and John McDonald - who is probably the best defensive infielder in the league (Gammons backs me up on this one, and you have to see him in person - he plays every position like it's shortstop), but was never able to sustain a decent batting average (except for last year, when then injury bug bit often).
- Mariners trade Freddy "The Rock" Garcia and Ben Davis to the White Sox for Miguel Olivo, Jeremy Reed, and Mike Morse. Well, Indians fans we starting to whisper the words "playoff run," but this trade might kill that for this year. Garcia joins Mark Buehrle as "are we really good and having a bad spell, or are we washed up at age 25?" pitchers. Davis is a decent catcher. Until now, he platooned with Dan Wilson; let's see how he does as the man (unless a platoon with Sandy Alomar) is in the works. Seattle needs youth, and they got a great deal out of this one. Now that he's an everyday catcher, Olivo could turn into a rather good all-around player. Reed, I'm told, is ready to become a star outfielder in a few short years. Plug him in with Randy Winn and Ichiro, and that's a great place to rebuild around. Morse is a shortstop that helps the Mariners cover ground after trading away young shortstop Carlos Guillen, who is quietly having a career year in Detroit.
- Rockets get Tracy McGrady, Tyronn Lue, Reece Gaines and Juwan Howard from the Orlando Magic for Steve Francis, Cuttino Mobley and Kelvin Cato. First of all - the "other guys": they basically cancel each other out; their real purpose is salary cap finagling. I don't blame McGrady for wanting to go home to Orlando, but once again we have a case of someone who took big money to go to a crappy team, then whined about it when they didn't want to lose any more. Is McGrady-Yao the new Shaq-Kobe? I don't know. McGrady isn't a great defensive player, even though he says he is (MAJOR KANKA SPORTS PHILOSOPHY RULE: Saying "I'm this" or "I'm not that" doesn't get you anywhere. Prove it through your actions. Listen up, Leprechaun Legion (become such a great cheering section that they can't help but move your seats) and Kellen Winslow II ("I'm not a bad person.")). Plus, the offense just has to go through Yao. Can McGrady handle that?
- Chris Niesel signs with the Indians; is assigned to Class A Mahoning Valley of the New York-Penn League. Niesel, ND's number 2 pitcher this year, had a year of eligibilty left, but decided to go pro anyways.
- ND IF Steve Sollman signs with the Brewers and is assigned to Helena of the Pioneer League.
- ND C/IF Javy Sanchez signs with the Twins and is assigned to Elizabethton (Tenn.) of the Appalachian League.
KankaMatic pages are updated. Of course, this means my weekly ritual of a) putting Sammy Sosa on the DL and calling up Hideki Matsui or b) activating Sosa from the DL and sending down Matsui is now complete. In case anyone's interested, Mike also just cut Larry Walker, who had about 35 home runs and 75 RBI against the Indians last weekend. Oh, and unfortunately, I was "that guy," as I was the first to steal someone off waivers (Jorge Julio - I'm building for the future!).