Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Transaction Wire

MLB Trade Deadline Edition

Haven't gone a Transaction Wire in a while. Here's what I've missed:

  • Twins acquire, and then release, Bret Boone. Boone was hitting .231 for the Mariners, but the Twins needed any pop they could get. Boone went on to hit .170 for the Twinkies, and now he's gone. Say what you want about the chin (and what it implies) - the guy is 36 years old, and never was a great average hitter to begin with.

  • Yankees trade Paul Quantrill to San Diego for Tim Redding, Darrell May, and cash. How can Brian Cashman continually rob other teams in trades? Two guys and cash for Quantrill? A career double-A guy and pocket change for your best player? Cashman must have some connections with Scores, otherwise there's no way GM's would let him get away with these trades. As far as the players themselves go - the Yankees need starters and need them bad, so here are two guys who can start once or twice, then get released if need be.

  • Indians trade Alex Cora for Ramon Vazquez. This is basically a money deal. Neither of these utility infielders are exactly young. Cora has a good glove, but his offense was lacking this year. The reason the Tribe got him, though, was as insurance in case first-time starter Jhonny Peralta floundered at shortstop. Peralta is excelling - moving up from ninth in the order to third as the season progressed - so Cora became expendable, and ended up being traded in a move that saves Cleveland $2 million.

  • Rockies trade pitchers Joe Kennedy and Jay Witasick to the A's for Eric Byrnes and infielder Omar Quintanilla. Byrnes is later traded to the Orioles for Larry Bigbie. Byrnes is a game, and the Orioles needed something, anything from the right side of the plate. Kennedy falls into the "great young starter, if he ever gets out of Colorado" class. However, now that he's out of Colorado, he's been moved to the bullpen. There was speculation that he'd be used in a deadline deal, but he never was. Witasick is a serviceable veteran reliever. The Rockies aren't going to do anything this year, so they're just looking for youth.

  • Rockies also trade Preston Wilson for pitcher Zach Day and outfielder JJ Davis. The Nationals obvioulsly needed some pop in the lineup. The Rockies get Day, who has a great sinker (you need your breaking balls to be "great" in the thin air of Coors) but needs to develop into a better all-around pitcher, and a young outfielder.

  • Red Sox trade Jay Payton for Chad Bradford. The Sox had DFA'd Payton, so getting anything for him was a bonus. They need something, anything, in the bullpen, and Bradford is that something. Meanwhile, Payton's 10 HR and 35 RBI look powerful for an Oakland outfielder, especially with Byrnes now gone. Brian Stavisky and Steve Stanley are both hitting over .300 in double-A, but there's still at least a year away from The Show.

  • Cubs trade Jason Dubois to the Indians for Jody Gerut. Gerut is later traded to the Pirates for Matt Lawton. I'm not sure what the Cubs' plan would have been for Gerut, or if they had planned to trade him all along. Gerut was starting to get an inflated sense of self-worth in Cleveland, and he would not have enjoyed being part of a 4-man outfield rotation in 2006. What is Dubois' purpose in Cleveland? The Indians need a right-handed, middle of the lineup guy right now, but Dubois is still a couple years away. Is he the right fielder of the future, along side Coco Crisp and Grady Sizemore? No, unless he's just there to bridge the gap until Franklin Gutierrez is ready. Meanwhile, the Gerut/Lawton deal works out well for both parties involved. The Pirates get a talented young outfielder to complement Jason Bay, and the Cubs get a proven leadoff hitter who can get on for Derrek Lee.

  • Red Sox trade pitcher Scott Cassidy to the Padres for outfielder Adam Hyzdu. Hyzdu was apparently just there to fill the gap left by Jay Payton, as he was released when the Sox re-signed Gabe Kapler. Cassidy is more or less a career AAA guy, but he is insurance in case any of the young arms in the Padre rotation break down.

  • Red Sox trade outfielder Chip Ambres and pitcher Juan Cedeno to the Royals for Tony Graffanino. Graffanino can play all four infield positions, and could probably play some outfield if he wanted to. Plus, he's another righty in a lefty-heavy lineup. The Royals trade a 30-something veteran for two young players, which is the best they can do right now.

  • Braves trade Kevin Gryboski to Texas for pitcher Matt Lorenzo. It's interesting to see the Braves trade a proven reliever when the bullpen has been struggling this season, but that could have been a money move. Lorenzo is a starting pitching prospect. Apparently, Atlanta can pull a plethora of hitting prospects from out of their butts, but they need to acquire pitchers from elsewhere these days. Texas GM John Hart, meanwhile, has never been afraid to trade away young talent for a decent, but not great, middle reliever.

  • Diamondbacks trade Matt Kata to Philadelphia for Tim Worrell. The NL West is terrible this year, and thusly the D'Backs find themselves in the middle of a pennant race. Now, here's the first thing they teach you at GM school: as soon as someone says you're in the middle of a pennant race, you need to go out and trade for a middle reliever. With Rheal Cormier and Ugueth Urbina setting up Billy Wagner, the Phillies could afford to part with Worrell. With Craig Counsell at second, Arizona could afford to give up Kata. The Phillies already have a few utility infielders, so the addition of Kata just means a move towards youth more than anything.

  • Blue Jays trade John MacDonald to the Tigers for a player to be named later. MacDonald is known for his glove much more than his bat. With SS Carlos Guillen often on the DL, and with third base not being Brandon Inge's native position, this is a decent move for the Tigers.

  • Reds trade Joe Randa to San Diego for pitchers Justin Germano and Travis Chick. Joe Randa was going somewhere by 4 pm on July 31. The question was just where. It definitely wasn't Cleveland, as the list of players Cincinnati wanted in return was just preposterous. It turned out to be San Diego, who has had its fill with Sean Burroughs. The Reds, not going anywhere this year, got in return two minor league pitching prospects.

  • Padres (there they are again) trade SS JJ Furmaniak to Pittsburgh for C Dave Ross. When you're a Furmaniak, you're a Furmaniak 4 Life, Brother! The Padres needed some insurance at catcher due to the injury problems of Ramon Hernandez. Furmaniak is a decent utility infielder, but so are most of the other players on the Pirates.

  • Yankees trade pitchers Ramon Ramirez and Eduardo Sierra to the Rockies for Shawn Chacon. Again, the Yankees get something for minor leaguers who will never make the bigs. Chacon went from "great young starting pitcher, if he ever gets out of Colorado" to failed closer experiment to "why isn't he a good starter any more?" The Yankees, who almost activated Tommy John after Mel Stottlemyre watched the old-timers game, again are trying anyone and everyone as a starting pitcher. (Remember I haven't even mentioned Al Leiter yet.)

  • Mariners trade Randy Winn to San Francisco for pitcher Jesse Foppert and catcher Yorvit Torrealba. There was a good chance that Winn was going somewhere by July 31, it just didn't seem like San Francisco was the place. Of course, this trade made a little more sense a few days later, when the Giants released Marquis Grissom. Foppert is a serviceable-but-not-great reliever, but the Giants seem to have a surplus of those. The Torrealba pickup will make more sense below.

  • Padres (again!) trade Phil Nevin to Texas for Chan Ho Park. John Hart never met a power hitter he didn't like. Not sure what Park adds to the Padres - Sidney Ponson, who was to be traded for Nevin before Nevin nixed it, is younger and with more potential. Nevin, as I just mentioned, did enact his no-trade clause on the deal to the Orioles, but Texas was never mentioned in that clause. So, the Rangers now have a right-handed power hitter to complement the lefty Hank Blalock and the switch-hitting Mark Teixeira. Nevin can DH, play first or third when Blalock or Teixeira need a rare day off, or even catch when the Rangers need a little more pop at that position than Sandy Alomar, Jr. (I love the guy, but he's not exactly in his prime any more offensively). This trade was perhaps done in anticipation of an Alfonso Soriano deal that never went through. Soriano is currently the big right-handed bat in the Texas lineup - now that they're both with the club, that lineup is just all the more lethal.

  • Devil Rays trade Jose Cruz, Jr. to Boston for infielder Kenny Perez and pitcher Kyle Bono. Not much of a deal here. The D-Rays had DFA'd Cruz, so essentially they got something for nothing. That "something" isn't much, though, as Perez and Bono really aren't considered prospects.

  • Padres (I hope GM Kevin Towers has good minutes on his cell phone plan. Not that I would know anything about that.) trade C Miguel Ojeda to Seattle for C Miguel Olivo. Olivo was supposed to be a decent hitter, but the M's weren't getting anything out of him. So, they went for some new faces at catcher.

  • Marlins trade pitchers Mike Flannery and Yorman Bazardo to Seattle for Ron Villone. Villone is a good LOOGY - Lefty One Out GuY - and those are in high demand in a playoff run. The Mariners, not in a playoff run this year, get one good (Bazardo) and one OK (Flannery) pitching prospect.

  • White Sox trade P Ryan Meaux to San Diego (go figure) for 3B Geoff Blum. Blum will back up Joe Crede, who is still developing on defense and has yet to hit for a decent average (although he already has some power). Meaux is a LOOGY-in-training.

  • Yankees trade Buddy Groom to Arizona for a player to be named later. Well, he's a lefty reliever. Guess you can never have too many of those.

  • Brave trade pitchers Roman Colon and Zach Miner to Detroit for Kyle Farnsworth. Colon is still young, but already is a Major League-level reliever. Farnsworth is a huge pickup for the back of Atlanta's bullpen. Whether they use him in the 7th, 8th, or 9th inning, Farnsworth will bowl over opposing batters. As it turns out, Farnsworth and Matt Lawton turned out to be the biggest names traded on deadline day.

Well, there you have them. I'm going on vacation to Disney World next week. So, if you'd like to write a guest column, email it to me by Friday evening, and that way everyone can have some reading material for next week while I'm gone.