Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Transaction Wire:
MLB Trade Deadline Extravaganza

Mets trade Jorge Julio to the Diamondbacks for Orlando Hernandez. The Mets needed to solidify the back end of their rotation. Getting rid of a reliever who has gotten progressively worse over the past few years didn't hurt.

Cubs Trade Jerry Hairston to the Rangers for Phil Nevin. At the time, the Cubs needed a replacement for the injured Derek Lee. Having no shortage of second basemen, Hairston was expendable. Adding Hairston made sense for Texas at that point in the season. Untested rookie second baseman Ian Kinsler was injured. This was also before Gary Matthews fully broke out, and when Brad Wilkerson was struggling to make contact, so Hairston could also have been another solution in center field.

Mets trade Kaz Matsui to the Rockies for Eli Marrero. Matsui was a bust in New York, as evidenced by the fact that the Rockies sent him directly to AAA. Marrero can play catcher, first, and the outfield. With Todd Helton's resurgence, and with young players proving themselves at the other positions, Marrero was no longer needed in Colorado. So, he became another right-handed option off of the Mets bench, and a veteran presence in the outfield.

Devil Rays trade Joey Gathright and AAA 2B Fernando Cortez to Kansas City for AAA LHP JP Howell. Gathright may be the fastest player in all of baseball. However, without developing his other tools, he's little more than a flashy gimmick. Now that Rocco Baldelli, Tampa Bay has a surplus of outfielders in the majors and at AAA. Of course, at 24 he still has time to develop (or not) in Kansas City.

Dodgers trade Dioner Navarro, Jae Seo, and AA OF Justin Ruggiano to Tampa Bay for Mark Hendrickson and Toby Hall. Navarro was supposed to be the centerpiece of the deal that sent Randy Johnson from Arizona to the Yankees, and also of the deal that sent Shawn Green from LA to Arizona. But, Russell Martin Wally Pipp-ed him in LA, so he's on the move again. In return, they get a veteran catcher in Hall who can back up the young Martin while the Dodgers play for the NL West pennant. The Dodgers also got a decent veteran in Hendrickson in exchange for a prospect at JAE SEO! JAE SEO! JAE SEO!

Indians trade Eduardo Perez to the Mariners for AAA SS Asdrubal Cabrera. Indians also trade Ben Broussard to the Mariners for Shin-Soo Choo. Perez and Broussard were Cleveland's first base platoon going into this season, and the plan was working very well. However, it was widely assumed that Perez would be the first player to be traded if the Indians weren't competing. Broussard was also heavily rumored to be traded, as he was in the midst of a decent season offensively. (Of course, Broussard's long swing makes him an incredibly streaky hitter, and his defense was lacking this year.) So, interestingly enough, both halves of Cleveland's 1B platoon go to the same team in separate deals. Also, the Mariners already have a first baseman in Richie Sexson. Of course, Perez can also play the outfield, and Sexson and Broussard both played some left field early in their career when Jim Thome was entrenched at first for the Tribe. Any of the three can also DH, especially now that the Mariners are short on outfielders and Raul Ibanez has moved back to left. The last time Seattle sent a young shortstop to Cleveland, it was a guy named Omar Vizquel. Some are hoping Choo will be a poor man's Ichiro. He's already shown a quick swing and two clutch home runs.

Cardinals trade AA OF Terry Evans to the Angels for Jeff Weaver. Weaver was never the same once he left Detroit for the Yankees. Some say it was because he lost his carefree, cutloose edge. With the breakout of his younger brother Jered, Jeff was no longer needed by the Angels. He's now the 5th starter for the Cardinals, replacing another reclaimation project in Sidney Ponson.

Mariners trade Eddie Guardado to Seattle for AA RHP Travis Chick. The Reds have been doing anything and everything to improve their bullpen this year. JJ Putz is having a great season as Seattle's closer, so "Everyday Eddie" was no longer needed.

Devil Rays trade Aubrey Huff to Houston for AA RHP Mitch Talbot and SS Ben Zobrist. Huff had basically been on the trading block for a few years, ever since his production saw a slight decline. He gives Houston a variety of options in the lineup as a 1B/3B/OF. Morgan Ensberg has been struggling through injuries this season. Playing Huff at first, Lance Berkman can move back to the outfield. Or, Berkman can play first with Huff in the outfield. Huff also provides some lefty pop to complement right-handed Preston Wilson and the switch-hitting Berkman.

Reds trade Felipe Lopez, Austin Kearns, and Ryan Wagner to Washington for Gary Majewski, Bill Bray, Royce Clayton, AAA INF Brendan Harris, and A RHP Daryl Thompson. This deal had many scratching their heads, but again Cincinnati was willing to do anything and everything to improve their bullpen. If you look hard enough, there are those who will defend this trade. The Reds began the season with three lumbering, all-or-nothing power hitting outfielders in Kearns, Wily Mo Pena, and Adam Dunn. Perhaps one is enough, and after all they did keep the best one in Dunn. Without Kearns (and Lopez), Ryan Freel has a better chance to play on a regular basis. Also, thanks to Brandon Phillips' breakout, and the presence of a promising minor league middle infielder, perhaps the Reds thought they could afford to give up the 2005 All Star Lopez.

Mets trade Jeff Keppinger to Kansas City for Ruben Gotay. With the Mets pushing for the playoffs, they traded for a player with Major League experience to backup Jose Valentin at second. The veteran Valentin is having a good year so far, but there's no guarantee it will last. Gotay gives the Mets insurance at second, in case Anderson Hernandez isn't quite ready for the bright lights of October. Keppinger, an infielder, didn't look very impressive when I saw him in person. With Hernandez, David Wright, and Jose Reyes presumably set as the Mets infield of the future, there was no room for Keppinger in New York.

Indians trade Bob Wickman to Atlanta for LoA C Maximiliano Ramirez. The Braves had been looking for a closer for years, and they finally found one. This trade either means Indians GM Mark Shapiro is a genius or, as a teammate of mine put it, "on crack." Cleveland was offered several players at higher levels of development for Wickman. In the end, though, Shapiro determined that what the organization needed most was a very young catcher. It's a roll of the dice, and if Ramirez lives up to his potential it may open the door to an exciting new Gammonsesque philosophy on trades. Either way, this is basically a two month rental of Wickman by the Braves, as his contract expires at the end of the season. Ramirez is a solid hitter and is said to be a decent catcher with an arm that's at least better than Victor Martinez'. There are grumblings that Ramirez may need to be moved to another position, but as of right now those are just rumors.

Blue Jays trade Shea Hillenbrand and Vinny Chulk to San Francisco for Jeremy Accardo. Hillenbrand was no longer welcome in Toronto. He's always put up good traditional numbers - average, HR, RBI - but he's been criticized for a low on base percentage. Obviously he may not have been everyone's best friend in the clubhouses he's visited along the way. This deal is interesting because he appears to be a throw-in in a deal for two young relief pitchers. He also didn't garner much value back when Boston traded him to the Diamonbacks for BK Kim. Do GMs value OBP that much more than the traditional hitting categories? Maybe I should ask that question again after I read this book.

Cubs trade Scott Williamson to San Diego for LoA P Joel Santo and Fabian Jimenez. San Diego is trying to compete, and teams that are trying to compete love veteran relief pitchers. Pretty simple, really.

White Sox trade AA RHP BJ LaMura to the Dodgers for Sandy Alomar. Call Dodgers GM Ned Colletti about Kenny Lofton! Find Albert Belle's Lawyer! The White Sox are trying the "win win players from the 1995 Indians" approach again!

Royals trade
1. Mike MacDougal to the White Sox for AA LHP Tyler Lumsden and LoA RHP Daniel Cortes. 2. Jeremy Affeldt and Denny Bautista to Colorado for 1B Ryan Shealy and AAA RHP Scott Dohmann
3. Elmer Dessens to the Dodgers for Odalis Perez and HiA RHP Blake Johnson and Julio Pimentel.
MacDougal is a young fireballer who moved from starter to closer and seemed destined to be a star. When he got injured an lost his confidence, Affeldt was moved from the rotation and tried as a closer. Neither fared too well. Bautista probably would have been tried at closer if he had stayed around long enough, and Dessens definitely would have been tried at closer. But now they're all gone. The White Sox have been looking for right handed relief pitching all season, and apparently are trying anyone with the slightest experience. Affeldt and Bautista get the fun of playing in Colorado now. I'm not too familiar with either's stuff, but hopefully they're fastball pitchers, as breaking stuff doesn't work too well in the thin air. If they are junkballers, their careers are basically over. Shealy was trapped behind Todd Helton at first in the Colorado organization. Now it will be interesting to see how Shealy and AAA 1B and Australian star Justin Huber are used, especially if Mike Sweeney and Doug Mientkiewicz plan on sticking around.

Royals also trade
1. Tony Graffanino to Milwaukee for Jorge de la Rosa.
2. Matt Stairs to Texas for AAA RHP Joselo Diaz.
Corey Koskie is injured, so the Brewers needed someone other than Jeff Cirillo to play third base. Graffanino is a veteran presence who can play all four infield positions, which is very helpful on a team where the first baseman, second baseman, and shortstop combined have only a handful of Major League experience. (Especially when sed second baseman and shortstop are on the DL, as they are right now.) If the Brewers want to get back in the playoff race, Graffanino will help.
Stairs gives the Rangers some lefty pop off the bench (or as the starting DH), and can spell Mark Teixeira at first or either of the corner outfielders.

Rangers trade Kevin Mench, Francisco Cordero, Laynce Nix, and LoA LHP Julian Cordero to Milwaukee for Carlos Lee and AA OF Nelson Cruz. This is a great move for Milwaukee's bullpen, as they now have former closers Cordero and Danny Kolb setting up Derrick Turnbow. Mench is a very suitable replacement for Lee, considering what else they're gaining. Texas now has a very formidable lineup with Gary Matthews, Michael Young, Hank Blalock, Teixeira, Lee, and Stairs.

Dodgers trade Danys Baez and Willy Aybar to Atlanta for Wilson Betemit. A good trade all around, I'd say. The Braves give up a young 3B/utility infielder who's ready for the big time and in exchange get a young 3B/utility infielder who's a year or two away from being ready, plus an established reliever.

Brewers trade LoA RHP Wilfrido Laureano to Philadelphia for David Bell. So, apparently Graffanino wasn't enough. It looks like Bell will be Koskie's official replacement, with Graffanino surely filling in if and when Bell struggles.

Phillies trade Bobby Abreu and Corey Lidle to the Yankees for LoA SS CJ Henry, AAA LHP Matt Smith, and rookie ball C Jesus Sanchez and RHP Carlos Monasterios. If I were commissioner, I would ban salary dumps like this, especially if they involve the Yankees. Henry is supposedly very good, and was a top pick in last year's draft, surprisingly. Normally these deals involve Yankees "prospects" who will never see AAA, much less The Show. I don't know how some GMs and owners can sleep at night after these deals.

Indians trade Ronnie Belliard to St. Louis for Hector Luna. The Cards started the season with a platoon of Junior Spivey and Miles. Spivey was sent packing when he didn't produce. Miles was a starter in Colorado, and put up OK numbers for the Cards. But they couldn't pass up on an established second baseman. Rumblings of Belliard leaving for a bigger contract had haunted the Indians ever since he was signed, so essentially he'd been on the block since day one. Luna and fellow utilityman Joe Inglett look to battle for the starting second base position in Cleveland next year. Interestingly enough, Luna was an Indians prospect twice taken in the Rule V draft (for players with a certain level of experience not on the 40-man roster). In 2002's draft, he was taken by the Devil Rays, but returned when Tampa Bay decided not to keep him on their Major League roster (a stipulation of Rule V). A year later, the Cards took Luna. I think the Tribe will hold onto him this time.

Pirates trade Sean Casey to Detroit for AA RHP Brian Rogers. Obviously Jim Leyland knew something that most of us didn't know. Despite a record hot start to the season, Chris Shelton was never moved from the #6 spot in the lineup. It turns out that Shelton's May was an aberration, as his numbers since have been less than spectacular. On deadline day, Shelton was Carlos Pena'd to AAA in favor of Sean Casey.

Twins trade Kyle Lohse to the Reds for LoA P Zach Ward. Another trade that was seemingly years in the making. Lohse had been bumped from the Twins rotation thanks to the likes of Johan Santana, Carlos Silva, Francisco Liriano, and the dreaded "never lived up to expectations label." Now he's found a new home at the end of Cinncinatti's rotation, and for a rather low cost.

Mets trade Xavier Nady to Pittsburgh for Oliver Perez and Roberto Hernadez. Everyone "knew" that the Mets would be trading an outfielder this July. However, most thought that it would be super-prospect Lastings Milledge, supposedly due to an arrogance issue. Instead, it was Nady, who was finally starting to live up to expectations. The ageless Hernandez, who spent last season with the Mets, returns to fill the hole created by Duaner Sanchez's injury. Perez becomes yet another piece that can be plugged into the back end of the Mets rotation. Meanwhile, it appears that Nady will see some playing time at first for Pittsburgh, replacing the recently departed Sean Casey.

Cubs trade Todd Walker to San Diego for rookie league RHP Jose Ceda. Seemingly underappreciated in Chicago, Walker should see increased playing time in San Diego now that the Vinny Castilla experiment is over. The Padres now have three moveable parts in Walker, Mark Bellhorn, and Geoff Blum who can start at third or spell Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Barfield at first and second. Walker, Bellhorn, and Blum also bring ever-important playoff experience to what is otherwise a very young infield.

Pirates trade Craig Wilson to the Yankees for Shawn Chacon. Something tells me that the Yankees heard so much about how they were going to trade for Craig Wilson, that at the last minute they decided to pick him up to see what he is all about. Wilson will actually serve a useful purpose for the Yanks. Playing him at first allows Jason Giambi to DH. Playing him at third gives New York fans someone else to boo at the hot corner. Playing him in the outfield keeps Bernie Williams on the bench, although something tells me Joe Torre will still allow for plenty of quality Bernie Time. Chacon pitched fairly well as both a starter and a closer in Colorado prior to joining the Yankees, so he's a good pickup for the Bucs.

Pirates trade Kip Wells to the Rangers for AAA RHP Jesse Chavez. And you can now check off "Pirates trade away their one decent starting pitcher" on of your Trade Deadline Bingo sheet.

Cubs trade Greg Maddux to the Dodgers for Cesar Izturis. Izturis is a former Gold Glove winning shortstop who had no place to play with both Rafael Furcal and Jeff Kent on the Dodgers. He's good enough to bat at the top of the lineup for an average team, so benching him would have been a waste. It appears that he'll take over as Chicago's shortstop with young prospect Ronny Cedeno moving to second for the time being. I haven't seen much of Cedeno, but any time you can keep a Gold Glover at short, it's a good move. As for Maddux, I'll let you make up your own sentence involving the words/phrases "veteran," "pennant race," and "shore up the rotation."

Devil Rays trade Julio Lugo to the Dodgers for AAA UT Joel Guzman and HiA OF Sergio Pedroza. Lugo was rumored to be on the block thanks to a career resurgence offensively and defensively in Tampa Bay. He takes over Izturis' spot as the backup middle infielder whose talent is practically being wasted away. Of course, considering Furcal and Kent's respective histories of injury problems, maybe Lugo will see decent playing time after all.

Over the waiver wire, the Red Sox acquire Javy Lopez from Baltimore for a PTBNL. Earlier, the Red Sox acquired AAA LHP Javier Lopez from the White sox for David Riske. Being the elder Javier Lopez, do you think Catcher Javy should make Pitcher Javier grow a goatee, and then convince everyone to start calling Pitcher Javier "Evil Javy Lopez?

Baltimore Ravens acquire Gerome Sapp from the Colts. Evidently the Ravens, who drafted Sapp, were sorry to see him go the first time. Sapp will continue to be a special teams standout for the Ravens, and take over for Ed Reed after Reed's kneecaps have an unfortunate meeting with my softball bat. What? Who said that?

Paul Manieri leaves Notre Dame to become the head baseball coach at LSU. Manieri played for one season for LSU, and the position he is taking is considered one of the dream jobs in all of college baseball. He will be replace by Dave Schrage, formerly of Evansville, who he led to the regional finals this past year. In the interest of brevity (ha), I'll let Manieri's bio and Schrage's bio do the rest of the talking.