Deadline Winners and Losers

August 01, 2009 |

The trading deadline has come and gone. Oh, I know the waiver deadline is still about a month away – and I understand more players might get through waivers because of the economy – but I don’t think we’ll see the kind of movement we saw for the last couple of weeks throughout Major League Baseball.
For the most part, teams are set. They will go to battle with the players on their rosters as we speak. So it’s time to take a look at who won, who lost, and who gambled now that the shopping season has come to an end.
We’ll start with the biggest gamble – and that would be the White Sox dealing four prospects to San Diego for Jake Peavy. I know that Kenny Williams is looking at the future – one that includes Peavy for another couple of years – but he also says the deal should put the Sox into the playoffs.
Yes, Chicago is within striking distance of Detroit, but Peavy isn’t going to be available until the end of August. The Sox have to hang in until Peavy is able to help. They have to make sure the Tigers – who dealt for Jarrod Washburn – don’t pull away. They have to worry about the Twins as well.
If Peavy is able to help this year, then obviously the White Sox are winners. But, if Peavy isn’t able to contribute until 2010, then at least for the short team, Williams’ gamble wouldn’t have been worth it.
Here are my winners from the trading season (in no particular order):
* St. Louis: Yes, I know the Cards gave up multiple prospects to bring Mark DeRosa and Matt Holliday to town, but they are clearly going for it now. The Cubs are clearly not what they were a year ago. The Brewers are within striking distance, but their pitching will likely wind up being their Achilles heel. I know some fans are unhappy that the kids were sacrificed, but prospects don’t always pan out. The Cards brought known quantities into the fold – quantities which will probably put this team into the playoffs.
* Philadelphia: Did the Phillies need to make the Cliff Lee deal to win the NL East? Probably not. But they needed to do it if they wanted a realistic chance to repeat as World Series Champions. The fact they didn’t have to give up J.A. Happ and Kyle Drabek makes the move even better.
* Boston: Sure, Roy Halladay would have been great, but Victor Martinez isn’t a bad haul by any stretch. He can catch – which will take some pressure off of Jason Varitek. He can play first as well. His bat is exactly what the doctor ordered – and like the Phillies – they didn’t have to give up the farm to get him.
* Detroit: Washburn gives them another starter as they try to hold off Chicago and Minnesota in a tight AL Central. Seattle asked for the moon from other teams (reports say Manny Parra and top prospect Alcides Escobar was what they wanted from Milwaukee), but if you believe those who would know then the kids the Tigers shipped to the Mariners weren’t of the same caliber.
* Dodgers: They were involved in the Roy Halladay talks. They were said to be talking about an Adrian Gonzalez deal with the Padres. In the end they sent two prospects who weren’t in their plans for Baltimore’s George Sherrill. Joe Torre’s bullpen just got a lot better, and the combination of Sherrill and Jonathan Broxton is one that will scare a lot of teams in the NL.
Now, my list of losers:
* Toronto: Not dealing Roy Halladay will come back to haunt J.P. Ricciardi. Halladay’s value will go down in the off-season because teams aren’t desparate to land that one guy that will put them over the top. And, if you think his value will go up as we get closer to next year’s deadline – think again! Why would a team give up mutliple prospects when they can sign Halladay for free a year from now?
* Cleveland: Mark Shapiro dealt two of his best players. He might have gotten some future stars in return, but we won’t know for sure for a couple of years. In the meantime, the Indians might wind up being as bad as they were before their resurgence in the 1990’s.
* Cncinnati: Let’s see, you’re ten games out in your division and you are a buyer??? Scott Rolen is having a nice season, but he’s not the Scott Rolen of old. He’s an expensive player who doesn’t have the power he used to. I have no idea what Walt Jocketty was thinking here.
* Pittsburgh: Will the last guy out of PNC Park please turn out the lights? The Pirates play in a gorgeous ballpark. Too bad the team is minor league. There is no reason whatsoever to watch these guys right now. Or next year. Or 2011. Maybe even 2012.
* Washington: When you talk about losers in MLB, no list is complete without the Nationals. Even if you understand why Nick Johnson was dealt (and I do), they have made so many mistakes over the last few years that they are MLB’s ultimate losers. Now the Stephen Strasburg watch can begin in earnest.
So there it is. The winners, losers, and biggest risk of the shopping season. Enjoy the stretch drive!