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Trading Deadline

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In case anyone was wondering, I didn’t forget about thr trading deadline, I just haven’t gotten around to writing about it, until now anyway. To update the background, we had already had the Teixeira to the Angels for Kotchman deal and the Nady-Marte to the Yankees deal prior, but down to the wire two more trades of note get made; and now we’ve got Ken Griffey Jr. going to the White Sox, Manny Ramirez going to the Dodgers, replaced by Jason Bay, and Pudge Rodriguez donning pinstripes. I don’t really think a bad trade was made, so I’m going to break down the teams who made the moves based on how it effects them.

The Great

New York Yankees: The Yankees are really in a class by themselves for this year’s deadline. They needed a left handed arm, especially in the bullpen, desperately and they got maybe the most coveted in the league right now in Marte. If nothing else, he’s the guy they wanted, and they got Nady to boot in the same deal, adding a right handed bat to balance out the lineup against tough lefties like Jon Lester. Richie Sexson wasn’t a trade, but he fits the bill too, even if he is having a terrible year. The addition of Nady allowed Jorge Posada to get his shoulder fixed without leaving a significant hole in the lineup, but rather than sit on their laurels with Jose Molina (or maybe more accurately, Chad Moeller), they went out and added one of the greatest catchers of all time in Rodriguez. Yes Pudge is older and less productive now, but he’s still a great defensive catcher and knows how to call a game as well as anyone that’s ever strapped on the gear, and if nothing else he’s still leaps and bounds better than Chad Moeller. The Yankees had to give up a lot of prospects in the Nady-Marte deal, but New York is always in win-now mode, and no one did any better at improving their team and filling holes at the deadline than the Yankees. And with New York money behind them, they ought to to be able to resign at least Marte for the long haul.

And of course, Manny isn’t swinging the bat for Boston anymore.

The Very Good

Los Angeles Dodgers: Manny might have been disgruntled in Boston, but by all accounts he’s happy in LA, which strikes me as a perfect environment for Manny. And of course, Joe Torre’s at the helm, and Torre is famous for managing personalities and being well liked by players, so all in all you probably couldn’t have put together a better place for a free spirited superstar to be. Yes the Dodgers had a crowded outfield already, but Juan Pierre, Andre Eithier, and even Andruw Jones are not Manny Ramirez with a bat. The Dodgers were lagging the Diamondbacks in the NL West, but their primary weakness was their lack of a big, dependable, slugger in the middle of the lineup, and that’s not a problem anymore. Manny’s already got plenty of incentive to produce, between playing for a new contract next season and no doubt wanting to stick it to the Red Sox, if he likes LA and/or Torre on top of it, he could put up MVP numbers and carry LA to their first playoff series win since 1988.

Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim: America’s 2nd city made out like bandits this summer. Casey Kotchman was a well regarded young first baseman, but he wasn’t Mark Teixeira, who is only the 2nd switch hitter in Major League history to put up 4 straight seasons of 30 home runs and 100 RBI’s, winning 2 gold gloves in the process. The Angels are a big market team in a great location with money to burn, so it seems entirely possible that they’ll be able to lock up the 28 year old Teixeira to a long term deal at the end of the season.

The Good

Cincinnati Reds: The White Sox agreed to take on about half of Griffey’s remaining salary, plus split the cost of the contrac tbuyout at the end of the season. The Reds have really good looking young starters in their organization, and a solid closer in Francisco Cordero, to go along with highly regarded young talent like Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce, Joey Votto, and Jeff Keppinger, and now they’ll have a few million more in capital to use in the off season. Now if only they could get someone to actually give them something for Adam Dunn.

The Mediocre: As close as it gets to bad.

Chicago White Sox: I love Ken Griffey Jr. more than most, and as a Reds fan I want to be one of the first to say that the people in Cincinnati treated Griffey like crap and deserve to see him finish the season with 30 home runs between now and October and go on to a second wind in his career where he somehow overtakes Barry Bonds in career home runs, but this deal doesn’t necessarily make a lot of sense for Chicago. They’ve got Jermain Dye in right, Nick Swisher has been playing center, Jim Thome DH’s, with Paul Konerko at first. There’s nowhere to plug Griffey on an every day basis. It does give them more left handed pop, if Griffey’s hitting, and some flexibility though, which is never a bad thing in a pennant chase.

Boston Red Sox: They got rid of Manny Ramirez which eliminates a distraction, and they replaced him with an All-Star outfielder in Jason Bay, but simply put, Jason Bay is not Manny Ramirez, even if he is a good player. And he’s never played in the postseason, whereas Reggie Jackson calls Manny “Mr. October.” When you’re in the kind of spot Boston is in at this point in the season, you really don’t want to be subtracting talent, but getting rid of this distraction keeps it from being a totally “bad” deal. But if Tampa Bay doesn’t wilt under the August and September heat, don’t be surprised at all if Boston finds themselves sitting in 3rd place in the AL East at the end of the season. And if they do manage to make the playoffs, New York, Chicago, and Anaheim will have less concerns pitching around Big Papi without Manny’s clutch lumber to scare them away. Say what you want about Jason Bay, and he’s a very good player to be sure, but he’s not going to stay in the back of, say, Joba Chamberlain or Kelvim Escobar’s mind the way Manny does (or did).

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