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What's the big deal?

Astros, A's beware: Midseason trades aren't always a season-saver

Posted: Tuesday June 29, 2004 11:56AM; Updated: Tuesday June 29, 2004 3:43PM
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Scorecard Daily
Pete McEntegart: The 10 Spot -- Tuesday, June 29
Albert Chen: Midseason trades often disappoint
Bill Scheft: Billy Beane's newest financial strategy
Truth + Rumors: McGrady trade about to go down
Click here for Today's Sign of the Apocalypse, Game to Watch, Leading Off gallery and much more!

Good to be here for the latest installment of The Blog. ...

Let's get right to some thoughts from the baseball world: We've heard lots of chatter lately from baseball's rumor mill, but midseason trades are like summer blockbuster movies (especially this year's stinker crop) -- big hype, big letdown. (Sorry, Spielberg, but The Terminal ranks with Hook and Always as your worst movies ever.)

Recall last season's biggest movers? Didn't think so. Sidney Ponson (dealt to the Giants) and Jeff Suppan (Red Sox) didn't exactly pan out to be October difference-makers. This time of the year rolls around, and suddenly guys such as Pittsburgh's Kris Benson become more coveted than John McCain. ...

Freddy Garcia's trade to the White Sox caught most of the baseball world off guard on Sunday afternoon. On Friday, Seattle general manager Bill Bavasi, suffering from William Hung-like delusions of grandeur, told at least one other GM that he wasn't prepared to sell off his big stars because he wasn't convinced the Mariners were out of contention. Apparently, someone finally forwarded him the memo that his M's were 12 1/2 games out of the AL West lead. Even Kansas City was closer to its division leader at the time.

The Mariners are among the season's biggest disappointments, right below the Royals and Josh Beckett, but maybe we should have seen this coming. Their old, creaky lineup and starting rotation entering the season looked less youthful and inspired than the cast of Cocoon. Ageless marvel Jamie Moyer should be the next to go (to the Yanks? the Dodgers?), and he could turn out to be a more money pitcher in the playoffs than Garcia. ...

Last week's Carlos Beltran-Octavio Dotel-bunch of minor leaguers three-way swap was not small stuff, but it's a trade that could easily blow up for both the A's and Astros. There are a dozen closers out there that I'd trust more with my ninth-inning lead than Dotel, who despite his 14 saves hasn't exactly proven that he's got the closer's mentality to lock down games. (Sorry, Bill James, but makeup is just as important as strikeout-to-walk ratios for closers.)

You probably missed this because the A's ended up winning in 10 innings, but in Dotel's first outing in an Oakland uni on Saturday night, he entered the game in the eighth inning and promptly gave up a four-run lead. Yes, Dotel is a significant upgrade from Arthur Lee Rhodes, but he's no Keith Foulke.

In Houston, Brad Lidge probably will turn out to be a better closer than Dotel (he's got better stuff, and as a prospect in the minors, Lidge actually was more highly regarded than Roy Oswalt). But by getting rid of Dotel, eighth innings in Houston, formerly a sure thing with Lidge, will now be an adventure. Which leads to the ridiculous prediction of the day: In a month, the Astros will find themselves 10 games behind the surging Cubs, then will deal Beltran to another contender and ax manager Jimy Williams. ...

I challenge you to find an All-Star outfield from the past 50 years with bigger star power than Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Ken Griffey Jr., the starters who will take the field two weeks from today in Houston. ...

Fantasy tip of the week: If Joe Randa is your third baseman right now, keep tabs on Dallas McPherson in the second half. Anaheim's prized prospect was promoted to Class AAA Salt Lake City and could be up in the big leagues soon because of Troy Glaus' injury. Scouts can't stop raving about McPherson's power potential, and he's tearing the cover off the ball (.324 average, 23 homers in 284 minor league at-bats this season). ...

Why is it so impossible for video-game makers to produce a decent baseball game? That was the question tormenting Tampa Bay left fielder Carl Crawford last weekend in the idle moments before a game against the Marlins. The former football stud (he passed up a scholarship offer to run Nebraska's option) and should-be All-Star owns one PS2 game: Madden Football, of which he claims to be clubhouse champion. ...

Caught Dodgeball, the latest excuse for a sports movie, the other night. Enough of Ben Stiller. The guy has five movies coming out in 2004. He had a nice thing going a few years back with There's Something About Mary and Meet the Parents, but with his latest run of clunkers (Duplex? Envy? Along Came Polly?), he's in a worse slump than the one Derek Jeter suffered through a few weeks back. On paper, Dodgeball looked like a sure-fire future DVD must-have, but even a funny cameo from Lance Armstrong couldn't save this mess. ...

Speaking of movies, what's more amazing: That Michael Moore has appeared on every talk show in the universe in the last two weeks, or that he has appeared on every talk show in the universe wearing the exact same outfit? (That hat looks like it hasn't been washed since Roger & Me). ...

Finally, very sad news out of Miami last week. The Marlins' Carl Pavano confirmed to reporters that he and Alyssa Milano have broken up. We're going to miss the possibility of catching a glimpse of the former Samantha Micelli loitering outside the Pro Player Stadium home clubhouse. "I don't think this is the most stable environment to have a relationship," Pavano said last week. "Guys that do it, great -- but I haven't really mastered that part of it."

We feel for you, Carl.

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