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The grades are in (cont.)

Posted: Wednesday August 1, 2007 9:57AM; Updated: Wednesday August 1, 2007 3:09PM
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Individual Winners

Matt Morris
The Pirates traded for Matt Morris, who has $14 million remaining on his contract.
Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images
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1. Mark Teixeira
He goes to Atlanta and gets his best chance at the playoffs yet on a team full of veteran pros such as John Smoltz and Chipper Jones and in a lineup full of heavy hitters. It was revealed later in the Dallas Morning News that Teixeira turned down an eight-year $140 million, extension. That can't hurt his ego, either.

2. Eric Gagne
Sure, he gives up the closer's role he loved so much. But he goes to a sure playoff team and gets a certain $9.85 million salary (Boston is paying a $2.5-million up-front bonus to add to his $6 million base and the $1.35 million in incentive bonuses he'd already made from Texas, according to people familiar with the unusual arrangement).


1. Nationals
Last year Jim Bowden held onto Alfonso Soriano rather than trade him. This year he held tight to the worst roster in baseball. There were rumors they considered Adam Dunn, but it's hard to believe Bowden's old Reds team would deal with him again after he shipped them damaged goods last year in Gary Majewski.
Grade: F

2. Astros
Over-involved owner Drayton McLane won't ever let them revamp, rebuild or even rejigger. Boston and many others were frustrated Brad Lidge wasn't available, and that's OK. But what about Mark Loretta and some others? At least Morgan Ensberg is finally gone.
Grade: D

3. Tigers
They still may have the best team. But they better hope Fernando Rodney gets better and especially that Joel Zumaya hurries back because they never even seemed to get close to the bullpen help they liked. Word is they talked to Pittsburgh about Jack Wilson before the Pirates changed course, leaving Detroit with nothing. Although, I can't really figure out why they needed Wilson anyway.
Grade: C-

4. Reds
Yet another cellar-dweller that stood pat (beyond the trade of Kyle Lohse). They wanted to deal Dunn, should have tried to trade Ken Griffey Jr. and failed to find a new home for Jeff Conine, who deserved to play his final months for contender. Maybe there's still room for a post-waiver move or two.
Grade: C-

5. Angels
Bill Stoneman predicted they'd get an "impact'' bat, then did what he usually does, which is nothing. They need a power hitter to bat behind Vladimir Guerrero. Teixeira would have been perfect. While their offer to Texas of first baseman Casey Kotchman and lefthander Joe Saunders was solid, they didn't make good on their promise.
Grade: C-

6. Yankees
Betemit will help a so-so bench because he's one player who can handle coming in cold. However, the Yankees lost their prime target -- Gagne -- to their chief rival, and that never makes for a good day. Ultimately, they declined to include either center fielder Melky Cabrera or pitching prospect Ian Kennedy in a Gagne deal. They need Cabrera now, but to keep Gagne away from Boston, it might have been worthwhile to offer the uneven Cabrera earlier and find a suitable replacement for him. A positive: While Boston hit a home run, the Indians, Tigers and Mariners didn't get the pitching help they needed.
Grade: C-

7. Dodgers
They eschewed much of the awful starting-pitching market and shot for the moon, looking into Jon Garland, Dontrelle Willis and Joe Blanton, to no avail. With all their new arm issues they had to do something, so they got the gutsy Scott Proctor (who deserves combat pay from Joe Torre) for the unnecessary Wilson Betemit. Their young position players should give them enough offense on that front. Still a major threat, as is.
Grade: C

8. Pirates
Weird, very weird. I'll give them credit for spending on Morris, who'll give them innings. But it's hard to understand why they needed to add a veteran starter when they're so hopelessly out of the race. Might have been better to tear it up, or at the very least, sell a few relievers.
Grade: C

9. Orioles
So far Andy MacPhail hasn't exactly shaken things up. No new manager, no trades. They must see more positives than I do.
Grade: C

10. Padres
They know their pitching, they play the game right, they're built for that pitchers' ballpark and they certainly were active. But it's hard to think their already iffy offense will be enhanced by the pickups of Rob Mackowiak and especially Morgan Ensberg, who appears to have lost it. The Padres' Moneyball influence showed with the motley crew of players they brought in. After acquiring Milton Bradley, Michael Barrett and Shea Hillenbrand, I was hoping they'd make a play for Kyle Farnsworth to further their obvious goal of an all-temperamental team.
Grade: C

11. Devil Rays
Dan Wheeler can't hurt that bullpen (who could?), but this team needs a lot more pitching than that. They have position players, but not nearly enough pitching to avoid being blown out on a regular basis in the AL East.
Grade: C

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