Trade deadline winners and losers
The Jake Peavy deal was the last and most surprising deal of the trading season
The Red Sox, Phillies, Cards and White Sox addressed needs with savvy trades
The Rangers, Orioles, Giants, Pirates and Brewers appear to be the big losers
The first shall be last.
Nothing exemplifies baseball's frustrating and fascinating non-waiver trading season better than the fact that it began and ended with the same trade: Jake Peavy going from the Padres to the White Sox for a package that includes promising left-handers Clayton Richard and Aaron Poreda. When the deal was first announced in late May, it was the consummation of a long series of rumors that stretched back to the previous winter, but Peavy rejected that trade so he could stay in the National League and play for the only team he ever knew. When the summer trade winds began to swirl shortly thereafter, Peavy's name was nowhere to be found. In fact, he wasn't a part of any substantive rumors for two months. But as the deadline arrived, there was Peavy agreeing to take his Cy Young-winning arm and his still-healing ankle to the Windy City.
The Peavy trade was the last and most surprising deal of another busy trading season. Over the past two months, there were 30 trades involving 75 players and 27 teams. Some of those clubs fared better than others, most notably the past five World Series champions, all of whom made trades to bolster their chances at another title run. It's just further proof that for those teams who make competing for a ring an annual mission, past triumphs have no bearing on the desire to succeed in the present. In other words, greed is good.
It should go without saying that it could take years to fully understand whether these deals worked or not. But in the immediate aftermath of a busy deadline day, here's a quick look at the very early winners and losers.
BOSTON RED SOX
They addressed their most pressing need -- another bat -- while keeping their booming farm system largely intact. Their best young major league-ready pitchers (Clay Buchholz and Daniel Bard) and their top offensive prospect (Lars Anderson) are still in the system even after they landed Victor Martinez, a switch-hitting All-Star in the prime of his career who can play multiple positions and has a very affordable club option for next season. Martinez is batting .284/.368/.464 with 15 home runs and 67 RBIs, which should help a lineup that has suffered from the disappointing seasons of veterans like David Ortiz and Jason Varitek and slumps from Kevin Youkilis and Jason Bay. Manager Terry Francona will now have his hands full trying to massage the bruised egos of some of his veteran stars like Ortiz, Varitek and third baseman Mike Lowell, all of whom could lose at bats to Martinez, but that's a small price to pay to get back to the postseason and make a run at a third World Series title in six seasons. Perhaps even better, neither of their prime competitors (the Rays and Yankees) in the AL East made a similarly bold move to match.
Traded: Lou Marson, Jason Donald, Jason Knapp, Carlos Carrasco
The Phillies made just one deal but they made it a big one. When the Phillies acquired Cliff Lee, the reigning AL Cy Young award winner, from the Indians on July 29, they had just finished a stretch where they won 19 of 22 games and pushed their lead in the NL East from one game to seven games. But despite the increased cushion in the division, the Phillies made the move with an eye on October. Lee didn't come cheap -- four of their top 10 prospects went to Cleveland in the deal -- but the Phillies still managed to keep arguably their four best prospects: pitchers J.A. Happ and Kyle Drabek, Dominic Brown and Michael Taylor. Their NL East rivals were unable to match, leaving a third straight division title for the Phils a matter of when, not if.
Added: Jarrod Washburn
Traded: Luke French, Mauricio Robles
The Tigers have been in first place since mid-May, but they've struggled to break free of the Twins and White Sox. With 20-year-old phenom Rick Porcello hitting something of a wall, the Tigers suddenly had a pronounced need for a veteran starting pitcher to help get them back to the postseason for the first time in three years. They found just the guy in lefty Jarrod Washburn. He's been very good all year, with an 8-6 record and 2.64 ERA, but spectacular of late, going 4-0 with a 0.74 ERA over his past five starts. He's a free agent at year's end, but he didn't cost much -- two young lefties, one at the major league level, one at Class A went back to the Mariners in the deal -- and he gives the Tigers some balance in the rotation and a playoff-ready top three that also includes Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson.
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
Added: Julio Lugo, Matt Holliday
Traded: Chris Duncan, Brett Wallace, Clay Mortensen, Shane Peterson, player to be named
Lugo is a proven veteran, but the deadline is a success because of the other bat the Cardinals added. Matt Holliday, a three-time All-Star, will provide the added offensive boost that the Cardinals had been desperately seeking while simultaneously easing the burden on Albert Pujols. In his first seven games in St. Louis, Holliday batted .520/.606/.840 and the Cardinals have scored 38 runs, compared to 34 in their 10 games immediately preceding the trade. Brett Wallace is a legit prospect, but he wasn't going to aid a playoff push this season. Holliday, on the other hand, is already doing his part in St. Louis to keep the Cardinals neck-and-neck with the Cubs in the NL Central.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
Added: Mark Kotsay, Jake Peavy
Traded: Brian Anderson, Clayton Richard, Adam Russell, Aaron Poreda, Dexter Carter
Before the Peavy deal was announced, the White Sox were clearly in the losers category. Their only other deal was to get oft-injured Mark Kotsay from the Red Sox for Brian Anderson, who had demanded a trade. At literally the last second, though, they upgraded their pitching staff and their chances at repeating as AL Central champions by landing Peavy. There are several question marks, however, chief among them Peavy's health. He hasn't pitched since June 8 and has been on the disabled list with a damaged tendon in his ankle. Just a few weeks ago, it was still unclear whether Peavy would be able to pitch at all this season, but the White Sox are banking on him being ready by late August or early September to aid their postseason push. He needs to not only pitch but pitch well to help justify what is a sizable investment by the White Sox: four players, including top prospect Aaron Poreda, and $48 million over the remaining three guaranteed years on his contract.
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