East Coast Bias: Trading Deadline Special

I’m posting this late as I wanted to wait until after the trade deadline expired. So, I waited with baited breath, hoping that the Yankees wouldn’t improve themselves tremendously. I was disappointed.

Response

Eric took me to task for suggesting Alex Rodriguez might wind up on the Chicago White Sox in the offseason:

1) We on the South Side have zero tolerance for overpaid, whiny prima donnas. We don’t want them anywhere near 35th and Shields. A-Rod is, among other things, an overpaid (extremely overpaid) whiny prima donna. “But, Eric,” you whine in tones only dogs can hear, “how can you and your people reject a future Hall Of Famer?” This wouldn’t be the first time, oogums. Frank Thomas was dead to us even before he left for Oakland. We refused to accept Albert Belle. We turned our backs on Tom Seaver. And the moment that Carlton Fisk opened his yap, we told him to f*ck off. The reaction to A-Rod at the Cell dressed in the black and white wouldn’t be cheers. It wouldn’t be boos either. It’d be stone dead silence. He would not be accepted one bit by the fans.

To which I respond… come on now. I understand your point, but look at what you’re offering as examples.

Albert Belle: First of all, he came from a division rival. Second of all, he was a cheater. Third of all, no one liked Albert Belle. No one.

Frank Thomas: Who wouldn’t have gotten sick of Frank Thomas? You were paying him $10 million per year to be hurt. And: it might have been the team’s medical staff that f*cked him up.

Carlton Fisk: The Statue and The Guy On The Far Right say otherwise.

Tom Seaver: You ran a pitcher so far off the radar that the Mets didn’t protect him in the offseason out of town? Congrats. It’s not like you booed 25 game winning 2.xx pitching Seaver out of town, you ran off 7-13 4.03 Tom Seaver. He was so far past his shelf-life, he didn’t even start a game in the 86 World Series after the trade to the Red Sox. Comparing a guy who wasn’t producing anymore to a guy in his prime… apples and oranges.

I have no problem being attached to players; hell, I’d rather have David Wright and Jose Reyes on the left side of the Mets’ infield than A-Rod in either position. However, I’m under NO illusion that either player is better. At this point, you’re not just talking about a Hall of Famer, you’re talking about a guy who might own every hitting record in baseball by the time he’s done. Call it East Coast Bias if you want, but he’s the best player in baseball. Period. Is he the most solid defensive third baseman in baseball? No, but he’s pretty solid for a guy who was a shortstop until three years ago. He was the best player in baseball before he got to the East Coast.

It’s a moot point anyway, I’m still convinced he will be led into another part of Chicago and be booked by The Board Room to bring a ring to that neighborhood.

Idiotic Production Crew Of The Week

Goes to the YES Network. Still, speaking on A-Rod; he comes back after a week on the road, where most of the media had done their best to turn the tide of booing away from him. Rudy Giuliani called the Mike and the Mad Dog show to grant A-Rod an ex-mayoral pardon. All of this culminated with A-Rod’s first at-bat back at the stadium, and the Yankee fans give him a bury the hatchet, clean-slate ovation. What does YES do? Instead of letting the ovation play through, we get treated to a pitch-by-pitch recap of Jason Giambi’s preceding strike-out with Michael Kay plowing right over the ovation. A-Rod then follows the ovation with an RBI single up the middle, followed by another ovation from the crowd. Do we get to hear this one? Of course not, we get the trademark “this just f*cking happened” replay with Kay again plowing right over the ovation. I hate the YES network with a never-ending fire.

Runner-up to this: the crew of America’s Got Talent. I finally watched a replay of the show on the Bravo network over the weekend; the episode with the guys doing the acrobatic dunks and two magicians. During both of these shows, the production crew kept cutting off to wide-angle shots of the stage and reaction shots from the judges and the crowd, completely missing what was happening on stage because, obviously, that’s unimportant when there’s a magician on stage. Assholes.

The Trade Deadline

Ah, the most ridiculous week of the baseball season, the week leading up to the trading deadline. It’s even better when the deadline falls near a weekend, because then you get a full weekend blast of ridiculous rumors and guys saying what might happen. Meanwhile, you go to ESPN.com and all the relevant info is stored safely on ESPN Insider (which, if you pay for it, you deserve to be flogged, as you’re ruining free Internet and feeding the Mouse at the same time).

Who got helped, who got hurt?

Mike Stanton to the Giants / Prospect Shairon Martis

While I don’t know about the wisdom of trading to get Mike Stanton, people can’t really argue that Giants’ bullpen is a mess. However, adding Stanton’s 39-year old arm probably wasn’t the answer. From all accounts, Martis is a good young prospect pitcher to help refill the Naxpos troubled farm system.

Ruling: Good for the Nationals, Bad for the Giants.

Carlos Lee to the Rangers / Francisco Cordero, Kevin Mench, Laynce Nix, and prospect Julian Cordero to the Brewers

Biggest pre-weekend move and not a big shocker, since Carlos Lee is looking for something in the neighborhood of $75 million over 5 years in the offseason. The Brewers offered $48/4 and Lee said no thanks. According to mlb.com, the Brewers were not willing to offer 5 years at any price, so they did what they usually do: dump their big names for smaller names. The AL West is certainly very much open, with only 3 games separating the top 3 teams. The Rangers are, apparently, looking to make a move against the Angels and Athletics with a 3-month rental player. The Brewers, in return, get some decent pieces but unfortunately lose their biggest bat. They do, however, get someone to take pressure of yet another solid closer to die a quick death: Derek Turnbow and his recent 22.24 ERA. No, I’m not exaggerating.

Ruling: Good for both sides, all things considered.

Wilson Betemit to the Dodgers / Danys Baez and Willy Aybar to the Braves

The Braves gasps for stretch bullpen help continue picking up Danys Baez and 4.35 ERA as a set-up man for Bob Wickman. If the Braves still had Leo Mazzone sitting in their dugout, this trade might be a bit more meaningful. The Dodgers get Rafael Furcal’s ex-teammate in Betemit, who moves out his role as Chipper Jones’s backup into an every day role with the Dodgers. The Braves basically get a younger version of Betemit who can also play second and an upgrade in the bullpen. Betemit, as an every day player, should really help the Dodgers.

Ruling: Good for both sides.

Ronnie Belliard to the Cardinals / Hector Luna to the Indians

Luna goes back to the Indians and the Cards get an everyday second baseman to replace their platoon. The Tribe gets a guy to find a position for next season.

Ruling: Solid change of scenery trade.

Rheal Cormier to the Reds / Prospect Justin Germano to the Phillies

The Phillies housecleaning continues, sending Cormier’s NL leading 1.59 ERA to the Reds while receiving a major-league ready starter. Can’t say it enough, apparently, that the Phils are setting up for next season and dumping age all over. Trading a 39-year old arm for a 23-year old one is almost never a bad call. The Reds need the pitching help if they have any chance of getting through the NLDS.

Ruling: Good for both sides.

Kyle Lohse to the Reds / Prospect Zach Ward to the Twins

Lohse lost his starting rotation spot to some guy named Liriano. The Twins dump him off for a pitching prospect. Standard fare.

Ruling: Good for both sides.

Sean Casey to the Tigers / Prospect Brian Rogers to the Pirates

The Pirates weren’t going to re-sign Casey and they get a prospect in return. Again, standard fare here for the Pirates.

Ruling: Good for everyone but Pirate fans.

Xavier Nady to the Pirates / Roberto Hernandez and Oliver Perez to the Mets

News came down about an hour before the deadline expired that the Mets’ set-up man Duaner Sanchez was in a car accident in Miami and separated his shoulder. The Mets, in response, dealt Xavier Nady to the Pirates for two pitchers. Roberto Hernandez is 42 and Oliver “I was really good 2 years ago but now I have a 6.63” Perez. As much as I’d like to believe Rick Peterson sees something in Perez that no one else does, I don’t want to get my hopes up. This pretty much makes Nady the loser of the entire trading deadline getting sent from a possible pennant winning team to the toilet of the NL. If the Mets win the Series, does he still get a ring? This turns right field into an Endy Chavez/Lastings Milledge platoon for the rest of the season. Milledge will probably get some more time in right to see if he can play a game with out Erroring in 2 or 3 runs.

As an aside, if anyone out there thinks that, should the Mets make the World Series, they’re going to get swept, you’re wrong. There isn’t one of the six possible AL World Series teams (Sox, Sawks, Yanks, Twins, Tigers, Angels) who the Mets don’t stack up against reasonably well. Two years ago, the Cardinals got in the way of a Red Sox that was absolutely on fire and last year the White Sox beat a team that couldn’t score. The Mets can score. Scared of Kenny Rogers? Nope. Scared of Jose Contreras in New York? Nope. Scared of the Yankees? Not anymore. Scared of the Red Sox? Nope, they bombed the Mets five-starter and they got their free butterflies win out of Pedro. Scared of the Twins? A little because I don’t know what their starters will do under pressure. Scared of the Angels? A little more. The Mets might get beat in the World Series, but it won’t be at Shea.

Ruling: While I did like Nady, I am intrigued by Perez. We’ll call it good for everyone but Xavier Nady.

Bobby Abreu and Corey Lidle to the Yankees / Prospects to the Phillies

Although many people assumed the Yankees would make a play for Vernon Wells in the offseason, the Yankees need to fill out the outfied for this year. Again, people can make a stink about the Yankees flexing their financial muscle for no reason, but the fact is they are poised at somehow managing a playoff berth. They need pitching help, which they may get with Lidle, although he’s pitching to a 8-7/4.64 in the NL East, a far cry from the offensive juggernauts in the AL East (He played in the AL East for three seasons and compiled a 17-21/5.53). However, is he an upgrade over Ponson or Chacon? Yes. As for Abreu, this just about seals Sheff’s fate for next year as he made a stink in the beginning of the year about the Yankees not picking up his 2007 option ($13 million for a DH? Doubt it). Abreu proved in Philadelphia that he can’t be the cornerstone of a franchise, but I expect he’ll be able to drop into the 6 or 7-hole on the Yankees seamlessly as a big bat in a big lineup. Now, you can bank on Sheff playing for another franchise next season (replacing Trot Nixon’s expiring contract maybe?1). As for the Phillies, they are dumping a guy who’s worn out his welcome in Philadelphia and trading an eh pitcher for prospects. They dump over $30 million in salary and get some decent young players in return as they officially bail out on this season (at 14 games back in the division and 6 back in the Wildcard with a bunch of games left against the Mets, it’s probably a good idea).

The unfortunate thing about this trade is it’s going to lead to the end of the guys who have been contributing to the Yankees during the injury time. Melky, who the Yankee faithful have been falling in love with as he’s actually a homegrown player, will get demoted once Matsui returns. Bernie Williams will stop playing regularly (which he wasn’t supposed to be doing anyway). When Sheff returns, Jason Giambi will return to first opening the DH for Sheffield. The Yankee organization was finally almost starting to look somewhat homegrown, and is quickly reverting back to the $200 million rotisserie league all-stars. One that will, again, likely get shut down in the playoffs because playoff pitching will beat huge offense 99% of the time.

Ruling: Good for Yankees, probably good for the Phillies.

Craig Wilson to the Yankees / Shawn Chacon to the Pirates

Dump a guy who may have gone DFA with the Lidle trade for an upgrade over Andy Phillips for this season, a bench bat for in September, and their full-time 1B next season after Giambi replaces Sheff as full time DH. Awesome trade for the Yankees.

As an aside, if you’re keeping track at home, the Yankees Rotisserie Superstars for their September run:

1) Johnny Damon CF 13/50/.299
2) Derek Jeter SS 7/65/.354(!)
3) A-Rod 3B 22/74/.280
4) Jason Giambi 1B 30/81/.248
5) Gary Sheffield DH 4/19/.309 (123 AB)
6) Hideki Matsui LF 5/19/.261 (119 AB)
7) Bobby Abreu RF 8/65/.277
8) Jorge Posada C 12/54/.281
9) Robinson Cano 2B 4/27/.325
PH) Bernie Williams, Craig Wilson, and Miguel Cairo.

And the Red Sox did nothing… I repeat, NOTHING… to counter this.

Ruling: Incredibly awesome for the Yankees, eh for the Pirates.

Todd Walker to the Padres / Jose Ceda to the Cubs

I wasn’t very sure why they were dealing off Todd Walker as, from all accounts, the Cubs system is pretty deep at pitcher. However it made more sense when followed by:

Greg Maddux to the Dodgers / Cesar Izturis to the Cubs

Izturis replaces Walker and the Dodgers are assembling for a grueling run at the post-season. They’re one of those teams in the five-game-back glut in the NL Wildcard, with the bonus that they’re also five games back in their division. If the Dodgers can turn it up here down the stretch, they are still are going to threaten for the post-season. And the Dodgers weren’t done:

Julio Lugo to the Dodgers / Prospects to the Devil Rays

Lugo is a huge upgrade over Izturis, hitting .308 in the AL East and moving into the pitiful NL West.

Ruling: Good for all involved.

The Fallout

The Yankees improved their position in the AL East tremendously upgrading the back of their rotation, upgrading first base, and upgrading right field. They were probably the biggest winner of the whole trading deadline period. A close second would be the Rangers, picking up some major offense in Carlos Lee and some pitching help in Kip Wells. Third best was probably the Dodgers, pulling in a ton of offense and a definite upgrade in their rotation.

Biggest losers. One would have to think the Red Sox are the biggest losers by virtue of doing nothing. Rumor had it they made a play to get Andruw Jones from the Braves, but the Braves’ demands were too high (wanting two stud pitchers and Coco Crisp in return). The Yankees team that takes the field against the Blue Jays tomorrow is tremendously improved over the one that played the Devil Rays yesterday, and the Sawks have a 5-game series coming up against them which will be for control of the division. Second biggest loser might be the Angels. They were rumored to be involved with every big name player supposedly on the move. In the end, they didn’t get anything while the Rangers did their best to improve. All four teams in the AL West are looking to dogfight the rest of the season, and the Rangers did the best job improving their chances. Third biggest loser is the Mets. Two bleh pitchers for their every day right fielder. The Mets really did nothing notable to improve their pitching situation for a post-season series. One could make a case that the Brewers were a big loser, too… but they made a fair offer to Carlos Lee. He decided to test the waters elsewhere. I would be surprised to see him get the 5-year, $75 million deal he’s looking for.

Quick Hits

  1. Who do we have to blow to have Orel Herscheiser permanently replace Joe Morgan on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball? Can we plant a woman in the booth for him to hug?
  2. Remember guys: don’t even look at woman crosseyed, or you might get canned
  3. Remember ladies: if you don’t like your boss, say he looked at you crosseyed
  4. Training camp has started. Woot
    1. In Conclusion

      Done for the week. I have nothing snarky to say here, so I’m just going to sign off.

      1: Cot’s Baseball Contracts.