Well, the baseball trade deadline came and went, and I guess I can say that I was wrong when I said that there’d be no big names being swapped come Sunday night. The biggest name to change teams was definitely Hunter Pence, who went from Houston to the now unfairly STACKED Philadelphia Phillies. Pence may not be a household name, due to his tenure playing for the least important team in baseball- the Houston Astros, but this dude can play. Pence brings the Phils a solid right-handed bat to place behind Ryan Howard and with a line-up consisting of Pence, Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Shane Victorino, Carlos Ruiz and Raul Ibanez the question when playing the Phils isn’t just “Who are we going to get a hit off of?” anymore, but it’s also “Who the hell are we going to pitch to?”. I also forgot to mention the kid’s 28 years old, so this isn’t just a half-season rental, it was a move towards winning for years to come.
Carlos Beltran was probably the next best player to move to a new team, and I’d say he’s better than the relievers that swapped just because Beltran plays 9 innings per game, and not just a single inning like Mike Adams or Koji Uehara. Beltran was acquired by the reigning World Champion San Francisco Giants for big-time prospect Zack Wheeler. I think I’m more excited to see how Beltran fits in with the Giants on the locker room side, because watching The Franchise on Showtime (kind of like an MLB Hard Knocks) the Giants are full of wild dudes and comedians.
Beltran strikes me as a flat-liner, much like his game as of late. Dude’s getting paid MEGA-Star money, but puts up numbers which are comparable to the $6 Million per year, previously mentioned Hunter Pence. I dont know if it’s true or not, but it seems like Beltran’s been riddled with injuries since coming to the Mets. Regardless, this trade between the Giants and Mets is as close to a win-win trade as you’re going to get. The Mets dump Beltran’s ridiculous contract and get back a top-tier young arm. Combine that with the money dump they got by trading Francisco Rodriguez a couple weeks before the deadline and I’d say Bernie Madoff is no longer pulling strings over at Citi Field. Some smart front office moves, no doubt.
The Giants, meanwhile, also grabbed Jeff Keppinger from the Astros, and Orlando Cabrera from the Indians. Keppinger is a solid utility bat and Cabrera, well, see the Boston Red Sox’s 2004 Curse Breaking, Dynasty Starting, World Series Championship of which Cabrera was a MAJOR piece in, for my thoughts on him. Despite Atlanta picking up Michael Bourn, who I think is an amazing lead-off hitter (and who WILL be one for YEARS to come), San Fran positioned themselves as the clear favorite to lose to the Phillies in the NLDS this postseason.
Now, for the AL moves, the Texas Rangers were the clear-cut most improved team via trades. Nothing big, nothing fancy, but they did what all winners do at the deadline- they go out and add bullpen depth. They did this by adding the single best reliever on the market (better than K-Rod, better than Heath Bell) in Mike Adams. As a setup man for Bell with the Fathers, Adams has 49 Ks in 48 IP, and a WICKED GOOD 1.12 ERA & 0.73 WHIP. If I’m looking for a guarantee in the 8th inning, I’m going to be staring Mike Adams in the eyes. The Rangers also picked up Koji Uehara, a member of the dismal Baltimore Orioles who somehow put up a K/9 ratio that dwarves Adams. If Adams was the #1 reliever out there, Uehara was the #1A reliever. With 64 Ks in 48 IP and a 0.69 WHIP, throwing these two into a bullpen which already has Neftali Feliz at the back-end, damn that’s tough.
I wouldn’t say they’re the favorite in the AL, however, because my SAWX are too loaded in the starting rotation. Even though a solid bullpen is important in the playoffs, it can be made irrelevant by inept starters. The Sox needed to add some depth and they did that by dealing for Ex-Ace, Mariners SP Erik Bedard and former UBER-Prospect 3B Josh Fields. Bedard adds some insurance if Clay Bucholz continues to deal with injuries, and Fields, well, every team needs a backup for the backups, no? Really though, Theo Epstein loves acquiring formerly touted prospects in the hopes a change of scenery does them good. Worst-case, Fields blows and he gets benched. Best case, he fills in for Youk when needed and provides a spark at the plate. The Yankees stay put, and the Sox add depth. I like it. Plus, the Sawx were already the heavy favorite. I’m glad they didn’t trade the farm for Ubaldo Jimenez, like the IDIOT Indians did, and I’m glad they didn’t grab an OF.
In the end, Phillies vs. Sox in the World Series, and it’s a crap shoot from there. Keep an eye on the waiver wire for more deals down the stretch!
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