It is sometimes hard to see how a guy will fit in just a few days after a trade, so we decided to take our time and then recap it. Please note we are not here to grade the deals, only decide how much it helps the team this year.
Added Lance Berkman, Austin Kearns, and Kerry Wood
As an Indians fan, I have opinions on Kearns and Wood, and as a baseball fan I have an opinion on Berkamn, so that works out nicely. Berkman was a very solid picup as he is left-handed and has a history of killing the ball. He has certainly had a down year, but acquiring his is a good risk. Austin Kearns is a guy who is playing really well this year, but I am not sure how often the Yankees will really use him, making it an ok move,
THe Kerry Wood addition was well-intentioned but a bad idea. He sucks this year and there is no getting around it. The Yankees were wise to seek bullpen help, but that was not the guy to go after at all. I am not sure who was really available to the Yankees, but they could have done better.
Thank God they didn’t get Cliff Lee. Speaking of which…
Added Cliff Lee, Bengie Molina, Christian Guzman, and Jorge Cantu
Love these moves. Catcher has been a question mark for Texas since Jarrod Saltalamacchia developed the yips (who was involved in a trade as well) and picking up Bengie Molina made sense for both parties. He is not a stud but he is very solid and that is what you want in a catcher. Christian Guzman is not great, but with Kinsler’s injury, he becomes much more important. Jorge Cantu was also a very good addition as a professional hitter that can give them a lift in a pinch.
Cliff Lee is awesome. I don’t need to go over how good an addition this is, and I guess those worries about his history in Arlington are overblown, huh.
Well done, Texas and Mr. Ryan.
Added Matt Capps
Sure, good move. Not a ton to comment on here, just a solid bullpen move, one the Yankees should have made.
Added Jeremy Hellickson
Ok, so they didn’t trade for him, but he has been outstanding since his call up and looks set to help them down the stretch in somewhat of the same way David Price did 2 years ago. Consider me firmly on the Jeremy Hellickson bandwagon.
Added Roy Oswalt
This move was not aimed at making the playoffs, but rather at winning the World Series. Oswalt is not a great addition for a team trying to fix its occasional hitting woes, and yet I love the move. When you are the two-time defending NL Champ, you don’t make moves to get to the playoffs. That is not enough for your fans. You make moves aimed at winning the World Series, and that is exactly what this move is. Halladay, Hamels, and Oswalt are a great postseason pitching trio. Once upon a time Oswalt was the guy you wanted on the mound in the playoffs. If he can recapture any of that it is a good move. Joe Blanton is the 4th guy, and the only guy among those 4 without playoff experience is Roy Halladay, who I have no concerns about. Would keepign Cliff Lee have been a better move in hindsight? Absolutely, but it is still a good move for this year.
What really impresses me about the Phillies lately is all the injuries they have sustained and how they have stuck with it. Chase Utley has been down for a while, but when Shane Victorino went down, the Phillies had Dominic Brown ready to step in and contribute. I realize they are not currently in the playoffs, but I am sticking by my pick of them to win the World Series in sticking with my preseason prediction.
Added Kyle Farnsworth, Rick Ankiel, and Alex Gonzalez
I like what the Braves are doing, but I think the Phillies outdid them, as they were expected to with that money. I admittedly have little opinion on Kyle Farnsworth, but I trust Bobby Cox and Atlanta’s front office on the pickup. They have had a great bullpen so I don’t think he will be leaned on making it a worthwhile risk.
The same sort of goes for Rick Ankiel, but they are leaning on him more. Nate McLouth has been disappointing as a Brave, and even if Ankiel does not hit for much of an average, it will probably still be an upgrade over McLouth. Like with Farnsworth, there are ways to hide him as Matt Diaz, Melky Cabrera, and Jason Heyward are more than capable of holding down the outfield if they have to. Alex Gonzalez was a marginal upgrade over Yunel Escobar, but I have not seen much of either lately so I will not pretend to know more than I do on the matter.
Added John Jay, Randy Winn, Jake Westbrook
Ok, John Jay was not really an addition, but where the hell did this guy come from? He has been killing the ball and has some Cards fans thinking of Carlos Beltran Jr. Randy Winn is a solid add, but far from a game changer and the same goes for Jake Westbrook. Solid but not spectacular.
Added Jim Edmonds
You thought I was joking? No, he really is on the Reds now. Not a big deal. The Reds are clearly feeling confident with their lack of activity, but I think they needed a veteran arm.
Added Ryan Ludwick, Miguel Tejada
I really like these moves for a small market contender. They aren’t the marquee names the bigger teams got their hands on, but Miggy still has enough left in the tank to help a team that struggles to score runs, and Ludwick can do the same with a little pop. He finally found somewhere he can stay outside St. Louis where he has been phased out and it looks like it will stick. I think the moves are very good and give the Padres a boost that they need. They are clearly going to be underdogs with their perhaps too young starting pitching, but the front office did a good job in San Diego.
Added Jay Gibbons, Scott Podsednik, Ryan Theriot, and Juan Castro
The moves don’t help and it doesn’t matter because the Dodgers are headed for 3rd or 4th. Moving on.
Added Pat Burrell (a while ago), Chris Ray, and Jose Guillen
I think there are two big successes there and one non-factor, but the Giants weren’t expecting it from him. Burrell has been on fire since coming over and is one of teh main forces on offense lifting the Giants closer to 1st in the West. Jose Guillen has the bat to do similar things for the Giants. He is a little nuts and has been stuck in Kansas City, but his numbers have been solid and I think he can make it happen for the Giants. Their upcoming series with the Padres will play a big role in determining if the Giants make the playoffs.
Revised Playoff Scenarios?
On the AL Side, nothing has changed. I’m rolling with the Yankees, Rays, Twins and Rangers.
In the NL, I am sticking with the Phillies, Cardinals and Padres, but inserting the Giants as my wild card team.