Monday, July 31, 2006

Deadline deals and the dog that did not bark

The deadline deals for baseball's non-waiver trade deadline are now complete and the two teams that made the biggest splashes are the Yankees and Dodgers. The Yanks plucked Bobby Abreu (91 BB in 100 games without the Bondsian intentional passes!) and Cory Lidle from the Phillies for minor league dross that the Phils hope will yield gold later if CJ Henry develops into a major leaguer in 2009. The Dodgers nabbed Greg Maddux from the Cubs and Julio Lugo from the Drays.

For the Dodgers, the deals are hit-or-miss. They gave up at least one good prospect to the Drays and Lugo is a shortstop, not a secondbaseman as the Dods want. Maddux seems deep into the downside of his career with an ERA far over 5 since winning his first five starts (although going to the pitchers' haven in Chavez Ravine will help). Their deal for Wilson Betemit seems to be, in the long run, the best of the bunch.

For the Yanks, adding Abreu can help the middling production they've received from Sheffield's various replacements. More importantly, Abreu is still a run producer (100+ RBI pace) without the power stroke he'd shown in previous years. And he's a VAST defensive upgrade from Sheffield.

Lidle is a question mark -- a high-upside guy who has never pitched to his potential. He is a good streak pitcher and is on one now. He should not be hurt by switching leagues because (1) he's been an AL pitcher before and (2) he pitched in Philly, one of the friendliest parks for hitters in all of baseball.

Certain deals never came to fruition: (1) the RedSux didn't end up getting Andruw Jones from the Braves and may have been wise not to do so because they kept John Lester; (2) the Nationals stupidly failed to move Alfonso Soriano, and will get some draft picks in 2007 that they can only hope will pan out -- Jim Bowden had sought a king's ransom for Sori from other teams and thus learned that if you don't flinch in a game of chicken, you crash; (3) the Orioles completely honked by failing to trade Miguel Tejada even when offered Roy Oswalt as part of the deal by the Astros -- yes, the same 91-46 career record Roy Oswalt who has more 20-win seasons (two) than Mike Mooooooooooooooooosina (0) in his six years in MLB; (4) the Angels and A's basically stood pat.

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