Registered: Aug 2006
Local time: 10:24 PM
MLB Movers & Shakers
By Rich Carlson
With the MLB trading deadline passing Monday afternoon, many general managers and player personnel directors spent a very hectic day on the phones trying to make a last-minute trade that could strengthen their respective clubs as the postseason approaches. Let?s take a look at some of the big winners and losers in the final, frantic hours of baseball's trading deadline.
New York Yankees -- The Yankees' outfield has been plagued all season by injuries (Gary Sheffield, Hideki Matsui) and inconsistency. To add some stability and extra pop to their outfield corps, the Yankees acquired outfielder Bobby Abreu and pitcher Cory Lidle from Philadelphia in exchange for four minor-leaguers. Abreu will take over in right field, and his power and speed on the bases (20 stolen bases in 2006) will add to the Yankees' offensive arsenal. Lidle, meanwhile, will be a solid fourth or fifth starter for New York, as the Yankees try to overtake division-leading Boston in the American League East. Pitching is always at a premium in the playoffs, and having a solid pitcher like Lidle at the end of the rotation could be a key to the Yankees' playoff success. At worst, they are the betting favorite now to win the wild card.
Cincinnati Reds ? The Reds are currently leading the National League wild card race, and they bolstered their pitching staff by acquiring Rheal Cormier from Philadelphia and Kyle Lohse from Minnesota. Cormier pitched in 43 games for Philadelphia, posting a 2-2 record with a 1.59 ERA. Lohse can be a spot starter for the Reds and, if needed, can provide valuable long relief. The additions of Cormier and Lohse will help to shore up Cincinnati?s bullpen and strengthen their chances of either challenging for the NL Central crown or holding onto the wild-card lead.
Detroit Tigers ? Detroit started the season with Chris Shelton at first base, and it looked like a great decision at the time, as Shelton started out the year by hitting nine homers in the Tigers' first 13 games. Since then, Shelton has cooled off considerably, and defensive liabilities have cost the Tigers on numerous occasions. To fix the problem, Detroit acquired Sean Casey from Pittsburgh in exchange for minor-league pitcher Brian Roberts. Casey, a career .304 hitter, is an above-average fielder and provides occasional power on offense. Detroit didn?t have too many holes in its lineup to begin with, as the Tigers are 8.5 games up on the White Sox in the AL Central. The addition of Casey makes Detroit an even stronger favorite to win the American League pennant.
New York Mets -- With a 14-game lead over Philadelphia, the Mets are cruising to the National League East title. However, their pitching staff has struggled as of late, with injuries starting to take a huge toll. Pedro Martinez has spent time on the disabled list with a bad hip, and right-handed setup man Duaner Sanchez suffered a separated pitching shoulder in a car accident on Sunday night and is lost for the season. To strengthen their staff heading into the playoffs, the Mets acquired left-hander Oliver Perez and right-handed reliever Roberto Hernandez from Pittsburgh in exchange for outfielder Xavier Nady. Perez was 2-10 with a 6.63 ERA for Pittsburgh this season, and has been unable to control his great arm. His wildness and inconsistency led him to be demoted to Pittsburgh?s Triple-A team in Indianapolis earlier in the year. If the Mets are able to harness Perez?s great stuff, he could be a valuable contributor in the playoffs. Hernandez, who pitched for the Mets last year, pitched in 46 games for the Pirates, going 0-3 with two saves and a 2.92 ERA.
Houston Astros -- The Astros are in desperate need for more offense and had their sights on Alfonso Soriano, but were unable to close the deal. The lack of offense cost Houston the World Series in 2005, and will most likely cost them a spot in the playoffs in 2006.
Los Angeles Dodgers -- LA acquired four-time Cy Young Award winner Greg Maddux from the Cubs in exchange for former Gold Glove shortstop Cesar Izturis. Maddux started off the year winning his first five decisions, but has only won four games since, going 9-11 with a 4.69 ERA in 22 starts. Maddux is a shell of his former self, and the Dodgers had to give up their slick-fielding shortstop Izturis to get him. To replace Izturis, Los Angeles acquired Julio Lugo from Tampa Bay in exchange for highly touted minor league prospect Joel Guzman and minor-leaguer Sergio Pedroza. The Dodgers may rue the day they gave up the 6-foot-6, 252-pound Guzman, as he was touted as the club's third baseman of the future.
St. Louis Cardinals -- St. Louis didn't get the big bat it was looking for, only acquiring second baseman Ronnie Belliard from Cleveland. Belliard becomes the Cards' starter at second and is an upgrade over what they had, but he's not a difference maker. St. Louis still may be the odds-on favorite to win the NL Central but likely won't make much of a splash in the postseason.