Deadline Dealing

The MLB trade deadline passed at 4pm ET on July 31, and in the months of June and July many notable players were traded. All trades strengthened teams looking to get into the post season, to give fans a chance to be optimistic about their chances.

The trade system in Major League Baseball is quite simple. Teams may trade only players currently under contract, except players who have been drafted in the last year. Trades between two or more major league teams may freely occur at any time between the end of the World Series the year before and July 31st. In August, trades may only be made after all players in the trade clear waivers or are not on 40-man rosters. Players acquired after August 31 are ineligible for the postseason roster unless they replace an injured player. Teams may not trade draft choices, but may purchase the rights to Rule 5 Draft Picks.

This article looks at the major transactions from the past two months.

June 6: Angel Berroa -> Los Angeles Dodgers
Juan Rivera -> Kansas City Royals
The first deal was shortstop Angel Berroa moving to the Dodgers, with Juan Rivera moving the other way to the Kansas City Royals. Berroa was AL Rookie of the Year in 2003, so the LAD will be hoping he can regain his rookie form. Also, with infielders Rafael Furcal, Nomar Garciaparra and Delwyn Young on the DL, backup was clearly required. Berroa is batting just .208 in his 101 at bats since moving.

June 13: Trot Nixon -> New York Mets
With the Mets having an outfielder crisis, they moved to sign Trot Nixon from the D-Backs. With Moises Alou and Ryan Church out of action with injures, the Mets had to settle for backups and recent call-ups to fill the void until this trade. Nixon had just 35 at bats with his new side before going on the DL with a groin strain, and recently had groin surgery.

July 7: C.C. Sabathia -> Milwaukee Brewers
Matt LaPorta -> Cleveland Indians
Zach Johnson -> Cleveland Indians
Rob Bryson -> Cleveland Indians
With the Brewers looking to pass the Cubs at the top of the NL Central, they needed another ace pitcher to partner Ben Sheets at the top of the rotation, and they found their answer in C.C. Sabathia from the Cleveland Indians. Promising outfielder Matt LaPorta moved the other way, along with Zach Johnson and Rob Bryson. This trade really lifted the Brewers from wannabes that were bound to fade in September to a serious threat to there NL Central rival,s the Chicago Cubs.

July 8: Rich Harden -> Chicago Cubs
Chad Gaudin -> Chicago Cubs
Sean Gallagher -> Oakland Athletics
Matt Murton -> Oakland Athletics
Eric Patterson -> Oakland Athletics
Josh Donaldson -> Oakland Athletics
Following the Brew Crew’s trade, all eyes were on the Cubs to make the next move. They wasted no time, agreeing a trade with Oakland for starter Rich Harden and relief pitcher Chad Gaudin. The Cubs gave up righty Sean Gallagher, outfielder Matt Murton and infielder Eric Patterson, who were all in Cubs line-ups prior to the trade. Highly rated catcher Josh Donaldson also made the move to the A’s. Harden has made an incredible start to his Cubs career, pitching 24.1 innings in his 4 starts with 39 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.11.

July 17: Joe Blanton -> Philadelphia Phillies
Adrian Cardenas -> Oakland Athletics
John Outman -> Oakland Athletics
Matthew Spencer -> Oakland Athletics
The Phillies were looking for an ace pitcher, and they might have found one in righty Joe Blanton. Blanton has made an average start in Philly, and their pitching still looks a bit bare, which suggests they will be pipped to the NL East by the Mets. Oakland gained second baseman Adrian Cardenas and pitcher Josh Outman, who were two of the Phillies top prospects, along with outfielder Matthew Spencer.

July 20: Ray Durham -> Milwaukee Brewers
Darren Ford -> San Francisco Giants
Steve Hammond -> San Francisco Giants
After bolstering their starting rotation with Sabathia, Milwaukee added some offense to their infield with their signing of Ray Durham from the Giants. With Rickie Weeks floundering at second base hitting just .224, Durham provides more offensive production and an alternative to Weeks should he continue to struggle. In exchange, San Fran bolstered their farm system with outfielder Darren Ford who has 48 steals in Class A, and Steve Hammond.

July 25: Xavier Nady -> New York Yankees
Damaso Marte -> New York Yankees
Ross Ohlendorf -> Pittsburgh Pirates
Jose Tabata -> Pittsburgh Pirates
Jeff Karstens -> Pittsburgh Pirates
Dan McCutchen -> Pittsburgh Pirates
The Yankees were looking to get a right handed bat in their lineup, and Xavier Nady from the Pirates fits the bill, as well as an outfield option. Nady will replace injured left fielder Hideki Matsui. The Yanks also got pitcher Damaso Marte, who will fill the vacancy of a reliable left handed reliever in a depleted bullpen. In exchange the Pirates got pitchers Ross Ohlendorf, Jeff Karstens and Dan McCutchen, along with outfielder Jose Tabata.

July 26: Casey Blake -> Los Angeles Dodgers
Carlos Santana -> Cleveland Indians
Jon Meloan -> Cleveland Indians
The Dodgers needed a bat that can play third base due to Blake DeWitt’s lack of offense and rookie LaRoche struggling to hit Major League pitchers. They got their player in the shape of Casey Blake from Cleveland, and are paying none of his salary for the rest of the season. The Indians got catching slugger Carlos Santana, and pitcher Jon Meloan, who are both hot prospects for the future.

July 29: Mark Teixeira -> Los Angeles Angels
Casey Kotchman -> Atlanta Braves
Stephen Marek -> Atlanta Braves

After a summer of rumour, first baseman Mark Teixeira finally moved out of Atlanta and into a new team: the LA Angels. Teixeira had 78 RBI’s with the Braves this year, and he will be hoping to make his first trip to the post season. The Braves got a ready made replacement with skilled batsman Casey Kotchman, along with pitcher Stephen Marek.

July 30: Ivan Rodriguez -> New York Yankees
Kyle Farnsworth -> Detroit Tigers
After Jorge Posada decided to undergo season ending surgery, the Yankees needed a catcher. They found one in 13-time gold glover and 14-time all star Ivan ‘Pudge’ Rodriguez. Pudge is hitting .295 and that should increase with the support of the Bronx Bombers. Pitcher Kyle Farnsworth went back to the Detroit Tigers to help a poor Tigers bullpen in his second spell at the franchise.

July 31: Ken Griffey Jr. -> Chicago White Sox
Nick Masset -> Cincinnati Reds
Danny Richar -> Cincinnati Reds
The final day of the trade window brought two of the most interesting trades. Firstly super slugger Ken Griffey Jr. moving to the White Sox, looking for his first trip to the World Series since 1997. Griffey will be asked to play centre field, a position he has not played since 2006 and is definitely not as good as Swisher.

July 31: Manny Ramirez-> Los Angeles Dodgers
Jason Bay -> Boston Red Sox
Andy LaRoche-> Pittsburgh Pirates
Brandon Moss -> Pittsburgh Pirates
Craig Hansen -> Pittsburgh Pirates
Bryan Morris -> Pittsburgh Pirates
The second deal was Manny Ramirez finally moving out of Boston. But he arrived at an unexpected location: Dodger Stadium. In a three way trade, Jason Bay went from Pittsburgh to the Sox and the Pirates got two prospects each from the Red Sox and LAD, in Andy LaRoche, Brandon Moss, Craig Hansen and Bryan Morris. Ramirez will hit runs wherever he goes, and hit his first homer for the Dodgers on his second appearance.

So what does that do to the pennant races? The Yankees now look best placed to win the AL East – with the additions of Pudge, Marte and Nady they have filled all their problem positions and they only had to give up Farnsworth and a few semi-prospects. With A-Rod and Giambi hitting well and Cano and Abreu starting to swing the bat, they look as strong as ever. Despite acquiring Jason Bay, with no Manny being Manny the Red Sox will lose out to the Yankees, but they will pick up the AL wild card. Tampa have strong pitching, but their lack of offense bar-Crawford will see them miss out to the big boys.

In the AL Central, the White Sox will hold on to first place, with the Twins slipping out of the race due to their rotation. The Tigers will come third.

The Angels have the AL West sown up, and the acquisition of Mark Teixeira just strengthens their chances in October.

In the NL East, the Mets will come first, partly due to their offense of Wright, Reyes, Beltran and Delgado, but mostly due to their pitching duo of Johan Santana and Oliver Perez, who have a combined 2.03ERA. The Phillies still have pitching problems which Joe Blanton is not the answer to, and the Marlins have the same problem.

The Cubs have the NL Central to lose, especially after their 4-0 sweep of the Brewers. Zambrano, Harden and Dempster is a pitching trio that any major league team would be envious of, and with an offense that leads the NL in runs, on-base percentage and on-base plus slugging, they will pull away from the Brew Crew. Milwaukee will however get the NL wild card, as their pitching duo of CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets and Fielder and Braun at the plate should see them come through.

The NL West is the worst division in baseball, and the Diamondbacks shouldn’t have anything to worry about. The Dodgers may have Manny, but the loss of closer Takashi Saito is too much for them to handle. Plus, the Dbacks starting pitching will get them through: Brandon Webb has 15 wins, leading the league, Dan Haren leads the league in ERA with 2.62, and Randy Johnson has won his last four starts, throwing seven scoreless innings in his last two starts.

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