Tag:Astros
Posted on: August 2, 2011 4:26 pm
 

Players that could be dealt before August 31

Rodriguez
By Evan Brunell

Although the trade deadline expired on Sunday, it... didn't. At least, not really.

What did expire was the non-waiver trade deadline, in which teams can trade players without restrictions that aren't built into a player's contract such as no-trade clauses and the like. However, trades can still occur for the rest of the season -- players just have to pass through waivers. These waivers are revocable, so if a team claims a player, the original team can revoke waivers. However, it then cannot deal the player, and if he goes on waivers a second time and is claimed, he is lost. That team can also choose not to revoke waivers and give away the player and his contract. This is what happened to Alex Rios when he joined Chicago in 2009 when Toronto no longer felt like paying his deal.

The original team and claiming team can also work out a trade, but a trade can only happen with the team that placed a claim. If the player passes through waivers, he can then be traded to any team. Most teams place the majority of players on waivers, both to hide players the team really wants to deal and to broaden options. Waiver claim priority works in order of worst record to best in the same league, then it moves to the worst record in the other league. These types of trades can happen through September, although August 31st is effectively the cutoff point.

While there have been September trades, they are few and far in-between for two reasons. First is that with the expansion to a 40-man rosters, most teams no longer struggle for depth. Secondly, and more important, is the fact that any player outside of the organization acquired after August 31 is not eligible for the playoffs.

Got all that? Good. Let's take a look at nine players or positions of interest who could be on the move in August (and possibly September).

Heath Bell, Padres
: Heath Bell surprisingly stayed at home at the trade deadline while setup man Mike Adams was sent out. This came as a surprise, as everyone assumed that Bell would be dealt. Clearly, the Padres didn't get an offer that was worth giving up the two compensatory draft picks they would have received once Bell rejected arbitration and signed a lucrative contract with another team, or re-upped with San Diego on a hometown-discount deal.

Except Bell said he plans to accept the Padres' offer of arbitration if they can't come to an accord on a contract. That's how motivated Bell is to stay in town, so the Padres can no longer bank on the compensatory draft picks. Unless traded, Bell is staying a Padre. That could motivate GM Jed Hoyer to kick him out in August, although with a $7.5 million contract on the season, Bell figures to be claimed by many teams who could use a top-flight reliever at little cost.

Randy Choate, Marlins: Not exactly a big name, I know, but Choate is the kind of player that gets dealt every August. He's a left-handed reliever who can plug in a gap for a contender. The Yankees, Red Sox and many other teams would be interested in Choate, who is signed for 2012 at just $1.5 million. He's got peanuts left on his $1 million deal this season and has a sterling 1.66 ERA in 21 1/3 innings. That's not much, but Choate's value is tied up in being able to get left-handed hitters out.

As we see every October, that's incredibly valuable, and Choate has held lefties to a .131/.185/.123 mark on the year, which comes out to a .398 OPS. That's really low. Choate has been linked to the Yankees, but he would have no shortage of suitors if the Marlins made him available.

Ramon Hernandez, Reds: There was plenty of consternation as to why the Reds stood pat at the trade deadline, as well as why Hernandez wasn't moved. With top prospect Devin Mesoraco waiting in the wings in Triple-A, one would think that GM Walt Jocketty would want to capitalize on Hernandez's value, especially to the Giants. Alas, nothing transpired, not even once the Giants and Reds completed their game on Sunday, which some felt might be holding up a deal.

Hernandez is still a good bet to go, even if Cincinnati climbs back into the race thanks to the presence of Mesoraco, as well as help at other spots that the backstop would fetch in a deal. If they begin rebuilding, they have even less need for Hernandez. The only problem is that catching depth is so thin in the majors and Hernandez's salary is so cheap that, like Bell, plenty of teams figure to be interested in placing a claim and blocking a deal.

Aramis Ramirez, Cubs: For some reason, GM Jim Hendry stood pat at the trade deadline and didn't bother to try and convince third-baseman Aramis Ramirez that accepting a deal would be to his benefit. Hendry wants to keep the core of a 90-loss team together for some reason, so even bandying about Ramirez as a possible piece to be moved probably is pointless. But if Hendry has a chance of heart, Ramirez might too.

You see, Ramirez loves Chicago and has his family based there -- except in mid-August, his wife and children pack up and head back to the Dominican Republic. Thus, where he plays to finish off the year becomes less important once his family leaves, which could convince Ramirez to waive his no-trade deal. If that happened, Ramirez could interest the Angels and White Sox, to name two teams. The White Sox would allow the ability to stay in the city, but the roadblock to that is that the Pale Hose are not looking to add payroll.

Athletics outfielder: Oakland really needs to subtract at least one of its outfielders in Coco Crisp, Josh Willingham or David DeJesus, as I mentioned Monday when looking at teams that stood pat at the deadline. Any of these outfielders can help a team, and Willingham and DeJesus may have a pulse in their bat if they can get out of the Coliseum. Free-agent compensation matters here, and Willingham will fetch a price commensurate with two compensatory draft picks, as he's currently set to be a Type-A free agent even if only tenuously. DeJesus is a Type-B free agent and Crisp does not need compensation.

Simply put, Oakland needs to look ahead at 2012 and what it can do to bolster the team. It's one thing if all they're being offered are organizational guys for these players. At that point, GM Billy Beane is probably best suited to just hang onto the players. But Willingham and DeJesus aren't the kind of players that would have scrubs offered. There's real value in these players, and given the unlikelihood of both returning to town, Beane needs to jump on any interest.

Jim Thome, Twins: Here's an interesting name. The Twins, if they fall out of the race, have no need for Thome. In fact, they may be looked upon as doing a favor to Thome in trading him to a contender for a chance to win a World Series in what is likely Thome's final season. Just three home runs away from 600, some have speculated that he will be moved after he reaches the milestone. But given how impressively the Twins draw and the fact Thome doesn't have deep roots with the team makes that hard to believe. He's a candidate to be traded before and after 600 home runs.

The Phillies have been linked to Thome, which would be a fantastic option. Philadelphia is obviously headed toward October, and Thome would be the big bat off the bench that becomes so paramount. Just like left-handed relief specialists, pinch-hitters increase in importance as the amount of games decrease. And if the Phillies somehow make it to the World Series, Thome is a fine DH. Jason Giambi is another player who could fit this mold.

Right-handed hitting platoon outfielder: Might not sound terribly appealing to discuss outfielders that wouldn't start regularly, but as has been mentioned, shoring up depth at the major-league level takes on added importance for the postseason. To be sure, several teams need starting outfielders like any of the A's outfielders or perhaps even the Twins' Jason Kubel, who is also a candidate to be traded in August. But players that can help counteract left-handed pitchers like Choate but don't require a full-time job and don't cost a lot of money are valuable.

Playing time and big bucks aren't necessary for players like Scott Hairston, Jeff Francouer, and Ryan Spilborghs, who can come off the bench and serve as injury replacements, pinch-hitters or platoon outfielders. Hairston and Francouer, especially, have noted success against left-handed pitching and were names to watch at the trade deadline for that very reason. Francouer, in particular, is used to being traded in August, as the Rangers acquired him last season on the 31st to fill the exact role that a team would want him this year for: to hit lefties.

Jeff Francis, Royals: The last two names on this list are both left-handed starters, but that's not why Francis is on the list. No, he's on the list because he's a cheap, back-end option in the rotation. While there might be some better pitchers on the market (see the next name), Francis would work well in the middle of the rotation, perhaps the last starter in a postseason four-man rotation. Injuries will continue to happen between now and the end of the year, and one of those injuries could be a big blow to a contender's rotation -- much like Boston has to deal with the absence of Clay Buchholz.

Francis has soaked up 135 2/3 innings on the year with a 4.38 ERA, which is impressive given he pitches in the AL albeit in a weak division. His peripherals are strong, so that 4.38 ERA isn't a fluke. He can be a real shot in the arm for a contender. While the Royals could really use him in the rotation, which has yet to be anything less than awful, Francis is also a free agent and will certainly parlay his season into a nice contract from a team closer to contending, so K.C. shouldn't be worried about long-term effects of trading Francis, only who they can get in return.

Wandy Rodriguez, Astros: Rodriguez is a step up from Francis, but it's not entirely clear how big of a step up he is. He's working on his fourth straight season of an ERA below 4, but there's serious question among American Leaguers as to whether he could withstand a league switch, which depresses his suitors and the price for the left-hander. His contract is also looking like a pill, as he has $34 million due him from 2011-13 with a club option for 2014 -- but becomes a player option with a trade, and not many teams have interest in Rodriguez choosing to stay with his club for $13 million in a year where he will be 35.

The Astros are willing to eat a good chunk of the contract though, even if they refuse to eat the $17 million that might have made Rodriguez a Yankee before the trade deadline. If the Yankees or another team want Houston to eat that amount of money, it would take a strong prospect surrendered. Rodriguez is a good pitcher, but it seems his stock has dropped just below that tier, so it may be difficult for Houston and other teams to agree to both a return and how much cash the Astros would cover. Still, he's certainly not being claimed on waivers and will be a top-end option for any desperate teams.

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Posted on: August 1, 2011 9:20 pm
Edited on: August 1, 2011 9:24 pm
 

Votto loves Minute Maid Park

By Matt Snyder

When Reds first baseman Joey Votto doubled in the third inning at Houston's Minute Maid Park Monday night, it marked the 11th straight game he's recorded an extra base hit in that particular stadium. Does that sound like a long streak? Evidently it's pretty tough to pull off, because it hasn't happened in more than 15 years, according to a press release the Reds sent out.

The last player to have such a streak was Jeff Bagwell, who did it from 1993-1995 in San Francisco's Candlestick/3-Com Park.

For his career, Votto entered Monday night with the following numbers in Minute Maid Park: .394/.450/.706 with 16 doubles, four triples, three home runs, 19 RBI and 17 runs. That was in 27 games.

Oh, and the 2010 NL MVP was the NL Player of the Week last week, too, so it goes without saying he's locked in.

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Posted on: July 31, 2011 10:18 am
 

Astros trade Michael Bourn to Braves

By Danny Knobler

The Braves have acquired center fielder Michael Bourn from the Astros.

After starting out looking for a big outfield bat (the Braves were one of the teams most interested in Carlos Beltran), the Braves shifted their focus some after putting two center fielders (Jordan Schafer, Nate McLouth) on the disabled list. Bourn, regarded by some as the fastest player in baseball, should help.

In return for the 28-year-old Bourn, who leads the National League with 39 steals, the Astros get Schafer and three minor-league pitchers, Brett Oberholtzer, Paul Clemens and Juan Abreu. Thus, the Braves were able to add an outfielder without surrendering any of their top pitching prospects (as they would have had to do to get Beltran, Hunter Pence or Carlos Quentin). The Astros also included cash to pay part of Bourn's $4.4 million contract.

Bourn will be under Braves control through next year, when he can become a free agent.

Schafer was once considered one of the Braves' top prospects, but he has mostly struggled in the big leagues, with a .223 career batting average and .613 OPS. The Braves put him on the DL this week with a chip fracture in his left middle finger.

"Michael Bourn is a perfect fit for our club, which focuses on speed and defense to match up with our strong pitching," Braves general manager Frank Wren said in a statement.

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Posted on: July 31, 2011 10:03 am
Edited on: July 31, 2011 4:29 pm
 

Updating trade deadline rumors

By Evan Brunell

Here's the latest trade rumors for Sunday, with the most recent updated at the top. You can also follow Eye on Baseball on Twitter, where the latest information will be at your fingertips.

COMPLETED DEALS/CONCRETE RUMORS
  • The Rangers have acquired relief pitcher Mike Adams, reports CBSSports.com's Scott Miller.
  • Erik Bedard has been traded to the Red Sox, per CBSSports.com's Knobler.
  • Ryan Ludwick has been traded to the Pirates, per Miller.
  • The A's got a replacement first baseman after a deal for Lars Anderson with Boston fell through. Arizona traded for reliever Brad Ziegler, coughing up 1B Brandon Allen and reliever Jordan Norberto, MLB.com reports. Allen figures to start immediately in Oakland.
  • Rafael Furcal, who agreed to waive his no-trade deal to head to the Cardinals, is officially a member of St. Louis. The return was minor-league outfielder Alex Castellanos, who is in Double-A at age 24. The Cards only have to pay $1.4 million of Furcal's deal, which has roughly $4 million remaining.
  • Already Sunday morning there's been a trade, with Michael Bourn being dealt to the Braves for four prospects, as CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler confirms. Bourn was moved for OF Jordan Schafer, LHP Brett Oberholtzer, RHP Paul Clemens and RHP Juan Abreu, the Astros said. The quick and dirty review: Atlanta did very well here by not giving up any of their top-tier guys. Frankly, it's surprising Houston agreed to the move without getting one distinct strong starting pitcher. Oberholtzer and Clemens are starters, but their ceilings aren't very high.
TRADE DEADLINE RUMORS

Check out the other rumors floating around, the most recent will be updated at the top:
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Posted on: July 30, 2011 1:36 am
 

Friday night trade rumor roundup

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Now that Hunter Pence is off the table, it seems Heath Bell is the latest big name certain to move. But that doesn't mean he's the only one. There are plenty more rumors out there.

One of the most interesting is the Cardinals having interest in Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports

This comes after the Post-Dispatch's Joe Strauss tweeted shortstop had become the team's "priority" at the non-waiver trade deadline. 

Furcal, 33, is struggling this season, hitting .195/.267/.241 coming into Friday's game but could still help the Cardinals -- which tells you all you need to know about the team's struggles at the position.

• A new hot rumor is that the Tigers are making a push for Ubaldo Jimenez and have offered top prospect Jacob Turner, according to FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal. Turner, the team's 2009 first-round pick, is 3-5 with a 3.48 ERA at Double-A Erie this season. He has 90 strikeouts and 32 walks in 113 2/3 innings. The Tigers would prefer not to deal anyone from their big-league roster.

The Tigers are also dangling lefty Andy Oliver in return for a pitcher that can help them now, such as Jimenez, Hiroki Kuroda or even the Nationals' Jason Marquis, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! tweets. Oliver was rated as the team's No. 3 overall prospect by Baseball America heading into the season. He's 6-7 with a 4.64 ERA at Triple-A Toledo with 102 strikeouts and 52 walks in 106 2/3 innings. He was the team's second-round pick in 2009. He made five starts for Detroit last season and two this season. Overall he's 0-5 with a 7.11 ERA in the big leagues with 23 strikeouts and 21 walks in 31 2/3 innings.

• The Astros dealt Pence on Friday, but MLB.com's Brian McTaggart tweets the Astros have told inquiring teams that shortstop Clint Barmes is unavailable.

• The Pirates are still looking for an outfield bat, Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com tweets, and that bat may be the Twins' Jason Kubel, MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch writes.

• Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that the odds of his team making a deal are "50/50."

Towers also said there are six or seven prospects he doesn't want to deal.

• Brewers general manager Bob Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he is still looking at deals, but wasn't hopeful of completing another. On Thursday the Brewers acquired Felipe Lopez from the Rays and brought him from Triple-A Durham where he was playing for Tampa Bay before bringing him to Milwaukee to replace the injured Rickie Weeks.

Melvin said the team would love to find another infielder, but isn't seeing many on the market. The Brewers have rumored to have talked to the Dodgers about both Jamey Carroll and Furcal.

However, the Los Angeles Times' Dylan Hernandez tweets the Dodgers' conversations about Carroll "have died."

• Orioles reliever Koji Uehara is a hot name, Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman tweets. He says Uehara will go somewhere. He'll make any bullpen better. However, Rosenthal tweets that it's only a 50-50 chance the Orioles move Uehara. He is 13 appearances shy of a $4 million vesting option for 2012. The Baltimore Sun links Uehara with the Pirates, Diamondbacks, Rangers, Phillies and Tigers and notes all five of those teams have had scouts around the Orioles in recent series.

• The Rangers are certainly interested in bullpen help, but San Diego may not be their only trading parter. Brady Tinker of Fox Sports Southwest, tweets Andrew Bailey of the Athletics is the "most likely top bullpen addition" by Texas.

• The Braves may be reluctant to make much of a deal at the deadline so they don't repeat the Mark Teixeira mistake when the team sent, among others, Neftali Feliz and Elvis Andrus to Texas, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. The Braves are refusing to give up any of their top four pitching prospects -- Julio Teheran, Arodys Vizcaino, Randall Delgado or Mike Minor. They could look at dealing from that grow in the offseason when the team could be searching to fill more holes. Atlanta has placed center fielders Nate McLouth and Jordan Schafer on the disabled list in the last two days with Jose Constanza starting on Friday, making his big-league debut. Yahoo!'s Passan tweets the team is targeting center fielders. Rosenthal writes Atlanta is looking not only at center fielders such as B.J. Upton and Michael Bourn, but also corner outfielders such as Ryan Ludwick, Carlos Quentin and Josh Willingham.

• The Marlins appear to be holding pat at the deadline, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reports. That means they'll keep closer Leo Nunez and left-handed reliever Randy Choate.

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Posted on: July 29, 2011 10:19 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2011 1:22 am
 

Astros add electric arm in Pence trade

Jarred Cosart

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Hunter Pence will now be a Phillie, but who are the newest Astros?

Well, they're not Astros yet, but the newest members of the Houston farm system give a jolt to a system ranked No. 26 in baseball by Baseball America before the season (and 30th in each of the two previous years). Here's a closer look at the three players the Astros will get in return for the All-Star outfielder in addition to a player to be named:

RHP Jarred Cosart: The 21-year-old from the Houston area wowed everyone in attendance at the Futures Game in Phoenix this month. His fastball was clocked at 98 mph as he had a pair of strikeouts in a perfect eighth inning of work for the United States team. The 6-foot-3 right-hander has a good curveball to go with the electric fastball. At high Class A Clearwater, he's struck out 79 and walked 43 in 108 innings and has a 9-8 record with a 3.92 ERA. He's seen his walks skyrocket this season after walking just 23 with 102 strikeouts in his first two pro seasons. The Phillies drafted him in the 38th round in 2008, but it's not because he was a 38th-round talent. Every team seemed to expect him to pitch at Missouri, and that's what he told them. But the Phillies drafted him and offered him a $550,000 bonus and he took it. He has a very high ceiling and a lot of potential, but he still needs a lot more polish, which is why he's in Class A. Baseball America ranked Cosart the No. 43 prospect in baseball in its midseason rankings.

1B/OF Jonathan Singleton: Ranked the Phillies' No. 2 prospect at the beginning of the season by Baseball America, Singleton doesn't turn 20 until September. At 6-foot-2, 225 pounds, Singleton has  the potential for a ton of power. So far this season he's hitting .282/.386/.411 at high Class A Clearwater with nine home runs and 47 RBI in 92 games. He's also show a good approach at the plate and the ability to take a walk, walking 56 times this season. He has struck out 83 times, though. Singleton has played some left field, but he's much better suited to first base. Baseball America ranked Singleton the No. 41 prospect in baseball in its midseason rankings.

RHP Josh Zeid: Zeid, 24, is 2-3 with a 5.65 ERA at Double-A Reading, striking out 56 and walking 27 in 63 2/3 innings. A former Vanderbilt and Tulane pitcher, Zeid dominated the South Atlantic League last year, but was one of the oldest players in the league, going 8-4 with a 2.93 and 111 strikeouts on 107 1/3 innings. Although he's started 38 games in the minors, he projects as a reliever if he gets to the majors. Since moving to the bullpen at Double-A, he has 24 strikeouts in 16 innings, while allowing just 10 hits. He pitched in the Arizona Fall League last season and made the Rising Stars Game, the All-Star game in the fall league.

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Posted on: July 29, 2011 9:10 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2011 10:06 pm
 

Phillies to get Pence from Astros

By Danny Knobler

The Phillies have acquired outfielder Hunter Pence from the Astros, sources told CBSSports.com Friday night.

The deal was described by two sources as "very close," and was expected to be announced later in the evening.

Pence, a 28-year-old two-time All-Star, gives the Phillies the strong outfield bat that manager Charlie Manuel has been asking for. Pence hit .308 with 62 RBI in 100 games this year for the Astros.

While Pence isn't as dynamic a player as Carlos Beltran, the outfielder the Giants got this week from the Mets, he fits the Phillies' pattern of acquiring players they can control past the end of the year. Pence can't become a free agent until the end of the 2013 season. That's why the Phillies were willing to pay a bigger price for him than they would have for Beltran.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro also has a history of being able to make deals with Astros GM Ed Wade. The two worked together when Wade was with the Phillies, and last year they engineered the trade that sent Roy Oswalt to Philadelphia.

First baseman Jonathan Singleton, who was pulled out of Friday night's game at Class A Clearwater in the eighth inning, is thought to be one of the players going to Houston in the trade. Pitcher Jarred Cosart, who starred in the All-Star Futures Game, was also thought to be in it. CSN Philadelphia reported that minor-league pitcher Josh Zeid and a player to be named will complete the four-player package.

Pence started for the Astros Friday night, but was pulled out of the game in the fifth inning.

The Braves had also tried to get Pence, but they weren't willing to surrender any of their top pitching prospects. The Phillies, who valued Pence more, were willing to come up with the players to convince the Astros to make the deal.

The Phillies originally expected that Domonic Brown could take over in right field this year, after they allowed Jayson Werth to leave for Washington as a free agent. But Brown got hurt in spring training and has struggled since then, and Manuel told reporters Friday afternoon that he would be better off developing in the minor leagues.

Earlier this week, the Phillies were still trying to decide whether to prioritize an outfielder or bullpen help. They decided to make Pence their top target, in part because they believe the bullpen will be strengthened in the playoffs by the addition of whichever starter they don't use in their postseason rotation (either Vance Worley or Oswalt).

The big question then was whether the Astros would truly consider dealing Pence, who is a favorite of outgoing Houston owner Drayton McLane. At one point this week, Astros officials were telling friends with other teams that they were much more likely to trade Pence this winter.

Once Beltran was dealt to the Giants on Wednesday, however, the Astros realized that the time to maximize Pence's value was now. Incoming owner Jim Crane intends to start a complete rebuild in Houston, likely dropping the Astros' payroll to around $60 million next year. So moving Pence, who makes $6.9 million this year and will be due for an arbitration raise, began to make more sense.

The Astros have also shopped center fielder Michael Bourn (the Reds are interested), and starting pitchers Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers. But Pence was always the one who would bring the biggest return.

The Braves move on to other targets. They could try to make a deal for White Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin, but the Sox are believed to be asking for the same high-end pitching prospects that the Braves refused to deal for Pence. Atlanta could also step up efforts to get Ryan Ludwick from the Padres, or potentially try to get B.J. Upton from the Rays.

Ken Rosenthal of Foxsports.com first reported that the Phillies and Astros were close to a deal.

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Posted on: July 29, 2011 5:31 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2011 6:51 pm
 

Looking back at impact of 2010 deadline deals

Westbrook

By Evan Brunell

As we hurtle toward the trade deadline on Sunday, it can be instructive to take a look back to the previous trade deadline. Looking at just the 30th and 31st, we see 13 trades were completed, with 10 on the day of reckoning. It's possible there could be a similar amount of deals this time around, but keep in mind that many teams are still in the postseason hunt, so that does limit the number of sellers and buyers.

Last season's deadline lacked one true blockbuster player, thanks to Cliff Lee being traded way back on July 9. That could change this year, with the increasing likelihood that both Hunter Pence and Ubaldo Jimenez will be traded, but last season still provides a good barometer of what to expect.

Many always think about the biggest names on the free agent market when the trade deadline rolls around, but players like Austin Kearns, Javier Lopez, Will Ohman and others were also on the move. It's not just big names teams deal for, and you'll see plenty of these small deals happen, even if they end up being insignificant in the long run.

Last year's deals can be broken up into three groups of similar size. Obviously, every team wants to be in the "paying dividends" category, but there are some that just plain "worked out," plus others that were irrelevant, either now or as early as the second the trade took place.

PAYING DIVIDENDS
There's a bit of a mix of trades in here. We've got those that instantly bore fruit for the buyer, with Jake Westbrook helping to solidify what was a flagging rotation at the time. Interestingly enough, Edwin Jackson was just acquired by St. Louis to (wait for it...) solidify a flagging rotation -- and here he is, represented in this list from a year ago when Chicago's Kenny Williams irrationally sent Hudson and Holmberg packing for Jackson, whom he hoped to flip for Adam Dunn before Washington walked away. (And that deal, by the way, has worked out just splendidly for Arizona.)

Another mid-rotation starter was dealt in the Cubs deal, but Chicago walked away the losers. They thought they were getting a possible starting second baseman in DeWitt, but instead he's been buried on the bench. (The jury is still out on Smit and Wallach, but don't hold your breath; DeWitt was the main piece) The real winner has turned out to be L.A. with Ted Lilly, who pitched well down the stretch then re-upped with the team. He's struggling this year, but is still a solid starter.

MLB Trade Deadline
You may think it odd the Royals/Braves trade is on this list, especially since Ankiel and Farnsworth are gone from Atlanta and two of three players heading back to Kansas City were no one of note, but Tim Collins is certainly of note. The fireballing lefty has been fantastic for the Royals in his rookie season, posting up a 3.49 ERA in 49 innings. If he firms up his control, he could become an elite setup man. Heck, even if not, this trade has already paid off.

Another team that considered itself buyers but ended up shooting itself in the foot was the Dodgers, who sent away James McDonald for Octavio Dotel, a pitcher that was later moved to the Rockies, signed with the Blue Jays and was dealt again to the Cardinals along with Edwin Jackson. McDonald has been a dependable middle of the rotation starter, something that was already the case when he was traded. This deal was flat out dumb, but the Pirates are certainly happy.

The last trade was a swap between two contenders hoping for fresh starts. Texas wanted its haul to help restock the farm system to deliver dividends down the road while Boston was hoping to strike gold with Saltalamacchia. After getting the year off to a bad start, Salty is hitting .287/.359/.544 since May 15.

Sometimes, it's those trades taking fliers on players or sellers taking advantage of buyers to come out ahead just a year later.

WORKED OUT
  • Yankees acquired 1B Lance Berkman and cash considerations from Houston for RHP Mark Melancon and INF Jimmy Paredes.
  • Yankees acquired RHP Kerry Wood and cash from Cleveland for a player to be named or cash.
  • Pirates acquired RHP Joseph Martinez and OF John Bowker from San Francisco for LHP Javier Lopez.
These trades here all essentially worked out, but not for typical reasons you would expect.

Mark Melancon was the true prize in the Berkman trade, and has established himself as the closer in Houston. Of course, he won't get many save chances, but has racked up 10 in 49 1/3 innings, posting a 3.10 ERA while Berkman was just a passing wind, but now the Yankees get to claim that yet another 90-00s star wore pinstripes if only for a second, a la Ivan Rodriguez. Ditto the Kerry Wood deal, but Wood was actually lights out down the stretch and was a major boon to New York. This is one deal that doesn't matter anymore, but was huge for the final months of 2010.

Javier Lopez, of course, walked away with a ring in San Francisco and developed into a devastating weapon in the playoffs, giving up nothing of consequence.

IRRELEVANT
  • Indians traded OF Austin Kearns to the New York Yankees in exchange for a player to be named or cash.
  • Orioles traded LHP Will Ohman to Florida for RHP Rick VandenHurk.
  • Diamondbacks acquired OF Ryan Church, INF Bobby Crosby and RHP D.J. Carrasco from Pittsburgh for C Chris Snyder, INF Pedro Ciriaco and cash considerations.
  • Rays acquired RHP Chad Qualls from Arizona for a player to be named.
  • Tigers traded OF Wilkin Ramirez to Atlanta for a player to be named or cash considerations.
  • Braves traded OF Mitch Jones to the Pittsburgh Pirates for cash.
These deals are irrelevant, so we won't write much about them. But note that just as many deals paying dividends were made as irrelevant deals. Some of these, like Qualls or Snyder, were flyers that just didn't work out. It happens, but you can't blame the teams for trying. Most of these, though, were minor deals that didn't affect much of anything.

So what have we learned? The takeaways should be this: The one player that you may see in a trade deadline and not register at all may end up walking away the best player in the deal, and it may not take years for that to happen. And that for all the hubbub around big names being traded, most of the deals that go down are of the garden variety. A small deal can win a World Series (ask the Giants) just as much as a blockbuster.

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