The Tenth Inning – Week 17

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The Tenth Inning – Week 17 ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>

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Last week was the trading deadline preview, so this week the only logical choice is a trading deadline review. For this, we’ll look through each league and see how each team managed to do, with an up, down, or even. Again, this is just at the trading deadline, as in since the All-Star break. It’s an important distinction to make for certain teams, such as Atlanta. With that, away we go.

National League
Phillies – Lee was a great pickup, though I’m not as high on Francisco as everyone else seems to be. They didn’t help the bullpen directly, but if Lee can throw 7-8 innings every start, it will be an indirect boost to a still big weakness. WINNER.

Marlins – Adding Nick Johnson was a great under-the-radar pickup – if he stays healthy. He’ll provide leadership and a good contact hitter in a lineup full of all-or-nothing guys. They might not catch Philly, but now there’s a good chance for the Wild Card. WINNER.

Braves – They already made a move earlier picking up McLouth, but they still could have used more. Maybe Tim Hudson’s return could become their big August addition, but for now it’s not what they needed to reclaim NL East dominance. LOSER.

Mets – Not sure they could really have done anything – too many big contracts to absorb another one, but not enough left to be appealing for a trade. They have to hope Wagner, Delgado, Reyes, and Beltran can come back and, like Atlanta’s Hudson, boost the team. EVEN

Nationals – Dealing Johnson was obvious, but it would have been better outside of the division, and trading Biemel made sense too. As bad as they are, there wasn’t a lot of desirable talent, but dealing Adam Dunn still should have – and could have – happened. LOSER.

Cardinals – DeRosa doesn’t count, and he’s hurt anyway, but Holliday sure does, and rivals the Phillies’ deal as best deadline pickup in the NL. If the starting staff stays healthy, they might become the number 2 team in the NL. WINNER.

Cubs – Like the Mets, the key is getting the talent on the field and playing well. They didn’t need to make a big trade, so they made smaller ones, adding Grabow and Gorzelanny from the Bucs. But if they don’t win, the howling will start on the North Side. WINNER.

Astros – This team could have made a major move to bolster the rotation, but instead stayed pat, something that never worked for Houston GM Ed Wade when he was in Philadelphia. Philly fans are slowly nodding their head in agreement as they remember the early 2000’s. LOSER.

Brewers – The results were mixed when they gambled last season on C.C. – they made the postseason but lost in the first round to the defending champs and then lost Sabathia. This year, the Central is better – and Milwaukee is not. LOSER.

Reds – Not sure if GM Wayne Krivsky knew whether to buy or sell, so he did both. He sold Jerry Hairston Jr. for a Single-A catcher, then traded Encarnacion and two prospects for Scott Rolen. Reds fans, say it with me: huh? LOSER.

Pirates – How do they react to a record-setting 16th straight losing season? Say goodbye to Sanchez, Wilson, Snell, Gorzelanny, and Grabow – all after dealing LaRoche and McLouth. The thing is – they got good players back. Still, memo to Pitt fans: Steelers and Penguins. EVEN.

Dodgers – No moves were necessary for the league’s best team, but the addition of George Sherrill to the bullpen only makes them even better. It’s hard to call them a winner with only one deal, but they did manage to stay a step ahead of the Cards and Phils. EVEN.

Giants – Ryan Garko and Freddy Sanchez were great additions to a young team that is competing a bit earlier than expected. They responded by taking two of three from the Phillies after the deadline, cementing their status as contender. WINNER.

Rockies – They needed bullpen help, so they grabbed the right-handed Betancourt from Cleveland first, then added the lefty Beimel at the deadline. Those are the type of underrated moves that turn out to be major acquisitions in September and October. WINNER.

Diamondbacks – Not sure why this team didn’t sell off some of the veterans, unless they think this can turn around on the upswing as quickly as it turned south. After learning Monday that Brandon Webb is done for a while, they might be rethinking. LOSER.

Padres – Being bad is one thing, but knowing when to sell and rebuild is another. The jury will be out for a while on the handling of Peavy, who wouldn’t approve a trade to Chicago in January, while the Pads didn’t think they were offered enough from Atlanta. We’ll see. EVEN.

American League
Yankees – Talk about a team that needed to make a deal. Forget that they’re the second best team in the league – who’s setting up Rivera? They missed on Beimel, Betancourt, Grabow – all of whom would have helped, especially with Wang now out for the year. LOSER.

Red Sox – Add Kotchman and Martinez = win-win. The versatility added with those two players is tremendous, to say nothing of the actual talent added. Anyone who watched Justin Masterson last October, however, knows the loss this team took. EVEN.

Rays – Without a huge payroll, they couldn’t do much, so they’ll have to rely on the training staff and doctors to get their players back on the field. Tampa’s one of the top 4 teams in the AL, but they’ve discovered what Toronto and Baltimore already knew: Two of the other three are in their division: EVEN.

Blue Jays – Sometimes I get one right. Riccardi may have dealt Rolen, but Halladay stayed put. He’ll likely be dealt in the offseason when his value is higher, but for now holding onto the face of the franchise can only be considered a good move. WINNER.

Orioles – Like their Beltway brethren, the O’s had a player in Aubrey Huff that should have been dealt and wasn’t. That said, his leadership has been said to have had a major impact on Markakis and Adam Jones, so keeping him isn’t all bad. EVEN.

Tigers – All three contending teams in the Central made moves, beginning with Mo-town’s crew adding Jarrod Washburn. The Tigers won the AL in ’06 with pitching, and they have enough offense with Miggy, Granderson, and Inge to help the staff this year too. WINNER.

White Sox – They came from behind to catch the Twins last year after adding Griffey, a move that barely made them better. Imagine what 10 starts from a top 10 pitcher like Jake Peavy will do – even if Sox fans would have preferred 35. WINNER.

Twins – Not a whole lot this team can ever do at the deadline considering the financial constraints, but picking up Orlando Cabrera is still a great pickup. They still have a shot to catch the other two, but it certainly got a lot harder than they wanted. WINNER.

Indians – Cliff Lee was as good as gone after being sent down in ’07 and then left off the playoff roster, so trading him was a win. The minor deals (Garko, Betancourt) were good, too. I just don’t understand trading Victor Martinez. Talk about killing a fanbase. EVEN.

Royals – Like the Pirates, this team is a perennial seller, but this year they kept the team in tact. With very few pricey veterans or arbitration eligible youngsters, the Royals were able to keep everyone and hope they continue to improve in ’10. WINNER.

Angels – Holding off Texas will be difficult, especially since the Angels elected to stand pat at the deadline. Injuries have been the biggest problem for this team, but when healthy they’re the most talented team in the division. Will it be enough? EVEN.

Rangers – Probably another team that could have used a deal to improve the team, especially on the pitching staff. The difference is that without the trade, they likely don’t have enough to catch LA or Boston, meaning the lack of a deal will mean the lack of a postseason. LOSER.

Mariners – Like the Reds, it’s tough to figure out where this team was going. They made a buyer-deal, acquiring Jack Wilson and Ian Snell, then made a seller-deal shipping Washburn to Detroit. The whole thing simply doesn’t make sense. LOSER.

Athletics – They took a flier on Orlando Cabrera, which eventually brought them a prospect from Minnesota. If only they could have turned some more deals like that. Still, the big one is Holliday, and while they won’t win now, they restocked the farm for later. WINNER.

Trivia Question
Another World Series mind-bender this week. Only one player has played in three consecutive World Series with three different teams. Who was it (and for bonus, the teams and years)?

Last week’s answer: Lou Pinella took over after Pete Rose was banned, leading the Reds to the 1990 World Series – their last trip to the Fall Classic.

2009 Playoff “Dead List”
May 25 – Washington Nationals
June 1 – Colorado Rockies
June 8 – Baltimore Orioles
June 15 – Arizona Diamondbacks
June 22 – Kansas City Royals
June 29 – Cleveland Indians
July 6 – Oakland Athletics
July 15 – San Diego Padres
July 27 – Pittsburgh Pirates
August 3 – Cincinnati Reds

The aforementioned head-scratching trades aside, this team has fallen apart because of a lack of pitching. Even in a weak Central division, they’re too far back and have too many teams to jump to make it back to the postseason. They still need another starter and probably another big lefthanded bat to protect Rolen and Phillips in the offseason, but the organization has to at least be happy with the progress of some of their younger players, namely Joey Votto.

This week, watch for…
Showdown Weekend
1) AL East – Red Sox @ Yankees
2) AL Central – Twins @ Tigers
3) AL West – Rangers @ Angels
4) NL East – Marlins @ Phillies
5) NL Wild Card – Cubs @ Rockies

Look for my column, “The Tenth Inning,” every Monday for the UltimateCapper

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