Admin on 08 5, 2009
With the recent passing of the MLB’s trade deadline, it’s time to step back and take a look at the teams who did the most to improve their situations, and those who failed to do so. Despite Roy Halladay staying put in Toronto (sorry Roy), there were plenty of big names on the move.
St. Louis Cardinals – The Cardinals were in desperate need of a bat to protect Albert Pujols in their lineup, and they got their man in Matt Holliday. Although they did have to part ways with highly touted prospect Brett Wallace, Holliday is a significant upgrade for a club who finds themselves in the thick of the NL Central race. Holliday wasn’t the only acquisition made by the Cards’ front office, they also managed to grab Julio Lugo and Mark DeRosa from the Red Sox and Indians respectively. Holliday and Lugo are both hitting the ball well so far while wearing their new Cardinals uniforms. The addition of Holliday in particular has to make the Cardinals slight favorites to reach the postseason.
Detroit Tigers – The Tigers got a great starting pitcher to compliment the likes of Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson with the acquisition of Jarrod Washburn. The White Sox and Twins are hot on the Tigers’ heels, and Washburn was a great move to counter the White Sox’s nabbing of Jake Peavy from the Padres. Washburn gives Detroit a more than enviable 1-2-3 punch at the top of their rotation. The only question here is whether or not it was smart to ignore the issues stemming from the bullpen.
Philadelphia Phillies – The Phillies are arguably the most positively effected team by the result of 2009’s trade deadline. With Cole Hamels struggling compared to the way he finished 2008, it was important for Philadelphia to upgrade their pitching. They did just that with the addition of Cliff Lee, and they also managed to do it without parting ways with their most valued prospects. Philadelphia now has an abundance of left handed starters at the front end of their rotation. Combined with Hamels, Lee gives the Phillies a very frightening 1-2 punch come playoff time.
Boston Red Sox – The Red Sox have plenty of pitching, so their failure to acquire Roy Halladay is not a huge deal at this point. Boston instead chose to focus on upgrading their offense, a much needed hole given Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek’s increasing ages and declining health. They managed to fill both of those holes with the acquisition of just one man; Victor Martinez. Martinez has the ability to play 1B, C, or DH, providing much needed rest to the likes of Lowell, Varitek, and even David Ortiz. “V-Mart” is a switch-hitter with a lot of power and good plate coverage. The Red Sox also acquired Casey Kotchman, Chris Duncan, and Brian Anderson to go along with Martinez, all while managing to hold onto their top prospects including Clay Buchholz.
Other teams worthy of consideration: Minnesota Twins (Orlando Cabrera), San Francisco Giants (Ryan Garko), Colorado Rockies (Rafael Betancourt), Chicago White Sox (Jake Peavy), Florida Marlins (Nick Johnson)
New York Yankees – The Red Sox got significantly better, while the Yankees managed to add just Jerry Hairston Jr. The Yankees offense didn’t need much help, but they could have stood to improve that bullpen. Rafael Betancourt could have been a great pick up for them. With Boston’s additions, it’s hard to believe that the Yankees stayed idle for the most part. They can’t be considered favorites to win the AL East any longer, if they ever were.
Milwaukee Brewers – There were discussions surrounding Jarrod Washburn, but Milwaukee did almost nothing to improve their pitching, by far the weakest aspect of this team. Claudio Vargas is not going to be enough to help the Brewers contend with the newly improved Cardinals and the recently hot Cubs. Heading into the trade deadline Milwaukee was just a few games out of first place, but all they did was hurt their chances of making the post-season this year by failing to make any significant moves.
New York Mets – With the upgrades to both the Marlins and Phillies, the Mets didn’t do anything to better their current situation. This team doesn’t have what it takes to make noise come playoff time. I think it’s safe for the Mets players to start booking their tee times for October.
Toronto Blue Jays – While the Jays stand little to know chance of participating in the post-season again this year (as I predicted earlier this season), their failure to move Roy Halladay is a definite negative for this franchise. Although they will still likely garner some top prospects for the perennial Cy Young candidate this off-season, his trade value decreased significantly as a result of him staying put. Halladay is only under contract through 2010, so instead of his future team getting him for 1 ½ years before he hits the open market (thus ensuring his services for two playoff runs), whoever lands him will only be getting him for 1 year. This will not help Toronto when it comes time to sit down and negotiate with potential bidders.