Patch-Up Time: Trade Deadline Grades

These are just some ramblings on how I felt the teams that made major moves did. I take into account (or try to) the ability of each team to take on large contracts and their position in the standings. Sometimes I even manage to point out what they didn’t do. I have disregarded some moves because they really didn’t make any ripples. Grading is relatively arbitrary, there is no real method, but I attempted to make a decision as best as possible. Damn the Braves.

Boston: They failed to add a rebounding Jermaine Dye (too costly on prospects) and unload Wily Mo Pena (too many reasons for teams not to take him). They did move an useless Joel Pineiro and $$$ for a PTBNL before upgrading the best bullpen in the majors with former phenom closer, Eric Gagne. To me the Gagne move, while in no ways detrimental, wasn’t a priority for the BoSox (beefing up the OF and bench is quite possibly their only need) and could have just been a way to keep a star player from the Yankees. They lost one prized prospect in Kason Gabbard and a couple minor OFs in David Murphy and Engel Beltre. Grade? B+

Yankees: They failed to do pretty much anything decent for their team. Losing bullpen arm Scott Proctor for super-utility guy Wilson Betemit is pretty much a fair value trade, but also not in any way helpful to the Yank’s woes (which, to be truthful, seem to be clearing up in their push for the Wild Card). They also added the weak-hitting Jose Molina to back-up Jorge Posada. They needed bullpen help, a fifth starter (most likely Phil Hughes on his return), and a 1st Baseman (one of the many positions Betemit can play). Needs addressed? None-ish. Grade? C+

Tampa Bay: Many minor moves for this team. Ty Wiggington, Seth McClung, and Jorge Cantu all left the building (along with Shaun Cumberland and some cash). In came relief pitching galore by the names of Calvin Medlock, Brian Shackleford, Grant Balfour, and Dan Wheeler. The Rays’ most glaring need is at…the bullpen! Good Job, guys! They also have a surprising lack of quality starters, but I supposes they can address that at the next trading deadline. Grade? A-

Cleveland: Picked up Texas’ Kenny Lofton for a minor league catcher Max Ramirez. They needed someone to make Josh Barfield sweat at 2B, bullpen help, and a serviceable starter or two. All they did was clog up their OF some more albeit with a valuable 1 or 2 hitting guy. Grade? C+

Minnesota: Moved Luis Castillo for minor leaguers Drew Butera and Dustin Martin. Small market team moved large-ish contract for youth and allowed prospect Alexi Casilla to come up for some playing time. Needed help at many field positions (OF, 3B, SS) and at least one better than average starter to back up Johan Santana (pining for some Francisco Liriano?). Grade? B-

ChiSox: Chucked Tadahito Iguchi and Rob Mackowiak for a couple minor arms in Michael Dubee and Jon Link. Had needs all over the place in pitching (except Buerhle, Vazquez, and Jenks) and most of the field. It’s kind of depressing that a large chunk of this team won a World Series. Possibly looking to rebuild they couldn’t move Jermaine Dye or Jose Contreras. Iguchi was a decent 2B, but prospect, Danny Richar, will get a nice chunk of playing time there. Mackowiak is a valuable utility guy and was performing better than many regulars. Grade? B-

Kansas City: Goodbye, Octavio Dotel, hello, Kyle Davies, Roman Colon. One day after Colon was acquired he was moved from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL. With Joakim Soria’s performance early in the season Dotel was easy to let go of and Davies is a young, promising starter. The Royals seem to be building from starting pitching up with pre-season additions Gil Meche and Brian Bannister (damnit, Mets) performing nicely. With Atlanta’s trade history though, I can’t help thinking that the Royals got fleeced. Had needs all over the place in the field, however their pitching is coming along nicely for a small market team. Grade? C+

Oakland: Got rid of Jason Kendall, some cash, and his ridiculous contract in exchange for C Rob Bowen and reliever Jerry Blevins. Moved everybody’s favorite gamer, Milton Bradley, and some more cash to the Padres for reliever Andrew Brown. Added reliever Jermaine Van Buren from the Nats for…queries? The A’s once more shed big names for guys you have most likely never heard of; a ploy that has worked in the past. However, pitching isn’t Oak’s biggest concern right now, then again winning the division isn’t either. Grade? C+

Texas: Hooha! Now this is overhauling! Big-names Mark Teixeira and Eric Gagne, along with reliever Ron Mahay and some moolah trade places with Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Elvis Andrus, Matt Harrison, Beau Jones, Neftali Feliz, Kason Gabbard, David Murphy, and Engle Beltre. The prizes are Atlanta’s Saltalamacchia to take over at catcher and Boston’s Gabbard, another young starter that Arlington can devour. Texas’ two biggest holes were at C and with starting pitching, they were doing surprisingly well on the bullpen front (of course they just traded two of their best relievers). With Brad Wilkerson possibly taking over at 1B the OF is going to be a free for all, it could get messy (Nine players have already logged time there, so it already is messy) it could get messier. Grade? A-

Mets: Added Luis Castillo for two minor leaguers, kicked out old boy Julio Franco, and picked up utility man Marlon Anderson. I would have been fine if the Mets had left Ruben Gotay at 2B with Damion Easley and Anderson filling in every so often, in my opinion the most pressing need was another arm or two in the bullpen, because I shudder every time Aaron Sele, Guillermo Mota, or Scott Schoeneweis are mentioned (Tuesday’s game: Mota’s first pitch is a tie-run scoring double, Sele gives up five hits in two innings, including the game winning HR, BALLS!). Castillo is still a great upgrade at 2B with his defense and experience at the 2-spot coming in handily, although he might end up being a rental. Grade? B

Phillies: In come Tadahito Iguchi, starter Kyle Lohse, and reliever Julio Mateo for a grand total of three minor leaguers. Iguchi will ably fill in at 2B for Utley (his numbers seem to be enjoying the new lineup) and Lohse will attempt to give some stability to an unsure rotation, although he isn’t close to an ideal solution. Mateo will provide comfort to Brett Myers, a fellow spousal abuser, they will shun Chuck Finley at all times. The Phillies had needs at 2B and all over the pitching front, don’t touch that offense…until two OFs go on the DL after the trading deadline, oops. Still, the cost was low for all the players, good haul. Grade? B

Atlanta: What a bunch of overachievers. Brought in Mark Teixeira, Ron Mahay, and Octavio Dotel. Also added Royce Ring for Wil Ledezma and minor league reliever Will Startup. Addressed a big need at 1B and gave the bullpen a wee overhaul, all while giving up excess prospects. The big three teams of the NL East all improved, but none more so than the fucking Braves. Grade? A+ I hated doing that

Milwaukee: Added Seth McClung and Scott Linebrink for Grant Balfour and minor league pitchers Will Inman, Joe Thatcher, and Steve Garrison. The Brewers need to get J.J. Hardy and Rickie Weeks back into shape as they have been slumping the team into a race with the Cubs. The pitching didn’t require much, but Linebrink is a nice addition. Inman was the 3rd ranked prospect in the Brewers org behind Yovani Gallardo and Ryan Braun. Grade? C+

ChiCubs: Got rid of Cesar Izturis for a PTBNL and brought in Jason Kendall for Rob Bowman and Jerry Blevins. Kendall solves their hole at C, and by solves I mean gives them a high contract player who is underachieving by the assload. Izturis was scrap material, but I’m surprised they didn’t try to coax a Pirate reliever away for him. The Cubs are pretty well rounded, although it took them most of the season to become the good team that they currently are, but all they needed was a C and maybe another good arm out of the pen. Grade? B-

St. Louis: Joel Pineiro for a PTBNL. San Fran elected to trade Matt Morris to Pitt instead. Pineiro will be joining the recently called up Anthony Reyes in the rotation, pushing last month addition Mike Maroth and Brad Thompson to relief. So Pineiro is going to be a starter-turned-reliever-turned-starter and Thompson will be a reliever-turned-starter-turned-reliever. The Cards have needs at everywhere that isn’t Albert Pujols…the OF isn’t bad either. Addressing the SP situation is a nice start, but that just needs a complete overhaul, Pineiro isn’t going to get them to the top of the division. Grade? C-

Houston: Brought in Ty Wiggington for Dan Wheeler, moved Morgan Ensberg and cash for a PTBNL or cash. Ensberg was useless, especially with Wiggi arriving. Wiggi, another super utility guy, allows them to completely shuffle their infield every day. Wheeler wasn’t needed since Brad Lidge is apparently fixed (for now). The Astros had needs at pitching and could do with another big bat in the lineup. Wiggi is kind of a hitting upgrade, but the starting pitching is lacking (even Oswalt isn’t pitching like he used to) and the relief is spotty behind Lidge and Chad Qualls. Somehow the Astros are managing to be worse than the Cardinals. Grade? C+

Cincinnati: Acquired Jorge Cantu, minor OF Shaun Cumberland, and minor P Matt Maloney for Kyle Lohse and minor pitchers Calvin Medlock and Brian Shackleford. The Reds already have better players at the positions that Cantu can fill in at and other than him none of the other additions seem likely to get playing time in the majors this year. They had needs everywhere in pitching and all they did was lose pitching. Grade? C

Pittsburgh: Brought in Matt Morris and Cesar Izturis for Rajai Davis and two PTBNLs. Gave up relatively little for a (usually) better than average starter and a utility player who is awful at the plate. The Pirates needed to deepen their field players, add some bullpen arms, but in all reality they should have just moved Salomon Torres and Damaso Marte for a nice cadre of prospects. Grade? C+

Dodgers: In Scott Proctor, out Wilson Betemit. Betemit was without a job as the Dodgers are set at each field position and have capable back-ups, they were weak in the pen and strengthened it…very slightly. They also added Roberto Hernandez earlier in the month. Grade? B

San Diego: In comes Rob Mackowiak, Morgan Ensberg, Wilfredo Ledezma, Will Startup, and a three Brewer pitching prospects (most notably, Inman), out goes Scott Linebrink, Royce Ring, Jon Link, and a PTBNL or cash. They also added Milton Bradley and cash for a reliever at the end of June. The Padres never seem to have pitching problems, which is why Linebrink was so easy to move during a pennant race, although the returns are pretty compelling too. Apparently Ensberg will push Kevin Kouzmanoff for playing time and Mackowiak will back up…everyone. The Padres had needs at bench depth, 3B, and some sprucing up in the OF. Check, sort of check (Ensberg?), and check. Grade? B+

Done! If you disagree, then go ahead, tell me I’m an idiot (and why).

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