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Trade Deadline day

by Matt Smith

The deadline day has arrived.  It’s not quite the final chance for teams to add an extra piece or two, with waiver-wire deals still on the cards until midnight on 31 August (05.00 on 1 September in the UK), but that doesn’t reduce the excitement as we head towards 21.00 BST.  Some deals have already been made and often the actual deadline day turns into a bit of an anti-climax with relatively few impact trades taking place.  This year looks like being an exception to that rule and there are ‘Manny’ rumours that, if they lead to anything, could have a significant on bearing on who makes the play-offs and how far teams go when they get there.

(Sorry for the first bad pun of the day.  I’m sure it won’t be the last) 

In terms of deals that have been completed over the last couple of days, the major one was obviously the Angels’ decision to pick up Mark Teixeira.  This came only a couple of days after I stated that they were “under no pressure to make a move”, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I was heading down the wrong track.  Sometimes the best deals are made by teams who can go into negotiations knowing that they aren’t compelled to get something done.  If the terms aren’t quite right, desperation doesn’t take hold and you can simply walk away from the table.  Just as importantly, the other team (in this case the Braves) also knows that they haven’t got you over a barrel.  Had another team approached Atlanta with a better offer, I’m doubtful that the Angels would have stretched much further.  As it turned out, the Braves clearly liked LA’s offer more than anything else that was out there and consequently the Angels have been able to add a premium bat to their already excellent team, without giving up more than they would like to in return.  Hats off to Arte Moreno and Tony Reagins.  Their team has the best record in baseball, the division is going to be a cakewalk from here on in and yet still they’ve gone out and made themselves better.  That’s the sign of a team that isn’t prepared to settle for making October; they want to win it all.

While some times make great moves when they don’t have to, others lose all sense of reality.  Quite why the Astros are going out and acquiring players is a complete mystery.  They’re 10.5 games out in the Central and have no shot at the wildcard either.  The sensible thing to do would be to start rebuilding, but sense doesn’t come into it with Drayton McLane and Ed Wade.  They are seemingly more concerned about projecting the image that they are trying to win, rather than directing their efforts so that they will win in the future.  I don’t think they are fooling many people, least of all those at Minute Maid Park.

The big deal yesterday saw Pudge Rodriguez join the Yankees, with Kyle Farnsworth heading to Detroit.  The Yanks had to make a move as Jose Molina, while good defensively, is clearly not an everyday player.  Pudge will be hoping to repeat his 2003 heroics, while the Tigers get a good arm for their bullpen (possibly leading to another trade today?  We shall find out).  New York has had to deal with a number of key players hitting the DL this season, while pitchers such as Carl Pavano and Kei Igawa sit on the sidelines earning big money.  That they can simply shrug their shoulders before going out and getting more pieces (and increasing their payroll) is what makes the Yankees the Yankees, for better or for worse.  It’s a bit like when David Dein, former Vice Chairman of Arsenal, memorably stated that “Roman Abramovich has parked his tank in our front garden and it’s firing £50 notes”.  Still, the slight difference is that Chelsea’s spending was (and is) fuelled by the extraordinary fortune of one man, while the Yankees are basically spending money that they generate.  It’s up to everyone else either to generate more income or to find ways to beat the Bronx Bombers despite their financial superiority.

The Red Sox are not short of a bob or two either and they are the team on the verge of potentially making the biggest deal of the day.  We’ve heard rumours of Manny leaving Boston pretty much every year, yet this time it may actually come true.  An intriguing three-way deal with the Pirates and the Marlins is being discussed although it seems like no two media outlets agree on the exact details at this moment.  It promises to be the centrepiece of an exciting day.

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Joe Cooter July 31, 2008 - 5:39 pm

Here’s to hoping that Manny Get’s traded. I know it’s only a fifty fifty chance, but it looks like Red Sox Management has finally had enough of Manny Being Manny. I was surprised the Yankees got Pudge Rodreguiez, I don’t think anyone saw that deal coming.

Matt Smith July 31, 2008 - 6:47 pm

Sounds like there are still plenty of details to be sorted out before the Red Sox-Marlins-Pirates deal can be completed. Only a couple of hours to go, so we haven’t got long to wait.

As for Pudge, I think he was the best option available for the Yankees. They were never going to find a like-for-like replacement for Posada, but Pudge is more than good enough and as he’s a free agent at the end of the season, they haven’t created a logjam for ’09 when Posada will hopefully be back fully fit.

Joe Cooter July 31, 2008 - 9:03 pm

Reading a story in the Daily News this Morning, it appears that Pudge engineered this deal himself. Apparently, he paid a visit to Tigers GM Dave Drombrowski in Drombrowski’s hotel room in Cleveland Yesterday. Here are the details :http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/index.html

Matt Smith July 31, 2008 - 9:10 pm

Thanks for the link. You can understand why Pudge would want a move, particularly as he’s a free agent at the end of the season. A good run for the next two months (or three?) could bag him a deal for another two years somewhere else. It’s also a neat story: seeing one of the top catchers of recent memory donning the pinstripes for a couple of months.


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