Friday, July 31, 2009

Thoughts on MLB Trade Deadline Deals

Well, Roy Halladay is still pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays but there were some deals made today.

While the Jays didn't deal Halladay they did trade third baseman Scott Rolen to the Cincinnati Reds for third baseman Edwin Encarnacion, pitcher Josh Roenicke and minor league pitcher Zach Stewart. I've mixed feelings about this deal. The Jays traded one injury prone third baseman for another injury prone third baseman. Granted, Encarnacion is eight years younger than Rolen but he's also hitting more than .100 points below Rolen.

The saving grace of this deal is Roenicke who struck out 14 batters in 13 and one thirds innings pitched with the Reds this season. Roenicke could be the Jays future closer. As for Stewart, he pitched very well in Triple A with Louisville. He needs to work on his control but I wouldn't be surprised if the Jays give him a long look in September. I think Toronto comes out ahead in this deal.

The Boston Red Sox were busy as well making two trades. After acquiring Adam LaRoche from the Pittsburgh Pirates last week today they traded him to the Atlanta Braves for first baseman Casey Kotchman. The Bosox also acquired catcher-first baseman Victor Martinez in exchange for pitcher Justin Masterson and two minor league pitchers (Nick Hagadone and Bryan Price.)

LaRoche returns to the Braves where he played from 2004 through 2006. Kotchman returns to the AL after being traded a year ago from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in exchange for Mark Teixeira. Kotchman doesn't have as much power as LaRoche but is a better defensive first baseman. On the other hand, Kotchman won't play everyday. Kevin Youkilis will still play a lot at first as will Victor Martinez.

The presence of Martinez will largely affect Sox team captain Jason Varitek. Look for Martinez to assume the lion's share of catching duties. Will he develop the same rapport with the pitchers as Varitek? It's doubtful but that is a wisdom that Varitek can impart to Martinez. Most importantly he is a much bigger threat at the plate than Varitek and will help the likes of Jason Bay, Kevin Youkilis and, of course, Big Papi.

It will be interesting to see what the Indians do with Masterson. I assume he'll become Kerry Wood's set up man but I wouldn't be surprised if he takes Wood's job before the end of the season. Then again Masterson might be a candidate for the starting rotation.

Several interesting trades made by AL Central clubs. The Detroit Tigers acquired lefty pitcher Jarrod Washburn from the Seattle Mariners for pitchers Luke French and Mauricio Robles. In light of Seattle acquiring Jack Wilson and Ian Snell from the Pirates I thought the M's might hang onto Washburn. After struggling in his first three seasons in Seattle, Washburn has been respectable in 2009 and just respectable enough to fill out a starting rotation with Justin Verlander, Edwin Jackson and 20-year-old Rick Porcello.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Twins obtained the well-traveled shorstop Orlando Cabrera from the Oakland Athletics. Given the big error made by Brendan Harris in extra innings against the Angels tonight, Cabrera cannot arrive soon enough. The Twins need veteran leadership in the pennant run and if they make it into the post-season and Cabrera can provide it.

However, I do not get Chicago White Sox GM Kenny Williams giving four pitchers to the San Diego Padres for Jake Peavy. At present, Peavy is rehabing from an ankle injury. Cy Young winner or not, Peavy might not be the same pitcher he was in 2007.

I saw Clayton Richard pitch for Chicago on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball last weekend and defeated the Detroit Tigers in convincing fashion. It was the only game the Chisox won against Detroit last weekend. Not only do I think the Chisox will rue giving up Richard but the same can be said of the three minor league pitchers surrendered in this deal - Aaron Poreda, Adam Russell and Dexter Carter. Williams gave up the store for a guy who might not be healthy enough to pitch.

The Washington Nationals meanwhile traded the injury prone Nick Johnson to the Florida Marlins as well as dealing left-handed reliever Joe Beimel to the Colorado Rockies.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"The presence of Martinez will largely affect Sox team captain Jason Varitek. Look for Martinez to assume the lion's share of catching duties."

Not likely:

“He has the ability to catch, but not to do so every day, [that] just wears his legs down. [We want him to] spend enough time at first base and DH, stay fresh, and that works for our club because Jason Varitek is, has been, and will continue to be a very important part of our club and [working with] the pitching staff," Epstein said.