As the 2008 MLB trade deadline approaches July 31st, I thought I would shed some light on the major deals already done up to this point:
1. CC Sabathia in exchange for Matt LaPorta and 3 other prospects - Indians/Brewers
Even though I am biased, this deal is clearly the cream of the crop and should propel the Brewers into the Wild Card spot in the National League. It provides the Crew with one of the best 1-2-3 starter combinations in all of baseball in Sabathia, Sheets, and Parra.
2. Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin in exchange for Sean Gallagher, Matt Murton, and 2 prospects - Athletics/Cubs
Harden is not as dominant as Sabathia and is injury prone, but the Cubs have this guy locked up for another 1-2 years, where as Sabathia is likely a rental. They also gave up far less talent than the Brewers (Gallagher is the best of this group) and got another reliever in exchange.
3. Joe Blanton in exchange for 3 prospects - Athletics/Phillies
Blanton, much like CC, is pitching much better than his record would suggest. Anything is better than Brett Myers. The Phillies and Mets should go down to the wire for the NL East banner with this trade.
4. Richie Sexson signs free agent deal with Yankees after being cut by Mariners
Big Sexy is only hitting .216 this year, has more holes in his swing than a piece of Swiss cheese, and is even worse with RISP, but he will undoubtedly be limited to a platoon with Giambi off the bench. He may shine in a limited role with a change of scenery, not to mention a contending team.
5. Ray Durham in exchange for 2 prospects - Giants/Brewers
This is a win-win for the Brewers - either Ray's mere presence motivates guys like Weeks and Hall to consistently play better, or Durham will get 2-3 starts a week and provide a much needed bat from the left side with a high OBP.
6. Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte in exchange for Ross Ohlendorf and 3 other prospects - Pirates/Yankees
I like this trade a lot. Nady was going nowhere in Pittsburgh, and Marte is a stud, and probably was the best lefty reliever available besides Brian Fuentes. If Hideki comes back healthy enough to play outfield again, the Yankees can turn around and swap Nady in the offseason or next year's trade deadline for 2 or 3 prospects to replace the ones they lost.
7. Casey Blake and cash in exchange for 2 prospects - Indians/Dodgers
These "player and cash" trades are always suspect to me. What exactly does "and cash" mean? Are the two GMs like, "Hey I like the trade on paper...pick up this lunch tab and you've got a deal?" Blake is an above-average player going to an average team in a below-average division, and should help the Dodgers move past the Diamondbacks, unless they make a deal of their own. This seems unlikely, since the D-Backs have a lot of their young guys locked up for a few years and are unwilling to deal them.
8. Jon Rauch in exchange for a prospect - Nationals/Diamondbacks
The D-Backs never really replaced their departed closer Jose Valverde, and Rauch should provide stability in the back end of their bullpen for the home stretch.
9. Randy Wolf in exchange for a prospect - Padres/Astros
Roy Oswalt is on the DL, the Padres have pretty much cashed in their season already, and there's not too many more arms out there. You gotta love the optimism of Houston to be buyers at the trade deadline, and to think that they'll make yet another 2nd-half push.
The five big names players still out there who have been mentioned in trade talks are Matt Holliday, Brian Fuentes, Mark Teixeira, George Sherrill and AJ Burnett. It seems unlikely to me that the Rockies would trade either, since everyone's a contender in the NL West. There aren't any contending teams looking for a 1st basemen except Arizona, and as I said, they probably won't deal a young player for him, and their farm system not developed enough to trade any prospects. Sherrill and Burnett are probably your best bets to get traded. As for the Manny trade talks, after watching Baseball Tonight yesterday, I don't really see this happening until the offseason. Look for Jarod Washburn to go to the Yankees in the upcoming days, and for all three teams in the AL West to have a firesale, since the closest team to the Angels is 10.5 games back.
STANDINGS AND UPCOMING SERIES AS OF 07.28:
Brewers 60-45, -1.0 (4 v. Cubs, 3 @ Braves)
Reds 50-56, -11.5 (3 @ Astros, 3 @ Nationals)
Twins 57-47, -2.5 (4 v. White Sox, 3 v. Indians)
RACE FOR 2008 "MOST GAMES ATTENDED" TITLE:
Erik - 21
Peter - 37