a flurry of deals took place in the eleventh hour of the non-waiver trade
deadline, the National League bid farewell to a good chunk of hitting
power. The likes of Bobby
Abreu, Carlos Lee, Sean Casey, and Craig Wilson all
ditched their digs in the NL for greener pastures in the land of the designated
hitter. As if the NL didn't seem
weak already, it appears to have gotten even weaker. Yes, the rich get richer in the American
League. But even as George Steinbrenner flaunts his big wad of cash and
flirts with a quarter billion dollar payroll, those who root for the underdog
will jump aboard the Florida Marlins bandwagon. The big fish from
the fellas get their names stitched on their
Mets are running away with the National League East title courtesy of the
league's best record. Some argue that their starting pitching is a bit suspect
with so many soft-tossers in the lot, but their bullpen was the big hole that
needed to be filled as the trade deadline approached. Duaner Sanchez was
one of the bright spots out of the bullpen this season with a 5-1 record, 2.60
ERA, and 44 strikeouts in 55.1 innings of work. But that great season came to an
end with a taxicab accident in
The Phillies are waving the white towel. They ditched their salary and are looking to next year. Well, maybe not everyone. Chase Utley continues to chase history and has definitely caught the attention of the nation. He extended his hitting streak to 33-games Tuesday night against the Cardinals, who coincidentally was the team that ended Jimmy Rollins' 38-game hitting streak in the third game of the season this year. But the Phils sent Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle to the Yankees for four minor leaguers. Steinbrenner got a power-hitting outfielder and a pitcher that's hitting his stride. Lidle's stock is definitely up after winning four straight starts and lasting 8.0 innings in each of his last two outings. Interestingly enough, on Lidle's way out the door from Philly, he decided to run his mouth and talk down about his former teammates. Too bad for the Yankees that there's no fine print in the contract for undisclosed clubhouse cancer tendencies.
like that story this past week off the coast of
Just as the Braves were getting back into the playoff hunt, the Florida Marlins took two of three against them and then the New York Mets slapped them to reality with a three-game sweeping this weekend. Chipper Jones' absence has definitely been felt. The club's third baseman has been struggling with a strained oblique muscle and has landed on the 15-day disabled list. It appears as though the strained oblique muscle might just be the new popular injury this year. Perhaps Major League Baseball will add even another column on the scoreboard next to the recently added LOB (left on base). The new column could read PSO (Players with Strained Obliques). But to get back on-track, the Braves did deal their most-popular piece of trade bait, Wilson Betemit, to Los Angeles for relief pitcher Danys Baez and infielder Willy Aybar. Aybar might not have Chipper's bat, but he should fill in nicely at third base and Baez offers Bobby Cox another decent option out of the bullpen.
The Nationals were on-fire last week, having won six in a row trying to get back into the playoff hunt, but they were swept by the Dodgers over the weekend in a three-game set. As the trade deadline passed, it definitely was noticed that Alfonso Soriano is still a National. And he's still hitting the snot out of the ball. He's now among league leaders with 32 home runs and had another three-hit game against the Giants on Monday. It would have been a four-hit game if Barry Bonds hadn't robbed Soriano with a nifty little web gem, but the beat goes on nonetheless.
Cardinals two-faced season continues. The club traveled to
analysts, if you want to call them that, are saying the Reds came out roses
following the flurry of deals at the trade deadline. They added Eddie Guardado a couple weeks ago, and the animated closer has found new life in
Cincy. Guardado has given up just one run in 8.2 innings of work and has tallied
six saves. But the Reds bolstered their bullpen even more at the deadline. They
traded recent Triple-A call-up Justin Germano to
wouldn't accept the monster contract extension the Brewers offered him, so the
club capitalized on his value and dealt the money-hungry outfielder to
rumors, rumors. The Astros were rumored to be on the fringe of a deal with
Boston that would have sent Roger Clemens to his old stomping ground,
where he just couldn't earn that World Series ring. They were also rumored to be
looking at a deal that involved trading Roy Oswalt to
percent. That's the percentage of wins the Cubs have tallied this season at the
hands of the Cardinals. They've got their division rivals' number this season.
After their four-game sweep this weekend at the Friendly Confines, they have a
10-3 record against the Cards. That means that even if the Redbirds sweep the
final six games against the Cubs, the lowly baby bears virtually out of
post-season contention will still have taken the season series. The club
definitely hasn't given up hope. They took two of three from the Mets before the
Cardinals series, but they did let go of two fan favorites at the trade deadline
as the club builds for the future. Greg Maddux was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Gold Glove winning shortstop Cesar Izturis, who will take over at shortstop as the Cubs will move budding star
Ronny Cedeno to second base. The move works well as the Cubs dealt
class-act second baseman Todd Walker to the NL West leading San Diego Padres for very promising minor league pitcher, 19-year-old Jose Ceda.
Both Maddux and Walker left
again the Pirates were sellers. They traded slugger Craig Wilson to the
Yankees in exchange for starting pitcher Shawn Chacon. Apparently the
Yankees are trying to staff their club with as many power-hitting outfielders as
they can get their hands on. Hey, if worst comes to worst, they'll just have to
send one or two down to Triple-A until the rosters are expanded in September,
right? The Bucs also dealt Sean Casey to the Detroit Tigers in exchange
for right-handed pitcher Brian Rogers. What a deal for Casey – he went
from a club sitting 26 games under .500 to a club leading all of baseball 36
games above .500. The Pirates did add Nady in the aforementioned Hernandez and
Perez deal, but they didn't stop there.
Looking for some more power in their lineup, the Padres added Todd Walker from the Cubs and will ask the often-scruffy infielder to move over and play third base as they cling to their tiny lead in the West. The club did place starting pitcher Chan Ho Park on the disabled list due to abdominal pain, and they replaced him with Triple-A call-up Mike Thompson, who has started 11 games this season and has a 3-3 record and decent 4.34 ERA.
D'Backs sat silent during the trade bonanza. After all, they've been making
their own noise as they climb the division with their eyes set on passing
that it was the biggest trade news around the league, but the
Dodgers added veteran pitcher and destined Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux from
the Cubs dealing their best bargaining chip in Cesar Izturis. One could say that
Maddux was re-united with former Cub Nomar Garciaparra in the deal, but
the Dodgers first baseman is out of commission, back on the 15-day disabled list
with a sprained knee. He and his .327 batting average are expected to be out the
minimum time. Until then, the Dodgers will just have to rely on Rafael Furcal, who finally had a breakout day Tuesday with a 3-for-6 night at the
plate and four RBI. Recent addition Wilson Betemit didn't waste any time getting
cozy in his
The Giants made a nominal trade with Washington for relief pitcher Mike Stanton, and are falling off the NL West pace having closed out July on an eight-game losing streak and extending it to nine in August. Since his phenomenal 16-strikeout, complete-game win on June 6, Jason Schmidt has a 1-5 record. His team is just 2-7 in his nine starts since that game, and Schmidt hasn't struck out more than six batters in those games. That's the mysterious, humbling game of baseball for you. Just ask current closer Armando Benitez. After a streak of seven consecutive save conversions, he's gone cold blowing three straight, all of which ended in losses for the Giants.
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