Tagged: mariners

The Kid Bids Adieu

Well, the majors has lost one of the few truly good guys of the game.

Ken Griffey, Jr has said goodbye.

From the days of being known as The Kid to days where he was accused of falling asleep like an old man, Griffey has always been a fan favorite.

As a midwest and east guy for my entire life, my experience with teh REAL Griffey has been rather limited.  I say REAL as in, the Griffey who terrified pitchers and gave fans in the outfield seats souvenirs left and right.

His time in Cincinnati was marred by injuries, and many–including myself–questioned why the guy would leave a great situation in Seattle for the inconsistent Reds. 

I’ll always remember his fun side.  He seemed to always have a smile on his face, which made his “acting” in the movie LITTLE BIG LEAGUE such a riot because he tried to come off as if he were some serious, arrogant superstar.  It was totally against type, which is probably why he agreed to play the part.

Last season he seemed able to offer the Mariners something at the plate.  This year, not so much.  The rumors about Griffey might be true, but they do not erase at all the incredible career he has had.

He was never a guy caught up in the steroids scandals that have rocked baseball of late, and that is something right there that makes him a guy anybody could root for.

Cooperstown will be calling soon as he is sure to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

You can take a nap now, Kid.

It’s ok.

You’ve earned it.

West Coast Swingin’

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Sounds dirty, but it isn’t.

But it could get unpleasant, if the Rays’ typical west coast woes of the past are any indication.

The Rays head West in a pretty healthy situation.  With so many clubs around the league getting pounded by the Disabled List, the Rays are downright lucky to head to Seattle with only Kelly Shoppach and JP Howell ailing.

Here’s a quick preview of what the Rays are looking at when they take on the Mariners in this week’s 3-game set.

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Numbers, Numbers, Numbers…

 

Here’s some numbers for ya.

12-21

2-4

Neither of these sets of numbers indicate any level of success for the Rays against West Coast teams. 

In 2009, the Rays went 12-21 against all of the teams from the AL West division.  Yuck.  That is some pretty horrible production for a team that finished just out of the wildcard spot.  In fact, one could argue that it was the Texas Rangers’ dominance of the Rays late in the season that knocked them out of a playoff spot.

Against tonight’s opponent, the Mariners, the Rays went a pedestrian 2-4 in Seattle. 

That certainly does not bode well for this evening’s contest.

.356

2-2 2.37

These numbers look much better. 

Super-3B Evan Longoria has torched the M’s over his short career at a .356 clip.  He has only 1 dinger against them, but that average is pretty awesome.

Tonight’s Rays starter, James Shields, does not have the wins to show for his dominance of the Mariners, but his 2.37 ERA shows that he consistently keeps his team in the running for a W against those Mariners.

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Pitchers

Our Boys in Blue might be able to miss King Felix in this series, but they will have to face a strong set of pitchers from the Mariners.

Justin Vargas is a strong pitcher with a 3.60 ERA so far. 

Then there is Cliff Lee.  Sheesh.  Let’s hope that he is fatigued after his first dominant start of the season last week.

The Rays finish up with the pesky Ryan Rowland-Smith, a guy who seems to pitch very well against our guys.

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What Will Be Successful?

How can we measure success on this 9-game road trip? 

I don’t know.

On the Rays’ last 10-game road trip, the team went 9-1 and swept those hated Red Sox in Boston. 

I don’t think that an 8-1 clip is realistic, so I think that the Rays could consider this trip a success if they come back to St. Pete with anywhere from a 5-4 mark on up.

If they DO go 5-4, they will have an overall record of 22-11.

I’d take that, for sure.

Wouldn’t you?

West Coast Swing…And A Miss

Linux-Babies-Angry.jpg angry baby image by rusydi27

Arrrghrrrawwwwwmmmmmrannnnghagugh!!!!!!!

Painful.  Just painful.

The Rays left the friendly confines of Tropicana Field last Thursday ready to find a way to climb back into the fight.  To take the wild card spot away from those blasted Red Sox.  To start their run to the postseason.

In the news that day everything from The Sporting News to The Tampa Tribune was calling the Rays a surging team that was about to make that run we have been waiting for.

Apparently the beautiful weather of the West somehow cooled the Rays white hot squad.

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Terrible West Coast

It was as ugly playing baseball in the West as the smog-plagued LA skyline: hard to tell what was going on, impossible to put fingers on landmark issues, and overall chokingly bad.

Almost as bad at that forced metaphor.

After losing today’s game to the Angels, the Rays will travel back to St. Pete for a 3-game weekend series with the Toronto Blue Jays.  Their return is both welcome and full of disappointment.

The Rays left the Bay Area a mere 1 1/2 games out of the wild card spot.  A spot that the Red Sox were doing everything to give away.  The Rays and Texas Rangers were only too happy to oblige taking it.

The Rangers continued to snap at the spot, while the Rays had other plans.

After enduring a 1-5 West Coast swing–YES I SAID 1-5 RECORD IN THEIR LAST 6 GAMES!!!–the Rays now find themselves 4 games out of the final playoff spot and searching for answers. 

Why can’t we hit?

Why can’t we pitch?

Why can’t we field?

Where’s our clutch hitting and our timely pitching?

There don’t seem to be any answers out there right now.  Only results.

Friday:             L  7-6

Saturday:         W 10-4

Sunday:             L  11-2

Monday:          L  8-7

Tuesday:         L  6-0

Wednesday:    L 10-4

It’s like reading an autopsy report replete with all the gory pictures.

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Today’s Problem Inning: The 7th

If you have read any of my past posts, you know that it seems the Rays get hit in the forehead with one 2-by-4 of an inning almost every game.  Sometimes they are able to weather the storm and hang on to a win, sometimes they fall down, knocked cold.

Today they fell.

Hard.

Jeff Nieman had already endured the disappointment of losing the lead of a game he could have won when Grant Balfour gave up a 3-run dinger to Gary Matthews, Jr. in the 6th. 

That gave the Angels a 5-4 lead.

In the top of the 7th, Jason Bartlett led off with a double.  He would end that part of the inning standing on second.

The bottom of the 7th was entertaining–in a comical kind of way.

Reliable Randy Choate entered the game and promptly gave up two consecutive singles.  After a groundout moved both runners to 2nd and 3rd, he intentionally walked Vlad Guerrero.

Then, as I have said so often about the 7th inning before, and also said to my friend at Julia’s Rants this morning, it all fell apart.

A groundout into the hole at SS led to Jason Bartlett making a little league throw (actually, that insults little leaguers) to Evan Longoria at 3B that ended up being more towards the Angels dugout than anything.

Two runs scored there. 

Angels up 7-4.

Choate departed in favor of Dan WheelerCheck out what Wheeler has done before in the 7th.

Wheels got a groundout before presenting Howie Kendrick with a gift of a fastball that the latter batter flung out to deep left field.

In a snap, the game was 10-4 Angels. 

Oh, and in a snap, the game was pretty much over.

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Final Thoughts

Lots of teams from the East go through rough trips to the West.  Don’t know why.  I listened to Dewayne Staats and Kevin Kennedy debate why the Rays were so much off their game.

–Taking in the sights

–Too much time at the beach

–Strange time zone

–Sun baked brains (ok, they didn’t say this last one)

Whatever the reason, the Rays absolutely stunk on this trip.  Winning 1 out of 6 games will not get you to the playoffs.   

It’ll get you an early fishing trip in October.

 

(I’m going to watch Jaws tonight, my fave flik)

I know that the Mariners are a surging team and that the Angels are one of the best.

But the Rays were SUPPOSED to be a surging team too.  And, last I checked, the defending AL Champions should be one of the best too.

Maybe neither of those are true.

Maybe their brains really were sunbaked.

Time to get into the shade of the Trop and take out our frustrations on the Blue Jays. 

Forget the West.

Storm Damage in Seattle

What happened?

As I  mentioned in my last post, I’ve been entertaining family the last few days.  We had a lot of fun spending time in Orlando, swimming, and watching my brother graduate from college.

It was kind of cool picking my mom up from the airport not only because I got to see her after a long time apart, but also since I was able to be reminded of something ELSE I love very much.

Ah yes, my Rays can never be far from from my mind.

Good times.

The last post I put up indicated my excitement over the Rays’ “sweep” of those blasted Red Sox and how great it was that they were sitting just 2 1/2 games behind them in the wild card race.

After that everything went dark. 

No, not like the typical gloomy, storm-ridden skies of Seattle (though we had our own scary weather down here in Tampa too).

Dark as in lack of energy, no electricity, nothing working.

I was able to pay attention to my guys as much as possible, but it might have been for the best that I didn’t see the heartbreak of Friday, the lack of permanance in Saturday, and Sunday’s stinkfest.

Right now I feel like I’m surveying the damage after the storm, and it looks pretty grim.

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Where Did the Pitching Go!?

I have touched on this in an earlier post, but I have to ask again: where is our pitching? 

You know, the guys who helped to guide us to the Series last year when the hitting disappeared from time to time? 

Don’t get me wrong, our hitting needs to get the thumb out.

But what made the Tampa Bay Rays a playoff-caliber team last year was the fact that when the hitting fell the pitching was there to catch it.

Right now we’re falling into the abyss.

 

Friday

Rays sink in extras 7-6

I’m glad I missed this one.  Rays hitters must have thought that getting 5 against Felix Hernandez was enough and put it into cruise control.  You can’t blame them.  Wait, yes you can.

Jeff Nieman pitches a great game–until the dreaded 7th.  He falls apart to give up 4 runs in his 6 1/3 innings.  His bullpen did not help at all.  The M’s manage 4 runs on 5 hits in the inning, launching them back into what was shaping up to be a blowout.  Then Ryan Langerhans takes our most trusted ‘pen guy, JP Howell, yard in the 11th to win it. 

He was down to his final strike!!!! 

Ouch.

 

Saturday

Rays win 10-4

Rays hitters manage only 8 hits while scoring 10 runs.  Ugh.

James Shields gets run support, but he needed it; he threw only 5 1/3 innings and gave up 4 total runs on 8 hits, walking 3.  That’s about a 2.00 WHIP, folks.  That is stuff that gets people who aren’t a team’s ace sent to the minors.

 

Sunday

Rays get blasted 11-2

Our “hitters” get 2 runs on 7 hits. 

Scott Kazmir had looked like he was climbing out of the hole he was living in so he could finish strong.  Not so.  His line was typical Scotty: 4 1/3, 7 R, 9 H, 2 BB.  Terrible. 

The Seattle pitching was awesome.

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Opportunity Knocked and Knocked and Knocked and Knocked…..

Four times the Boston Red Sox choked out a loss to the New York Yankees.  Four times in four games.  It took them about 2 1/2 weeks just to score a run!

Awesome, right?

Nope.

It felt like a storm ripped right through the heart of this team in Seattle as the Rays were only able to grab 1 1/2 games (the 1/2 only because they didn’t play that day!) so they can now sit 1 1/2 games out of the wild card.

You tell me.

How many times do you think the Red Sox will lose 4 in a row after being swept by the Rays between now and the end of the season?

Hmmmmm?

NONE!  IT AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN AGAIN!  THIS WAS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY THAT JUST BLEW AWAY!!!!

Somebody please drop a large fan thing on me for goodness sakes….

(Don’t worry, nobody was hurt)

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The Seattle series did little to help our chances to catch the Sox for the wild card spot. 

It did wonders for allowing New York to start to run away with the East. 

This next series just might go a long way towards determining what kind of October we are going to enjoy in the Tampa Bay area:

Stormy or sun-drenched?

Man, why can’t storm damage be more like this?

I think I could live with that. 

Rays Go Prospectin’ in the Ol’ West

    VS   

Fresh off of a “sweep” of the Boston Red Sox, and currently (as of this minute) 3 games out of the wildcard spot, the Tampa Bay Rays will board a plane for a good ol’ fashioned West Coast Trip.

Yikes.

The Rays will take on the Seattle Mariners and Los Anaheim of Angeles Angelic Baseball Players of California.

Sorry, the LA Angels of Anaheim.

I’ll be entertaining family for the next few days, but I wanted to drop in a few gold nuggets (get it?) of info about this extremely important series.

prospector.jpg image by file83

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Gotta Win

The Rays are in a rare position where no matter what they do in the next 3 days against Seattle they will reap some sort of benefit.  That is because the Yankees and Red Sox are duking it out in New York.

Should the Rays lose any of these games, they will lose ground to one of the aforementioned teams but not to both. 

However, should the Rays win any of these next three games, they will gain all important ground on one of the Yanks or BoSox.  That is key.

In a way, they can do no wrong.  But to lose any of these games to Seattle–a very strong team, despite the loss of Jarrod Washburn–will go down as a HUGE wasted opportunity at a time when opportunties are knocking less and less.

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Records We’d Rather Ignore

The Rays’ young men go west having fared poorly against the teams in that division.  They stand with a sub-.500 record against those teams (7-12).

They lost 2 of 3 to the M’s way back in April, but both teams have undergone a rejuvenation of sorts in the last month or so.  Even though the Mariners might be slowly falling out of the playoff picture, they have done alot of damage.  

We have to make sure they don’t do any more.

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Pitching Matchups

Friday, the Rays will send their default ace of the staff, Jeff Nieman (10-5, 3.62), to the mound against the true ace of the M’s staff, Felix Hernandez (12-4, 2.78). 

 Nieman has thrown well this season, and should find that his 12-6 hammer will have just as much movement in SafeCo Field’s pseudo-outdoor stadium as it does in the friendly confines of the Trop. 

 

King Felix is a bigtime strikeout pitcher and the Rays’ hitters will need to be disciplined if they want to have a chance.  However, as with one of my fave pitchers, “Big Z” Carlos Zambrano of the Cubs, Hernandez can be his own worst enemy–he often gets inside of his OWN head.

Let’s hope for a case of the “crazies” for Felix.

Saturday the Rays will pitch James Shields (6-8, 3.75) against the M’s Ian Snell (2-8, 5.19).

Shields is a guy who gets no respect.  Or maybe that’s runs.  Either way, he gets none of it.  The guy almost threw a no hitter his last time out and STILL got saddled with the loss!  Poor hitting behind him has been the bane of Shields pitching existance this year.  The Rays’ hitters owe him.

Ian Snell Picture

The recently acquired ex-Pirate Snell will be making an attempt at impressing the home crowd in his second start for the Mariners.  He did a nice job shutting down the Rangers his last time out, and will look to put the brakes on an equally impressive offense this time. 

I’m sure my friend at The Pittsburgh Peas, Matt, will be watching with great enthusiasm to see how his guy Snell fares. 

I’m hoping it’s poor, buddy.

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I’ll get back with everybody on Saturday to talk about a (hopefully) exciting and successful Rays series.  We really need these games. 

I hope the Rays bring their best out west.

We are sitting (now at the end of the creation of this post) just 2 1/2 games behind those Sox for the wildcard lead.  Oh my. 

Let’s strike gold!

(This guy has gold.  See?  Gold.)

Gradin’ the Tradin’: Part II

The first post I put out a few days ago was only to rate the trades that occurred on Friday, the trading deadline day. 

However, I got a few e-mails asking me why I left out one trade or the other.  They got me to thinking….why NOT go through the notable trades from the trading deadline and just before? 

I enjoyed arguing with some of you through comments and e-mail about what you thought of some of the trades.  Good times…

This post might be more for me than anybody since I LOVE trades and how they affect teams.  I think they are something that is utilized by baseball better than any other sport and is part of the reason why this game is so grand.

Again, I’m primarily looking at the team that is the bigger part of the deal, though in some cases I grade both teams.

So without further adieu….here is part deux. 

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Deal:  Reds trade Edwin Encarcion et al to the Blue Jays for Scott Rolen

Analysis:  It seemed that Encarnacion never really got it going in Cincinnati.  He hit a load of dingers last year, but the average the last few years was never really what Dusty Baker wanted (.209 in 2009).  I don’t see him being the 3B of the future for the Jays, unfortunately.  However, from what I’ve read about the two young pitchers who were also sent to the Jays, the real value might be there.  These two pitchers might make an impact on Toronto this season, which would make the Jays winners here.  The Reds get an aging 3B who might be able to help out a little next year.  While the Reds play in a strong offensive park, the fact is that Rolen is 34 and has seen his best years pass him by.

Grade:  Reds–C+   Jays–B+

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Deal:  Jerry Hairston, Jr. to the Yankees for a Single-A catcher

Analysis:  This just doesn’t seem like a big deal to me.  Of course, the Rays are notorious for making the “not a big deal” trades that end up getting them a bunch of wins.  Maybe the Yankees have been taking notes.  They already went into the Rays’ playbook to make a deal for Eric Hinske earlier in the year, after all.  Hairston, Jr. has speed and versatility.  For those reasons he might be a nice guy to have on a team.  A National League team.  I don’t see him helping the Yanks out too much.  Then again, New York didn’t give up much, either.

Grade:  B-

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Deal:  Brewers deal to get Claudio Vargas from the Dodgers

Analysis:  The Brewers needed a starter.  A good starter.  They needed somebody to help them contend with the Cubs, Cardinals, and, suddenly, the Astros.  Instead they dealt for a bullpen guy in LA who they actually had not that long ago and dumped because of his ineffectiveness.  They didn’t give up much, but they didn’t get much, either.

Grade:  D-

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Deal:  Cubs get John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny from Pirates

Analysis:  This is a case where I think both teams won out.  The Pirates got a young hurler in Kevin Hart and a strong piece of the bullpen in Jose Ascanio.  The Cubs needed a starter in Gorzelanny (he’ll start this week) to fill in for Ted Lilly and they needed a strong lefty in the ‘pen in Grabow who will take the place of the Tommy John-bit Neal Cotts.  Grabow will complement Sean Marshall in the bullpen and add some stability to a shakey group.

Grade:  A for both teams (especially because of the mad kung fu skills of Gorzelanny)

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Deal:  Royals get Josh Anderson from the Tigers

Analysis:  This guy was got for cash.  That’s it.  Typically these deals are non-issues.  This one fits in with that characterization.  So why are we talking about it?

Grade:  Who cares?

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Deal:  The Giants get Freddy Sanchez from the Pirates

Analysis:  The Pirates are becoming to be old hat in these trade discussions.  With that said, the Bucs are doing the right thing.  Sanchez was scheduled to make $8 mill next year.  That’s too rich for a team with so many holes.  I was hoping that the Rays would get this guy–he’s one of my faves–so that they could move Ben Zobrist’s rocket arm and huge bat to right field.  Alas, not to be.  This move will probably lead to the Giants releasing Rich Aurelia and his salary.  Sanchez will help the Giants.  The Pirates got a pitcher in Tim Alderson who will help them–in the future.

Grade: B+

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Deal:  Phillies land Cliff Lee from Indians 

Analysis:  C’mon, do we have to talk about this one?  I was hoping the Rays might get active here, and they were, but not as active as the Series champs.  They got Lee, gave up some guys they’ll miss, and promptly saw him throw a complete game shutout.  ‘Nuff said.

Grade:  A

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Deal:  Mariners get Jack Wilson from Pirates for a bunch o’ guys

Analysis:  The M’s got the shortstop they had hoped they had in Yuniesky Betancourt.  When they realized Betancourt was a flop defensively, they shipped him to Kansas City–where he’s struggled.  Wilson is a solid piece of the future puzzle for the M’s and will get them some wins in the future.  The guys the Pirates got will be helpful, but not too helpful right away.  Ronny Cedeno is flopping right now and catcher Jeff Clement was not sparking the way the Mariners wanted.  I thought that the addition of Clement might lead to the Bucs moving Ryan Doumit–to the Rays.  Not so.  Oh well.

Grade:  Mariners–B+    Pirates–B

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Deal:  White Sox get Mark Kotsay, Red Sox get Brian Anderson

 

Analysis:  No doubt, the White Sox won this trade–right now.  The White Stockings got a premiere pinch hitter who can play almost any corner position.  He is a veteran who can fit in immediately with is new team and pay dividends as they push for October.  The Red Stockings got a supreme underachiever in Anderson.  He might develop, though, into a guy who might be the utility outfielder Rocco Baldelli is supposed to be.  With JD Drew on his way out (c’mon, folks, he’s hurt, like, ALL THE TIME) this might be a good add–next year.

Grade:  White Sox–B+    Red Sox–B+ (potentially)

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Deal:  Giants get Ryan Garko for Single-A pitcher

Analysis:  Garko was a fan fave in Cleveland, but he was going to be up for big money in the off season.  So he was shipped.  He was taking playing time away from guys the Indians really wanted to see and they did not view him as a piece of the future.  He has a gift for being offensive–in a good way–and should help the Giants offense get going.  The guy Cleveland got will be good two years from now.  That’s something to be happy about in Clevelend–and there isn’t much these days.  However, the move will give more AB’s to superstar-in-the-making Matt LaPorta

Grade:  B

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Deal:  Matt Holliday goes to St. Louis

Analysis:  Waste of time to talk about.  He’s hitting .529!!! 

Grade: A+ (and it sickens me to say that)

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Sorry if the pics got a little weird there at times.  I’m as distracted by the strange moments of our favorite sport as anybody.

I think that runs down most of the more notable trades that have occurred the last few weeks (and a couple of not-so-notable trades). 

I think that this time of year is the most captivating of any sport out there.  Teams are fighting for division titles.  Others are scrambling for wildcard berths.  Franchises are deciding whether to buy or sell.  Squads are scouting for both this and next year–and with a do-or-die attitude.

It’s just great.

And the waiver-wire trades are going to get going soon too.  Teams have to make waiver deals before August 30th if they want that guy to be eligible for the post season.

And the countdown begins.

 

And if anybody asks me about the Julio Lugo deal……..

Gradin’ the Tradin’

Ah, well.  The Rays did not make any moves at the trade deadline.  Despite two glaring needs, the team was unable to do that trade that might have helped to shore up some weaknesses for the final playoff push.

I don’t know that moves HAD to be made.  This team stood pat last year and was able to utilize the huge talent it had to make it to October.  This year’s iteration of the Rays is not much different, and should be able to ride its talent–both here in the majors and in the minors–to a division crown or wildcard berth. 

It ain’t gonna be easy, though.

Even though I can’t look at any moves the Rays made, I wanted to take a look at the multitude of moves made yesterday and grade how each move should help each team.

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Deal: Red Sox trade for Victor Martinez

Analysis: Jason Varitek has not been what the Sox have needed this year.  Sure, he’s led the team as an old grizzled veteran should, but little more than that.  Add in the fact that Mike Lowell’s hip is not long for this season and you have a need at catcher and first base.  Well, the Red Sox filled those needs with the addition of Martinez.  One of the more coveted players available at the deadline, the versatile Martinez might just be the piece that complete the playoff puzzle for the Sox

Grade: A+

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Deal:  White Sox trade lots of young arms for Jake Peavy

Analysis:  Initially this looks like a great deal.  The White Sox were able to rekindle interest in moving Peavy late Friday (interest that waned early in the season) and finally consummated the deal.  Why Peavy would want to pitch in hitter-friendly US Cellular Field in a new league is beyond me, but he had his reasons to waive his no trade clause.  The Sox got a pitcher who is not ready to pitch now and might not be ready for several more weeks.  The Padres got a plethora of arms that should help them long term.

Grade:C+

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Deal:  Twins acquire Orlando Cabrera

Analysis:  I don’t like Cabrera.  Let’s get that out of the way.  I don’t like the way he tried to make some lame point in the playoffs last year against the Rays.  I am glad Grant Balfour struck him out, though.  Why do I say all this pointless blather?  Because this is a perfect move for the Twins.  And if I’m saying that with the way I feel, then you know it is good.  The Twinkies needed a strong shortstop, and they got it.  He will hit 2nd in the lineup ahead of Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer and will help that offense really get going.  And his defense will be welcome in the Metrodome–especially if you saw the bumbling of Brendon Harris in last night’s game.

Grade:A

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Deal:  Tigers get Jarrod Washburn

Analysis:  Washburn was not going to be able to help the Mariners make the playoffs this year.  And he was going to ask for more money than the M’s would be willing to pay him after the end of this season.  For them, this is a great move.  For the Tigers, this move makes sense.  They will now have a solid 1-3 in the rotation.  Plus, the move enabled them to keep pace with the moves the Sox and Twins made within the division.  But can Washburn keep up his torrid pitching?  I don’t think so.

Grade:  B-

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Deal:  Braves and Red Sox exchange 1B: Adam Laroche and Casey Kotchman

    

Analysis:  The Braves have fallen out of love with the guy they acquired for Mark Teixeira not that long ago.  Why?  They want more home runs.  Kotchman has just 6 this year.  But the guy is hitting .283 and plays a decent 1B.  Laroche, on the other hand, struggles to hit .250 and only has 13 dingers this year.  Each guy has only around 40 RBIs.  This is kind of a non-deal–much like the Jeff Francoeur for Ryan Church deal earlier.  What are the Braves thinking?

Grade:  Braves–C             Red Sox–B

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Deal:  Marlins trade for the Nats’ Nick Johnson

Analysis:  Everybody seems to love Nick Johnson.  I don’t get it.  He’s a marginal hitter, and ok fielder, and he might actually be slower than our own Pat Burrell.  What’s the deal?  When the Marlins’ Hanley Ramirez was told of the trade, he reportedly pumped his fist and yelled “YES!”  Why?  This might help the Marlins shore up their infield by moving Jorge Cantu to 3B and allowing Johnson to man 1B, but that’s about it.  But, the Fish did not give up much for him so…

Grade:  B

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Deal:  Rockies get Joe Beimel from the Nats

Analysis:  Make fun of the Pirates all you want, at least it seems they are getting a direction in mind for the franchise.  The Nationals don’t have a clue.  They dumped a solid lefty bullpen guy in Beimel to get two youngsters–one of which, I read, is recovering from surgery.  Ugh.  This deal should help the Rox, but not that much.

Grade:  B

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Deal:  Dodgers send minor leaguer 3B Josh Bell to O’s for closer George Sherrill

Analysis:  I’m looking at both sides of the coin on this one.  The Dodgers acquire a solid closer who has been more and more consistent as the season has gone on.  Thus, right now the Dodgers have one of the more potent 8th- and 9th-inning guys out there.  The Orioles got a guy I hadn’t heard much about, but about whom I read is something special at 3B.  Melvin Mora won’t be long in an O’s uni, so getting Bell, who might get a callup sometime next year, plays out perfectly for Baltimore.  This team is going to be pretty exciting come next season. 

Grade:  D’s–B+        O’s–B

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As with any trade that went down in the last few days, we will have to wait and see how things go.  Of course, the Cardinals have gotten immediate returns on their move as Matt Holliday has TORN IT UP since his arrival in St. Louis.

Lots of the deals above included young minor leaguers.  Their value is not entirely quanitfiable just yet, but it may be sooner rather than later.

Either way, Friday was lots of fun.

Even if the Rays did do nothing.