The MLB trade deadline has passed. The biggest deals were, of course, done several days ago with the Yankees acquiring Ichiro Suzuki and the Angels landing Zack Greinke.
There was nothing on that level. It will be best remembered for the Chicago Cubs fire sale. Within the past 24 hours, the Cubs sent pitcher Paul Maholm and outfielder Reed Johnson to the Atlanta Braves and in separate deals sent catcher Geovany Soto and pitcher Ryan Dempster to the Texas Rangers.
The Braves, of course, wanted Ryan Dempster but Dempster didn’t want to pitch in Atlanta. Yet Maholm has nearly twice as many wins as Dempster. If I were managing a big league ballclub I would want Johnson on my team. He’s good defensive outfielder and is a solid hitter with occasional power. Johnson has never played in the post-season and the Braves are a good bet for one of the NL Wild Card spots.
It was thought that Dempster would end up with either the Yankees or the Dodgers but the Rangers need starting pitching with Colby Lewis out for the season and with the ineffectiveness of Roy Oswalt. Dempster has been with the Cubs since 2004 but was actually drafted by the Rangers back in 1995. If nothing else, Dempster will give the Rangers some innings.
As for Soto, he hasn’t been the same since winning NL Rookie of the Year in 2008. But perhaps he’ll be rejuvenated now that he’s been thrust into a pennant race.
The Cincinnati Reds bolstered their bullpen by acquiring Jonathan Broxton from the Kansas City Royals. Broxton signed with the Royals in the offseason after parting ways with the Dodgers. The big righty saved 23 games for the last place Royals. However, in Cincinnati, Broxton will be the set up man for Cuban southpaw Aroldis Chapman. Broxton will take it as he has gone from a team that was 13½ games out of the first place to a team that’s leading the NL Central by three games.
The Philadelphia Phillies are officially sellers and have also stoked the Dodgers-Giants rivalry. They began by trading longtime centerfielder Shane Victorino to the Los Angeles Dodgers for reliever Josh Lindblom and a minor leaguer. Then they dealt rightfielder Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants for outfielder Nate Schierholtz and two minor leaguers. This is the second year in a row that Pence has been dealt at the deadline. In 2011, the Phillies acquired him from the Houston Astros.
With both Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira hurt, the New York Yankees acquired infielder Casey McGehee from the Pittsburgh Pirates for veteran reliever Chad Qualls. I’m not sure McGehee makes up for that vacancy but the Yankees probably aren’t done. As for the Bucs, they obtained outfielder Travis Snider from the Toronto Blue Jays for reliever Brad Lincoln. Snider spent most of the year in Triple-A and has been an underachiever but now he finds himself in a pennant race. If that doesn’t light a fire under him then nothing will.
The Boston Red Sox traded reliever Matt Albers and outfielder Scott Podsednik to the Arizona Diamondbacks for reliever Craig Breslow. I can’t quite figure out this trade. Albers is a workhorse while Breslow is basically a lefty specialist. Did Albers get into Bobby V’s doghouse? Breslow did pitch with the Red Sox back in 2006 so Fenway isn’t unfamiliar terrain. The only compelling reason to deal Albers for a lefty reliever is if the Sox are planning to put Franklin Morales in the rotation. But with Bobby V. who knows?
Of course, trades can continue to be made although now players will have to clear waivers.