The MLB trade deadline is an ideal opportunity for the rich to take from the poor. The rich are typically represented by the top AL East and NL East teams, who often acquire impact players on struggling teams. However, some traditional buyers took a different approach this season. Here are the major deals that affected New York's teams and their division rivals.
Questions remain about whether a franchise famous for making trade-deadline deals to strengthen its roster for the stretch run made the right move by doing nothing. The Yankees' offense is set: it ranks second in the majors in runs scored (587) and in OPS (.791). Yet the starting pitching is lackluster; any World Series contender depending heavily on right-handers Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon may not actually be a contender. Interest in Dodgers righty Hiroki Kuroda was stalled by his reluctance to approve a trade. Rockies RHP Ubaldo Jimenez, who landed with Cleveland, is elite at times, but there are health concerns because of the three mph he's lost on his fastball from 2009-10. The Yanks may still target a player who passes through waivers in this month
Trade deadline effectiveness: D
Boston Red Sox
Traded five prospects to Dodgers, Mariners for LHP Erik Bedard.
In a complicated three-team deal, the Red Sox acquired injury-prone Bedard. The southpaw's 91 1/3 innings this year represent the most he's pitched since 2008, due to shoulder troubles. He has proven to be effective when healthy. This was evidenced during a two-month stretch from April 27-June 27 in which he went 4-2 with a 1.77 ERA and 0.89 WHIP. Of course, he landed on the disabled list June 29 with a sprained left knee. He has returned, but he's unreliable enough that he won't make up for the loss of RHP Clay Buchholz, reportedly out for the season with a stress fracture in his lower back.
Trade deadline effectiveness: C+
Traded OF Carlos Beltran, $4 million to Giants for RHP Zack Wheeler; RHP Francisco Rodriguez, $5.9 million to Brewers for two players to be named.
Rodriguez had a $17.5 million vesting option which would become guaranteed if he finished 55 games in 2011. Beltran is an impending free agent whose contract states he can't be offered arbitration. The Mets weren't in a position to see either scenario play out, so the least they could do was to use those players to enrich their farm system. That was accomplished by acquiring Wheeler — rated by Baseball America prior to this season as the 55th-best prospect in the minors. The Mets have not yet selected the two players in the K-Rod deal. They may regret not capitalizing on SS Jose Reyes' trade value if they don't re-sign him this off-season.
Trade deadline effectiveness: B+
Traded RHP Jarred Cosart, OF Jonathan Singleton, RHP Josh Zeid and player to be named to Astros for OF Hunter Pence, $2 million
The Phillies did what a playoff contender with a deep farm system should do: trade prospects, some of whom likely won't maximize their talent, for a player of known value. Pence is a very good offensive player and a poor defensive player; his right-handed hitting to balance the Phillies' lefty-dominated lineup is what they value in this trade. Only 28, Pence will likely remain a fringe All-Star player rather than becoming a superstar. Singleton (Baseball America's pre-2011 No. 39 prospect) is in high-class A while Cosart (Baseball America's pre-2011 No. 70 prospect) and Zeid are in Double-A.
Trade deadline effectiveness: A-
Traded OF Jordan Schafer, LHP Brett Oberholtzer, RHP Paul Clemens, RHP Juan Abreu to Astros for OF Michael Bourn.
I miscalculated Bourn's destination when, in amNewYork's July 22 edition, I suggested that his ideal landing spot was with the Brewers. The Braves desired Bourn's speed, on-base percentage and defense in the worst of ways. Yet they didn't give up too much; Schafer has a .310 on-base percentage in 414 career plate appearances. None of the pitchers were considered among the top four pitching prospects in the Braves' farm system. Conversely, Bourn, 28, is a two-time Gold Glove winner, owns an impressive .351 on-base percentage since 2009 and has swiped 213 bases in 257 career stolen base attempts.
Trade deadline effectiveness: A