Trade Deadline Recap: This Season’s Five Biggest Deals

The bell tolled another trade deadline come and gone on Tuesday afternoon. In the wake of talk about the effect of new wild card rules on the trade market, and some grand speculation in both directions, some big names, and some big players too, will be wearing new jerseys for the rest of the season. Unfortunately for the New York Yankees, the two aren’t mutually exclusive. Just a few years ago, their trade for Ichiro Suzuki would’ve deserved its own full post. But it’s 2012, and instead, it’ll only get these couple sentences. Here are the five trades likely to have the biggest impact on the season moving forward:

5. Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to the Detroit Tigers

For the Detroit Tigers, it’s now or never. The team has made it no secret that they are done saying “next year,” and little has made that strategy so abundantly clear as trading the team’s top pitching prospect in Jacob Turner to the Marlins for Infante and Sanchez. Currently three games behind the Chicago White Sox in a tight race for the AL Central crown, their two newest faces fill two big holes: second base and the middle of its rotation. We’ll have to wait and see how Sanchez performs and Turner Develops to know which team got the better deal long term. But Infante and Sanchez will do more for the team right now, and that’s all there is for the Tigers.

4. Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants

The Giants are just one game up over the Dodgers in the NL West, and given all the moves LA has been making (discussed below), San Fran had to come up with some sort of counter. What they came up with is two-time all-star Hunter Pence, who’s hitting .271 with 17 homers and 59 RBI this year. In return, the team shipped Tommy Joseph, Nate Schierholtz, and Seth Rosin to Philadelphia. Joseph, a catcher who was one of the team’s best two or three prospects depending on who you asked, is the centerpiece of the deal. The Giants were willing to let him go for Pence, perhaps because they’ve already got Buster Posey behind the plate. After giving up one of their top pitching prospects to rent Carlos Beltran last year, it’s notable that the Giants secured Pence, who’s under contract through 2013. He’s not going to hit as many home runs as he did in Citizens Bank Park, but Pence will be a very important part of the lineup for more than just a few months.

3. Ryan Dempster to the Texas Rangers

The Angels and Dodgers were the deadline’s biggest movers and shakers, so like the Giants, the Rangers had to come up with something to better their squad for the playoff race to come. Dempster may be 35 years old, and while his 2.25 ERA and 1.04 WHIP are certainly well above the general expectation, the numbers aren’t a total anomaly. Recall that in 2008 he went 17-6 with a 2.96 ERA and 1.21 WHIP over more than 200 innings. Although 15 years in the bigs, it’s Dempster’s first time in the American League, and his 4.63 ERA in 50 career interleague games aren’t exactly a bright spot, they needed someone to fill the hole injuries have made in their rotation. He’s no Zach Greinke, but Dempster will be a big factor if the team hopes to reach the World Series for the third straight season.

2. Hanley Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers

If this was a list of the trades likely to have the biggest impact over the next few years, as opposed to just this season, this one might’ve been at the top of the list. Ramirez might be having a down year (or two) by his standards, hitting .246 with 15 home runs and 56 RBI. And sure, it’s been a little while since 2009, when he hit .342 and brought home a battle title, or his 30/30 campaign in 2008. But Ramirez is coming off an injury and more importantly, he’s still only 28 years old, smack dab in the middle of his statistical prime. Considering the Dodgers gave up very little to get him and also scored Shane Victorino, they might just be the season’s biggest trade deadline winner.

1. Zach Greinke to the Los Angeles Angels

As I said, long term, Greinke moving to the Angels might not be that huge. Who knows where he’ll end up when he becomes a free agent this off season. But with the spot the Angels are in right now, his move to LA is the deadline’s biggest. It’s no surprise that like the Giants and Dodgers, both the Angels and Rangers are on this list. Arguably two of the three best teams in the American League reside in the Western division, and as I discussed last week, playoff spots are no longer created equal. Yes, the Dodgers are in a similar position, and yes, the Rangers made a similar move, but the Angels now have Greinke, who was indubitably the best starting pitcher on the market, to shore up a rotation that already includes Jered WeaverC.J. Wilson, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana. Pitching is the name of the game when it comes to the playoffs to begin with. But what’s crucial for the Halos is that even if they do find themselves forced to employ Weaver in a wild card play-in, they’re not so screwed as most other teams might be with a gang like that to follow him.

Follow the writer on Twitter @NateKreichman.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Phillies capitalize on Giants’ mistakes, push a Game 6 in NLCS

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Roy Halladay in the 2nd inning during the National League Championship Series at AT&T Park in San Francisco, on October 21, 2010. UPI/ Bob Larson Photo via Newscom

For much of this year’s NLCS, it’s been the Phillies that have made costly fielding errors, timely mistakes, and have not created their own breaks. And it’s been the Giants who have capitalized on those errors and those mistakes to build a lead in the best-of-seven series.

But on Thursday night, it was the Phillies who capitalized on Giants’ miscues in the third inning in order to take Game 5 by a score of 4-2 and stave off elimination.

The game was hardly the pitching match for the ages that most people expected it would be. Roy Halladay (who pitched through a mild groin pull) and Tim Lincecum weren’t their dominant selves and instead of coming down to pitching, the game was won by the team that made the fewest mistakes.

In that pivotal third inning, Raul Ibanez reached base on a weak single off Lincecum, who then hit Carlos Ruiz after building a 0-2 count. Roy Halladay then bunted a ball that was clearly foul, but home plate umpire Jeff Nelson must have forgotten his contacts because he ruled it fair. Buster Posey’s throw to Pablo Sandoval at third was a little off the mark and Sandoval, who isn’t the fleetest of foot at defensive tackle-like size, missed the bag as Ibanez slid in safely. Ruiz went to second on the play and Halladay, who knew the ball was foul and didn’t even run, was thrown out at first.

Shane Victorino then hit a hard ground ball to first baseman Aubrey Huff, who had it ricochet off him into centerfield as if his entire body and glove were made of rubber, and both runners scored. Placido Polanco then singled to center to score Victorino and all of a sudden the Giants’ 1-0 lead (a lead they earned in the first inning) evaporated into a 3-1 deficit.

The Phillies never trailed after that. Cody Ross (the greatest postseason player alive, apparently) hit a double to right to score Pat Burrell in the fourth, but that was all the fight the Giants had in them. Jayson Werth homered to right in the top of the ninth to give the Phillies breathing room and then San Fran quietly went down in order in the bottom half of the inning as Brad Lidge earned the save.

Now the series shifts back to Philadelphia for Game 6 on Saturday and probably a Game 7 on Sunday. I say “probably” because if anyone thinks the Phillies are done then you haven’t been paying attention the past couple of years. Their Game 5 victory has given them new life and while they still trail 3-2 in the series, they’re traveling back home to that Little League Park they call a stadium where a routine fly ball can travel over the wall. They’ll also have Roy Oswalt (Game 2’s winner) and Cole Hamels set to start.

The Giants missed a huge opportunity to let a sleeping dog lie. Now they have to earn a victory in hostile environment against a veteran squad that’s used to winning in October. Strap it up – I can feel a Game 7 coming on.

What has happened to the Phillies’ offense?

There’s simply no excuse for a lineup that consists of Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez and Shane Victorino to score only 13 runs in 10 games. Yet somehow, it has.

In their last 14 games, the Phillies have scored three or fewer runs 12 times. Howard went deep on Tuesday night in a 7-3 loss to the Braves, but that was the first home run that Philadelphia has hit in 68 innings.

So what’s the problem?

Hitting coach Milt Thompson’s resume speaks for itself. In his first five seasons with the Phillies, the club led the National League in home runs, RBI, runs scored, total bases, and extra-base hits. He suddenly hasn’t forgotten how to coach, yet the Phillies have suddenly forgotten how to hit.

Read the rest of this entry »

Phillies knock off Dodgers, head back to World Series

The Philadelphia Phillies will have the opportunity to defend their World Series title.

Jayson Werth powered the Phils past the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night by hitting two of the club’s four home runs in a 10-4 victory. Pedro Feliz and Shane Victorino also homered for Philly, as they easily disposed of L.A. in five games.

The Phillies’ offense shined in the NLCS, racking up 35 runs in seven games. Thus far, Werth has five dingers in the postseason, while Victorino has three. Philadelphia will now await the winner of the Yankees-Angels series to see who will oppose them in the World Series.

A potential Phillies-Yankees matchup would be entertaining considering how well both clubs are hitting the ball right now. Watching CC Sabathia take on Werth, Victorino, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley would be incredibly fun to watch and should draw decent ratings given how big of a market the Yankees play in.

It’s amazing how the Phillies were overlooked before the season. While everyone talked about the Mets, Dodgers and Cubs, the Phillies flew under the radar for the most part and then once again took care of business once the series started.

The Dodgers must be praying they never have to face the Phillies after these last two years.

Lee dominates again as Phillies advance to NLCS

For the second time this postseason, Cliff Lee was dominant.

Lee allowed just one earned run over 7 1/3 innings on Monday, as the Phillies knocked off the Rockies in dramatic fashion to advance to the NLCS where they will face the Dodgers.

After the Rockies had jumped out to a 4-2 lead in the eighth, things looked bleak for Philadelphia heading into the ninth. Huston Street got two quick outs, but then got into trouble after Shane Victorino grounded into a fielder’s choice and then Chase Utley walked. Ryan Howard then doubled to deep right to score both Victorino and Utley, then Jayson Werth singled to center to score Howard.

In the bottom of the ninth, reliever Scott Eyre got two outs but then allowed two runners to get on base with singles. But Brad Lidge managed to strike out Troy Tulowitzki to end the game.

The Phillies will now advance to the NLCS to face a rested Dodgers team that made quick work of the Cardinals. It should be an evenly matched NLCS as both teams have pitching and a solid lineup from top to bottom.

Related Posts