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Major League Shuffle: Nine Upgrades, Big Names and Prospects From MLB’s Trade Deadline

By / 08.01.11

MLB trades, unlike those seen in the NFL or NBA, rarely feature premium talent exchanged for equally premium talent. The trend didn’t subside this year as some pretty big names found themselves packing their bags for different area codes: all in the name of top-ranked prospects. Some of these trades have been speculated on for weeks while others came out of nowhere. With every division comprised of at least two teams capable of finishing in first, MLB’s waning months will be an unpredictable thrill.
1. Indians acquire Colorado Rockies SP Ubaldo Jiminez for four minor leaguers — This move stunned me since I’m an Indians fan accustomed to my team exporting and not importing talent. Like so many other mid-market ball clubs, the Tribe hardly makes splashes come the trade deadline and this move was more akin to a tidal wave. The best player on the market goes to a young, talented team in a winnable division. It’s a big gamble (the Rockies are getting some extremely promising talent in pitchers Drew Pomeranz and Alex White) but f*ck it. The time to win in Cleveland is now it’s fun to be a fan…finally.
2. Phillies acquire Houston Astros RF Hunter Pence for four minor leaguers — We already touched on this trade earlier in the weekend but to reiterate the situation: the best bat on the market (sorry, Carlos Beltran) joins a Phillies squad devoidt of…nothing really. Sure, a player like Pence would make a welcome addition to any team but Philadelphia didn’t need him. They simply flexed the muscles that come when an organization is ran as efficiently top-to-bottom as theirs is. Houston makes away with a grab-bag of talented prospects that Philly could bear to lose what with their major league club being what it is.
3. Giants acquire Mets OF Carlos Beltran for A top prospect — In a move that harkens back to Beltran’s exodus from Kansas City to Houston, the five-tool outfielder eligible for free agency at the end of the season takes his talents to a contender. Giants fans have to hope that he can produce similar results as their lineup is sorely lacking some thunder in the middle. New York gets talented pitching prospect Zachary Wheeler: somebody who seems to be taking his sweet time working through the minors. The Mets just can’t have nice things.
4. Pirates acquire Derek Lee, Ryan Ludwig in separate deals — Welcome, Buccos fans, to the world of contention. I’m still convinced the Pirates’s current standing is some elaborate joke played on baseball fans by Sacha Baron Cohen or someone. Adding some much-needed pop at premium corner positions, the Pirates bring in two veterans who will be able to step in and help immediately. Look for Ludwig to tear it up as he escapes San Diego’s death trap of a ball park.
5. Red Sox acquire Mariners SP Erik Bedard in three-team deal — Bringing the Los Angeles Dodgers into the mix, the Sox acquire a valuable veteran starting pitcher to shore up a rotation that’s been plagued by injuries for the bulk of the season. Lots of prospects were tossed around to make this work and, considering their standing and Bedard’s age, this was a pretty low-risk move that made sense for all involved. Have no fear though; it’s still okay to hate the Red Sox.
6. Braves acquire Houston OF Michael Bourn for four prospects — Getting beat to the punch in both the Carlos Beltran and Hunter Pence sweepstakes, Atliens get to welcome speedster Michael Bourne to a Braves squad in the thick of the NL East race. Currently leading the league in steals, the Braves have to be ecstatic about this acquisition as he fills a major hole in center field and should fit in quite well as their new leadoff man. Houston picks up some pretty uninspiring prospects.
7. Cardinals acquire Rafael Furcal, Edwin Jackson in separate trades — Very much within striking distance of divisional rivals Milwaukee in the NL Central, the Cardinals had an extremely eventful day Sunday. Importing Furcal and Jackson in separate trades also netted several lesser-named role players. Furcal should pay dividends immediately but it’ll be interesting to see how long Jackson, a nomad on his seventh team, stays in St. Louis. Still only 27 and a former All-Star, it’s difficult to understand why Jackson hasn’t found a permanent home yet. Maybe it’ll be with the Cardinals.
8. Tigers acquire Doug Fister, David Purcey in separate trades — A Tigers squad in need of some pitching made a pair of strong acquisitions, picking up solid Seattle starter Fister and left-handed reliever Purcey from Oakland. The move cost them Scott Sizemore and a minor leaguer but their pitching was a problem that needed attention in both the starting and relief departments. Does anyone else get a chuckle after hearing about the exploits of a guy named Doug Fister?
9. Brewers acquire Fransisco Rodriguez from Mets for two minor leaguers — Embattled doesn’t begin to describe K-Rod’s tenure as a Met. His up-and-down two-and-a-half-year stint wearing royal blue pinstripes is probably something both parties would rather forget. He finds himself in a Brewers clubhouse equal parts stacked and desperate (considering Prince Fielder is probably gone after the season). It’s go-time in Milwaukee.


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