Strotty's Blog

All your Wisconsin sports news and more!

Recapping The Major League Baseball Trade Deadline Deals

The always interesting Major League Baseball trade deadline came and went at 3 p.m. central time today as some big names were added to contenders and stellar prospects will now call someplace else home.  Since the Matt Holliday trade between the St. Louis Cardinals and Oakland Athletics, there have been ___ trades.  While some of these deals can not fully be evaluated until it is seen how prospects pan out, we’ll go ahead and try to do it anyways.

Trade: (July 27th) Cleveland Indians trade Ryan Garko to the San Francisco Giants for Scott Barnes

Who Wins: The Indians officially began their firesale by shipping away their starting first baseman to the Giants who were in much need of a replacement for Travis Ishikawa.  Garko gives the Giants a solid fifth hitter in the lineup as they make a run at the NL Wildcard this season.  His contract is up at the end of the year but the Giants are expected to at least make an offer to him.

Barnes was 12-3 with a 2.85 ERA for Class A San Jose and was ranked by Baseball America as the Giants’ ninth best prospect in 2009.  The lefty has an excellent changeup and projects to be a number three starter in the big leagues.

If Garko re-signs with the Giants it would be a great deal for the them but I believe Barnes can be something special.  Still, the Giants got what they needed and take this deal by a small margin.  WINNER: GIANTS

Trade: (July 28th) Boston Red Sox trade Mark Kotsay to the Chicago White Sox for Brian Anderson

Who Wins: It was clear that Brian Anderson’s time in Chicago was up as he had been optioned to Triple A and was not in the plans for the future of the White Sox.

He demanded a trade and was given his wish by trading places with the veteran Kotsay.  Clearly the Red Sox felt as though they had enough outfield depth on the team and could spare Kotsay to pick up a potential player in Anderson.

Kotsay will be great off the bench for the White Sox as they make a run at the AL Central this year.  WINNER: WHITE SOX

Trade: (July 29th) Seattle Mariners trade Wladimir Balentein to the Cincinnati Reds for Robert Manuel

Who Wins: Neither of these players project as much in the big leagues but give both teams some added depth at a few spots.  Balentein has more Major League experience and has a better shot at contributing in the near future.  WINNER: REDS

Trade: (July 29th) Seattle Mariners trade shortstop Ronny Cedeno, Jeff Clement, Ben Prebanic, Brett Lorin, and Nathan Adcock to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Jack Wilson and Ian Snell

Who Wins: This is a very interesting trade for both squads because the Pirates were in a no-win situation with the two players they gave away.  Wilson had already denied a contract extension with the team and Snell was very unhappy with his situation in Pittsburgh.

What they got in return was about as much as they could have asked for, including slugger Jeff Clement.

Cedeno was thrown in the deal because the Pirates will need to fill a void at shortstop but is hardly the long-term solution.  Clement has a great bat but does not have a true position, seeing time at catcher and first base.  He projected as a designated hitter but now will not have that chance in the National League.  Pitcher Nathan Adcock sports a great curveball and could be a starter in the future.

Seattle is buying for the future and got one of the best defensive gloves in the game in Wilson, as well as a pitcher with a ton of skill in Snell.  While the results have not been there, Snell has potential if he can stay focused and work on his problems.

It’s tough to say that the Pirates could have won this deal because they were dealing with two disgruntled players, so I’ll give this one to the M’s.  WINNER: MARINERS

Trade: (July 29th) Pittsburgh Pirates trade Freddy Sanchez to the San Francisco Giants for Tim Alderson

Who Wins: Sanchez adds another much needed bat to the lineup and puts the Giants in great shape to find a spot in the National League playoffs.  Along with Garko, Sanchez improves the offense with a .300+ batting average and some power to go around.

However, Alderson is showing a ton of potential and could be an outstanding pitcher in the near future.  In three seasons of professional ball, he is 20-6 with an ERA just over three.  He sports an excellent curveball and was projected to be a back-end starter in the outstanding Giants’ rotation that includes Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and number one prospect Madison Bumgarner.

Sanchez is a great hitter and an average fielder that puts the Giants in contention.  The Pirates were in a no-win situation with Sanchez who, like Wilson, refused to sign a contract extension.  What they got is a 20-year-old starter with a ton of potential.  WINNER: PIRATES

Trade: (July 29th) Cleveland Indians trade Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco to the Philadelphia Phillies for Jason Knapp, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald, and Lou Marson

Who Wins: The Indians are clearly in selling mode and traded away their second straight Cy Young Award winner to the Philadelphia Phillies who are all of a sudden huge contenders in the National League.

What they got in exchange was a ton of young and talented players that are sure to make a splash in The Bigs in the future.

For the Phillies, they filled up their starting rotation by adding Lee, who is 9-7 this year with an even 3.00 ERA.  He will go to a staff that was desparately looking for good pitching and becomes the ace.

They did not have to give up their two best pitching prospects in Kyle Drabek and J.A. Happ, which they would have if they had gone after Blue Jays pitcher Roy Halladay.

For the Indians, they get two very solid pitchers in Knapp and Corrasco as well as good position players in Donald and Marson.  Baseball America ranked the Indians’ return players as the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 10th best players in the Phillies’ farm system.

Still, the Phillies become legitimate contenders with this move and win the deal as well.  WINNER: PHILLIES

Trade: (July 30th) Baltimore Orioles trade George Sherill to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Josh Bell and Steve Johnson

Who Wins: The one knock on the team with the best record in baseball was that the bullpen was extremely shaky.  Outside of Jonathon Broxton, no one really had the makings up someone you’d like to rely on late in games.  Enter George Sherill and that is no longer the case.

Sherill gives the Dodgers a great 1-2 punch in the bullpen and they did not have to give up much to get it.  Bell is a solid prospect at third base and projects to be a starter in the big leagues one day, but the Dodgers are completely in win-now mode and were going to do anything possible to pick up a reliever.  WINNER: DODGERS

Trade: (July 30th) Pittsburgh Pirates trade Tom Gorzelanny and John Grabow to the Chicago Cubs for Kevin Hart, Jose Ascanio, and Josh Harrison

Who Wins: This trade was probably one of the fairest deals of the deadline and it is hard to pick a winner.

For the Cubs’ sake, they received a much needed lefty arm out of the bullpen in Grabow.  Gorzelanny had a great 2007 but has not showed much since and is pretty comparable to Hart.

The Pirates free up more cap room and get a decent young pitcher in Kevin Hart.  Time is against him as he is already 26 years old, but if he can keep up his solid numbers he will be a steal.

Ascanio still has a lot to prove and Harrison was stuck behind Josh Vitters at third base in the minors so it isn’t a huge loss for the Cubs.

I’ll give the Cubs the win on the trade because it helps them right now (Grabow) and potentially in the future (Gorzelanny) but both sides come out on top here.  WINNER: CUBS

Trade: (July 30th) Detroit Tigers trade Josh Anderson to the Kansas City Royals for cash considerations.

Who Wins: No, cash considerations is not a player on the Royals.  This trade occurred to shore up a little bit of money before trading for pitcher Jarrod Washburn, so the Tigers make out well here.

The Royals get an average prospect in the outfield that has seen some at bats in the big leagues.  For a team to not get a player in a trade makes it hard for them to win the trade, so the Royals get the nod here.  WINNER: ROYALS

Trade: (July 31st) Seattle Mariners trade Jarrod Washburn to the Detroit Tigers for Luke French and Mauricio Robles

Who Wins: Both of the prospects that the Mariners received in return have pretty low ceilings and do not project as much in the future.

French is 23 years old and has not produced much, with a 35-43 record as a pro.  Robles has more upside than French but is still a pretty big project as he is just in Single A.

Many Tigers fans seemed to be upset to have to part way with Robles, especially with Washburn being a three month rental.  Washburn’s contract is up after this season so the Tigers are clearly making their run at the division right now.

If Robles becomes something big, the Mariners will have the advantage but for now it looks as though the Tigers came out on top.  WINNER: TIGERS

Trade: (July 31st) Oakland Athletics trade Orlando Cabrera to the Minnesota Twins for Tyler Ladendorf

Who Wins: The Twins must feel that they are contenders in the AL Central by trading for a rental at shortstop in Cabrera.  Batting .280 and playing solid defense, Cabrera will help the Twins fight for the top spot.

They gave up very little in Ladendorf who has potential but is struggling in Low A ball.  I have always thought that Cabrera was underrated and believe the Twins come out big winners here, especially if they can pull off the upset of winning the Central.  WINNER: TWINS

Trade: (July 31st) Milwaukee Brewers trade Vinny Rottino to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Claudio Vargas

Who Wins: Vargas was seeing very little action with the Dodgers but will now be thrown into a Brewers starting rotation that is badly looking for starters who can throw a lot of innings.

His second stint with the Brewers will hopefully see him throw those much-needed innings and keep the Brewers in contention in the NL Central.

Rottino was the starting catcher on Italy’s team in the World Baseball Classic, but at 29 years old was stuck in Double A.  With Angel Solome considered to be the future of the Brewers behind the plate, Rottino was expendable.

Both teams made out well on this trade but it will definitely help the Brewers more.  WINNER: BREWERS

Trade: Boston Red Sox trade Justin Masterson to the Cleveland Indians for Justin Masterson, Bryan Price, and Nick Hagadone

Who Wins: Martinez is a huge addition to the already powerful Red Sox and probably put them as the front-runners to win it all.  He will play first base and enter a very dangerous lineup.

Martinez is signed for this year and has a club option for next year that will most surely be picked up.  After that, the Red Sox will obviously have enough money to re-sign him and he should be the first baseman of the future.

He did not come cheap, however.  Masterson is already Major League-ready and the other two prospects have a ton of upside.

Hagadone, when healthy, has great stuff and should see the Majors sometime soon.  The one question mark is that he is coming off of Tommy John surgery and, as is always the case, he might not stay healthy.

Price is further away in terms of progress but is also younger.

Martinez was sad to leave Cleveland but all the wins he will soon rack up in Boston should put a smile back on his face.  Huge win for the Bo Sox.  WINNER: RED SOX

Trade: (July 31st) Cincinnati Reds trade Jerry Hairston Jr. to the New York Yankees for Chase Weems

Who Wins: I researched Weems and he does not seem to be a huge talent and Hairston Jr. will provide some good outfield depth and is a good bat off the bench.

He has never been much in the field but has a little bit of pop in his bat.  For the Reds, they get rid of some cap room and have a young catcher in the minors potentially for the future.  WINNER: YANKEES

Trade: (July 31st) Boston Red Sox trade Adam LaRoche to the Atlanta Braves for Casey Kotchman

Who Wins: I am having trouble figuring out why the Braves would want any piece of this deal.  Kotchman is four years younger than LaRoche and has a ton more upside.  Past that, he is playing better baseball at this point and is the better player.

The Red Sox somehow dumped a player and got better.  For the Braves, they get LaRoche for the second time and now have a decent glove and a power bat to compliment Chipper Jones.

In the end, Kotchman has a ton of upside and is only getting better.  WINNER: RED SOX

Trade: (July 31st) Washington Nationals Joe Beimel to the Colorado Rockies for Ryan Matheus and Robinson Fabian

Who Wins: Beimel will help the bullpen out for a Rockies team that feels as though they have a legitimate shot at winning the wild card this season.

For the Nats, it’s more prospects that are more than likely going to fade out.  Neither have a ton of upside and do not project as big leaguers.  WINNER: ROCKIES

Trade: (July 31st) Cincinnati Reds trade Edwin Encarnacion, Josh Roenicke and Zach Stewart to the Toronto Blue Jays for Scott Rolen

Who Wins: I am a little confused by this deal as Encarnacion is really coming into his own as a big leaguer right now.  His stats do not really tell the story, but he is batting .276 in July after coming back from injury.

The Reds are not contenders for anything this year and would have been wise to keep Encarnacion around for a while.

Rolen is having a pretty good year both with the bat and, as always, in the field.

The two prospects that the Reds gave up are both big league material, so this trade is a tad bit confusing.  WINNER: BLUE JAYS

Trade: (July 31st) San Diego Padres trade Jake Peavy to the Chicago White Sox for Aaron Poreda, Clayton Richard, Adam Russell, and Dexter Carter

Who Wins: Poreda and Richard are two very highly-rated prospects and Richard has already burst on to the scene.  Both are young and talented and should be in the Padres’ rotation for quite some time.

Russell and Carter also have some upside, so it was a lot to give up for the White Sox.

However, if they truly believe that they received one of the best five pitchers in the game today (which I do), then it was the right trade to make.

Peavy will be making boatloads of money over the next five years but the White Sox have a lot of money to spend.  He will anchor the rotation and move Mark Buehrle back to the number two spot, with Gavin Floyd going third.

Kenny Williams always seems to be making deals, and this one is a huge one, but I believe he made out good on this deal.  Peavy had been stuck with a terrible offense for so long but will now get the chance to truly shine.

Poreda and Richard have superstar potential, but any time a talent like Peavy is being dangled in front of you, it’s hard to pass up on it.  WINNER: WHITE SOX

August 1, 2009 Posted by | Baseball, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, MLB, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals | , , , | Leave a comment

Lou Gehrig: One of the Greatest Men to Ever Play the Game

It was 70 years ago today that Lou Gehrig uttered his famous speech that some argue is the greatest moment in Major League Baseball history.
Before the speech and before the disease that would ultimately take his life, there was a man that accomplished so much in the classiest of ways.

Gehrig attended Columbia University after his mother insisted he maintain his education and go to a school that reflected it.  There, he received a full ride scholarship…to play football.

After New York Giants manager John McGraw advised him to play summer professional baseball under an alias, Gehrig was discovered after just a few games and was banned from his freshman year of football.

The next year, Gehrig played fullback for the team and was an outstanding player that fall.  Following the football season, Gehrig joined the Columbia baseball team where he pitched and played first base.

As a pitcher, Gehrig dominated on the hill, striking out 17 batters in one game while smacking home runs that some said were the farthest they had ever seen.

Luckily for Gehrig (and the Yankees), he was being followed very closely by a scout for the Yankees that year.

Paul Kruchell, the man responsible for finding Gehrig, was so impressed by his left-handed hitting that he offered Gehrig a contract with a $1,500 signing bonus.

Gehrig would leave Columbia University after just two years and went to Hartford, where he played minor league ball for the Yankees.

It took Gehrig only a couple of months to make his debut in the pinstripes, although he saw limited action in his first two years as a Yankee.

On June 1, 1925, Gehrig pinch-hit for Paul Wanniger at shortstop and then started at first base the next day.  The everyday first baseman, Wally Pipp, was in a slump and Yankee manager Miller Huggins was looking to shake things up in the lineup.

Little did Huggins know that it would be 13 years and 2,130 games later that someone else would take the field at first base for the Bronx Bombers.

Gehrig’s record of 2,130 consecutive games played would last until 1995, when Cal Ripken Jr. surpassed the mark.

In the time Gehrig played in New York, he was a seven-time All Star, six-time World Series champion, two-time American League MVP, and a Triple Crown Winner in 1934.

He averaged 147 RBI’s a year during his career, ended with a .340 career batting average, and holds 20 American League and Major League records for a first baseman.

Gehrig and Ruth formed one of the best 1-2 punches of all time.

Gehrig and Ruth formed one of the best 1-2 punches of all time.

What made Gehrig’s numbers all that more impressive was that for the majority of his career, he batted behind two of the best run producers of all time in Babe Ruth and Joe Dimaggio, who rank second and 43rd on the all-time RBI list.

Playing with both Ruth and DiMaggio also helped Gehrig fly under the radar for most of his career.  Always known for being one of the nicest men in all the game, Gehrig went out and played his game while leaving most of the fame to the sluggers batting in front of him.

In 1938, the left-handed slugger’s batting average fell below .300 for the first time in 13 years.  He complained of being tired during the second half of the season but couldn’t quite figure out what the problem was.

Doctors first diagnosed Gehrig with a gall bladder infection, but it was clear that was not the issue.

At the start of the 1939 season, it was evident that something had changed with Gehrig physically.

He no longer hit for power, had trouble getting around the basepaths, and even collapsed during a spring training practice.  In the month of April that year, he finished with a .143 batting average and just one RBI.

On May 2, Gehrig approached manager Joe McCarthy and told him he was taking himself out of the lineup for the game that day.

His reasoning?  “For the good of the team,” he said.

As the Tigers took the field to being the game, PA announcer told the fans ” Ladies and gentlemen, this is the first time Lou Gehrig’s name will not appear on the Yankee lineup in 2,130 consecutive games.”

Upon hearing this, Gehrig drew a standing ovation from everyone in Briggs Stadium while he sat on the bench with tears in his eyes.  For the next couple of weeks, Gehrig would stay with the team but would never play the game of baseball again.

After Gehrig’s physical condition continued to decline, he and his wife Eleanor flew to a Mayo Clinic to determine what was wrong with him.  After six days of testing, it was discovered that Gehrig had an extremely rare form of degenerative disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

The outlook was anything but in Gehrig’s favor, as effects of the disease included increasing paralysis, difficulty swallowing and speaking, and a life expectancy of less than five years.

When word spread of Gehrig’s disease, New York sportswriter Paul Gallico came up with the idea to have a day honoring Gehrig for everything he had done for the Yankees.  On June 21, it was announced that July 4 would be Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day at the historic Yankee Stadium.

Two weeks later, July 4, the Yankees played a doubleheader against the Washington Senators.  In between the two games, one of the most famous baseball speeches was given.

Before Gehrig’s speech, the 1927 World Series Champion Yankee team and the current 1939 team lined the field to honor the first baseman.

He was given gifts from various people and groups including the rival New York Giants, groundskeepers from Yankee Stadium, and a trophy presented to Gehrig by his manager and friend Joe McCarthy that was signed by the entire team.

After Gehrig was handed a gift from someone, he needed to put it down in front of him almost immediately because he was too weak to hold almost anything.

That trophy is now on display at the Hall of Fame Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y. and was one of Gehrig’s most prized possessions.

After speeches from New York’s Mayor and Postmaster General, Yankee manager Joe McCarthy headed to the microphone to speak of Gehrig.

Failing to hold back tears, McCarthy spoke of how Gehrig was “the finest example of a ballplayer, sportsman, and citizen that baseball has ever known”.

Next, it was time for Gehrig to deliver his speech.  At first, Gehrig was too emotional to even speak to the crowd of over 61,000.

"The Iron Horse" was one of the greatest sluggers to ever play the game.

"The Iron Horse" was one of the greatest sluggers to ever play the game.

As he moved towards the microphone, the crowd rose to their feet to give Gehrig an ovation.  As he spoke, the fragile Gehrig talked about how lucky of a man he was.

He mentioned how thankful he was of everyone in the Yankees organization, from owner Jacob Ruppert all the way down to the groundskeepers.  He thanked his family for being a blessing to him that allowed him to receive an education and build his body physically.

He also thanked his wife for being ”a tower of strength”.  He ended his speech by saying ”so I close in saying that I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an awful lot to live for. Thank you.”

That’s right.  A man dying from a disease with no cure considered himself “the luckiest man on the face of the earth”.

He was too weak to even carry a trophy given to him by his teammates, yet he thanked them for sharing in the monumental day with him.

Even Babe Ruth, who had been in a feud with Gehrig for the last five years, showed up to honor him.  He put his arm around him and spoke in his ear as the two shared a smile.

Lou Gehrig did not share the ego that Ruth had.  He didn’t have a Marilyn Monroe to match DiMaggio.  What he did have was a larger than life heart, a sincere love of the game, and a winning attitude that saw him accomplish so much during his career.

Gehrig had his jersey number retired that day, and no one has ever worn No. 4 for the Yankees since.

He was the first player ever to have his jersey retired and that following December, Gehrig was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame at just 36 years of age, the youngest player ever elected.

Reporters said that at the end of Gehrig’s speech, fans gave him a standing ovation that lasted two minutes.  70 years later, we continue to applaud Lou Gehrig for everything that he has done for the game of baseball and so much more.

July 4, 2009 Posted by | Baseball, MLB, New York Yankees | , | 2 Comments

MLB Power Rankings: Sunday June 14th

Just feeling a quick blog tonight after coming out of my state of shock that Trevor Hoffman is indeed human.  Here’s my current power rankings for the MLB as of tonight with a sentence on each squad.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers (42-22): Unbelievably, this team has not missed a step after losing slugger Manny Ramirez and is easily the best team in baseball right now.

2. Boston Red Sox (38-25): Their dominance over the Yankees has pushed them into first place in the AL East and David Ortiz is slowly coming around.

3. New York Yankees (36-27): Mark Tiexiera and C.C. Sabathia are finally making good on the huge contracts they signed last off-season.

4. Philadelphia Phillies (36-25): Raul Ibanez has been fantastic and their 23-9 record away from home is unbelievable.

5. Texas Rangers (35-27): Nelson Cruz has been fantastic this year and the Rangers are more than staying alive without Josh Hamilton…so far.

6. Detroit Tigers (34-29): Edwin Jackson looks like the real deal and the Tigers are atop the competitive AL Central.

7. St. Louis Cardinals (34-30): When their rotation is pitching well, they are the best team in the NL Central.

8. Milwaukee Brewers (34-29): Their current rotation is not going to do enough damage to win the division and the bullpen is starting to come back down to earth.

9. San Francisco Giants (34-28): If it weren’t for the Dodgers, we would be talking about the Giants much more.

10. Tampa Bay Rays (34-31): Evan Longoria is keeping the Rays alive but they need to start playing better in close games.

June 14, 2009 Posted by | Baseball, Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, MLB, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers | , , , , , | Leave a comment