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Trade deadline winners and losers

Trade deadline winners and losers

Trade deadline winners and losers
FOXSports.com

None of the trades was as good as Kevin Garnett to the Celtics.

Still, the non-waiver deadline was far from the colossal bore that many predicted, thanks mainly to the Rangers, who traded first baseman Mark Teixeira, closer Eric Gagne and center fielder Kenny Lofton.

Winners


1. Braves

Wow.

They couldn't address their need for a No. 3 starter after the White Sox balked at shortstop Edgar Renteria and Class AA lefty Matt Harrison for right-hander Jon Garland. So, GM John Schuerholz did the next-best thing, upgrading other parts of his club.

Not only did Schuerholz acquire Teixeira, who was by far the best hitter on the market, but he also supplemented his bullpen by adding left-hander Ron Mahay in the Teixeria blockbuster and righty Octavio Dotel in a separate trade.

The Braves entered Tuesday's play with the eighth-best record in the National League. No longer are they the eighth-best team. Schuerholz probably will be retired by the time some of the prospects he dealt reach the majors, but so what? He usually trades the right guys.

2. Red Sox

GM Theo Epstein is always relentless, always creative. His acquisition of Gagne — and adept navigation through Gagne's no-trade clause to Boston — could make the Red Sox a World Series favorite. After losing Bobby Abreu to the Yankees last season, the Sox again operated more like — ahem — an uber-team.

Gagne will get the save opportunities that Jonathan Papelbon doesn't and maybe a few more, helping Papelbon stay fresh for the post-season. Epstein failed to find a better right-handed hitting outfielder than outfielder Wily Mo Pena, but that's nitpicking. His proposed acquisition of White Sox right fielder Jermaine Dye seemed excessive from the start.

3. Rangers

First off, owner Tom Hicks needs to shut up.

Hicks can spout off about offering Teixeira about $140 million for eight years, but it was an offer Teixeira was certain to refuse. Everyone in baseball knows that Teixeira's agent, Scott Boras, prefers his clients to determine their values on the open market. Heck, Hicks should know it better than anyone, having signed many a Boras client, including a certain $252-million bauble way back when.

As for the Rangers, their exact plan is unclear, but that's how it always looks when a team begins to reconstruct. GM Jon Daniels collected nine young players for Teixeira, Mahay, Gagne and Lofton. Some are so young, Daniels, 29, might be in his mid-30s by the time they reach the majors.

Stilll, if three or four of the prospects prove to be keepers — and Jarrod Saltalamacchia is pretty close to a sure thing — the trades will be considered a success.

4. Yankees

Yes, the Yankees. If you're going to rip them when they act like rich bullies, then at least give them credit when they show restraint. GM Brian Cashman is wisely hoarding his young pitching, and rookie right-handers Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain could be the Yankees' biggest second-half additions.

Chamberlain, who was drafted only a year ago, is desperately needed to fill a setup role, but the task might not be as daunting as it sounds. The Angels' Francisco Rodriguez, White Sox's Bobby Jenks and Cardinals' Adam Wainwright are recent examples of young relievers who thrived for World Series champions.

5. Dodgers

Like the Yankees, they get points for not doing anything stupid. They made a bold push for A's right-hander Joe Blanton, offering three highly regarded prospects, but in the end settled for right-handed reliever Scott Proctor from the Yankees.

It's difficult to embrace that move after Proctor was Torre-ized (i.e., worn down by excessive use), but it's not as if any of the other NL West contenders made significant improvements.

6. Devil Rays

At least they're trying. GM Andrew Friedman envisions the team fielding a potentially strong rotation next season, so he's hellbent on fortifying his cover-your-eyes bullpen.

Friedman made three trades for relievers, stunning the industry by landing Astros right-hander Dan Wheeler, who was coveted by several contenders.

Maybe none of his deals will work out — relievers are notoriously untrustworthy — but Friedman is just getting started on his bullpen overhaul.

Losers

1. Pirates

The idea of adding veteran right-hander Matt Morris to lead a young rotation isn't ridiculous. But has anyone with the Pirates seen Morris pitch lately?

Over his last eight starts he has allowed almost two hits per inning, his ERA rising from 2.56 to 4.35. Morris, who turns 33 on Aug. 9, is one of the game's great competitors, but his successful opening to the season now looks like an aberration.

No low-revenue team can afford a No. 5 starter earning $9.5 million, and that description could very well fit Morris next season. GM Dave Littlefield just keeps digging himself a bigger hole.

2. Nationals

Can anyone figure out what the heck they're doing?

While claiming to build for the future, the Nats signed two thirty-something veterans, first baseman Dmitri Young and second baseman Ron Belliard, to two-year extensions. They then failed to trade closer Chad Cordero, setup man Jon Rauch or any other players, irritating rival clubs with their excessive demands.

Cordero, 25, might never have greater trade value; he is eligible for free agency after the '09 season, and given the volatile nature of relievers, likely to decline before then. But hey, the Nationals couldn't move Alfonso Soriano in the middle of a career year, so asking them to move Cordero for say, two decent prospects . . . well, it was just too much.

3. Angels

It's amazing how one of the game's best organizations annually ends up on this list, but the Angels have this annoying habit of targeting one player — Paul Konerko as a free agent after the '05 season, Teixeira at this year's deadline — then retreating when their best efforts fail.

In fairness, the Angels had a deal in place for shortstop Miguel Tejada last season before Orioles owner Peter Angelos interceded, and they made a competitive offer for Teixeira. But too often, the Angels point out why deals don't make sense instead of why they do. And unless they make a waiver move in August, they'll again be left with too little around Vladimir Guerrero.

4. Mariners

Maybe this is why the Angels were comfortable standing pat. The Mariners dispatched scouts all over North America to investigate trade possibilities, yet the only player they moved was Class AAA right-hander Julio Mateo, who was charged with assaulting his wife in May.

5. Twins

It's not so much the trade of second baseman Luis Castillo for two minor leaguers, dubious as that move was at a time when the team is still in contention for a postseason berth. That deal would have been acceptable, considering that Castillo is a potential free agent, if it had been accompanied by a separate deal for say, a third baseman.

Ace left-hander Johan Santana was not wrong to express his frustration. While GM Terry Ryan values stability and continuity, he should have acted in June to bolster his offense rather than simply wait for outfielder Rondell White to return from the disabled list.

6. White Sox

They huffed, and they puffed, and they traded . . . Rob Mackowiak?

The Sox planned on right-hander Jose Contreras being their principal chip, but his poor recent performance and $20 million guaranteed in 2008 and '09 foiled that strategy. GM Ken Williams aimed too high with right fielder Jermaine Dye, and now must offer him arbitration to recoup draft picks.

In-betweens

1. Indians/Tigers

Neither club improved its bullpen, but think about it: Gagne was the only impact reliever who was traded. And, given his history of injuries, even he's not a guarantee.

Dotel, Wheeler, Proctor and Scott Linebrink all have struggled at times this season. The prices for Cordero and others were simply too high.

At least the Tigers added lefty Macay McBride from the Braves for lefty Wil Ledezma, who later was designated for assignment and sent to the Padres.

They can acquire another reliever in August if righties Fernando Rodney and/or Joel Zumaya fail to make successful returns from injuries.

The Indians, who added Lofton, are not necessarily finished, either.

2. Padres

Michael Barrett, Milton Bradley, Scott Hairston, Rob Mackowiak, Morgan Ensberg, Shea Hillenbrand on a minor-league contract . . . it all adds up to what, exactly?

Replacing hitting coach Merv Rettenmund with Wally Joyner is yet another low-impact move that would have paled in comparison next to, say, the addition of an Adam Dunn.

3. Phillies

Second baseman Tadahito Iguchi and right-hander Kyle Lohse were reasonable grabs for a team with a thin farm system and injury-depleted roster, but the addition of Mateo is certain to draw criticism in Philadelphia.

The Phillies foolishly allowed right-hander Brett Myers to pitch last season the day after he was arrested for hitting his wife, Kim. Myers took a short leave of absence from the team, and his case was dismissed last October after Kim said that she did not want him prosecuted.

Mateo is Myers II, at least from a public-relations standpoint. Then again, Mateo was 3-1 with a 0.79 ERA, 29 strikeouts and two walks in 34 1/3 innings at Class AAA Tacoma. Any uproar will subside quickly if he pitches well for the Phillies.

4. Astros

The ultimate tweeners, thanks to owner Drayton McLane, who never wants to concede.

McLane's position is semi-understandable, seeing as how he signed left fielder Carlos Lee for $100 million, first baseman Lance Berkman for $85 million and right-hander Roy Oswalt for $73 million.

Still, the Astros needed to do more than just trade reliever Dan Wheeler for third baseman Ty Wigginton and Ensberg to the Padres for a player to be named or cash.

It would have made sense to trade closer Brad Lidge rather than pay him $8 million or more in his final year of arbitration, then potentially lose him as a free agent.

The Astros need to stockpile more young talent, and potential August deals involving players such as right-hander Jason Jennings, infielder Mark Loretta and third baseman Mike Lamb won't bring enough.

5. Reds

Class AA left-hander Matt Maloney was a decent return for Lohse, and the team still might trade Jeff Conine to the Mets in August.

Adam Dunn's contract, though, features one trap door after another, which is one reason he is difficult to deal.

The Reds could not get an adequate return for Dunn because his $13 million club option for next season voids if they move him, reducing him to a two-month rental.

If the Reds exercise the option, Dunn will gain full no-trade protection until June 15. If they decline it, they will receive only draft picks in return.

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