Tuesday, August 4, 2009

MLB trading deadline winners and losers

By Rick Morris

1 St. Louis: Matt Holliday is proving what we said, that he got a bad rap by those who forecast much poorer production from him once he left Coors. If the pitching is for real, and there's no reason to believe it isn't, the lineup can now hold up its end of the bargain.

2 Philadelphia: Getting Cliff Lee -- the legitimate second half of a 1-2 punch that you generally now need to win playoff series but the team did not have anyway in its world championship campaign last year -- while still holding onto the team's most prized prospects? Thievery.

3 Chicago White Sox: The Sox are long-term winners with Jake Peavy regardless of his availability this year. They have a pitcher who makes a case for being the best in the game when healthy for a few more critical years. Sure, they gave up top prospects and he's a tad iffy to be ready anytime soon, but you take a franchise player when you can get one.

4 Boston: They didn't shore up their starting pitching, but nobody has a deeper lineup now that Victor Martinez & Company are on board. If the team can avoid the juvenile temptation to keep running Old Man Winter out behind the plate day after day and actually use Martinez back there more than once in a blue moon, they'll be set from top to bottom with the lineup. They should have looked at another starting pitcher, though.

5 Detroit: Jarrod Washburn helps their rotation, but he wasn't an impact addition on a team that frankly still doesn't look able to stand up to the best of the West and East in the playoffs.

6 New York Yankees: They say they didn't need much and that's why they didn't do much. Jerry Hairston helps their versatility, but could this aging team have added one more piece? That's the question they'll be asking themselves this winter if they don't win it all.

1 Los Angeles Dodgers: It's a heck of a calculated risk to pass on another top arm for a team without the aforementioned 1-2 playoff punch that the Phils now boast. George Sherrill in the bullpen can now help to make games a seven-inning affair and if he succeeds, the risk will pay off in the end. But you have to have leads to defend and we will now see if the Dodgers present themselves as another great regular season team that can't finish in October.

2 Chicago Cubs: Granted, they were victims of circumstance with the payroll already tied up in this lineup, but a team as disappointing in terms of punch as they have been really needed an infusion somewhere -- especially with Matt Holliday moving down near the arch.

3 San Francisco: How a team has made it this far with seven holes in their lineup is amazing -- and a testament to the greatness of the front end of the rotation. However, the fact that Ryan Garko and Freddy Sanchez are now considered upgrades in the lineup is a testament to how pathetic the hitting still remains.

4 Tampa Bay: Honestly, there wasn't room for the cheap ownership to make one more move? We called it a year ago at the trading deadline when we said that the team failed to acquire the one additional stick that would put them over the top. This time around, another DH bat or a relief arm would have helped, but the price to be paid may be sitting at home as the third-best team in the AL -- and also, unfortunately, their own division.

5 Minnesota: Orlando Cabrera? That's it? Sorry about that.

6 Cleveland: As a rule, sellers can only make this list if they behave in an exceptionally stupid manner. The arrogant and clueless Mark Shapiro, who thinks he invented baseball -- why, just ask him -- managed to leave the top prospects of the Red Sox and Phillies in their respective organizations when he gave away Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez. What a putz.

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