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Busy Trade Deadline
August 1, 2014 - Al Stephenson
The major league baseball trading deadline has passed but not without some big names swapping teams. More trades may will follow, though they will be more difficult because now players must clear waivers. Why the flurry of activity? Well, there are two main causes. First: the chance to win now versus throwing in the towel for the season and building for the future. Second: free agency.
The two apparent winners: Detroit and Oakland. The biggest loser: Boston. The Tigers landed David Price from Tampa in a three team trade. The move gives Detroit the last three AL Cy Young winners. Price is dealing this season as is Max Scherzer. If Justin Verlander gets his act together, the Tigers may just win the World Series. They had to unload Austin Jackson, but he can be replaced. I don't think the Tigers even had to make a deal to win the mediocre Central Division, but this move may pay off in the playoffs.
Oakland continues to amass starting pitching after the deal with the Cubs a couple of weeks ago. Getting Jon Lester from the Red Sox will give them a formidable four man rotation for the playoffs, but they had to give up a big bat and a cannon in the outfield in Yoenis Cespedes to land Lester. They think they can replace Cespedes and you can never have enough pitching which is needed in the playoffs. Will this work for the A's? Time will tell, but sometimes a player needs time to adjust to new surroundings. These guys don't have the luxury of time.
Boston decided it was not going to get to the playoffs a year after being World Series champions. They unloaded Johnny Gomes in the Lester deal and sent John Lackey to the Cardinals. GM Ben Chivington admits that he is giving up on this season to build for the future. That is probably a hard pill for Boston fans to swallow, but they may reap the benefits later, especially if Lester decides to resign with the Sox in the off season.
You see Lester is a free agent after this year. He likes Boston and a return would not surprise many baseball fans. If that happens then Boston got Cespedes for Gomes - a pretty good deal, don't you think? Short term losers could turn into long term winners.
Free agency is the main reason the Indians gave up Justin Masterson and Asdrubal Cabrera. Masterson went to the Cardinals and Cabrera to the Nationals for a pair of minor leaguers that most Cleveland fans have never heard of. This is tough for an Indians team that is floundering near the five hundred mark and not likely to make the playoffs, because they have a close knit clubhouse. These deals were made more for the free agency factor as opposed to throwing in the towel. This Indian fan is noncommittal as far as the deals are concerned. For me, it will be a wait and see attitude. A couple of years from now these deals may look real good.
The view from my seat suggests that the business side of baseball would make it difficult for me to be a general manager. As a judge at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, my expertise would consist of "you're cute, you win." Similarly, if I like the way a baseball player acts (as opposed to performing on the field) he would stay.
Luckily for all baseball fans, I am not a GM. The deadline deals bring hope, disappointment and even anger, but not stagnancy. And that folks, gives us all this water cooler talk!
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