First of all, congrats to The Bigs Daily News itself for reaching a milestone- kj's update of his team's offseason moves was the 300th post for TBDN. The best news outlet of its kind is almost a year and a half old now and still going strong.
We didn't see the large quantity of deals come down as we've seen in past seasons, but almost all the deals that were done were of the blockbuster variety. Here's a rundown of some of the biggest trades going into Season 6 of the league (as usual, all players without a level listed are ML players):
Toronto Toros and Cheyenne Nation
Toronto gets: 3B Orlando Diaz, SS Gustavo Contreras (Hi-A), P Sparky Diaz (AAA)
Cheyenne gets: CF Dewey Greenwood, LF Rick Forster (AAA)
Analysis: Cheyenne is looking to take the next step up to compete with teams like Fargo and Atlanta, and they're obviously in a win-now mode. Greenwood is a big-time talent at the CF position, as the injury trouble that plagued him early in his career seems to be behind him. He provides good defense in center and a middle of the order-type bat. Forster had a big-time season at AA, but he's already 25- I wouldn't consider him as good a prospect as his ratings or his AA numbers might indicate. He does, however, have talent and could turn out to be a good ML ballplayer. As for Toronto, Diaz is a nice hitter in right field, but they are rebuilding and Contreras was the key to the deal for the Toros. Only 20 years old, scouts rave about both his defense and his speed. He appears to have enough offensive skill to make him a decent-to-good hitter, which will be good enough. Diaz, a swingman, is a roster filler- he could see ML playing time if injuries occur or there is a general lack of depth. All in all, I'd say this should work out well for both teams. Greenwood helps the Cheyenne offense now, and Contreras is a good piece for Toronto to have in a few seasons.
Fargo Dirtbags and Washington D.C. Blue Coats
Fargo gets: 3B David Rushford
Washington gets: RP Alex Javier
Analysis: Fargo gets a big-time bat to add to the middle of their order. The face of the Blue Coats franchise, Rushford had a career year last season. Fargo has been a bit light on offense in previous seasons- Rushford definitely fills a need. Ordinarily, a reliever would not be enough value for a guy like Rushford, but Javier is no ordinary reliever. Only 23 years old, Javier's fastball and nasty slurve can be unhittable when he's on. He saved 34 games for Fargo last season and will only get better. If Bert Price can handle the closer's role, Fargo should benefit greatly from this deal, but Washington got a dominant closer.
Louisville Legends and Houston Riverdogs
Louisville gets: RP Tom Cummings
Houston gets: C Cy Hughes
Analysis: Houston fills a need at catcher with Hughes, who calls a good game and has a decent arm. His offensive averages for the last 5 seasons have been about 27 HRs and 94 RBI- if Houston gets that out of Hughes, they could consider this a steal. Cummings is a solid middle reliever who will give you innings.
Chicago Snake Tamers and Norfolk Destroyers
Chicago gets: SP Babe Broadhurst
Norfolk gets: 3B Jay Walker
Analysis: Chicago felt the need to respond to Fargo's acquistion of Rushford, so they upgraded their pitching staff with this deal, getting the most recognizable name in Norfolk for the past five seasons in Broadhurst. The 34-year-old Brick, NJ native has his name all over the Destroyer pitching record book and should give Chicago 200+ quality innings this season. Walker has always had talent, but has 2 seasons left at $10 million per, which is a lot for a guy who has never hit more than 20 homers and never driven in 90 runs. The 31-year-old Walker doesn't make the Destroyers much younger, either.
San Juan Dead Bunnies and Chicago Snake Tamers
San Juan gets: 2B Derrin Hernandez, SP Hipolito Pujols
Chicago gets: LF/1B Oswaldo Johnson, LF Ronald Spurgeon
Analysis: After getting an ace pitcher, Chicago grabs arguably the best hitter on the market in the 3-time NL MVP Johnson to face the army of Dirtbag pitchers. Spurgeon is a player whose stats have steadily declined in his 30's. San Juan gets a big-time talent in Hernandez, who never really found his way in Chicago- maybe a change of scenery will help him find his offense. Pujols is joining his 4th team in 4 seasons, but the last 2 would seem to suggest he's found his way after his devstating season 1 injury- he'll never be great, but he's a solid #2 or #3 type guy. Chicago felt they needed another bat to go with Sean Simpson and felt they couldn't wait for Hernandez, so they'll take Johnson and look to catch Fargo. For San Juan, Hernandez was a nice return for Johnson- the acquisition of both him and Pujols indicate San Juan is still trying to win this season.
New York New York and Houston Riverdogs
New York gets: RP Jason Franco (AA), RP Achilles Hume, 2B Mule Mulholland (AA)
Houston gets: SP Jason Sprague
Analysis: Houston gets a pitcher who, if he had won a few more games, could have been in serious Cy Young Award contention. He's now arguably the best starter on a very good team. Apparently New York felt it needed help in the bullpen- Hume is a decent reliever, and Franco should be OK on the major league level as well. The best prospect of the three is Mulholland, a 2B with good speed and good pop. If Mulholland pans out, this could work out for New York; if not, then New York didn't get nearly enough for Sprague in my opinion.
Chicago Snake Tamers and Salem Sacrifices
Chicago gets: RP Julius Holliday (AA)
Salem gets: OF Hideki Martin
Analysis: Salem gets a guy who can hit for a pretty good average (the power seems to have disappeared since the Beach Combers left Huntington for Boston) and has good speed. Chicago gets a marginal reliever prospect- after all the moves they made, they saw Martin as expendable and cleared both a roster space and cap space.
Monterrey Sultans and Trenton Traffic
Monterrey gets: SP Johnnie Reagan
Trenton gets: SS Brandon Martin (AAA)
Analysis: After Broadhurst and Sprague were dealt, there were few viable starting pitching options out on the market. Monterrey gets a talented starter whose career high is 26 starts. Traded to Trenton before season 1 ever started, he'll provide some depth and perhaps he'll be helped by not having to be the ace of the staff, as he was expected to be in New Jersey. Trenton gets a talented SS on both sides of the ball in Martin. Trenton appears to be a season or two away from competing- the keystone combination of Martin and Watty Miller has Trenton fans excited about the future. This is a deal where there are some question marks about both players (durability in particular for both), so we really have to wait to see what happens before judging this deal.