Sunday, September 20, 2009

Major Trades

We've seen a slew of trades in the last week or so, a few of which could very well affect the pennant races. Here's what we've seen:

St. Louis Silly Nannies and Trenton Traffic

St. Louis gets: CF Gary Nelson, IF Miguel Cerveza

Trenton gets: RF Butch Russell (AAA), SS Ted Kelly (AAA)

Analysis: St. Louis gets a CF of the future in Nelson- he's good defensively and will hit enough. He may not hit for a great average, but he'll provide some pop. Cerveza may be the happiest guy in this trade- Trenton expected a lot out of him after signing him to a big free-agent deal last season, but he lost his starting job this season and was getting booed by fans. He'll get a shot at a regular job again in St. Louis, this time likely at third. Trenton gets Russell, a speedy corner outfielder who needs to prove he can hit enough to be productive in the majors. Kelly is a good defensive shortstop who won't be a star offensively, but Trenton thinks he'll hit more than enough to hold the position eventually.

Milwaukee Manic Maulers and Salem Sacrifices

Milwaukee gets: CF Nate Cox

Salem gets: IF Pascual Alonso (AAA), SP Nerio Branson (AAA)

Analysis: This is a good addition for the Maulers. They're not having the season they had hoped to have, but they're only 4 back of St. Louis for the division lead and have the inside track at a wild card spot even if they can't catch the Silly Nannies. Cox was an MVP-caliber player in the NL and adds a bat to a lineup that has been in the middle of the AL pack this season. The only question is whether Cox or superstar Luis Martinez will have to move out of CF, although that shouldn't be much of a concern. As for Salem, I'm not sure they got enough out of this deal. Alonso seems to be a below-average shortstop defensively and doesn't hit enough to justify playing him anywhere else. Branson will be a bottom of the rotation type guy in the ML.

Atlanta Bandits and Chicago Snake Tamers

Atlanta gets: CF Paul Turnbow

Chicago gets: CF Shea Omlansky (Hi-A), IF Cody Smart (AA)

Analysis: Interesting move for Atlanta, since they already have a good defensive centerfielder in Lynn Abernathy, but stocking up on talent is rarely a bad move. Turnbow has disappointed a bit on offense, but he's only 24 and may not have peaked yet; defensively he's already in Abernathy's class. It will be interesting to see which one moves to LF to replace the departed Vicente Romero. As often is the case, Atlanta GM cantarski may be ahead of the curve here, as he may have grabbed Turnbow (originally a 1st round draft pick of division rival Trenton) in preparation for Abernathy approaching free-agency after the season. Chicago gets Omlansky, who could be a big-time hitter if he can put it together on the major league level; he's a few seasons away. Smart reminds scouts a lot of Alonso (see above)- a psuedo SS who won't hit enough to justify playing him anywhere else.

Salt Lake City Shakers and Trenton Traffic

Salt Lake City gets: SP Alex Sanchez

Trenton gets: RF Tito Harris (AAA), IF Joey Hartman (AAA)

Analysis: Sanchez provides depth to a staff that reguarly goes with a 4-man rotation- if he can find the form he had back when he was with Atlanta, this would be a steal for the Shakers. He struggled with Trenton, but still has plenty of ability. This was a little bit of a roll of the dice for Salt Lake City, but it's tempered by the fact that they didn't give up a great deal to get him. Harris is a corner outfielder who hits well against lefties but is average against righties, and Hartman is a guy without a set position.

Trenton Traffic and Salem Sacrifices

Trenton gets: SP Dave Dunwoody, SP Dwight Salmon

Salem gets: SP Tito Mercedes, SP Sammy Garrido (AAA), CF Curtis Smart (AAA)

Analysis: And now the previous two deals from Trenton make sense. The inclusion of Cerveza and the dealing of Sanchez was motivated in part to clear cap room so they could pull off this one. Dunwoody and Salmon may be 32 and 33, respectively, but clearly Trenton believes they both have something left and can make them dangerous in a short series. This shifts Trenton onto the short list of contenders and puts them in a win-now mode. On Salem's end, this marks the end of an era, as they dealt their most high-profile guys from their title team with this deal and the Cox deal. The good news is, this deal gives them some pieces they can use to rebuild. Garrido may never be Dunwoody or Salmon, but he's got top of the rotation potential. Smart is a good defensive CF who Trenton deemed expendable with the emergence of Watty Miller; he may not replace Cox, but he'll be a mainstay for season to come. Mercedes may never become the star that scouts once projected, but he's a solid starter/long reliever.

Seattle Killer Whales and Chicago Snake Tamers

Seattle gets: 1B Osvaldo Johnson, RP Frankie Ligtenburg, SP Marty Lane
Chicago gets: SP Slash Ruffin, IF James Palmer(AA), SP Murray Crane(AAA)

Analysis: Johnson is the biggest name here. He was among the NL leaders in homers and RBI and adds to a fairly deep lineup. Ligtenburg is tough on lefties and Lane may be overrated, but he provides more depth for the pitching staff. I think Seattle would have to be considered the odds-on favorite to represent the AL in the World Series at this point. Chicago looks to rebuild- they could do far worse than these three. They'll get talented 22-year-old rookie starter Slash Ruffin, potential 5-tool infielder James Palmer, and enigmatic but potentially good starter Murray Crane.

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