A few big trades were consumated during the spring training period- interestingly enough, all three trades involved the top two contenders in the NL East. So here's how they continue to jockey for position...
Trenton Traffic and Houston Riverdogs
Trenton gets: SP Jason Sprague
Houston gets: LF Bret King, IF Kenneth Perkins
Analysis: An interesting deal. Trenton was looking for another quality starter to fit behind Dunwoody and Salmon- they get Sprague, one of the best available starters. He could be the #1 starter for plenty of teams in the majors- he'll be asked to be #3 on this team, transforming the Traffic's rotation into a good and deep one. Houston gets King, a good all-around hitter who can get on base and steal some bases, but also has some pop as well. Perkins could be a decent player in the right situation- he's got some pop and a good eye.
Atlanta Bandits and Boston Bambinos
Atlanta gets: LF Trever Russell
Boston gets: RF Ryan Snyder, SP Pascual Beltre (AAA)
Analysis: Atlanta gets a younger and possibly better all-around hitter in Russell, who's not nearly as fast as Snyder but should hit for a higher average. They also get out from Snyder's contract, which runs through next season. Snyder, at 32, is still a productive player who can hit homers and steal bases. Boston also gets Beltre, a starter who could be a #4 or #5 starter on some teams.
Atlanta Bandits and New Orleans Voodoo
Atlanta gets: CF Gary Haynes (AAA), RP Morris Gonzales (AA)
New Orleans gets: IF/OF Gregg Black
Analysis: This was all about the money for Atlanta. Kicking in $5 million, they still shed almost $4.5 million in salary for a guy who is near the end of the line. As for the players they got back, Haynes is at best a defensive replacement in CF- I don't think he'll hit enough to hold down a full time CF job, and Gonzales is likely to need a ticket to ever see the inside of a major league stadium. New Orleans is hoping to build off last season's playoff appearance- they realize they'll need more offense, so they went out and got an aging Black, who can still hit. This move doesn't kill them financially, as Black's deal is up after this season.