Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Pence and Victorino Head West
There wasn't any huge trades made yesterday, but there were some impactful trades made on the deadline. The bigger names were already moved in the last week. I'm talking about Ichiro Suzuki, Hanley Ramirez, and Zack Greinke. Greinke joins an already good rotation headed by Jered Weaver and CJ Wilson. There were rumors of Cliff Lee being put on the market, but the Phillies decided to hold on to him. They did make some moves, however.
Shane Victorino has been with the Phillies since the 2005 season, and has been their starting center fielder since the 2008 season. He was part of their 2008 championship team, won 3 Gold Gloves, and made 2 All Star teams as a Phillie. He's having a down year compared to last season, but should still help the Dodgers out with his defense, speed, and gives them a good leadoff hitter. Ironically, Victorino was originally drafted by the Dodgers in 1999. He's a pending free agent at the end of the year, and the Dodgers had to give up 3 prospects to get him(including a player to be named later). Reliever Josh Lindblom provides some immediate help for the Phils. The Dodgers also acquired reliever Brandon League from the Mariners. League made the All Star team last season.
Victorino's teammate, Hunter Pence, will be playing on the other side of the rivalry with the Giants. Pence helps a mediocre offense, that is weak outside of Buster Posey, Melky Cabrera, and Pablo Sandoval. They also acquired infielder Marco Scutaro earlier last month.The Phillies acquired Pence from the Astros last year in a deadline deal for four prospects. Jonathon Singleton and Jarred Cosart were the best of the bunch the Phils gave up. In a surprising move, the Phils traded Pence a year later to the Giants. Pence still has a year left before hitting free agency, and was one of the younger players in the Phillies lineup. The Giants gave up outfielder Nate Schierholtz and two minor league prospects. The Phillies got a catcher for the future in Tommy Joseph. Carlos Ruiz is having the best season of his career, but is 33.
The Cubs made a couple of deals with the Rangers before the deadline. On Monday, Geovany Soto was traded to the Rangers for a minor league reliever. Soto hasn't been the same player since winning the NL Rookie of the Year in 2008. He's had subpar years three out of the last four years, and is currently batting under the Mendoza line. His defense is average to mediocre as well. I'm not sure how much this helps the Rangers, but maybe a change of scenery will help Soto.
On Tuesday, the Rangers traded for Soto's battery mate, Ryan Dempster. Dempster already vetoed a trade to the Braves, and the Cubs couldn't work out a trade to the Dodgers. The Rangers traded to A ball prospects to get Dempster. With Roy Oswalt struggling, and Colby Lewis and Neftali Feliz out for the year, the Rangers needed pitching help. They also felt like they needed to make a move to counter the Angels, who picked up Zack Greinke last weekend. Dempster is no Greinke, but should help the Rangers out. It should rejuvenate both Dempster and Soto to get off the perennial loser Cubs, and have a chance to make a World Series. As for the Cubs, they are in rebuilding mode. Its a good baseball move to rid themselves of veterans for prospects.
The Pirates added starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez last week, and added first baseman Gaby Sanchez, outfielder Travis Snider, and veteran reliever Chad Qualls in the last couple of days. Sanchez made the All Star team last year, but has been terrible this year and was demoted to the minors. Still, the Pirates didn't give up much to get him. They also traded reliever Brad Lincoln to the Blue Jays for Snider. Snider is another guy who hasn't lived up to his potential. The Pirates are hoping that a change of scenery could help these guys. Also, corner infielder Casey McGehee was traded to the Yankees for Qualls.
Walt Jocketty pulled off a good move for the Reds yesterday. He traded for Royals closer Jonathon Broxton, trading two prospects to get him. Broxton joins an already impressive bullpen that includes Aroldis Chapman, Sean Marshall, Logan Ondrusek, and Jose Arredondo. The three headed beast of Chapman, Broxton, and Marshall is the best bullpen trio the Reds have had since the 1990 World Championship team Nasty Boys trio of Randy Myers, Rob Dibble, and Norm Charlton. Hopefully this year's version of the Reds aren't as successful.
The Cardinals didn't make a big trade at the deadline, but John Mozeliak traded for a reliever. The Cardinals acquired right hander Edwin Mujica from the Marlins for Triple A third baseman Zack Cox. He had already added lefty Brian Fuentes, who was signed after being released earlier this month. This year, Mujica has a 4.39 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. Mujica was pretty solid in 2010 and 2011, but has a 4.13 career ERA. Mujica is also signed through next season.
Cox was the Cardinals first round pick in 2010, so I expected the Cardinals to be able to get more out of him. I'm not going to freak out about this trade like I did the Colby Rasmus deal last year, though. Cox had struggled in Triple A earlier this year, batting only .254. Last year, Cox batted .309 in High A and Double A. But, Cox is also expendable because he can only play third base, and he's blocked by David Freese and Matt Carpenter at the big league level. Cox has also been compared to Brett Wallace, who hasn't had much success at the big league level yet. Still, I was thinking Cox could of been part of a package for a better player like Wallace was(Matt Holliday). Mujica has had some success in the past, and hopefully getting out of Ozzie Guillen's zoo will help him out.