By Adam Lawson, WSOE Sports
Well, I hope everybody had a happy 4th of July, and congratulations to Joey Chestnut, he of the 68 hot dogs in 10 minutes without having a fatal heart attack, Roger Federer, Mr. 15 now that he won Wimbledon, and Tiger Woods, who managed to interview himself after a win on Sunday. You three are the big victors of the 4th of July weekend. And before I start my rant, I would like to send my condolences out to the Steve McNair family.
Well, it’s July, and you know what that means. Endless speculation about what will happen on the July 31 (My 20th birthday) trading deadline. Analysts make a habit of congratulating teams for acquiring big names on the deadline, so I thought I would examine some big deadline deals of years past and then provide my analysis of this whole process.
Dodgers acquire Manny Ramirez from Boston
Red Sox get Jason Bay from Pittsburgh
Pirates get Andy LaRoche, Bryan Morris from Dodgers, Brandon Moss, Craig Hansen from Red Sox
Analysts’ view: Big win for the Dodgers. Potential down the line for Pittsburgh, but we will not know for years to come. Red Sox got squeezed, as Bay will not provide nearly the production that ManRam will.
Actual result: Manny Ramirez tore the cover off the ball for the Dodgers, but they lost in the playoffs. Now, he just got suspended for fifty games, leaving fans of Dodgertown divided over whether or not they owe this guy loyalty and support over Mr. Do-Everything-Right Juan Pierre. Pittsburgh is stuck in mediocrity.
Brewers acquire C.C. Sabathia from Indians
Tribe land Brewers outfield prospect Matt LaPorta
Analysts’ view: Big win for the Brew Crew. Now they will actually be able to contend for a World Series.
Actual result: Sabathia helped big time, until he left in the offseason. Guess what? No World Series championship for Milwaukee, and now the Indians have a star in the future in LaPorta.
Angels acquire Mark Teixeira from Braves
Atlanta gets Casey Kotchman and minor league pitcher Steve Marek from Angels.
Analysts’ view: The team with the best record in baseball finally gets some power at first base. Expect a victory parade in LA, because with Manny going to the Dodgers, we’re going to have a Freeway Series in the Fall Classic.
Result: Yeah…. about that. Teixeira left for the big bucks the Yankees dangled him. Meanwhile, the Braves landed a gold glove first baseman that they can use for at least a couple of seasons while they await stud first base prospect Freddie Freeman as he navigates the minors.
Braves acquire Mark Teixeira, Ron Mahay
Rangers get Braves prospects: SS Elvis Andrus, C Jarrod Saltalamacchia, RHP Neftali Perez, LHP Matt Harrison, and LHP Beau Jones
Analysts’ view: Braves finally have the pieces to make a strong playoff chase in the NL East.
Result: Yeah, that didn’t happen. Not even close. And the Braves in turn dealt the probable AL Rookie of the Year this year in Andrus, perhaps the best pitching prospect left in the minors in Perez, and solid MLB players Harrison and Saltalamacchia for a hunch. Perhaps the worst deal ever made by former Braves GM John Schuerholz
Okay, so you see a few deals of the past. Analysts like Steve Phillips, who is a former GM for a reason, he couldn’t get that job done, touting deals as the final piece to a championship. Well, guess what, that doesn’t typically work, and it normally works in the reverse. The Rangers are finally able to compete in the AL West because of the sweepstakes they won when they raided the Atlanta farm system. The Red Sox have an outfielder in Bay that is producing more than Ramirez. And the Phillies are the defending world champs despite not making a major move at least year’s deadline. The bottom line when dealing a big name, stud, player: Get as many highly-touted prospects as you can, because it will help your club one day. If you are getting a big name, stud player, buyer beware, because you will likely have him for half a season before the Yankees buy him away, so you better win it all. Otherwise, you owe the fans an explanation.