All that chatter and it all turned into a big box of nothing. How good would “Let’s Make a Deal” have been if ol’ Monty Hall had turned to the contestants and nobody opted for a switch?
That’s what it felt like around 4 o’clock Wednesday when baseball’s zonk-of-a-trade-deadline passed.
Michael Young and Cliff Lee stayed in Philadelphia. Neither the Yankees nor the Red Sox could snare Young, with the Yankees also unable to deal Phil Hughes or give away Joba Chamberlain for a bag of baseballs. All that Internet buzz that the Marlins might part with Giancarlo Stanton or the Blue Jays might dangle Jose Bautista in front of the Rangers in the event Nelson Cruz gets a Biogenesis ban? Garbage.
Why was it so quiet? General managers need to push the deadline back, from July 31 to perhaps Aug. 15, because of last year’s addition of the second wild-card.
Only eight teams entered Thursday as many as 10 games out of that final playoff slot. With 55-60 games to go for basically everyone, there were simply too many teams not willing to sell.
(Repeating my annual caveat: Wednesday was the non-waiver deadline. Teams can make deals but players will need to clear waivers and must be on your team by Aug. 31 to be postseason eligible.).
In analyzing the deals with the most impact, you have to look at the American League East, as the Red Sox landed Jake Peavy from the White Sox and the Orioles got Bud Norris from Houston while the 35-70 Astros were playing at Camden Yards. And, the Yankees got a key right-handed bat last weekend by adding Alfonso Soriano from the Cubs. More important is the return of Derek Jeter and the expected arrival of Curtis Granderson this weekend in San Diego.
Both Peavy and Norris come with huge asterisks attached. The Red Sox hope Peavy looks like the Cy Young winner he once was – and not the guy with a 6.10 ERA this year when not pitching at Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field, or the 8.38 ERA over his last four starts.
In Norris, the Orioles picked up the ace of a team on pace to lose 108 games. Does said outfit really have an ace? Norris is 5-17 with a 6.62 ERA away from Houston over the last two seasons. He’s 0-2, 8.47 in his last three starts this year. Hmmm.
The Rays were quiet, other than to announce the startling news that ace Matt Moore and his 14 wins are heading to the disabled list. Moore said his elbow soreness wasn’t serious and he’d only miss a start or two, but talk about a red flag. The Rays entered Wednesday 21-4 with a 2.36 ERA in July but can’t go deep into October without Moore.
My big winner? Everyone in the AL better be wary of what happened in Detroit. I like the Tigers to go back to the World Series, especially if Justin Verlander pitches like he did Wednesday rather than the guy with the 5.96 ERA in his previous four starts.
The Detroit bullpen, a disaster much of the first half, added Houston closer Jose Veras and he doesn’t even need to close anymore with the way Drew Smyly and Joaquin Benoit have been going in the late innings. Jose Valverde looks like he’s toast, with a 5.63 ERA in Toledo. He gave up seven hits, three walks and three runs in three outings against the Bisons the last two weeks.
Getting shortstop Jose Iglesias from Boston as part of the three-team Peavy trade is a great move, given the expectation that former Bison Jhonny Peralta is going to get snagged by Biogenesis. Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski found ways to get things done.