A Look At the MLB Trade Deadline
By Tom Edwards, Editor-In-Chief, Buhner.com

    The MLB trade deadline is always a fun time for me as a baseball fan.  While football has almost completely eliminated trading and hockey almost trades too much, baseball offers enough trades per season to see a handful of players getting sent around, your team getting some new blood, and the opportunity to look back in a few years and see if that role player picked up for the playoff drive was really worth it.

    This season's non-waiver trading deadline was 4PM EST on July 31st.  Five trades went down that day, with an additional seven taking place the three days prior.  A quick look at the trades:

    July 28th

    Kansas City receives:

    LHP Graeme Lloyd - 36 years old, 36 G, 35.1 IP, 7 BB, 17 K, 3.31 ERA (Majors)

    New York Mets receive:

    RHP Jeremy Hill - 25 years old, 26 G, 40.1 IP, 42 BB, 41 K, 7.81 ERA (AAA)

    Verdict: The Mets are dumping anyone who isn't overly useful to them who is over the age of 30.  Since crafty veterans who pitch to one batter a game are a luxury of playoff contending teams instead of rebuilding franchises, Lloyd was sent off before the deadline to make sure the Mets got anything for him (as his $650,000 salary would likely have not gotten through waivers).  Lloyd was a very good lefthanded specialist a few years ago, but seems to have fallen into the Tony Fossas/Rick Honeycutt role of being an effective pitcher when used in one batter situations, but someone who should be your last option in any other situation.  I'm surprised that St. Louis didn't make a play for him, seeing as how he's a perfect LaRussa pitcher, but KC was also in need of some help in the bullpen, and the cost wasn't that great.  The question remains though if Royals manager Tony Pena will know when best to use him.  Pena, a former catcher, should have a pretty good idea, however.  Hill, a former catcher who was moved to the mound because of his arm strength (and his career .229 batting average in the minors), has a wicked fastball (anywhere from 95 to 99 MPH) but little else.  He pitched very well in AA last season for KC, and earned a late season callup, where he pitched in 10 games, with a 3.86 ERA.  Thought to have a shot at the KC bullpen this season in spring training, Hill didn't make it, and proceded to fall completely apart in AAA, walking more than he struck out, and maintaining an ERA just below eight.  The velocity is there, and considering the low cost the Mets gave up, it's not a bad project to work on.  The Mets have sent him to AA to start.

    July 29th

    Seattle receives:

    SS Rey Sanchez - 35 years old, 56 G, .207 BA, 0 HR, 12 RBI, 1 SB (Majors)

    New York Mets receive:

    OF Kenny Kelly - 24 years old, 96 G, .246 BA, 13 HR, 37 RBI, 20 SB (AAA)

    Notes: Again, the Mets send away another veteran player they don't need at the moment, opening another 25 man roster space for younger players to get a look.  Sanchez for the Mets seemed to be an ideal fit, as Sanchez served as the placeholder at short until uber-phenom Jose Reyes was ready, and when he would be, Sanchez could back up at second, third, and short, still being useful.  The problem for the Mets turned out that Sanchez's usefulness turned out to be less than expected.  Sanchez's good defense couldn't make up for the fact that he was as close as an automatic out as there was on the Mets roster.  Sanchez didn't walk (8 walks in 182 plate appearances), didn't hit the ball with any authority (4 extra base hits in 56 games), and didn't steal (1 SB in two attempts).  To top it off, Sanchez was saddled with the rumored "haircut" story that the New York press picked up on immedately (Sanchez reportedly was in the clubhouse receiving a haircut from fellow ex-Met Armando Benitez during a game.)  So, with Sanchez sitting on the Mets bench (having been passed already by Reyes, who earned the job after Sanchez went on the DL earlier this season and never gave it back), the Mets needed only to look for a taker, and found one in Seattle.  The Mariners, who we later would find would only make this deal to "improve" the team by the deadline, will use Sanchez to back up in the infield and play some short with current Mariners SS Carlos Guillen nursing an injury.  They give up on outfielder Kenny Kelly, a dreaded "athlete with tools" which still have yet to cross over to the baseball field.  Kelly, the former starting quarterback for the Miami Hurricanes, was drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and was lured away from football by a major league contract, which guaranteed Kelly a spot on the 40 man roster and that he'd be rushed, not unlike another former college starting quarterback.  Kelly was, not surprisingly, and ended up on the Tampa 25 man roster in 2000 as a 21 year old, despite batting .252 that season in AA.  He appeared in two games, getting one at bat.  Kelly has never hit over .262 in a full season, and the Mets are his third organization in four seasons.  He's got the "tools" scouts drool over, with a strong arm and good speed (having stolen 119 bases over 597 games), but he's got no patience (82 K in 98 games this season) and isn't a smart hitter.  If he ever figures out how to play, he might be a steal, but teams are getting tired of waiting.

    Chicago White Sox receive:

    LHP Scott Schoeneweis - 29 years old, 39 G, 38.2 IP, 10 BB, 29 K, 4.06 ERA (Majors)
    RHP Doug Nickle - 28 years old, 34 G, 48.2 IP, 18 BB, 23 K, 1.48 ERA (AAA)

    Anaheim receives:

    LHP Gary Glover - 26 years old, 24 G, 35.2 IP, 14 BB, 23 K, 4.54 ERA (Majors)
    RHP Scott Dunn - 25 years old, 39 G, 51.0 IP, 21 BB, 68 K, 3.35 ERA (AA)
    LHP Tim Bittner - 23 years old, 27 G, 80.1 IP, 38 BB, 68 K, 3.47 ERA (A)

    Most trades that take place around the trade deadline take place between a team rebuilding for next year and a team that wants to be in the thick of a pennant race.  While the best player in the trade ends up going to the playoff contending team, the future prospects go to the rebuilding team, so trades need to be looked at in two parts to see what difference the trade made.  Schoeneweis is the "jewel" of this deal for Chicago, which calls for a closer look.  A lefthanded pitcher, Schoeneweis can both start and relieve for Chicago, although the White Sox are looking at him to just come out of the bullpen right now.  With a career ERA of 5.09, Schoeneweis isn't exactly the type of pitcher one goes out and changes the face of a team.  The fact that Chicago already had two lefthanders in their bullpen (three if you include Glover, whom was involved in the trade) doesn't make the trade reasoning any more clear.  The trade gets further clouded when you compare Schoeneweis to Glover; they're effectively the same pitcher.  Both have the ability to start and relieve, both are lefthanded, and both have similar walk to strikeout ratios.  The only real difference comes down to age and money: Schoeneweis is three years older, and makes $1.425 million this season, compared to Glover's $330,000 price tag.

    With those pitchers pretty much a wash, it comes down to Nickle for Dunn and Bittner.  Nickle, a 28 year old with 20 games of MLB experience, seems to be very comfortable at AAA, but can't handle the jump to the majors.  While Nickle pitches well in AAA (1.48 ERA this season, and a career ERA of 3.10), he gets hammered in the majors (8.53 ERA).  He was signed by Anaheim this offseason to a minor league deal, so it's not like he's a prospect.  Dunn only spent three weeks in the White Sox organization before his trade to Anaheim, having been traded to Chicago from Cincinnati for D'Angelo Jimenez earlier this season.  Dunn was a starter all his minor league career before being switched to a bullpen role last season, where he posted over a strikeout an inning in AA.  So far this season, his ratio is even better, posting over a strikeout an inning while keeping the walk/strikeout ratio better than 1:3.  He's yet to see AAA though, and at 25, it's tough to praise a guy that old in AA without seeing how he handles AAA first.  What about Bittner?  Having recently moved to the bullpen this season, he's put up decent numbers in high A ball, but nothing necessarily outstanding.  While Bittner and Dunn might not be can't miss prospects, they've got a lot more upside than Nickle does, so I'm not sure what Chicago gained from this.

    Boston receives:

    RHP Scott Williamson - 27 years old, 42 G, 42.1 IP, 25 BB, 53 K, 3.19 ERA (Majors)

    Cincinnati receives:

    LHP Phil Dumatrait - 22 years old, 21 G, 104.1 IP, 59 BB, 74 K, 3.02 ERA (A)
    The dreaded "player to be named later"

    Funny.  Going into the season, the Boston Red Sox (namely GM Theo Epstein) let the world know that he was going to bring the unconventional Beane-esque approach to Boston.  One of the first things he said he was going to do was go with a closer by committee system.  "Closers" weren't necessary, per ce, and that instead of spending big money on relief pitchers (such as the departing closer Ugueth Urbina), ones could be found for cheap in the system, and across the league.  Now, as the Yankees appear to be within reach, the Red Sox went out and made three specific trades to get relievers, with the May 29th pickup of Arizona's former closer Byung-Hyun Kim and July 22nd's pickup of lefty Scott Sauerbeck from the Pirates, and now Williamson.  Williamson, a former NL Rookie of the Year in 1999, has had a different role for the Reds each season with the club.  Closing during his rookie season, the Reds tried him as a starter the following season, with mixed results.  Williamson had Tommy John surgery that kept him out of most of the 2001 season, but came back in 2002 to set up for Danny Graves, and went back to the closer role in 2003 when Graves was placed in the rotation.  And people wonder why Cincinnati's so screwed up.  Williamson was an insurance policy for the Red Sox in case they didn't get the starter they were looking for after the deadline passed.  If they didn't, Kim could have gone into the rotation with Williamson closing, while if they did, Kim would remain in the closer role, with Williamson working setup.  Williamson's an overpowering pitcher at times, and makes the Red Sox bullpen better.  Dumatrait, a former first round selection by Boston, hasn't looked that bad in his A-ball stops, keeping a low ERA and decent strikeout totals.  He was considered one of the best pitching prospects in the Red Sox system, but he's still a bit away from making any impact with the Reds.  His strikouts have dropped this season, while his walks haven't, however, so maybe the Red Sox were selling as high as they could.  No idea who the other player will be, but the most important thing for the Reds in this deal is the million dollars, which the Reds effectively sold their closer for.

    Arizona receives:

    OF Raul Mondesi - 32 years old, 98 G, .258 BA, 16 HR, 49 RBI, 17 SB (Majors)

    New York Yankees receive:

    OF David Dellucci - 29 years old, 70 G, .242 BA, 2 HR, 19 RBI, 9 SB (Majors)
    RHP Bret Prinz - 26 years old, 13 G, 15.0 IP, 4 BB, 11 K, 5.40 ERA (minor league rehab)
    C Jon-Mark Sprowl - 22 years old, 95 G, .296 BA, 4 HR, 42 RBI, 5 SB (A)

    While most trades made at the deadline have a "buyer" and a "seller", this trade is just coincidentally a deadline deal.  Both the Yankees and the Diamondbacks are in the playoff hunt, and the Yankees are taking the role of "seller" in this case, just to rid the roster of their disgruntled former starting right fielder.  Although this trade could have been done after the deadline (brave is the team that makes a waiver claim on Mondesi's hefty contract), Mondesi made himself unwelcome in the Yankees clubhouse after leaving the clubhouse after being pulled for a pinch hitter in a game against Boston.  Mondesi, considered to be a great talent and an even greater underachiever, lit up the baseball in April, and has done very little since.  Mondesi batted .257 in May, .204 in June, and eventually lost starting time to Cleveland castaway Karim Garcia by batting .188 in July.  A former gold glove right fielder, Mondesi still has one of the most feared arms in baseball and should provide good defense for the Diamondbacks.  However, his questionable attitude (having burned bridges now in three different franchises) and his recent slide may do more harm than good.  He's got a lot more talent, both offensively and defensively, than Dellucci though, so the upside is there.  Financially, the Yanks are giving the D-Backs the difference between Dellucci's and Mondesi's salary, and Mondesi is a free agent after the season, so the financial cost for them isn't that great.

    For the Yankees, they get Dellucci, whom doesn't seem to mind if he gets pulled for a pinch hitter or doesn't start every day.  I've always been a fan of Dellucci, who has put up some really nice numbers in the past in a limited role (including a .394 BA in 109 AB in 1999 and 10 HR in 217 AB in 2001).  He's not an everyday player (he has serious trouble against lefthanded pitching), and has a weak arm, but he's a great player to have on the bench, and will probably have a career into his late 30s if he can continue to stay healthy (something he hasn't always done in his career).  Prinz, speaking of injury problems, was once the D-Backs closer, using a sidearm delivery to save nine games for the D-Backs in 2001.  However, since going down with an injury that season, he's only pitched 14.1 innings in the majors the past two seasons, and just recently came off the DL.  He's looked shaky in rehab this season, but when he's on, he's very difficult to hit, due to his speed and motion.  Sprowl is a 22 year old who seems to have found his hitting eye, but is having a little trouble with the rest.  After hovering around A ball with the Cubs without making much of an impression, he was picked up by Arizona last season, and batted .278, while bringing his OBP up above .400.  This season hasn't been much different, as Sprowl's BA is pushing .300, while holding a 1.74:1 BB:K ratio.  His defense, however, is being called into question, and has a high number of errors, passed balls, and a low percentage of runners thrown out stealing.  If he can get his fielding down, he might have a nice future, but he's not getting any younger, and he lacks the power to make a good major league first or third baseman.

    July 30th

    Chicago Cubs receive:

    OF Doug Glanville - 32 years old, 52 G, .272 BA, 4 HR, 14 RBI, 4 SB (Majors)

    Texas receives:

    OF Jason Fransz - 22 years old, 77 G, .262 BA, 9 HR, 42 RBI, 4 SB (A)

    These are the types of deals that come back to haunt teams.  Although Fransz isn't necessarily a top prospect, he is a former 8th round draft pick that is a year removed from college.  Fransz hit low A ball pitching well coming out of school last year, hitting 8 HR in 59 games, while batting .285 and slugging .489.  This season the average and slugging are down, but he still has decent power, and if he gets a better eye, might turn out to be a decent hitter (he definitely has to cut back on the strikeouts).  Glanville, on the other hand, doesn't bring anything to the table to the Cubs besides a decent glove, good speed, and a love of Everquest.  He's not that great of a hitter (.272 average, but an OBP of .294, so patience is not a virtue for him), and looks to be at best a 4th or 5th outfielder.  With Tom Goodwin eventually coming back from injury soon, the Cubs are left with three backup outfielders; Goodwin, Glanville, and Troy O'Leary.  Even if Glanville stays on the roster with Goodwin's return (I suspect it will be O'Leary who is shown the door), he won't play often, and will be gone after the season is over.  And, not saying that he will, but if Jason Fransz turns into the next Jim Thome (or even the next Brian Buchanan), the Cubs will have nothing to show for it except a backup outfielder for two months.

    Oakland receives:

    OF Jose Guillen - 27 years old, 91 G, .337 BA, 23 HR, 63 RBI, 1 SB (Majors)

    Cincinnati receives:

    RHP Aaron Harang - 25 years old, 12 G, 69.2 IP, 17 BB, 60 K, 2.71 ERA (AAA)
    RHP Joe Valentine - 23 years old, 40 G, 52.1 IP, 37 BB, 53 K, 4.82 ERA (AAA)
    RHP Jeff Bruksch - 23 years old, 23 G, 126.1 IP, 54 BB, 87 K, 5.13 ERA (A)

    Going into this season, if Concinnati could have gotten this package for Guillen, someone would have thought Billy Beane was out of his mind.  As of July 30th, it looks like Cincinnati could have gotten more.  Guillen, who looked to be the result of an early rush (he played in 143 games in 1997 for Pittsburgh as a 21 year old), spent time with Arizona and Colorado last season before eventually finishing the season with Cincinnati, putting up mediocre numbers for them (.238, 8 HR total in 2002).  Guillen went into 2003 with Cincinnati as a cheap 4th outfielder, and ended up being their best hitter.  Making only $500,000 this season, Guillen will be a free agent after this season, and it's unlikely that the Reds would have re-signed him, and his low salary would not have cleared waivers.  Guillen does not have great patience, making him a very non-Beane player, but his 1.013 OPS was 5th in the NL (even with only 17 walks) was too tempting for the A's, who needed a bat to put into right field, where Jermaine Dye is likely out for the season.  Guillen's arm helps in right as well.

    Cincinnati gets Harang, who started this season as the A's fifth starter.  Harang started six games for the A's this season, and 15 in 2002.  Including two relief appearances, he's carrying a 4.97 ERA in the majors.  Harang's pitched well in the minors so far, and is doing well this year, but needs to prove he can be a good major league pitcher before anyone is convinced that his numbers mean anything.  Being Oakland's fifth starter wasn't going to get him any regular work, so that wouldn't help much, but at the same time, playing in Cincinnati's new homer haven isn't going to help matters either.  Valentine looked dominant in the minors the past few seasons, and came over from the White Sox in the Keith Foulke/Billy Koch deal.  His control has been a concern, but he's got great stuff, although he's not taking to AAA too well.  It could be the PCL talking, but Valentine's shaky performance in AAA so far and Oakland giving up on him so quickly sets off alarms for me.  Then again, Oakland isn't afraid to trade talented prospects for the players they want.  Bruksch was a fifth round selection by Oakland in 2001 out of Stanford, but put up a 4.65 ERA up in A ball last year.  His 2003 stats seem to be regressing, as his ERA has risen and his strikeouts have fallen, despite pitching in the same league as last year.

    July 31st - DEADLINE DAY

    New York Yankees receive:

    3B Aaron Boone - 30 years old, 106 G, .273 BA, 18 HR, 65 RBI, 15 SB (Majors)
    LHP Gabe White - 31 years old, 34 G, 34.1 IP, 6 BB, 23 K, 3.93 ERA (Majors)

    Cincinnati receives:

    LHP Brandon Claussen - 24 years old, 11 G, 68.2 IP, 18 BB, 39 K, 2.75 ERA (AAA)
    LHP Charlie Manning - 24 years old, 29 G, 77.1 IP, 50 BB, 59 K, 5.12 ERA (A + AA)
    The dreaded "player to be named later"

    This technically occurred over two trades, but it was really meant to be done over one, and the league office required that the deal be split up.  Boone is the jewel of the deal for the Yankees.  A career .271 batter, Boone further developed his power last season, hitting 26 home runs while stealing 32 bases.  The power, however, seemed to take a toll on his average, as he batted a career low .241, with a career high 111 strikeouts.  Boone's average has returned this season, however, while maintaining the power he showcased last season.  His full season numbers project to a career high in home runs, while maintaining his career average and stealing over 20 bases.  Boone is a third baseman, but has also played shortstop and second base in the past, which can add to the team's flexability.  With him earning $3.7 million this season and being eligible for arbitration next season, Boone was one player that was being shopped by the franchise.  Firing his father as manager didn't help matters much, and Boone demanded a trade.  White is a better than average reliever who is in the final season of his contract.  Currently on the DL, White offers the Yankees a better lefthanded option out of the bullpen than Jesse Orosco, Chris Hammond, and Sterling Hitchcock.  White strikes out a decent amount of hitters, and has very good control.  While putting together a good year last year in Cincinnati, White may be remembered in the future as having one of the best pitching seasons in Colorado history, posting a 2.17 ERA in 67 games, earning 11 wins in the process.  White's injury is a groin injury, so the Yankees have to be careful not to rush him, or else risk having no pitcher at all.

    While some might argue that the thing Cincinnati went after most in this/these deal(s) was the million dollars (reported to be $3.5 million until the league office stepped in), lefthander Brandon Claussen is the key for Cincinnati in this deal.  Claussen was the best pitcher in the Yankees minor league system before blowing out his elbow midway through last season.  He had Tommy John surgery, and has come back more quickly than expected.  While the ability is still there (ask the Mets, whom he held to one run over six innings in a cup of coffee start), Claussen might be rushing things a bit with his recovery.  His strikeouts seem to imply that he's not 100% quite yet, as he was averaging over a strikeout an inning in 2001, and is down to a little more than a strikeout every two innings this season.  Still, he has the ability to be a very good pitcher, if Great American Ballpark doesn't destroy his confidence.  The Reds would be wise not to rush him, especially with the season already given up.  Manning looked to be a decent prospect in Norwich (AA) last season, pitching well in 11 starts there.  He started 2003 in AA, and promptly got rocked.  He lasted six starts before being sent to the bullpen, then ended up being demoted to A ball to find himself.  While his numbers in A ball aren't bad, his control still isn't great, especially for a 24 year old in A ball.  If the Reds can get his head on straight, he might be a decent player, but at this rate, he'll be out of the league in two years.

    Boston receives:

    RHP Jeff Suppan - 28 years old, 21 G, 141.0 IP, 31 BB, 78 K, 3.57 ERA (Majors)
    LHP Scott Sauerbeck - 31 years old, 53 G, 40.0 IP, 25 BB, 32 K, 4.05 ERA (Majors)

    Pittsburgh receives:

    2B/SS Freddy Sanchez - 25 years old, 58 G, .341 BA, 5 HR, 25 RBI, 8 SB (AAA)

    Again, for the sake of time, I took two trades and mashed them into one.  Sauerbeck was traded a week earlier to Boston with a minor league player for pitcher Brandon Lyon and a minor league player.  The Pirates insisted after the trade was complete that Lyon was damaged goods, and at the trade deadline, Suppan was traded to Boston with Lyon and the minor leaguer for Sanchez and the minor leaguer Pittsburgh originally sent to Boston in the Sauerbeck deal.  Understand?  Great, let's move on.

    Suppan showed good potential as a Boston farmhand, but was rushed to the majors by Boston in 1995 at the age of 20 and was hammered.  Suppan rode the Pawtucket/Boston shuttle for two more years before being selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 1997 Expansion draft.  Despite being the franchise's second overall pick, Suppan didn't finish the first season with the D-Backs, ending up in Kansas City, where he would spend the following four seasons.  Suppan was signed this past offseason to a one year deal by Pittsburgh, who spent most of the 2002 offseason looking for veterans they could sign to one year deals.  Suppan, instead of posting his usual high ERA (his career ERA before this season was 5.04), pitched well this season, including pitching three complete games (two shutouts) in his last six starts.  Sauerbeck, despite two bad seasons prior to his excellent 2002, was one of the most in-demand relievers on the trade market this season.  A lefthanded specialist, Sauerbeck can be overpowering (as his strikeouts will attest), but he has had control issues in the past, and this season doesn't seem to have the overpowering stuff he had last year.  If Boston can get Sauerbeck back to the way he pitched in 2002, he can be very helpful to them as their lefthanded set-up man for Kim in the bullpen.

    Freddy Sanchez can play either second base or shortstop for Pittsburgh, although he has yet to be called up by the Pirates.  I'm unsure what they're waiting for, as Sanchez has little to prove in AAA.  Drafted in 2000, Sanchez has batted under .300 one season in his career (in 2000, when he batted .295).  He seems like a better fit at second, especially with 39 year old non-factor Jeff Reboulet manning second for Pittsburgh currently.  Sanchez doesn't strike out much, and isn't afraid to take a pitch.  He has decent speed (24 SB last season, 8 so far in 2003), but isn't a major stolen base threat.

    Los Angeles receives:

    3B Robin Ventura - 36 years old, 89 G, .251 BA, 9 HR, 42 RBI, 0 SB (Majors)

    New York Yankees receive:

    OF Bubba Crosby - 26 years old, 76 G, .361 BA, 12 HR, 57 RBI, 8 SB (AAA)
    RHP Scott Proctor - 26 years old, 41 G, 66.1 IP, 20 BB, 59 K, 2.58 ERA (AA-AAA)

    With the Yankees picking up Aaron Boone from Cincinnati, the Yankees were left with two third basemen, and instead of letting one rot on the bench, they found a taker, shipping Robin Ventura off to LA for two marginal prospects.  Ventura, who began to go south last season in the second half, again started off quickly this season, and faded more recently.  Hitting .202 in June and .231 in July with one home run, Ventura's bat isn't what it used to be, although his defense at third is still above average.  The Dodgers will play him at first, however, until the return of Fred McGriff.  Ventura has more difficulty with lefties, and has the ability to hit for power (hitting 32, 24, 21, and 27 home runs over the last four seasons), but hasn't hit above .250 in a season since 1999.

    Bubba Crosby becomes the second Bubba aquired by the Yankees this season, although Bubba Trammell is no longer with the team.  Crosby will turn 27 in a week as I write this, and dropped off the prospect charts a year or two ago.  A former first round selection by LA, Crosby never replicated the power he showed in college (as his 26 home runs in 459 career minor league games before this season are one more than the 25 he hit in 58 games his final year in college.)  A decent outfielder with good speed (he stole 27 bases in 73 games with Vero Beach in 2000), he projected at bast as a 5th outfielder coming into this season.  This season, however, Crosby has hit extremely well, hitting over .400 for a period of the season in AAA.  His home runs are already a career high for a season, and his sudden resurgance might get him another shot at the majors.  Proctor was a mediocre pitching prospect who hadn't gotten above AA until this season, where he switched from the rotation to the bullpen.  Proctor blew away AA hitters and was promoted, where he has done well, with an almost 1:3 BB:K ratio and a 3.66 ERA in AAA.  It's too early to determine if this season for him is for real and if he can build on it, but if it is, the Yankees have a servicable pitcher in the future.

    San Francisco receives:

    RHP Sidney Ponson - 26 years old, 21 G, 148.0 IP, 43 BB, 100 K, 3.77 ERA (Majors)

    Baltimore receives:

    LHP Damian Moss - 26 years old, 21 G, 115.0 IP, 63 BB, 57 K, 4.70 ERA (Majors)
    RHP Kurt Ainsworth - 24 years old, 11 G, 66.0 IP, 26 BB, 48 K, 3.82 ERA (Majors)
    LHP Ryan Hannaman - 21 years old, 13 G, 63.0 IP, 32 BB, 77 K, 4.71 ERA (A)

    Probably the biggest trade of the deadline happened between Baltimore and San Francisco, in a trade that is a win-win for both involved.  Ponson was one of the best pitchers available, at least judging by this season's performance.  A big pitcher who isn't necessarily overpowering, Ponson had his best major league season last year (at least ERA-wise), and is topping it this season, in every aspect.  He's set a career high in wins, and has his ERA down below 4 for the first time in his career.  If Ponson continues to pitch like this for the rest of the season, then the Giants have what they want.  However, the price that the Giants paid is a good size one.  While substituting Moss for Ponson is nothing but a positive for the Giants, Moss is still one season removed from a 12-6, 3.42 ERA season himself.  Control problems have haunted Moss this season, and when your walks outnumber your strikeouts on a major league level, you're in trouble, because when you're finally getting the ball over the plate, it's being hit.

    Ainsworth is the key to the deal for Baltimore, and if Ainsworth were healthy right now, maybe San Francisco doesn't need to even make this trade.  At the time of Ainsworth's injury (a broken shoulderblade of all things), Ainsworth's numbers were comparable to Ponson's.  While Ainsworth was considered to be expendable due to his injury and the fact that he isn't necessarily the best pitching prospect in the system (in fact, the Giants considered him to be #3), Ainsworth could definitely soothe the blow of losing Ponson if he goes back to pitching the way he did before the injury, especially if Ponson ends up re-signing with Baltimore in the offseason.  In addition, the Orioles get A-ball starter Ryan Hannaman, who had looked very good coming out of the minors this offseason.  However, the 2003 season hasn't gone as planned, and Hannaman has been dealing with a strained bicep as well as opponent bats.  Perhaps the higher ERA is a result of the injury before it was diagnosed, but either way, the ability is still there (averaging over a strikeout an inning), and he's still just turning 22 this season, so he has time to work on his mechanics.

    So, what comes out of this trade deadline?  Well, there were definate buyers and sellers (some more literaly than others), with some teams realisticly building for next year, and others just shedding salaries in an attempt to save the franchise a few bucks.  I think the Athletics, Giants, Red Sox, and Yankees did the most to make their teams better right now, in that order.  The A's got one of the hottest bats in baseball without having to give up any of their major prospects.  Any time you can take a batter hitting over .330 with more than 20 home runs and put him in your lineup without having to dismantle you entire farm system is going to be a plus.  The Giants took a whole run per game off of their ERA by putting Ponson in Moss' place.  If Ponson is getting better evey year (which it seems he is), it will pay off greatly for the Giants, especially if they can parlay it into another World Series appearance.  Plus, there is still the possibility that San Francisco will grow on Ponson, just like it did on Jason Schmidt.  If San Francisco re-signs Ponson, the trade value doubles.  The Red Sox improve their pitching staff by picking up two setup men and a 4th starter, which improve at least the bullpen greatly.  I'm not sold on Suppan, though, although he works as a decent 4th starter.  The Yankees pick up Aaron Boone, who should solidify their third base situation for this year and next, but they also lose Mondesi and can only improve their bullpen with Gabe White, who isn't exactly a proven commodity.  While the third base situation is settled in Yankeeland, look for some kind of post-waivers move by the Yankees to take care of their right field situation, and possibly get another reliever.

    Who helped their cause most for the future?  Baltimore comes out the easy winner here.  They aquire a starting pitcher who can immedately go into the rotation and another who is a top ten prospect who has already proven that he can pitch at the major league level.  While Cincinnati can be criticized for their dumping actions, they did manage to get some halfway decent prospects, including a potential top starter in Claussen and a good AAA pitcher in Harang.  Dumatrait may make himself into something good, and Valentine has looked good in the closer role in the past, despite this season's slowed progress.  Pittsburgh seemed to have all the cards coming into July, with veterans playing well signed to one year contracts, so that they'd be easy to trade.  Instead, the Pirates come up with one good prospect, whom they haven't even tried to call up yet, despite the fact that he's 25 years old, hasn't a thing left to prove in AAA, and is being blocked by a 39 year old light hitting second baseman.  Sure, there are teams that are handcuffed by their lack of payroll, but at least they attempt to make something out of it.  Some teams, like Pittsburgh, don't even try.

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