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Manny a Dodger?! Pudge a Yankee?! Griffey on the White Sox?!

It’s hard to remember a July 31 trade deadline as bizarre as 2008. Historically, one or two big deals get done, while the rest of the rumor mill comes to a halt because teams don’t settle for mediocre deals. The team with the star usually wants too many top prospects in return, and the team with the prospects won’t budge.

Of course, that was hardly the case this year, as teams seemed content to settle for weak returns in an effort to dump salary or bad attitudes.

So without further ado, here’s a rundown of the winners and losers of this year’s wheelin’ and dealin’.

WINNERS

Yankees. What a month for The Bronx Bombers. After hosting the All-Star Game, the Yanks get hot and propel themselves back into the race. Then they add a valuable bat and corner outfielder in Xavier Nady, along with a long-coveted lefty reliever in Damaso Marte. Then they make up for the loss of Jorge Posada by adding Ivan Rodriguez, only giving up Kyle Farnsworthto get him. And then, as if things could have gotten any better, their archrivals banished Manny Ramirez to the Left Coast. New York could use another starting pitcher, but they may still be able to acquire Jarrod Washburn or another arm through the waiver wire. Yankee haters everywhere can feel their stomachs turning. Grade: A

Angels. Did the team with the best record in baseball quietly just become the best team in baseball? They already had the pitching, all they needed was that middle-of-the-order bat to solidify themselves. And they did just that by adding Mark Teixeira, a rental player, but a significant upgrade at first base over the still finding himself Casey Kotchman. The Yankees do not want to see this team in October. Grade: A

Dodgers. Let me get this straight. L.A. adds a Hall of Fame bat to its lineup, doesn’t have to pay him anything, and they only have to give up two players that weren’t in their plans anyway? Between that and the addition of the solid-hitting Casey Blake, I’d say the mediocre NL West is going to be won or lost by Joe Torre‘s club. Grade: A

Cubs. This was a ways back now, but Chicago added fragile ace Rich Harden to its rotation, as well as a versatile young pitcher in Chad Gaudin, in exchange for a handful of OK prospects. Based on the standings — Chicago has a five-game lead in the Central — I’d say that was a good move. Grade: A-

White Sox. With Paul Konerko and Nick Swisher struggling mightily, bringing in Ken Griffeycouldn’t hurt. He hasn’t had a great season, either, though he has managed to stay healthy for the most part. Don’t know how much this will improve the team, or where Griffey will fit in, but it certainly couldn’t hurt ticket sales. Grade: B

Brewers. C.C. Sabathia has been outstanding since coming over to the National League, as the Brew Crew decided to “go for it all” this season. It just seems that the Cubs have a little too much for Milwaukee to compete. And the sad thing is, Milwaukee is likely to lose Sabathia and/or Ben Sheetsin free agency this offseason. Grade: B

A’s. Billy Beane knew his team wasn’t good enough to compete with the Angels this season. And he didn’t let his team’s surprising start alter his vision of the future. So he promptly continued to rip the hearts out of A’s fans by trading Harden, Gaudin and Joe Blanton after shipping out Dan Haren and Nick Swisherin the offseason in exchange for a laundry list of prospects. I think I speak for all A’s fans when I say I’m tired of this act. But at the same time, we somehow still have faith that Beane knows what he’s doing. Grade: Incomplete

LOSERS

Mets. A corner outfielder anyone? A little bullpen help? Maybe another starter with the fragility of Pedro Martinez and John Maine in question? There’s always the waiver wire, but New York didn’t do anything to help separate itself from the NL East pack. Then again, as you’ll read below, neither did its competition. Grade: D

Marlins. Arthur Rhodes? Seriously? That guy is still getting paid to play baseball? That’s all I have to say about that. Grade: D

Phillies. Joe Blanton— a flyball pitcher in a hitter’s park — for three top prospects. Well, at least they made an effort to get better. Grade: C+

Pirates. We’ll have to wait and see how their prospects pan out, but for my money, Pittsburgh is the worst-run organization in baseball. Whatever they do, you figure they’re going to mess it up. Grade: Incomplete

Red Sox. Jason Bay is young, can move in the outfield and isn’t the talker Manny is. That said, he isn’t the hitter Manny is, either. David Ortiz, get ready to receive the Barry Bonds treatment. And Red Sox Nation, I’m sorry, I just can’t see a return trip to the World Series without Manny. Grade: C-

Tigers. Detroit desperately needed to improve its bullpen — but this? Was this the only way to go about it? Ship out your Hall of Fame catcher for Kyle Farnsworth? The Tigers have been down the Farnsworth road before, and as good of a season as he’s having, he’s just as likely to blow up as Todd Jones or Fernando Rodney. Isn’t that right, crybaby? Grade: D+

Rays. With all the moves the Yankees were making, you’d have thought Tampa would be looking to improve, as well. But, I’ll give them a break. This is the Rays’ first time in postseason contention, after all. Besides, they hold a three-game lead in the East, so maybe they didn’t need any help. Grade: C

Diamondbacks. Arizona boosted its bullpen by adding Jon Rauch, but didn’t address an offense that could use some assistance. As great as their pitching is, Manny may make the difference. Grade: C+

Twins. I’m not sure how they’re still in the race without the likes of Johan Santana and Torii Hunter around anymore. So even though they didn’t make any moves, I just have to give them credit for that. Grade: C+

There is currently one response to “Trade Deadline 2008: Winners (Yankees) and Losers (Mets)”

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  1. 1 On August 2nd, 2008, gozer said:

    How ’bout that Jason Bay? A couple walks, a couple runs, a triple, and a walk-off victory. That’s just Jason being Jason.

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