By Chris Ruddick
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
We went into Major League Baseball's non-waiver trading deadline expecting a couple blockbusters. While there was a flurry of activity, most of the big names that were rumored to be leaving wound up staying put with their respective teams.
Washington's Alfonso Soriano, probably the player most likely to be dealt heading into the weekend, did not go anywhere. In fact there is now a good chance that he will sign a long-term extension to stay in our nation's capital.
A pretty stunning development considering the way he started his Nationals career. If you remember back in spring training Soriano refused to enter a game because he did not want to shift from second base to the outfield.
Soriano has, obviously, softened his stance on where he plays and has become a serviceable left fielder. His offense has never come into question and is hitting .286 with 32 home runs, 64 RBI, 77 runs scored and has stolen 26 bases.
Also staying put was Oakland lefty Barry Zito. Apparently Billy Beane is content to let Zito walk for nothing in the offseason, as he did with Miguel Tejada and Jason Giambi in the past. Considering the A's are a half game up on the LA Angels of Anaheim in the AL West and the way Beane drafts it will probably pay off for everyone in the long run.
One player that was dealt was future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux, who leaves a horrible situation in Chicago for a chance at the postseason with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Although he is no longer the force he once was, Maddux still has 327 wins in his career and will help the Dodgers down the stretch.
Maddux, who reportedly wanted to stay in the National League and go to a West Coast team so he could be closer to his Las Vegas home, started the season winning his first five starts but has struggled since, compiling an overall 9-11 record with 4.69 earned run average in 22 starts.
Early in the day on Monday there was talk of a major blockbuster that would have sent Tejada from Baltimore to Houston for righty Roy Oswalt, third baseman Morgan Ensberg and shortstop Adam Everett. The Mets were also supposedly going to be part of that deal with them winding up with Oswalt and super prospect Lastings Milledge going to Baltimore.
That never came to fruition, though.
A total of 12 trades were completed on Monday. Let's take a look at what some of the playoff contending teams did to better their teams at the deadline:
The Yanks pretty much stole Bobby Abreu from Philadelphia on Sunday along with right- hander Cory Lidle in exchange for four minor leaguers.
YANKEES - The Yanks pretty much stole Bobby Abreu from Philadelphia on Sunday along with right- hander Cory Lidle in exchange for four minor leaguers. The Yanks also shored up their bench on Monday when they shipped Shawn Chacon to Pittsburgh for first baseman/outfielder Craig Wilson.
While the Yankees probably did not need Abreu's bat in the lineup he is a significant upgrade over a platoon of Bernie Williams/Aaron Guiel. Wilson adds depth to the bench, while Lidle will become the latest arm to assume the role of a fifth starter.
Bottom line is the Yankees helped themselves out big time, while the teams they are competing for a playoff spot with (Boston, Chicago and Minnesota) all did nothing.
RANGERS - The Rangers kicked off the weekend trading frenzy on Friday when they picked up slugging outfielder Carlos Lee. The team also picked up starter Kip Wells from the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday as well as outfielder Matt Stairs from the Kansas City Royals.
Of all the deals that were completed in the league Lee was probably the best bat that was acquired. Like the Yankees, the Rangers, who are currently three games back in the AL West, made their team better while the A's and Angels sat on their hands and did nothing.
METS - The Mets were dealt a crushing blow on Monday when it was learned that setup man Duaner Sanchez will probably be lost for the season after separating his shoulder in an auto accident in Miami. General manager Omar Minaya, though, wasted little time in replacing him, as he acquired right-handed reliever Roberto Hernandez and left-handed starter Oliver Perez from Pittsburgh for Xavier Nady.
Hernandez, who was the primary setup man for the Mets last year, will take the place of Sanchez, while Perez will probably head to Triple-A. One of the bright young stars in the NL a few years ago, Perez was just 2-10 this season for the Bucos with a 6.63 ERA in 15 starts.
DODGERS - In addition to getting Maddux from the Cubs for shortstop Cesar Izturis, the Dodgers acquired shortstop Julio Lugo from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in exchange for a pair of minor leaguers, outfielder Sergio Pedroza and infielder Joel Guzman.
With Nomar Garciaparra, Jeff Kent and Bill Mueller on the disabled list, Lugo will most likely shift from shortstop to second base. On Friday, the Dodgers traded for infielder Wilson Betemit from the Atlanta Braves for pitcher Danys Baez, infielder Willy Aybar and cash considerations.
Currently last in the NL West, the Dodgers helped themselves out immensely in the last couple of days and can easily ascend to the top of the weak division with these moves.
REDS - Cincinnati continues to lead in the race for the NL wild card and made itself better on Monday with the acquisitions of lefty reliever Rheal Cormier and right-handed starter Kyle Lohse.
Not two of the biggest names out there, but the Reds are a better team today than they were yesterday. Most people, including myself, expected Cincy to fade at some point, but the Reds have significantly upgraded their pitching staff not just with these moves, but with the trade a few weeks ago for Gary Majewski and Bill Bray.
There were a number of other moves on Monday. Detroit shipped minor leaguer Brian Rogers to Pittsburgh for Sean Casey, who will assume the first base spot that has been vacated by Chris Shelton, who was demoted to Triple-A.
Shelton got off to a blazing start, as he hit nine homers in the Tigers' first 13 games, but has only one homer in July and two since June 19.
Casey, a three-time All-Star, gives the AL Central-leading Tigers a good glove at first base and a solid left-handed bat in a lineup dominated by right- handed hitters. He was batting .296 in just 59 games with three homers and 29 runs batted in.
The Dodgers were not the only team in the NL West trying to better themselves at the deadline, as San Diego acquired second baseman Todd Walker from the Cubs and Colorado picked up lefty Jeremy Affeldt and righty Denny Bautista from the Kansas City Royals.
NL Central leading St. Louis also made a minor move on Monday when it acquired pitcher Jorge Sosa from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for pitcher Rich Scalamandre.
The Braves had designated Sosa for assignment on Sunday after the right-hander posted a 3-10 record and 5.46 earned run average in 26 games (13 starts).