Yanks, Phils set themselves up for a rematch
Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
I guess the Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians really enjoyed last year's World Series.
After the Astros paid the Philadelphia Phillies to basically take Roy Oswalt off their hands, Houston general manager Ed Wade shipped Lance Berkman to the New York Yankees for marginal prospects and will pay more than half of the $7.1 million guaranteed to him the rest of this season.
Not to be outdone, Cleveland shipped outfielder Austin Kearns to New York on Friday for a player to be named later, then right before the deadline also sent closer Kerry Wood to the Yankees with the option of either taking $500,000 or a pair of middling prospects. Of course, the Tribe will help out the "cash-strapped" Yankees this year by assuming $2.3 million of the $3.8 million left on Wood's deal.
Is Brian Cashman a ninja? How exactly is he getting these general managers to give the Yankees money?
Heading into the season I thought there was a better than average chance that we were going to be watching the same two teams as last year battle it out in the World Series. The Yankees are already the best team in baseball at the moment, and made themselves even better on Saturday.
Berkman is going to be a monster hitting in front of Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez. And Wood is the ultimate security blanket for Joba Chamberlain. Injuries are always a concern with Wood, but if he is healthy this could be a huge move. And if he is not? Who cares? They got him for a song and a dance. If anything it is addition by subtraction for them, because Chan Ho Park was designated for assignment to make room for Wood on the roster.
You want to talk about depth on the Yankees? Kearns was the Cleveland Indians' two-hitter; he is now the fourth outfielder on the Yankees. Don't sleep on that move. It could turn out to be a very important under-the-radar transaction.
For the NFL fans out there who will soon be crying about losing two preseason games, enjoy the Yankees from here on out, because they will be staging a two- month long exhibition season until October.
The Phillies, on the other hand, have some work to do, especially given the fact that the National League East-leading Atlanta Braves helped themselves out immensely on Saturday with the acquisition of Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth.
Atlanta's bullpen was already as deep as any team in baseball and Ankiel, simply put, is a huge upgrade over Nate McLouth, who was sent to Triple-A earlier in the week.
With a gun to my head, though, I still think I would choose the Phillies to win the East. I am a little less sure of it now than I was this morning, but the top of that rotation is nasty. I still think the Phils are in line for their fourth straight division title.
The Phillies' biggest problem is still their bullpen. They did not address it on Saturday, and will have trouble doing so through waivers in the next month. So I guess Philadelphia just holds its breath from the seventh inning on.
I still think the Phils are in line for their fourth straight division title.
Either way, though, whether they win the division or not, I think the Phillies will win the wild card. As Bill Parcells says, "All you have to do is make the tournament." And with a starting trio of Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Oswalt, they will be an extremely tough out.
A lot of talk heading into Saturday surrounded Nationals slugger Adam Dunn, but in the end he stayed put, much to the chagrin of the Chicago White Sox, who did everything in their power to land him. I still think there is a chance Dunn gets moved at some point over the next month through waivers.
There was a name from trade deadlines past making the rounds early in the day, as it was being reported that the Los Angeles Dodgers were listening to offers for Manny Ramirez. I did not buy it. The Dodgers can't hit as it is; losing Ramirez wouldn't have solved anything.
Now, the Yankees and Braves weren't the only contending teams making moves prior to Saturday's non-waiver trade deadline. Let's take a look at some of the winners and losers on a busy trade deadline Saturday:
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Nobody was sure what to make of the Dodgers as we headed into the deadline. They needed a starting pitcher and could have used another reliever, but their finances have been a problem with the messy divorce of team owner Frank McCourt. Los Angeles, though, filled both needs by landing lefty Ted Lilly, who should thrive in a pitchers' park like Chavez Ravine; and Octavio Dotel, who will serve as Jonathan Broxton's setup man. Dotel didn't come cheap, though, as the Dodgers sent lefty James McDonald to Pittsburgh along with a terrific prospect in outfielder Andrew Lambo.
SAN DIEGO PADRES
San Diego is going for it. Pitching has easily made the Padres the biggest surprise in baseball this season, and now they have upgraded their offense over the past few days, first picking up Miguel Tejada from Baltimore, then on Saturday acquiring outfielder Ryan Ludwick from St. Louis. Tejada is an RBI machine and will fit nicely behind Adrian Gonzalez, while Ludwick adds even more pop. I can't believe it, but I think the Padres are going to win the NL West.
For a team that is not sure who its owners are, Texas sure does make a lot of moves. The Rangers are the biggest winners of all. Not from a move they made Saturday, however, but for picking up Cliff Lee just before the All-Star break. He was the best player on the market and they got him. The Rangers went from team that could contend for a postseason spot, to becoming a team that could really make some noise in October. Jorge Cantu was then picked up earlier this week to provide some depth at first base and the addition of Cristian Guzman is a perfect stopgap at second base until Ian Kinsler returns.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
I guess it is hard to blame the White Sox for not getting Dunn. I am not sure what else they could have done. It seems like Washington really had to be bowled over to deal him. That seemed to be the case early on, though. Why didn't Kenny Williams look elsewhere for a bat? The Ramirez stuff was never going to happen. On the bright side I do like the pickup of righty Edwin Jackson, who could thrive under very underrated pitching coach Don Cooper. They needed a big stick, though, and came up short. Last year they were able to get Alex Rios on waivers. Hopefully lighting strikes twice for fans on the South Side of Chicago.
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
The Giants were in the same boat as the White Sox in looking for a bat. It wasn't Dunn they were seeking, however, but they were trying hard for Milwaukee's Corey Hart and Toronto's Jose Bautista. The Giants, though, are probably in the best position of any of the contenders to land a player through waivers.
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
The Cardinals went into July with the hope of landing Oswalt or Dan Haren. They ended up with Jake Westbrook, at the expense of their offense in Ludwick. Now with Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright atop their rotation, the Cardinals are already in pretty good shape. They probably could have gotten by with just rookie Jaime Garcia and the returning Kyle Lohse. Westbrook won't hurt them by any stretch, I just think they gave up too much for him.
What exactly is Ed Wade doing? I did not get the Oswalt deal on Thursday and I certainly don't understand the Berkman trade. Why are you paying these teams to take your superstars? I find it hard to believe you could not have found a better deal for Berkman than you got from the Yankees, considering you were willing to pay more than half the money he had coming to him. Not to mention they signed Brett Myers to a multi-year deal. I hope Wade is renting, not buying in Houston.
HOW WAIVER WIRE DEALS WORK
Today was technically the trade deadline, but deals can still be made through the waiver wire over the next month or so.
Here is how that works:
Any player can be put on waivers by his team, and the player does not need to be informed. Other teams then have the chance to make a claim on the player during a 47-hour window.
If the player is claimed, the team that placed him on waivers has the option of pulling him back. If the team pulls him back they can't trade him for 30 days.
If his team decides not to pull him back:
Option 1: His team can work out a trade with the team that claimed him. Any player involved in the trade who is on a 40-man roster must go through waivers first.
Option 2: His team can just dump him and his salary on the team that claimed him, receiving no player in return.
Option 3: No one claims him, and his team is free to trade him to any team.
If more than one team places a claim on a player, the winning claim is awarded based on worst record or the league the claiming team is in.
There is not a deadline at any point. There is a "playoff roster" deadline of September 1, but there's an injury loophole that has been exploited in the past.