Acknowledging the fact that everybody was playing catch-up to the Milwaukee Brewers (CC Sabathia and Ray Durham) and the Chicago Cubs (Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin) — who both got A- grades for moves made earlier this month — we look at the deals made just prior to Thursday’s non-waiver deadline:
Los Angeles Angels — B+
If for no other reason than to end the crazy notion that Macier Izturis should be the No. 3 hitter in any lineup — let alone the best team in the American League — the Angels’ deal for Mark Teixeira is a good one. The trade also shows that new general manager Tony Reagins is no Bill Stoneman when it comes to taking a risk or two — and that’s a good thing, too.
Teixeira is everything the rest of the Angels lineup is not: He’s patient, his on-base percentage is high and he has power from both sides of the plate — all of which make him the perfect fit in the Angels’ No. 3 spot. He also is a Gold Glove-caliber defender at first base, always a key factor in Mike Scioscia’s way of doing things.
But before you get carried away and think this is the move that gives Scioscia’s Angels their second championship in six years, let’s consider a couple of things.
The Angels already were the best team in the AL before the trade, and this makes them better. But the fact that Scioscia — who from this point of view, is the best manager in the big leagues — thought it was best to hit Izturis (.267, 3 homers, 35 RBI through Wednesday) third of late has to raise a red flag about the Angels’ offense, especially against elite pitching they’ll see come October. Yes, the move coincided with the Angels’ relatively hot offensive month of July, but the fact remains they are ninth in the AL in runs scored.
And then there is the question of what happens after this season. The Angels gave up a quality hitter and first baseman in Casey Kotchman, an organization product who could have been a fixture as Garret Anderson has been for two decades.
Now, the Angels will have to satisfy the demands of Teixeira and agent Scott Boras by making an expensive long-term commitment to a player who never has brought success to his team. But that’s the cost of playing with the big boys, and Arte Moreno says count him in.
Los Angeles Dodgers — B
Remind me to send a resume to Dodgers owner Frank McCourt. Who wouldn’t want to work for that guy? After all, he’s let GM Ned Colletti make the colossal financial mistakes of signing Jason Schmidt, Juan Pierre and Andruw Jones to multi-year deals, and kept him in the job long enough to pull off the surprise, at-the-deadline deal for Manny Ramirez.
There’s no doubting Manny’s bat can only help the Dodgers’ chances in the lame NL West. But where’s he going to play in a crowded outfield that already includes Pierre, Jones, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier?
The answer is left field, but that will put Pierre’s very-weak arm back in center in place of the horrifically in-decline Jones, or perhaps back in the fourth-outfielder role, and will cost Ethier most of his current playing time.
Luckily Joe Torre is around to smooth over all the potentially bruised egos. And does Manny stay in L.A. beyond 2008? Does Colletti? It’s going to be an interesting couple of months around Chavez Ravine.
New York Yankees — B
General manager Brian Cashman never did back down from his stance about not trading the organization’s top young pitching talent, and you have to hope he is rewarded for it, because it was the right longer-term decision for the organization.
The pitchers aren’t high-ceiling types, and while Tabata has great potential, there are some concerns about his dedication. Meanwhile, Nady and Marte are very nice pickups who are filling specific needs.
There was a time when an Ivan Rodriguez trade would have generated major reaction, but that was several years ago. But the future Hall of Famer has fallen into the rent-a-player category these days. Still, he could have one big run left in him down the stretch and into the postseason, if the Yankees get there.
The Art of the Deadline Deal
NBCSports.com takes a look at memorable trades made under pressure.
Taking a look at some of the greatest catchers off all time.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.