Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Trade deadline comes and goes;Somebody wake me up!

I put aside a few hours today to do a blog post about the trading deadline. Maybe to analyze the trade(s) made by the Indians. Or, barring that, take a look at moves that other conetenders made that might impact the Tribe's post-season hopes.
Looks like my analysis will take about six minutes.
Here it is.
Eric Gagne to Boston was the only deal today that will make a difference. And it will make a big difference in the A.L. With Gagne and Hideki Okajima leading to Jonathan Papelbon you are pretty much going to have to have a lead on the Sox by the sixth inning or you are going to lose.
Given the Tribe doesn't play the Sox anymore this year (and thank God for small favors) and the Yanks still have six to go with their division rivals, this trade may help the Tribe in a small way to hold on to the wild card spot, if that's what it comes down to.
The real impact of this trade for the Tribe will come in the post season. If Cleveland's going anywhere they're going to have to get past Boston. That was already an iffy proposition and this makes the odds that much smaller.
The Tribe, with their acquisition of Kenny Lofton, probably made the second most-notable deal among A.L. contenders during this trading season. He should help spark an offense that was dynamite for the first two months of the year, but little more than average since.
The Yankees, who added Jose Molina as a backup catcher and Wilson Betemit to - well only they know why- got a little better on the bench. Certainly they got better on Posada-rest days. The thought here is that Betemit, a switch-hitter, does have some pop from the left side (9 of his 10 homers) and he may see time at first base, where Andy Phillips is currently the No. 1 option. Jason Giambi may be on his way back soon, but he's likely to DH, with Johnny Damon hobbling and not hitting.
The Yankee pen may actually improve in the past two months though, as the club has moved stud pitching prospect Joba Chamberlain (128 Ks, 27 walks in 85 innings) into the pen in the minors to prepare him for a similar role in the majors, and that should happen any day now.
The other A.L. contenders did nothing. Literally nothing.
The Tigers picked up Macay McBride and Jose Capellan in recent weeks, but they have been spotty at best. I guess they are content to get their pen healthy and go from there.
So, although the Tribe probably improved themselves more than anyone besides Boston, they still go into the last two months with Joe Borowski and the Raffies (Betancourt and Perez) to work the eighth and ninth. Aaron Fultz will be back sooner than later, but he's no Ocatvio Dotel (or Paul Assenmacher for that matter). The rest of the pen is a game of Russian Roulette.
I think we'll be doing a lot of finger-crossing over the next nine weeks.

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