MLB Second Half has begun

With a full slate of games tonight, the second half of the MLB season has truly begun.

The first certainly produced a few surprises.  The slump of David Ortiz, the scuffles of the Tampa Bay Rays, the never ending soap opera that is the NY Mets, the surprising start of the SF Giants, the mess that are the Central divisions in both leagues, A-Roid, and Manny-gate.  You just never know what’s going to happen in Baseball.

I’d like to give my condolences to Manny Acta, the recently let go manager of the Washington Nationals.  I really feel bad for him.  He was handed a bad situation, exacerbated by injuries, and was expected to perfrom a miracle.  So, when Washington performed to expectations, ok, maybe a little below expectations, he got the axe.  Maybe if the brain trust in DC would have given him more pitching, particularly in the bull pen, the Nat’s wouldn’t be so awful.  they’d still be bad, but not awful.  And the nagging injuried to guys like Ryan Zimmerman don’t help either.

Now for some 1st half “awards:”

Al Cy Young- Roy Halladay (TOR).  Josh Beckett (BOS) is a close second, but Roy takes it.  He should win it at the end of the year, as long as he stays in the AL.

NL Cy Young- Tim Lincecum (SF).  Matt Cain (SF) his teammate can give Tim a run for it, but I think that Lincecum is the odds on favorite to win his second consecutive award.

AL MVP- This is a tough one, with so many good candidates.  Jason Bay and Kevin Youkilis (BOS) are solid contenders, as is A-Roid (NYY), Nelson Cruz (TEX), and even Torii Hunter (LAA).  For myself, it would come down between Bay and A-Roid.  I’d give the edge to Bay mainly for his complete lack of controversy, and how he carried the Red Sox while Ortiz struggled.

NL MVP- Albert Pujols (STL).  Is there any doubt?  I can’t think of anyone else in the NL who even comes close to meaning what Puljols does to the Cardinals.

AL Manager of the Year- Mike Sciosia (LAA).  Jim Leyland (DET), Ron Gardenhire (MIN), and Terry Francona (BOS) deserve some notice, but none of them have faced the adversities that Scioscia and the Angels have this year.  Don Wakamatsu of Seattle should finish a close second.

NL Manager of the Year: Bruce Bochy (SFG).  Joe Torre (LAD) will get some votes, being Joe Torre and managing in LA, but Bochy should win this.

Looking forward, I expect to see a few things happen.  Texas will fade in the AL West.  They just do not have the pitching, in the rotation or the pen, to compete with the Angels and Mariners.  If the Mariners get a big bat to help their offense, they can give the Angels a serious challenge for the division, and the Yankees for the Wild Card.

The AL Central will come down to the Twins and Tigers.  The White Sox are just too inconsistent to pose a real threat.  The Twins have a terrific 1-2 punch with Mauer and Morneau, a top notch closer in Joe Nathan, and enough pitching to compete in the division.  The Tigers have an issue in the bullpen with no clear closer, but their rotation is by far the strongest in the division.  Expect the Indians to sell of a few players before the trade dead line, like Jamey Carroll and Rafael Betancourt.  Don;t believe the rumors surrounding Victor Martinez.

The AL East is going to continue to be a slugfest.  The Red Sox should win the division by 4-5 games.  The Yankees are something of an enigma, and what actions they take may be dictated not by baseball reasoning, but by the sports writers and vocal fans.  Brian Cashman may be forced to amek a deal he doesn’t want to, with Toronto’s Roy Halladay the main target.  The problem with the Yankees is that they are one injury away from being dead in the water.  The loss of an OF, A-Roid, or another SP will kill their season, trade or no trade.  Toronto is in a tough position, especially with Halladay.  He’s owed a lot of money for next year, and Toronto is 2-3 years away from being truly competetive.  They could get a lot for him, if they deal him.  He’s the prize of this years trade sweepstakes.  Tampa Bay could be surprising in the 2nd half, potentially passing the Yankees in the standings.  Despite the loss of Aki Iwamura, they have a solid offense, defense, and pitching staff.  You cna just write Baltimore off now.

Over in the senior circuit, the NL East is one ugly division.  It seems like half the time no one wants to win it.  The NY Mets are wracked with injuries (Reyes, Delgado, Beltran), and guys like David Wright are under performing.  The Phillies are so streaky, just like the Marlins, that one week they’re hot, the next they’re cold.  I’m not sure adding Pedro Martinez will do much for the Phils, given that Pedro likely won’t go more than 5 innings in any given start.

The Central division is far more competetive, probably the most competetive in Baseball.  The Cards, the Cubs, the Brewers, and Astros are all in it.  Only Pittsburgh is out.  The top teams are so evenly matched, which surprising given that an ace like the Astro’s Roy Oswalt is having an off year.  These will be the teams most active in acquiring a player before the dead line.  Look for the Brewers to get a pitcher, the Cubs a hitter, and the Cards for the best player they can get(a pitcher most likely).  I would offer that who ever makes the best deal by the trade dead line will win this division.

The NL West is a run away for the LA Dodgers so far.  San Francisco is off to a somewhat unexpected start, and could nail down the Wild Card for the NL by the end of August.  The Diamondbacks season was lost when Brandon Webb went down to inury.  Sand Diego, who had one of the more coveted SP in Baseball, lost out on a chance to make a big deal when Peavy went down to an ankle injury.

The Red Sox and Julio Lugo are about to part company.  This is far from unexpected.  The only question is if he will be traded or released, as I don’t expect he will accept assigment to the minors.  Likely suitors for Lugo will be Seattle, Tampa Bay, San Francisco, and Chicago Cubs.  If a deal is made, the Sox will have to pick up most, if not all of his salary, and will only get a medium level of value in return.

Expect eric Wedge to be fired in Cleveland.  He may last the season, depending on how the Tribe’s 2nd half goes, but he won’t be back next year.  Joe Girardi may be on the hot seat as well, more so if Cashman makes a deal and the Yankees don’t make the play offs.

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Manny who?

Manny, Manny, Manny.  We always knew you were an idiot, but this?

By now, everyone in the Baseball, heck the whole sports world, knows that Manny Ramirez, the highly paid outfielder for the LA Dodgers, has been suspended, without pay, for 50 games for failing a Performance Enhancing Drug (PED) test.  He becomes the biggest name to have been suspended since active testing began.  It’s a first time failure, hence the “mere” 50 game ban.  Bet the McCourt’s and Dodger’s brain trust are loving this.  Especially after all the hoopla in the offseason before he resigned with Los Angeles.

Now, for those of us who have watched Manny since he came up with the Indians way back when, we knew he was mercurial at best, and down right looney at worst.  While he never went to such strangeness in Cleveland as he did in Boston, he still had those “Manny being Manny” moments.  He’s always been one to just be in his own world, be it on or off the field.  He just did his own thing, and never a care for who thought what of him.

Even so, this PED test failure comes as a bit of a shock.  Unlike many others who have been linked to various PEDs, Manny was not one of them.  Even with his strange behaviors, no one ever made any sort of even vaguely sustainable links between Ramirez and PEDs.  Now, one could argue now that PED’s are the cause of much of Manny’s behavior quirks.  But IMO that’s just hind sight.  No, I think this is just as Manny said in his statement, he was an idiot.  He should have done more checking on what he was being given, and if it would fall under the banned substance rules of MLB.  He admits to this in his statement, and accepts “responsibility” for his actions, and will not challenge the suspension.  Oh, and he does have a point, in that he has passed some 15 previous PED tests administered by MLB.  So, in the absence of any further information, I will take Manny at his word (such that it is).  He’s taking his lumps, and that should be that.

I found it unsurprising that the media rather than talking primarily to the Dodgers, instead went to Boston.  After all the drama that surrounded Manny and his exit from the Red Sox, it was obviously where reporters thought they’d get some sort of sallacious details.  Unfortunately for them, the Sox weren’t so obliging.  Yes, Dustin Pedroia talked a bit, as did David Ortiz, and Terry Francona.  Yet in each case, they weren’t all that interested in giving scandalous details to reporters, even if they had any.  The general gist of the comments can be summed up as: “Manny’s in LA, not in Boston.  He’s not here, so why should we talk about him?”

This leads me to the man who “replaced” Manny Ramirez in Left Field for the Sox, one Jason Bay.  While Bay did not put up those lights out kind of numbers Manny could after he came over from Pittsburgh, he did more than enough to cement himself as an important part of the Red Sox team.  But his start this year has been outstanding.  He’s produced in the clutch (take that Mariano Rivera!), has been getting on base consistently (tied for the MLB lead in walks), driving in runs, and swiping the occasional bag with ease.  Further more, he’s as far removed from Manny personality wise as one could possibly get.  Not to mention a better defensive Left Fielder.  Bay is a fairly quiet (but not reclusive) player, who prefers to let his efforts on the field speak for themselves.  He’s much more a team player than Manny, and not one to seek, or even be found on the tabloid pages.  Basically, he’s the ideal Red Sox player.

So, like many in Red Sox nation, I’ll keep saying “Manny who” anytime he gets mentioned.

Awaiting the announcement from the Hall (UPDATED)

UPDATE: Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice Elected to BB HoF.  Congratulations to Jim Rice!  It’s finally here.

At 1:30 pm Eastern today, the 2009 Base Ball Hall of Fame inductees will be announced.  There will be at least one new inductee this year, with a couple more “on the bubble.”  So, as is my want, here I will give my ballot, if I had one…

The rules of the Base Ball Writers Association (BBWA), state that each voting member may list up to 10 names per ballot.  As the list of elligibles often exceeds this number, choices must always be made.  Of course, there is no minimum number to list either, so a voter may vote for no one in a given year.  So with those restriction in mind, here are my choices:

1. Rickey Henderson (OF).  This should be a no brainer, but guaranteed, at least 10% of the voters will not list him.  Base Ball’s all time leader in steals, second in walks, and he played 26 seasons.  He was dynamic on the base paths, and not just as a base stealer.  He played an outstanding outfield for many years, with more than a few high light plays.  Sure he could be a complete moron and prat off the field, or when he opened his mouth, but that’s not what’s at issue here (or shall we bring up Ty Cobb?).  His stats, and his ability on the field put him in the Hall.

2. Jim Rice (OF).  This is Jim’s last year of eligibility for the voters.  He deserves to be in.  Few hitters were more feared in his 16 seasons.  He was consistently in the top 10 in HR, RBI, and even batting average over those years.  The big knock against Rice is his last year in Boston, which was terrible (and brought his career average down to .298), and that he didn’t reach 400 HR (finished with 382).  Even so, the former AL MVP was a big reason why Boston was as good as they were from 1975-1986.  His average season was 30 HR, 113 RBI, and a .300 average.

3. Bert Blyleven (SP).  Here’s another guy who gets worked over for one bad year.  Yes, he gave up 50 HRs one year.  So what.  The rest of his career, and where he stood all time when he retired, should be what matters.  Then again, Base Ball writer’s don’t always exhibit good sense.  When Bert left the playing field, he was 3rd all time in strike outs (with only Nolan Ryan and Steve Carlton ahead of him), but only had 287 wins.  Not reaching the 300 plateau is also probably holding him back in some wirter’s minds.  But if guys like Drysdale and Koufax and Sutton are in, Bert should be as well.

4. Andre Dawson (OF).  He won an MVP for the last place Cubs.  He toiled for years in Montreal.  He was a consistent all around hitter.  He could steal bases, he could play defense.  Even at the tail end of his career, when he became something of a journeyman, he still had the hitting ability, though the wheels had slowed down.  He hit 438 HR in his 21 seasons.  He has 1591 RBI to go with them.  An 8 time All Star, 1977 ROY, and 8 time Gold Glove winner, and had over 300 SB for his career.  What’s not to like?

5. Dale Murphy (OF).  This two time NL MVP winner keeps getting over looked IMO.  Here’s a guy who didn’t have a position with the Braves when he first came up, bouncing between catcher and 1B.  He finally settled in the outfield.  He won back to back MVP awards in 1982-1983, a 7 time all star, 5 gold gloves, 4 silver sluggers, finished with 398 career home runs, and over 1200 RBI.  I will admit that his career .265 average is not all that sexy, but the other numbers, and his reputation on, and off the field should carry him through.

6. Allan Trammell (SS). The 1978 AL ROY played all 20 seasons with the Detroit Tigers.  A six time all star, and 1984 World Series MVP, Trammell heralded a new era of short stops.  He was Derek Jeter before Jeter.  Trammell turned Short Stops from light hitting good glove players into all around players.  He was a three time silver slugger, and 4 time gold glove winner.  While his numbers certainly can’t compare with the big gun positions, among hius fellow short stops, he is outstanding.

7. Jack Morris (SP).  No one was more dominant in the 1980’s on the mound than Jack Morris.  He was the Tiger’s number one starter for most of his career.  The big turn off on Jack is his 3.90 career ERA, and that he too never reached 300 wins.  But the 5 time All Star consistently pitched 240+ innings per season, won 20 games 3 times, and 3 200+ strike out seasons.

8. Tim Raines (OF): Rickey’s contemporary in the National League.  While Raines never quite put up the same staggering numbers as Henderson, when one talked about the best in the game from 1980-1990, Raines was among those mentioned.  Tim is 5th all time in stolen bases with 808.  He was a 7 time All Star, and won the 1987 ASG MVP.  He finished with a .294 career average (winning the 1986 batting title).

9. Dave Parker (OF).  The NL MVP in 1978.  Parker was a 7 time All Star, 3 time Gold Glove winner, 3 time Silver Slugger, and won two batting titles.  Oh, and he had some wheels too, stealing at least 10 bases in a season 7 times, to go with 339 career HRs.

10. Mark McGwire (1B).  This was a tough one, and for obvious reasons.  While I am one of those that will discount his power numbers, and will hold it against him, I still find that he has the stats to be in the Hall.  His 1987 ROY campaign was nothing short of amazing, and all natural at the time.  He was derailed by injuried several times, but still had some fine seasons.  And McGwire is probably one of the very few players in MLB history who could hit 29 HR, with 64 RBI, and only hit .188.

Guys I just couldn’t pull the trigger on:

Harold Baines (OF/DH).  Just can’t do it.  He doesn’t have the numbers, and wasn’t one of those guys you just dreaded facing, or wanted up for your team in the do or die situations.  Edgar Martinez will be the first “true DH” in the Hall.

David Cone (SP).  Cone had a couple of good seasons, but never reached 200 wins, and had a lot more mediocre years than good.  He’ll get votes because he played for the Yankees and Mets.

Tommy John (SP).  I might vote for John in other years, but not this one.  He deserves some credit for all his years of service, though his numbers are far from impressive for that length of service.  In a weker ballot year, he might get in.

Lee Smith (RP).  Much like Tommy John, in any other year.  Lee was the “first” of the lights out 1 inning closers.  Even so, he still racked up quite a few 2 inning saves, and more often than not faced the heart of an opponents line up, unlike many closers today. He is among Base Ball’s all time saves leaders.

Matt Williams (3B).  Another tough cut.  If Matt had put up some slightly better numbers in Arizona, he would have made the list.  But if Graig Nettles isn’t in, Matt shouldn’t be either.

Jesse Orrosco (RP).  Jesse had a long career.  He had some good years.  But not a Hall of Fame type career.  He’s this generations Kent Tekulve.

Jay Bell (SS).  Jay was good, but not great.  Sure he had some ridiculous years in Arizona, but those were the excpetions rather than the rule.  Only 2 All Star appearances and 1 Gold Glove over 18 seasons.

Mark Grace (1B). A slick fielding first baseman is not going to cut it.  Yes he was a consistent .300 hitter, but he never moved beyond that.  Which is great for a career, but not for the Hall of Fame.  Plus he’s gotten annoying on FOX Sports pregame show.

Ron Gant (OF).  I started looking at Gant’s numbers, and other than the batting average (.256) they weren’t bad.  Better than I had thought.  But nothing near Hall of Fame.  Add to this the fact that he was awful defensively (at any position), and his lack of All Star, and other post season awards, and he just doesn’t make the cut.

Dan Plesac (RP).  Dan put up some good saves numbers.  That’s about it.  His ERA for a closer is mediocre at best, and though he rarely walked anyone, he never blew anyone away either.  He was also never dominant as a closer.  Solid and consistent yes, but never dominant.

Mo Vaughn (1B).  I never knew Mo stole 11 bases one year.  I never Mo was capable of stelaing 11 bases in a year.  Still, Mo could have been a contender, if he had played longer.  If injuried hadn’t derailed him, he could have finished with 400+ HR, and a career .300 average.  He didn’t though, and that’s what’s at stake here.  Sorry Mo, but you don;t make the cut.

Greg Vaughn (OF).  I had to look at Greg’s numbers to see why he was even up for consideration.  He had three high profile power years, but that’s about it.  But the rest of his numbers just aren’t there.  The average (.242) is sub-par at best, he barley has over 1000 RBI (1072), never was noted for his glove, and wasn’t consistently among the league leaders in any category.  I guess all you need for consideration is one 50 HR season, which would explain Brady Anderson.

Conratulations to the Tampa Bay Rays

Well, they’re in a fight right now in game 1 of the World Series, but they did earn the right to be in this series.

They won the Al East Division out right, and have played extremely well through out the entire regular season.  They continued that trend in the play offs, taking out first the White Sox, then the Red Sox.  I, and many others, could give a laundry list as to why the Red Sox lost that series.  But it still wouldn’t detract from the season the Rays have had this year. 

Joe Maddon is growing on me.  I didn’t know all that much about him before he took the Rays job, but between last year and this year, I’ve gotten to see more of him.  And honestly, I like what I see and hear from him.  Yeah, he looks like a high school principle, but he doesn’t sound that way.  His press conferences are actually interesting and even entertaining to watch and listen to.  He doesn’t over analyze things, or over hype things, gives credit where credit is due, and admits when he makes a mistake.  Of course, this sort of attitude means he couldn’t manage in any major market, with the possible exception of LA and Boston.  He’d be crucified in NY or Chicago.

 

So here’s to hoping the Rays win it all.  It would cap a perfect season for Tampa Bay, and a “feel good” story in Baseball.  Rays in 6 people.

What a great weekend to be a sports fan

What more could a sports fan ask for this past weekend?  well, I could have asked for the Cowboy’s to have won, but that’s just me.

Four of the top five NCAA Football teams got upset, with only previously #2 Oklahoma surviving.  Oh, and Navy beat #16 Wake Forest as well!  When is the USNA going to get some respect?  Sure Paul Johnson left to go to Georgia Tech, but this team is still very very good.  Not BCS worthy to be sure, but still…

Then there’s the Baseball races.  Wow.  The Mets collapsed again!  Guess it wasn’t just Willy Randolph eh?  Hope he had a beer and called Omar Minaya to say “HA!”  And it looks like we’re bout 2 innings away from another Ozzie Guillen tantrum in Chicago.  He has to be on the hot seat if the White Sox fail in their make up game against the Tigers.  Then there is the feel good story of the Tampa Bay Rays.  A payroll 1/5 that of the NY Yankees, and the Rays win the dvision, the Yanks get to play golf.  And the Twins.  Who would have expected the Twins to be looking at making the post season?  No one that’s who.  Even die hard Twin fans were writing this season off.  Oh, and Cubs fans, you still got a long way to go.  Not saying they won’t, but it is the Cubs.  And of course some “usual suspects” are back, LA Dodgers (aka the West Coast Red Sox), the Red Sox, Angels, and Phillies.  Oh and the Brewers are back for the first time since Cecil Cooper wore the uniform.

NFL weeken was interesting as well.  No unthinkable upsets like last week with the Patriots-Dolphins game, but still some upsets.  Kansas City over Denver?  Herm Edwards probably just saved his job there.  Brett Favre finally has a great day as a Jet, even if they were wearing the old NY Titans uniforms.  How Lane Kifin is surviving in Okland is beyond me.  It’s not that he’s a bad coach, but with Al Davis in charge, it’s more soap opera than NFL.  Json Garret in Dallas finally had a “bad” game as offensive coordinator.  Not enough touched for TO (though the Skins D had something to do with that), and no use of Felix Jones.  See what happens after the bye week.

The NHL preseason has begun as well.  Haven’t watched any games as yet, but I am looking forward to the new season.

Carl Yastrzemski

Carl Yastrzemski is in the hospital for heart bypass surgery.  He has undergone successful (so far) triple bypass surgery.  Red Sox nation I am quite sure is praying and rooting for “Captain Carl,” just as they did for 20+ years while he played for the Sox.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/baseball/mlb/08/19/yaz.hospital.ap/index.html

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080819&content_id=3332233&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3542769

Yaz, as he is more popularly known, had a Hall of Fame career in Boston.  He’s also the last man to win the American League triple crown in batting.  He took over LF from another HoF’er, Ted Williams (no pressure there right?).  He was part of the “impossible dream” team in 1967.  He was on the AL pennant winning 1975 team.  He was a first ballot Hall of Fame inductee.

I had the priviliedge of meeting Yaz in 1990.  He was doing a book signing for his autobiography, “Baseball, The Wall, and Me” at the Boston U Bookstore in Kenmore Square in Boston.  He ended up staying over the posted times to acocmodate the crowd that had lined up to get thier copies signed.  He was perfectly personable to everyone who got to the table, from the rabid fans, to the casual fans getting the book autographed for a relative or friend. 

I got to see Yaz play at Fenway.  He was one of those Red So players I wanted to be like (but never did LOL).  It was Yaz, Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, and Freddy Lynn who I loved to watch play.  Too bad the pitching never matched up to the offense and defense (Bob Stanley not withstanding).

So here’s to hoping that Yaz make a full and complete rcovery, and will once again grace the crowds of Fenway and Cooperstown with his presence.

MLB Trade Deadline 2008

Well, it’s now the end of non-waiver trades in MLB.  Some surprising moves were made.  The biggest being the end of the “Manny-Era” in Boston.

Manny Ramirez, the mercurial OF for the Sox, was shipped off to the land of granola (all fruits and nuts), while the Sox got Jason Bay, and the Pirates got a bevy of prospects.  This was the block buster of the day, and perhpas the season, trumping even CC Sabathia going to Millwaukee. 

Manny had to go.  He had quit on the team, supposedly to “punish management,” which made him expendable not only to the brain trust, but to his teammates as well.  I doubt even Big Poppi could defend Manny after his antics the past few weeks.  So now Manny is Joe Torre’s problem with the Dodgers in LA.  Can’t wait to see how Manny and Larry Bowa get along.  Yes, the Sox gave up alot to get rid of Manny, they’re paying his salary, and gave up Craig Hansen and Brandon Moss as well.  The Dodgers gave up Andy Laroche, and another prospect to the Pirates, who sent their star OF Jason Bay to Boston.

I actually kind of like this deal.  The Sox get Bay, who is under contract for next year, and get rid of Manny, his antics, and the headache.  The money really isn’t an issue, as they’d have been paying it if Manny had stayed.  The Dodgers get a HoF hitter to help bolster their line up, and don’t have to pay him. The Pirates really make out on this deal.  They get four players, trim their payroll slightly, and get set for having a solid team for the next 4-5 years.  This makes up for them getting ripped off by the Yankees in the Nady/Marte deal.

The Yankees meanwhile picked up Pudge Rodriguez for Kyle Farnsworth.  This is an intriguing deal, as the two were exchanged straight up.   With Jorge Posada going down for the season (and perhaps longer, depending on his surgery), the Yanks were in the market for a solid all round catcher. The Tigers have been fading a bit, and seem to be very comfortable with Brandon Inge at catcher.  In return for Pudge, the Tigers got a much needed reliever, one that had become expendedable in NY, and was finally getting his act together.  Expect Fransworth to close some games the rest of the way for the Tigers. 

The Brave’s actually dealt Mark Teixeira.  Yes, this means that the Brave’s are surrendering this season and next.  The Angels make out good with this deal, as Teixeira is a big time upgrade at 1B over Casey Kotchman, offensively and defensively.  The Braves do get younger, and Kotchman is cheaper, and under contract for the next few years.  The Halos will be very, very tough down the stretch, and in the post season. 

Strangest deal was Junior Griffey going to the White Sox.  this one makes very little sense to me.  Other than giving Junior a shot at a ring (which he deserves), thsi doesn’t make much baseball sense.  The White Sox are set at the corner OF poisitons (Carlos Quentin and Jermaine Dye), and Junior isn’t all that great in CF anymore, and hasn’t played there regularly in years.  The DH slot isn’t much of an option either with Jim Thome entrenched there.  I understand that Junior and the White Sox GM (whose neame escpaes me ATM, Ken Williams?), have a relationship going back a while, but even still.  This one seems to be just about giving a bone to Junior.

And that was about it.  The two earlier trades for pitchers, Sabathia to Milwaukee, Rich Harden to the Cubs, weren’t deadline deals, though were significant.  As ESPN called it, this was a “dud line.” 

I was suprised that certain players did not get moved.  Jack Wilson from the Pirates, Brian Fuentes from the Rockies, Jeremy Hermidia from Florida, were all rumored to be going.  None of them moved.  I was more surprised that the Brave’s didn’t deal Jeff Francouer.  I would have thought he had all but worn out his welcome in Atlanta.  He may yet go, but probably not untill the off season.  Some talked about guys like George Sherrill in Baltimore, but I doubted he would move, not after the Bedard trade which brought him to Baltimore, unless a team really overwhelmed the O’s with an offer.  Dealing may not yet be done, but any deal will involved players needing to clear waivers before being traded.