Trade deadline ripples
Updated: August 2, 2009, 10:02 PM ETBy Buster Olney
Some rippling after the trade deadline:
- The Padres had to trade Jake Peavy lest they run the risk of having one guy take up 30 to 40 percent of their payroll in 2010. So when White Sox general manager Kenny Williams asked San Diego about him again before the trade deadline, the Padres were like a man dying of thirst being offered a canteen of water. They needed salary relief, and in the long run, they'll be better off for it. But what has happened with the franchise over the last couple of years is incredibly sad -- one of the worst things baseball has seen since the night that Charlie Finley tried to sell off Rollie Fingers, Vida Blue and Joe Rudi." The Padres might have a Florida Marlins-like payroll next season, but don't confuse their situation with that of the Marlins, who at least have lots of talent. During the past year, the ugly divorce of John Moores from the Padres has forced them to conduct a garage sale, unloading almost all of their meaningful assets. It appears they will cut their payroll from $75 million to something in the range of $20-25 million within two years, and if you're a Padres fan living in San Diego and remember all those words about how the publicly funded Petco Park would help the team compete, well, you are not alone. The Padres now are left with a poor major league team and a poor farm system, and just a couple of baubles in Adrian Gonzalez and Heath Bell. Presumably, they will move both players in the winter. Moores, at least, has turned over the club to a new ownership group led by Jeff Moorad, but it'll probably be anywhere from three to five years before the Padres contend again, and before the team draws consistently. The migration pattern of the sports fans in San Diego is well-established: If you win, they'll come out to see you; if you don't win, well, they're headed to the beach or maybe a hike on Cowles Mountain.
- The Phillies landed the biggest pre-deadline prize in Cliff Lee, and Detroit might've acquired the biggest difference-maker in Jarrod Washburn, but Atlanta may have done the best overall work in summertime deals so far. The Braves have reshaped their offense by acquiring Nate McLouth and Adam LaRoche, and only four teams scored more runs than the Braves in July. They already have outstanding starting pitching, of course; only the Giants' and Cardinals' pitchers have lower ERAs. As of Sunday morning, the Braves are four games behind the Giants and Rockies in the wild-card standings, and they are dangerous.
- Cleveland's stable of pitching had dwindled in recent years, and as the team traded off its major league talent, the challenge was to reload arms. Cleveland was able to do that, landing high-ceiling guys Jason Knapp, Chris Perez and Justin Masterson. The next 15 months might be a rough time for the Indians, but at least they have created a foundation for a turnaround. The deals involving Victor Martinez and Lee were money-driven, Bud Shaw writes.
- Time will tell whether the Pirates' ownership will have the patience to wait out the plan of general manager Neal Huntington, but the team is moving in the right direction, at least. Pittsburgh is collecting players who can be difference-makers, such as Andrew McCutchen, who had a huge night Saturday. This just in: Pirates chairman Bob Nutting said he absolutely won't sell the Pirates, Dejan Kovacevic writes.
- Victor Martinez gives the Red Sox so much flexibility in so many different ways for 2010, when the Boston front office will begin to decide what to do with Jason Varitek, Mike Lowell and others. But the Red Sox's lineup is kind of morphing into something like the Yankees' lineup from 2004 to 2007. The team is stacked with big and slow hitters. It's hard to imagine that the Red Sox's adept front office won't try to pick up younger and more athletic position players this offseason.
- The Rays didn't do much before the trade deadline, but you can bet that they will be very busy in the offseason, when they may well move left fielder Carl Crawford and left-hander Scott Kazmir. Tampa Bay, like many teams, must constantly fight to avoid being too top-heavy with high-salary veterans. To see the rest of Buster Olney's blog, you must be an ESPN Insider.
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