Deadline deals could impact pennant races


By Mark Simon, ESPN Research

There wasn't an overwhelming blockbuster on Monday. But there were 12 trades, involving 28 players, and some fairly significant names changed teams. Though it was most notable that Alfonso Soriano wasn't dealt, there were several deals that could impact the pennant race.

Even the little moves, like Jeremy Affeldt going to the Rockies and Matt Stairs heading to the Rangers, could be big deals by October. Remember that in each of the last three seasons, an underrated deadline-day trade proved to be key to a team's postseason hopes.


By BUSTER OLNEY, ESPN Insider | Olney Archive

The Bobby Abreu deal is another aspect of the new approach the Yankees have been taking the last 15 months -- and if they follow in the same vein, don't be surprised if they exercise the $13 million option on Gary Sheffield for 2007.

The Yankees made a mistake in letting Jon Lieber get away after the 2004 season. They could've retained him had they exercised a one-year, $8 million option, but they thought that Lieber wasn't worth that kind of annual salary. And they were right, partly; Lieber didn't get an $8 million salary. He got a $6 million salary, for each of three years, from the Phillies.

Here's the lesson: It would've made more sense for the Yankees to overpay Lieber somewhat on a short-term deal, rather than go out and spend $40 million on a Carl Pavano in a long-term deal.

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• Rookie Josh Johnson allowed two runs in seven innings in the Marlins' 15-2 victory over the Phillies, to take the NL lead in earned run average (2.52). Another rookie, Francisco Liriano, leads the AL and the majors with a 1.96 mark. This is the first time in major league history that rookies lead both leagues in ERA at the end of July.

David Ortiz hit a walk-off home run -- the eighth of his career and his third in 51 days -- to give the Red Sox a 9-8 win over the Indians. Over the last 10 seasons, the only other players to hit three walk-off homers in that short a span of time were Barry Bonds (over 29 days in 2003) and Rafael Palmeiro (51 days in 1998).

Freddy Sanchez carries a 12-point lead over Chipper Jones in the NL batting-average race into August. Sanchez is the first Pirates player to lead the league in August or later since Orlando Merced held the lead from Aug. 5 to Aug. 9 in 1993.

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