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Trade Deadline Aftermath

Well, another trade deadline come and gone.

A number of players rumored to be on the block changing teams and even more staying put.  

To me, the trade deadline is baseball holiday.  I'm constantly checking the columns of Ken Rosenthal and the pages of MLBTradeRumors looking for updates to see just who is headed to which team.

This season's trade deadline was a far more exciting than last season's.  A number of above average players and a few All-Star caliber players were moved along with a few top prospects as well.

Here are my thoughts following the excitement of the last week:

The Braves Went Bananas

The Braves think they're in the National League playoff hunt (I also think they are) and they proved that this week.

In probably the biggest deal of the deadline week, they acquired Mark Teixeira and Ron Mahay for five prospects, most notably catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, shortstop Elvis Andrus and left-handed pitcher Matt Harrison.

Braves first baseman are hitting .211/.270/.363 on the season, so you can make a strong argument Atlanta was the team that needed Tex the most.

I don't want to get too much into the analysis of this deal (Joe Sheehan, J.C. Bradbury and Adam J. Morris have already done so), but I see this deal as a win-win for both teams.

Saltalamacchia and Andrus are both PECOTA favorites while Harrison was rated as the #2 prospect in the Braves organization by Kevin Goldstein, so Texas is receiving three top-tier prospects here which is something any team would kill for in a deal during this era.

The price tag for Tex was high and the Braves certainly paid-up for his services.

However, Salty was blocked by Brian McCann while Andrus is currently behind Edgar Renteria and Brent Lillibridge on the organizational latter, so Atlanta essentially traded two top prospects they could "afford" to trade.

The price tag was still very high and you have to wonder if Atlanta will regret trading so many young players with upside, especially if Teixeira walks following the 2008 season.

Still, his bat and his glove are both very valuable assets and he should bolster the Braves lineup.  If Andruw Jones starts coming around, they might have the best 3-4-5 hitter trio in the National League with Chipper-Andruw- and now Teixeira.

Along with Mahay, the Braves also traded for potential closer Octavio Dotel and Royce Ring which should help a middle-of-the-road bullpen; the Atlanta bullpen currently ranks 15th in the majors in WXRL at 6.301.

Overall, Atlanta improved their lineup (at the team's worst position) and their bullpen which could mean the difference between playing in the postseason and watching it.

The Red Sox Improved the Best Bullpen in the Baseball

What's better than a bullpen featuring Manny Delcarmen, Hideki Okajima, Mike Timlin and Jonathan Papelbon?  How about a bullpen featuring Manny Delcarmen, Hideki Okajima, Mike Timlin, Jonathan Papelbon and Eric Gagne?

Gagne's not the pitcher he used to be stuff-wise, but he's still effective continually hitting 92-94 MPH on the gun and he was the most effective Texas reliever in terms of WXRL at 2.697.

Gagne's peripherals aren't as strong as they were during his Dodger days, but he's clearly an asset and he puts the icing on the cake of what is the major league best bullpen in terms of WXRL at 11.474.

When you plan Eric Gagne to act as one of your prime set-up men, you know you have yourself a darn good bullpen.

I Still Don't Understand the Pirates

I don't see much motivation in trading for Matt Morris, especially if you're a team like the Pirates with virtually no shot of making the playoffs. More troubling is the fact the Bucs are picking up the remainder if the $9.5M owed to Morris this season and the $9.5M he is owed in 2008.

Morris' ERA of 4.35 isn't all that bad, it ranks 31st among qualified major league pitchers and his DIPS ERA of 4.17 is good for 29th in the major leagues, but there isn't much upside left a 32-year old pitcher with a K/9 of 4.80.

Rajai Davis, the main player the Giants acquired in the deal, presents low upside as well, but this is definitely win for San Francisco in a classic salary dump.

I'm guessing the recent fatigue Tom Gorzelanny has shown prompted Dave Littlefield to acquire Morris, but I can't bring myself to applaud Pittsburgh in trading for Morris and more importantly picking up the rest of the cash remaining on his contract.

So Much for the White Sox Firesale

Remember when SI's Jon Heyman was calling a White Sox firesale "imminent"?

A total of two major league players were traded by the White Sox this week, those being Tadahito Iguchi to the Phillies and Rob Macowiak to the Padres.

Each were exchanged for a couple of A-ball right-handers in Michael Dubee and Jon Link respectively.

Jermaine Dye went nowhere and neither did Jon Garland, Javier Vazquez or Jose Contreras.

As a Sox fan, I was sort of hoping for a firesale type trade deadline, but Kenny Williams is showing a very unwillingness to blow-up a borderline last place team.

Mark Buehrle has already been extended and there's talk Dye might be next.

The Cubs and Brewers Did Nothing to One-Up Each Other in the Central

Two teams that seemed to be linked to almost every trade rumor over the past week were the Cubs and the Brewers.  Surprise!  Neither team made a move yesterday,

The Brewers did trade for Scott Linebrink earlier in the week, a very questionalbe move, but neither team acquired the bat or relief arm each rumored to be looking for over the last 48 hours.

Baseball Prospectus' think both have a legitimate shot of making the playoffs (The Brewers at 59% and the Cubs at 55%) and we're going to see the same Brewers and Cubs teams we've seen over the course of the season throughout the rest of the year.

I'm a little surprised Jim Hendry didn't make a move.  He's a guy that's normally isn't afraid to make a splash at the deadline.

The Padres Bolstered a Pretty Weak Bench

The 2006 Padres team featured a very strong bench, but we've seen the exact opposite this year.

Jose Cruz is hitting only .235/.317/.376 this year, while Geoff Blum (.237/.318/.326) and the recently DFA'd Russell Branyan (.197/.322/.426) have also struggled.

Enter the acquisitions of Morgan Ensberg and Rob Mackowiak as I mentioned above.

Though he is struggling his season, Ensberg gives the Padres insurance at third base and a bat that can hit left-handed pitching (despite his troubles he's hitting .259/.330/.459 against left-handed on the year).

Mackowiak gives the Pads a versatile player that can play virtually anywhere on the diamond and he's killed the ball since the All-Star break hitting .381/.413/.619 in 42 AB's following the mid-summer classic.

Even more impressive is the acquisition of Scott Hairston.

Hairston's also been tagged as a "sleeper" mainly because he hit .323/.407/.531 in 440 AB's for AAA Tucson in 2006. More impressive were his major league equivalents that year:  .288/.365/.530 and a VORP of 27.1 runs.

PECOTA projected a .275/.343/.501 batting line from him for the season and even though he's currently hitting well below that this year (.219/.298/.354 in 178 AB's), he too brings the Padres bench some pop and versatility.

Don't forget they also inked Shea Hillenbrand to a minor league contract as well.

Despite the Teixeira and Gagne Deals, the Trade Deadline was Still Just a Ton of Hot Air

Sure, Teixeira and Gagne are two former All-Stars that will now play for new, playoff caliber teams.  It was exciting watching the two deals develop and they should certainly make an impact on their new teams.

However, as I mentioned above, many names rumored to be on the block stayed put.

Adam Dunn,  Ken Griffey Jr., Bronson Arroyo and David Weathers are still on the Reds.  Chad Cordero and Jon Rauch went nowhere.  Neither did Al Reyes, Jonny Gomes, Torri Hunter or any of the White Sox starting arms.

The trade deadline was plenty fun this year, but like every season, I always seem to want more when it ends.