Tales From The Trade Deadline
By Jonah Keri
If the 2006 trade deadline is any indication, Major League
Baseball has nothing on BrassWorld.
Big names such as Dontrelle Willis, Roy Oswalt, Barry Zito
and Alfonso Soriano were all bandied about in MLB circles in the days leading
up the July 31 non-waiver deadline. In the end, though, none of those players
were traded, and few impact names changed addresses.
That wasn’t the case in BrassWorld. A total of 17 trades
took place, many of them coming in the final, frenzied moments before the
deadline. Those deals, combined with three notable trades in June, made for
some exciting water cooler debate—and could play a big role in sorting out the
league red-hot pennant chases.
While Willis stayed put in MLB, he found his way to the top
team in BrassWorld, San Bernardino,
as part of a blockbuster trade. After inheriting the top team in the league
from outgoing owner Tom Fish, new skipper Chris Metz added reinforcements. The
deadline deal saw San Bernardino
acquire Willis and Bobby Abreu for $11 million, 1st- and 3rd-round
draft picks in 2007, and 1st- and 2nd-round picks in
2008. Major League Baseball stipulates that all trades involving a cash
exchange of more than $1 million must be approved by the commissioner. Metz
had no such restriction, thus placing himself in the driver’s seat for a World
The beneficiary of Metz’s largesse was
Bob Loose, the new owner of the Santa Barbara
franchise. Like Metz, Loose wasted
little time diving into BrassWorld’s trade waters. He first acquired Melky
Cabrera and his rock-bottom contract, along with Min pitcher Garrett Mock, in a
deal that sent Julio Lugo to Montreal.
His next trade saw Mark Teahen and Trot Nixon head to Annadale for Abreu. That
deal seemed a head-scratcher for a team on the fringes of contention. But the
subsequent trade of Abreu and Willis to San Bernardino
improved Santa Barbara’s future
Following the lead of Abreu and Lugo,
Carlos Lee was another notable player dealt in both MLB and BrassWorld. In one
of three Annadale trades made in July, owner Robert Smith sent Lee and stingy
reliever Scot Shields to Alaska.
Lee and Shields were willing to overlook the 24-hour daylight and resulting
sleeping problems, though, as Alaska
also projects as a strong playoff contender. In return, owner Chris Blake sent
young talents Neil Walker, Gavin Floyd and Kelly Johnson to Annadale.
The third of Annadale’s three trades for the month saw the
Anteaters acquire young reliever Jose Capellan, along with Jorge Posada, $1.2
million and 2nd- and 3rd-round 2007 draft picks for Jason
Varitek and Torii Hunter. Montreal
owner Jonah Keri sought to supplement Dave Roberts’ production in center field
while also adding arguably the best catcher in the 2005 set to his roster. Keri
was one of the league’s busiest owners in June and July. Stockpiling players
for next year, he added Kelly Shoppach, Mike Lamb, Boof Bonser, Adam Lind and
Eddy Martinez-Esteve in four separate deals.
Wayne Foulke acquired Jose Molina for Martinez-Esteve. Said Foulke: “GCG mgmt
felt the team needed little or no improvement heading into the postseason—we
added Molina because Dougie Mirabelli was low on PA. No major moves planned…no
money in the budget.”
Keri also added to this year’s roster, acquiring eight
likely 2006 contributors in all. One deal with Taggart sent Chris Resop, Greg
Miller and D’Angelo Jimenez out of town, in exchange for David Bell, Sal
Fasano, a 3rd-round 2007 pick and $750,000. Montreal’s
biggest trade saw Pedro Martinez, Todd Jones and Mark DeRosa join the
McGaffigans. In return, Keri shipped Jake Westbrook and Nate McLouth to Virginia
near the end of June.
In a possible landmark case for Bill Simmons’ famous Ewing
Theory (http://proxy.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?id=1193711), Bardos’ Virginia
team put up an incredible 20-6 record in July—after the departure of the team’s ace, its closer, and a solid
“Oddly, after trading Pedro, the Pats had their best month
of the year 17-5. Just when we thought we were out of the race; not able to
predict what can happen.”
and Maryland head into August
deadlocked for the final Wild Card spot in the National League. Bill Galanis’
Mounders helped their cause, picking up Cliff Politte and Julio Franco in two
separate trades, strengthening their bullpen and bench. Maryland
also added Shawn Chacon, upgrading the starting rotation.
“I needed pitching, Chacon was advertised, I responded,
dealing with Lenny was easy,” said Galanis. “Chacon upgrades my rotation and
bullpen for the last two months, Halsey and Maine (while marginal prospects
with some usage next year; in fact, Halsey will be very respectable, if he
keeps pitching like this) were not cornerstones for my team for the long-term, and
Lenny was looking to both replace innings for this year and get some help for
the future. Voila.
”With respect to Franco, someone advertised they needed pitching, Redman is not
part of my long-term plans, I didn't need his innings for this year and his
card was no better than Trachsel and Liriano (guys I had in reserve, before I
traded for Chacon), so I traded him to dump his salary,” Galanis continued. “The
manager who acquired Redman did not want to part with picks or prospects, so we
settled on Franco, who allows me to sit Helton occasionally vs. lefties (and
avoid overusing Helton). So, Chacon replaces Redman in the rotation (upgrade)
and fills in on long-relief whenever possible to save the rest of my pen.
His salary is roughly half of Redman’s for this season. Franco is a
bench player for two months that I picked up in dumping Redman’s salary, and he
costs just a bit more than Halsey and Maine
combined. Neither guy I picked up is a stud who will put me over the top, but
they are upgrades that will allow me to continue to be a pest, and I could
absorb the cost.”
was the other contender that made multiple deals in an effort to beef up for
the playoffs. Henry Vance’s team acquired Kyle Farnsworth, Magglio Ordonez,
Chris Gomez, Matt LeCroy and Jamie Walker as it looked ahead to October.
Teams can still trade within their own conferences in
August. Look for a few more moves before the Aug. 31 deadline, as playoff races
heat up in both leagues.