By Josh Kramer
The MLB trade deadline is always a hectic time. It could be the difference between winning a World Series (see the Cardinals, 5 acquisitions at deadline in 2011) or coming up just short. In the last four years, mega-stars Roy Oswalt, Cliff Lee, and Manny Ramirez have all been shopped around at the trade deadline. It is safe to say that they all three made major impacts on their new employers. This year, the magnitude may have been even greater than in past years with the added wild-card spot in each League. Simply put, there were far more buyers and less sellers than normal due to the expanded playoff format. Here are the main storylines.
It is fairly obvious who stole the show in regards to this year’s MLB trade deadline. Ironically, they did not necessarily steal it in a good way. The Philadelphia Phillies apparently have become the newly anointed Triple-A team for the NL West. At least they were fair about it. First they provided the Los Angeles Dodgers with a very experienced player who can bat leadoff. Then they made things fair by trading away their best all-around player this year not named Carlos Ruiz to the San Francisco Giants (Hunter Pence). Outside of the shocking story developing in Pittsburgh, there is no bigger surprise in baseball than the Philadelphia Phillies and their fire sale yesterday.
Magic back in LA?
Los Angeles added two former All-Stars to their team in the past week. The Achilles heel in Dodger land has been their inability to consistently produce from an offensive standpoint. Much of this was due to Matt Kemp’s extended stay on the disabled-list. Hanley Ramirez is a career .300 hitter, while Shane Victorino was a key cog for the Phillies for the past eight years resulting in five NL East titles, two pennants, and a World Series crown. Fresh off of a huge weekend sweep against the team they are going toe to toe with, the magic seems to be back in LA.
The NL Central leading Cincinnati Reds already had the best bullpen in baseball. Yesterday, a great bullpen got even stronger. With the addition of Jonathan Broxton, the Reds now have two of baseball’s best closers on the same roster. Broxton has been outstanding in KC this year and could be the closer for nearly every other team in the League. The way the Cuban Missile has been throwing lately, if the Reds are leading after the 7th inning, it will be lights out every time.
AL West Battle
Ryan Dempster is not Zach Greinke by any means. The 35-year-old veteran provides a little relief in Arlington to a team that has had issues with their starting rotation due to injury. The AL West will be a battle until the very end.
Los Angeles Angels-Adding a former Cy Young Award winner that is still only 28-years-old is always a good thing.
Los Angeles Dodgers-Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino have the potential to help this team go all the way.
Cincinnati Reds-Sure everyone in Cincinnati would have preferred a sure-fire leadoff hitter. But another great reliever to an already great bullpen shortens games even further.
Chicago Cubs-Simply did not get what they wanted for Dempster.
Houston Astros-Traded away their five highest paid players.
Philadelphia Phillies-Not only are they holding down the NL East cellar, they also just traded away two of their best players.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.