Today we're going to fire up the Moderately Far Back Machine and take you on a journey through time all the way to 2007! It's a time when Americans eat gold-plated McNuggets three meals a day. A time when various bubbles are in full expansion mode, and millions of Americans line up to walk off the Plank of Financial Responsibility in advance of a keelhauling through 2008's Ocean of Almost Immediate Regret.
And, more importantly for our purposes in this TA, a time when a guy in Goatf--k, Nevada could easily sell off a prefab McMansion, built entirely of mold-ridden Chinese particle board, for a million bucks, zero down. A wee little bit of that 2007 spirit erupted in the league over the past month, with lots of teams expending lots of resources for either broken products or little return. The result is an odd TA that will end up largely praising the teams who are out of it this year, and mocking the contenders. For the last shall be first and the first shall be last. Selah. (Teddy)
I'm doing this TA from a cottage in the Cotswolds after about a week of traipsing through Finland, England and having seen no baseball in about 3 weeks. That in theory should give me perspective, but in actuality, means that I probably have no idea what I'm talking about. For example, I just learned ten minutes ago that Chipper Jones blew his knee out, which means I'm having an extra pint tonite. (El Angelo?)
The Spam Avengers
Signed: Cliff Pennington (SS, OAK)
Promoted: Madison Bumgarner (SP, SF)
Waived: Chris “Pieface” Coghlan (OF, FLA); Julio Borbon (OF, TEX)
Acquired via trade: Curtis Granderson (OF, NYY) and Justin Upton (OF, ARZ); traded away Bumgarner and Phil Hughes (SP, NYY)
Our first fire sale is among the more defendable from the buyer's perspective. TSA surely didn't need any more pitching, and was thin in the OF following the collapse of Nick Markakis. But still, in talent terms you'd much rather be on other end of this deal. Phil Hughes pitches for a juggernaut and has had a breakout year, and Madison Bumgarner can fall back into the welcoming cocoon of SF's huge ballpard (and the NL West more generally).
The other moves fail to excite me. Thoughts? (Teddy)
The deal's a very sensible one for TSA IMHO, because Hughes and Baumgarner have zero use for them this year--the former is back to being a middle reliever, which is useless for this team, and the latter's whipped cream on their already overflowing starting pitching bounty. So sure, cash them in. But was this a good return? Upton's been que disappointing this year, and is likely to do even less now that Arizona has nobody to knock in. And Granderson has been the object of a lot of scorn and disappointment from Yankee fans, I assume including Alex. In fact, I'll go as far to ask whether this entire trade was an attempt at a reverse jinx. Because the bounty for 2 of the most highly sought pitchers seems a little lacking. (El Angelo?)
The Little Green One
Signed: Luke Scott (DH, BAL); Jason Motte (RP, STL); Brett Wallace (1B, HOU); Melvin Mora (1B/2B(!)/3B, COL); Chris Johnson (3B, HOU); Carlos Ruiz (C, PHI); Ben Sheets (DL, OAK)
Waived: Carlos Silva (DOA, Heart Attack); Clayton Richard (SP, SD); Jose Guillen (OF, None); Ian Kennedy (SP, ARZ); Bobby Jenks (RP, CHW)
Acquired via trade: John Axford (RP, MIL) and a 5th round pick; traded away Geovanni Soto (C, CHC) and a 9th round pick.
Here we find Chapter 2 in the continuing saga of ill-timed trades I've made with the Elders Boys. I feel like I keep paying the ransom on hostages, only to find that the kidnappers hid a bomb on the victim timed to detonate during his car ride home. While the pick was the main attaction, John Axford has had a sneaky good year, and figures to enter next season as Milwaukee's closer, once Trevor Hoffman finishes his victory lap.
On the free agent front, Brett Wallace ended up in the absolute perfect home ballpark for a guy who han hit for average, but has questionable power. Great snag. Melvin Mora? Well, less so. (Teddy)
Getting the 5th rounder for Soto was a steal, let alone a potential middling closer as well. I'm for taking stabs on guys you might keep next year as a flyer like Jason Motte, but Ben Sheets? He's done zippo this year to show he's any good, and he'll probably be the 3rd starter on the Nationals next year. If you have to keep him, you're already in deep shit. (El Angelo?)
The Revenge Society
Signed: Fred Lewis (OF, TOR); Jerry Hairston Jr (2B/SS/3B/OF, SD); Raul Ibanez (OF, PHI); Michael Wuertz (RP, OAK)
Waived: Chris Davis (1B, TEX); Everth Cabrera (SS, SD); Troy Glaus (1B, ATL); Lewis
Acquired via trade: Mark Teixeira (1B, NYY); Adrian Beltre (3B, BOS) and a 7; traded away Alex Rodriguez (3B, NYY)
In sharp contrast to TLG1, TRS spent the past few weeks juggling veterans as part of his charge at the board. The big snag looks to be Raul Ibanez, who has been crushing it for almost a month now, and is getting a look further up the lineup with Ryan Howard hurt. In other news, Chris Davis's continued jackwagoning made him, TRS, and me all look like idiots for believing in him. BTW, Jerry Hairston Jr.'s positional eligibility right now is completely insane. I think he's one more start away from qualifying at tight end.
As for the trade, counting the draft day deal that netted the team A-Rod in the first place, the deal was two #1s for one year of Teix and three years of Beltre. That feels light to me, though the trade is clearly a good one for the team down the stretch. (Teddy)
Three years of Beltre may be optimistic--do we really think he'll keep this level of production up when he's got a big contract and playing in Cleveland next year? Although Kelly Johnson and Brandon League looked solid in June, I think Chris Davis is now in front for the Pewter Parachute Award. That will be the highlight of his season for sure. (El Angelo?)
Le Dupont Torkies
Signed: Yorvit Torrealba (C, SD); Jeff Keppinger (IF, HOU); Mike Morse (Still in MLB, Apparently, WAS); Ryan Madson (RP, PHI); Pat Burrell (OF, SF)
Waived: Stephen Drew (SS, ARZ); Russell Martin (C, LAD); Clint Barmes (MI, COL); Kyle Blanks (OF, SD); Randy Wells (SP, CHC)
Acquired via trade: Dan Uggla (2B, FLA); Chad Billingsley (SP, LAD) and a 9th round pick; traded away Brennan Boesch (OF, DET) and a 3rd round pick
Acquired via trade: A-Rod; traded away Teix, Beltre and a 7.
About a week ago, I fired up the Yahoo! GameTracker doohickey to get a live scoring update. At the time I did so, LDT was sitting T-4th on 71 points. He ended up sliding back a little over the course of the evening, and has had a bad run since. Still, though, I wasn't thrilled to see him up that high, even temporarily. But the deadline deal seems to indicate that the team has finally started to push its focus back to next year. Though how that's compatible with the presence of Pat Burrell, I'm not sure.
I'll let Ang handle the other trade, since he was the co-party. I want to focus on the rest of LDT's transaction line, which goes a long way to showing how much luck plays a role here. Prior to the season, what percentage of powners would have been glad to have Stephen Drew and Russ Martin on their roster? Heck, I bet several guys even had Kyle Blanks circled as a late round target. But come August, all three of them were jettisoned from a 6th-place squad.
There's no excuse for Clint Barmes, though. (Teddy)
Senor Ullstein has always been a master of simultaneously going for it while keeping salvos alive for next year, and the A-Rod trade is no exception: it really can't hurt him too much for his run for 3rd place this year, while it gives him a stud for the next 3-5 years. There's a fair question of what A-Rod is going to be worth going forward; roids jokes aside, he is 36 and starting to show signs of decline. That doesn't mean he wasn't worth acquiring, but it does mean that we need to remember that Tucker's not getting a brand new Tessla, he's getting a 2003 Lotus owned by Lindsay Lohan. So good deal, just not a great steal.
As for Fat Squirrel, I presume this was someone silently invoking the unwritten proviso that you need to have a member of your favorite team on your squad at all times. Tucker was probably so drunk at the time he forgot Tom Hanks' Steroid Body Double wasn't on the Phils anymore. (El Angelo?)
Jeters Never Prosper
Signed: Ben Sheets (DL, OAK); Aaron Harang (DL, CIN); Jack Cust (DH, OAK); Felipe Lopez (IF, STL); Sean Burnett (SP, WAS); Dan Wheeler (RP, TB)
Waived: Sheets; Hisanori Takahashi (P, NYM); Nate McLouth (My God, What Happened?, ATL); Kevin Correia (SP, SD); Miguel Tejada (SS/3B, SD); Octavio Dotel (RP, LAD)
This is sort of a jumbled set of moves, which I think reflects the fact that the team was in GFIN mode early on in the TA period, ran up the white flag about halfway through, and then ended up like 5 points out of the money. You know how sometimes when you're walking down the street and someone comes walking directly towards you in the opposite direction, the two of you end up doing that little dance where you each accidentally dodge the same way, thus continuing to block each other? This is the fantasy equivalent of that. (Teddy)
Maybe I was wrong on Davis--is Ben Sheets the PPA winner for this year? Because given how badly he's pitched, it would be his signal accomplishment for the year. Well, second behind conning Billy Beane into giving him $10 million. Wank. (El Angelo?)
Wu Tang Financial
Signed: Luke Gregerson (P, BAL)
Waived: Gregerson; Kris Medlen (P, ATL); David DeJesus (DL, KC)
David DeJesus's trade deadline injury and subsequent waiving perfectly encapsulates the seasons of both WTF and the Royals. (Teddy)
A team that is defensibly starting Jorge Cantu has clearly not had a good year. Well, they'll always have BJ Upton. (El Angelo?)
Signed: Kenley Jansen (P, LAD); Dick Harden (See Kenley Jansen); Annibal Sanchez (SP, FLA); Brian Duensing (SP, MIN)
Waived: Jason Motte (RP, STL); Corey Patterson (OF, BAL); Derek Lowe (SP, ATL)
Acquired via trade: Andrew Bailey (RP, OAK); traded away Chad Qualls (RP, ARZ)
If I might further torture the sidewalk analogy I made in the Jeters Never Prosper section, this here is the other guy coming down the sidewalk. They've made multiple attacking trades (though Andrew Bailey's injury has kept this one from having an impact yet), but are heading the wrong way in the standings. We say this a lot, but we should really refrain from attempting any big picture analysis of this team.
I like the Brian Duensing grab a lot, though. All of those young Minnesota pitchers are about 20% more valuable than it seems like they ought to be. Plus, in Kenley Jansen, DDDF managed to snag either a future Playmate of the Year or a supporting character from Gossip Girl. (Teddy)
Teddy, I think Google Images steered you wrong--that's Kenley from "Project Runway". The only way she'll end up Playboy is if she's unable to make suitable evening wear out of discarded ticker tape. (El Angelo?)
Signed: Carlos Zambrano (SP, CHC); Kevin Correia (SP, SD); Hong-Chih Kuo (RP, LAD); Nelson Figueroa (P, HOU); Hisanori Takahashi (RP, NYM)
Waived: Felipe Lopez (IF, STL); JD Drew (OF, BOS); Tom Gorzelanny (SP, CHC); Austin Jackson (OF, DET); Chipper Jones (DL, ATL); Figueroa
Acquired via trade: Yet Another Brokedown Motherf---er (Geo Soto, C, CHC) and a 9th round pick; traded away John Axford (RP, MIL) and a 5th round pick
My complaints about the injuries are officially tiresome at this point, so I'll stop. At least Tulo and Brian Roberts are finally back and contributing, though I think I liked Carlos Beltran better when he was injured. And of course, since Ang has been travelling abroad, this might be how he gets the news that Hisanori Takahashi is his team's new closer. That should be fun. (Teddy)
Every Met you either acquire or depend on brings you one step closer to the grave. Trust me. Anyway, I'm still on a post-Finnish-sauna high, so the Mets could bring back John Franco for one more tour as closer and I'd be OK with it. (El Angelo?)
Suck It Silver
Signed: Manny Corpas (RP, COL); Kila Ka’aihue (1B, KC); JP Arenciba (C, TOR); Ryan Kalish (OF, BOS)
Waived: Corpas; Ian Desmond (SS, WAS); Scott Kazmir (SP, LAA); Mike Minor (P, ATL)
Acquired via trade: Chad Qualls (RP, ARZ); traded away Andrew Bailey (RP, OAK) (and later waived Qualls)
Acquired via trade: David Wright (3B, NYM); Andre Ethier (OF, LAD); 1st and 2d round picks; traded away Kevin Youkilis (1B, BOS); Carl Crawford (OF, TB); Roy Halladay (SP, PHI), and a 7th round pick
This right here is one of the better losing team transaction lines I can remember seeing. Ka'aihue, Kalish, and Arenciba are all excellent audition candidates for next year's team, and any day that ends with you acquiring David Wright, Andre Ethier, and two top-20 picks is a good day. The league might have been way off on SIS this season, but I bet they'll be back towards the top of the league predictions again next year. (Teddy)
Why are you being so nice to everybody? These TA's are really only fun when we're both out of the running, because otherwise we start pussyfooting around. In the interests of better balance, assuming that Qualls-Bailey trade is accurate, he traded a mid-tier closer for one week of Chad Qualls. That doesn't smack of fantasy genius. (El Angelo?)
Signed: Sergio Santos (P, CHW); Chris Snyder (C, PIT); Mark Buehrle (SP, CHW); Craig Breslow (P, OAK); Matt “Yes, He Is Marcus’s Little Brother” Tuiasosopo (3B, SEA); Chris Sale (P, CHW)
Waived: Tuiasosopo; Sam Demel (RP, ARZ); Ryan Doumit (C, PIT); Luke Gregerson (SP, BAL); Mike Pelfrey (SP, NYM);
Acquired via trade: Phil Hughes (SP, NYY); Madison Bumgarner (SP, SF); traded away Curtis Granderson (OF, NYY); Justin Upton (OF, ARZ)
Two good young starters acquired for the low, low price of two platoon outfielders (one of whom admittedly has the talent to become much more). And I like the Chris Snyder signing a lot for a rebuilding team as well, as Snyder has been an above-average C with the bat over the past few years, and will get a majority of the burn in PIT. I believe I've now praised teams 8-11 in the standings, which is almost certainly a first. (Teddy)
See above. Although I assume you were referring to Justin Upton as the OF with upside, Curtis Granderson has actually been a lot more valuabe post-trade. I know this because my brother has posted at least 20 Facebook status updates regarding Granderson in the past three weeks. FML. (El Angelo?)The Situation Room
Acquired via trade: Brennan Boesch (OF, DET) and a 3; traded away Dan Uggla (2B, FLA), Chad Billingsley (SP, LAD), and a 9
Ang was going to get a 4 rather than a 3, but LDT bumped the pick up to a 3 in return for Ang hauling away his waste (aka Brennan Boesch). (Teddy)
There's no way that I was keeping Uggla or Billingsley next year. As with the Jon Lester trade, I'd rather make sure that I get something in trade rather than be forced to keep All-Star players with high keeper slots at the expense of young studs like Josh Thole. (El Angelo?)
Signed: Joel Hanrahan (RP, PIT); Alex Gordon (OF, KC); Bill Hall (UTIL, BOS)
Waived: Brad Lincoln (SP, PIT); John Ely (SP, LAD); Edwin Jackson (SP, CHW); Kerry Wood (RP, NYY); Juan Gutierrez (RP, ARZ); Scott Olsen (P, WAS)
Acquired via trade: Kevin Youkilis (1B, BOS), Carl Crawford (OF, TB), Roy Halladay (SP, PHI) and a 9; traded away David Wright (3B, NYM), Andre Ethier (OF, LAD), a 1 and a 2.
EP shot for the moon and landed among the stars, if by "stars" you mean "a mid-level finish in a fantasy league named after a Swiss soccer stadium". I admit that's arguably pushing the definition. But hey, he had more fun this season than the guys who sold in June. (Teddy)
It's still a big step forward from last year's face plant. Courage! (El Angelo?)