It was a busy day for GM’s yesterday, with several contenders adding key pieces to their post-season drive. Let’s take a look at the moves and the effect I think they will have.
Boston Red Sox Acquire Victor Martinez
The Red Sox added a big bat in Martinez, while holding onto prized pitching prospect Clay Bucholz. Instead, they sent reliever/spot starter Justin Masterson to the Indians along with minor league pitchers Nick Hagadone and Bryan Price. This is an excellent trade for the Red Sox, as none of the players they gave up are irreplaceable. It also gives them incredible line-up flexibility. Martinez can catch or play first base while Kevin Youkilis can play first or third. This will allow the Red Sox to rest either Jason Varitek or Mike Lowell and his achy hip on any day.
Red Sox Acquire Casey Kotchman
The Red Sox traded recently acquired Adam Laroche back to Atlanta, where he started his career, for first baseman Casey Kotchman. I am not totally sure what the point of this trade was. Kotchman will be a defensive substitution at best for the Red Sox, and has a lot less pop than Laroche. For Atlanta, I would consider Kotchman a superior player, so I am not sure what their plans are either.
Detroit Tigers Acquire Jarrod Washburn
With the White Sox hot on their heels, the Tigers were in need of a veteran presence to settle their rotation. Washburn is a perfect fit, and is having a career year in 2009, with a 2.64 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. He will combine with Verlander and Jackson to give the Tigers a strong trio of starting pitchers, but I do not think it will be enough to get them past the big dogs in the AL East in the post-season.
Chicago White Sox Acquire Jake Peavy
Finally, the Jake Peavy saga has ended in San Diego. He agreed to waive his no-trade clause to head to Chicago, something which he refused to do earlier this year. While the White Sox gave up a lot, including pitcher Clayton Richard and top prospect Aaron Poreda, it gives them the ace they need this year (if Peavy is health).
Twins Acquire Orlando Cabrera
Despite a .500 record, the Twins fancied themselves a buyer at the deadline due to the fact that they are only three games out of a playoff spot. They needed an upgrade at SS, and Cabrera’s .694 OPS provides a significant upgrade over the .639 that they have gotten from the position this year. He is also a career 5.0 UZR/150 fielder at short, although he has slipped this year. While the intention was good, it does not match what the two teams above them did, and the Twinkies are headed for a third place finish.
Yankees Acquire Jerry Hairston Jr.
Hairston’s particular talent is not with the bat or his glove, but that he can play pretty much anywhere on the diamond. This will be huge for the Yankees, who are an old team, and this will allow them to rest some regulars down the stretch. Do not be surprised if you see Hairston come up with a big play late in the season or in the playoffs, just a funny feeling.
Marlins Acquire Nick Johnson
I almost cannot believe it, but the Marlins added a piece to their team instead of selling for once. Johnson is an on-base machine, and will give the Marlins greater flexibility in their infield. However, they are already six games behind the Phillies, and it may be a case of too little, too late.