As a Red Sox fan, this is “kinda” a tough trade deadline.
The Yankees got better, but not that much better. Kearns is a quality reserve; his career .258/.353/.426 line pretty much screams replacement player. I’m glad to see them pick up Berkman, just because I think that tank is empty and that contract is large (though the Astros are flipping part of the bill). Its fun to watch the Yanks give up prospects and waste money. Wood is the big pick-up here, and the one that the Yanks got for nothing. If Woods underperforms, the Yanks can cut him. If he returns to last years form, then the Yanks grabbed a quality arm on the cheap for what figures to be a ridiculously tight August and September.
The Sox, on the other hand, were uncharacteristically quiet. Of course, the Sox expect most of their position players to return in the next couple weeks, so investing prospects for temporary replacements didn’t make sense. Yes, we acquired Saltimacchia. This would have been front-page news a few years ago. As my cousin Andy put it, The Paw Sox got a nice upgrade at catcher for their stretch run.
But we didn’t acquire the one thing we really needed: relief help. In fact, we gave up on one arm–Ramon Ramirez, acquired in the Crisp deal a few years back. This really surprised me–because although Ramirez has struggled a bit this year, he’s a proven guy. I believe I heard whispers that he wasn’t too happy with his role on the team, and this likely mandated a move. Because, while his stats aren’t quite as good as 2008 or 2009, they are still better than a lot of relief pitchers around the league.
While I am disappointed that we didn’t get a reliever, I’m also happy we aren’t the Twins. Minnesota gave up one of their best offensive prospects, catcher Wilson Ramos to rent Nationals closer Matt Capps. In 1519 career plate appearances, Ramos has a .283/.330/.426 minor league line. And he can catch well. Capps is a vanilla closer–he’s never topped 30 saves in a season, has a craptastic K/9 ratio, and an un-inspiring 3.47 ERA. Yahoo has a great post up with all the complaints of Twins fans for overpaying for Capps.
The Sox were supposedly in the bidding for Capps. And the whole situation stings my memory with a needle from 1990. Remember the ghost of Larry Anderson? The Red Sox traded a first base prospect with a career .321/.390/.436 minor league line to the Astros to rent a journeyman starter/reliever. Anderson pitched X innings and won Y games. That prospect, Jeff Bagwell, hit 449 home runs, drove in 1529 RBI, and retired with a .948 OPS. Oops.
So while we didn’t really get any help, we didn’t make a regrettable mistake. I generally like the Twins, so let’s hope they don’t regret this trade 20 years later.
A few quick thoughts:
- I’m glad to see Nomar retire making peace with Boston. Before his wrist injury, he was the greatest contact hitter of his generation. Ted Williams thought Nomar was the most likely to ever challenge his .406 average. He won’t make the Hall of Fame, but he could have. .
- I’m sad for Twins fans–Nathan is one of the under-rated players in all of baseball
- I’m conflicted over the idea of league realignment. I need to read and think more about it, certainly. But here’s my gut: baseball has to do something to address both the radical salary discrepancies across the league and the absolute unfairness the Orioles, Rays, and Jays face playing in the AL East. The ESPN-ification of sports fundamentally changes the competitive landscape. I’m not saying there has to be a regimented salary cap, but they have to do more to make sure that the Yankees corner infielders don’t make more money that 6 teams in the league. Really, there’s only one team in baseball that shatters the “relative” ceiling–the problem is more with the floor. Baseball needs a minimum salary, and a way of ensuring that all teams can meet the floor.