Trade deadline time is crazy time for those of us who play in an NL or AL only format. A lot of good movement occurred, so we can look at some of those moves this time, starting with Lance Berkman going to the Yankees. I actually have Berkman in the XFL, and I like this move a lot. Now 34, Berkman might only be hitting .245, but his OBP is a good .375, and his OPS .808. With powerful Yankee lineup, and the nice right field distance, I seem him finding himself for the last couple of months of the season.
The Padres are showing they are serious in plucking up several plums, including Miguel Tejada. It is easy to discount the .269 average, however, Tejada is just a year removed from a 199 hit season, where he led the league in doubls with 46, in the National League. Again, going to a contender should boost Tejada, and despite the tougher hittin circumstances in San Diego, again, this should bode well.
The Cardinals made a couple of swaps, and acquiring Jake Westbrook from the Indians for their pennant push, and despite his 6-7, 4.65 totals for this, it is important to remember that Westbrook missed almost two years to arm surgery. And, it generally takes a year or so to recover from surgery and cut loose as a pitcher. Westbrook can now regularly toss over 100 pitches per start and better, he is going to Dave Duncan, the all time champ reclaimation process pitching coach. Again, this bodes well.
The Twins, red hot now as well, nabbed Matt Capps to try and fill the hole left when Joe Nathan went down. True Twins substitute closer Jon Rauch has 21 saves and a 3.05 ERA, but he also posts a 1.35 WHIP and 27 strikeouts over 38.1 innings, while allowing 43 hits, and those are not closer numbers. In contrast, Capps has 38 whiffs over 46 innings, and though he has allowed 51 hits, the ratio is 1.30, and moving to a contender should help Capps push his game.
Speaking of closers, in Oakland Andrew Bailey is out now for a few weeks, and though Oakland is optimistic, for now I would grab Michael Wuertz to fill the hole, with a nod to Craig Breslow, but still, Wuertz, as a right-hander, will get the bulk of chances. Though Wuertz also has ugly numbers, don;t forget his missed the first two months of the season, and has allowed just one run over his last ten appearances. He also has three saves and is the logical choice.
As the Astros are trying to rebuild they have promoted former ACardinals, Athletic and Jay minor league property Brett Wallace is up to fill the first base spot vacated by Berkman. A first round pick in 2008, Wallace has put up .304-46-160 totals over 287 games, with excellent .301-18-61 totals at Las Vegas this season, proving he has nothing left to prove in the minors.
I wish I could feel good about the Orioles grabbing a long time favorite, Rick Vanden Hurk and his minor league numbers of 27-24, 3.74, with 438 whiffs over 449 innings for a 1.29 WHIP were why, but his major league totals of 8-9, 5.96 and 1.63 WHIP tell me he is Danny Cabrera redux. Stay away!
I do like James McDonald, acquired by the Pirates from the Dodgers, and the 25-year old pitched well last year for Los Angeles, with his best work coming from the pen. In Pittsburgh McDonald should get a chance to start, and with his Pedro Martinez frame (6'5", 195) he does have some promise, but not necessarily in Pirateland. I would probably pass on his as well this time.
Finally, with one last look at Danny Valencia who probably solidified his hold on third base with back-to-back four hit games which included seven RBI and a homer, and raising his season average to .384. In an AL format, and perhaps a deep mixed, you probably want to jump on Valencia as he can hit.