Some initial post-trade deadline thoughts

34 Comments

– I was stunned that the Yankees didn’t make so much as a minor deal, but they definitely stand out as obvious candidates to be busy in August.  Just how busy could hinge on Rafael Soriano’s performance.  Still, whether it’s Wandy Rodriguez — who could clear waivers and again become a possibility to be dealt as soon as Wednesday — or bench help, the Yankees’ ability to take on contracts should make deals relatively easy.

– Incredibly, not one reliever set to become a free agent at season’s end was moved this weekend.  Two of the game’s best setup men were dealt in Mike Adams and Koji Uehara, and the returns were strong largely because they were under control for 2012.  However, no closers were shipped off and there weren’t many trades involving lesser setup men.  I thought it was a lock that the Padres would move Chad Qualls, and it figured that the A’s would subtract at least one or two from the group of Michael Wuertz, Brian Fuentes, Craig Breslow and Grant Balfour.  Colorado’s Rafael Betancourt, Washington’s Todd Coffey and the Mets’ Tim Byrdak also looked like candidates to go.

– I’m not ready to make a call on the winners and losers, other than to say that some of the teams that decided to stand pat look like the real losers here.  The Marlins should have moved Leo Nunez and Omar Infante, and the Cubs were crazy to tell teams they were closing up shop.  I can’t believe that the A’s, with all of their free-agent-to-be hitters and expensive relievers, only ended up moving Brad Ziegler.

I don’t see Erik Bedard as any sort of consolation prize for the Red Sox.  Maybe they wouldn’t have traded for him if the Rich Harden deal hadn’t fallen though, but one never knows with the Red Sox; it is possible Theo Epstein wanted both as insurance policies.  Regardless, Epstein did give up more for Bedard than he was going to for Harden and the fact that it was a three-team, seven-player deal suggests that this wasn’t something that simply came together at the last minute.

– The Nationals will carry their hunt for a long-term center fielder into the winter after declining to give up more than closer Drew Storen in return for Denard Span.  Neither Nationals nor Twins fans seemed enthused by that trade anyway.  B.J. Upton still might be the answer for Washington.  The Nationals couldn’t come up with the pieces to get him now, but he should be cheaper in the offseason, particularly since he’ll have just one arbitration-eligible season left before free agency.  Besides, Desmond Jennings is well on his way to making it obvious that he can be the Rays’ long-term center fielder.

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

Getty Images
Leave a comment

For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:

The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).

It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: