Some initial post-trade deadline thoughts

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– 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.

Yankees to hire Josh Bard as their new bench coach

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Aaron Boone has no experience as a coach or a manager at any level. As such, some have speculated that he’d hire a more seasoned hand as his bench coach as he begins his first season as Yankees manager. Someone like, say, Eric Wedge, who was a candidate for the job Boone got and who once managed Boone in Cleveland.

Nope. According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, he’s going with Josh Bard.

Bard, 39, was a teammate of Boone’s with the Indians in 2005. He’s not without coaching experience, having spent the last two seasons as the Dodgers’ bullpen coach, but he’s not that Gene Lamont/Don Zimmer-type we often see in the bench coach role.

Which is fine because different managers want different things from their bench coach. Some are strategy guys, helping with in-game decision making. Others are relationship guys who help managers understand all of the dynamics of the clubhouse while they’re worrying more about lineups and stuff. Others are trust guys, who can serve as the manager’s sounding board, among other things. Some are combinations of all of these things. As Feinsand notes in his story, Boone said at his introductory press conference that he’s looking for this:

“I want smart sitting next to me. I want confidence sitting next to me. I want a guy who can walk out into that room and as I talk about relationships I expect to have with my players, I expect that even to be more so with my coaching staff. Whether that is a guy with all kinds of experience or little experience. I am not concerned about that.”