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  1. I think this trade firmly establishes what we will see going forward till the deadline.

    In the American League there are 10 teams firmly in the hunt, but only five of them are willing to really go for it by getting expensive, star caliber players who also may be rentals (Ichiro, Sanchez so far). It’s telling that five of the teams are looking to cut deals like this one, for cost-controlled, fairly cheap players who do not cost top prospects. Those teams are Cleveland, Toronto, Tampa, Oakland, and Baltimore.

    In the NL the Pirates are the vanguard of those teams looking to sustain competitiveness over multiple years while trying to win this year (as opposed to the alternative). Interesting that they are really the only NL team firmly in this category. This may be a function of market, since those AL teams are all competitive while similarly situated teams in the NL are in the tank. But there is something in common with all these teams, no?

    I think it is supremely fascinating to see the sabre-blessed GM’s not going for it, while the mocked and derided just keep going out every year doing anything it takes to win. I really wish I was a fan of one of the latter.

    Comment by Paul — July 25, 2012 @ 9:27 am

  2. The Cardinals are an NL team “looking to sustain competitiveness over multiple years while trying to win this year.”

    Comment by olethros — July 25, 2012 @ 10:07 am

  3. Neal Huntington is a ‘sabre-blessed GM’ (if I understand that to be placing significant importance on advanced metrics) and he’s going for it, albeit it in a balanced manner in terms of short-term v. long-term.

    Those prospects aren’t Taillon/Cole/Heredia/Marte/Hanson/Polanco/Bell quality, but Grossman can project to be a solid-regular (at the least an effective 4th OF), Owens is ready now to be a back of the rotation control guy, and Cain is still somewhat relatively young, though the results thus far are not encouraging. As a pirates fan, I like this deal because they made it from depth (B-O-R starters and OFs) and improved by a win or two (if all goes as plan) in Rodriquez for this year w/ two more years of control at 1.5 WAR/yr rate. Even in his mid-30′s, Rodriquez is a league average, maybe a tick above playing half his games in PNC (depresses RHB power), pitcher who slots nicely into the middle of the rotation.

    Burnett/J-Mac/Wandy/Karstens/Bedard is a solid, if unspectacular starting 5 for the stretch run. Plus, they have all those back next year w/ the sole exception of Bedard.

    Now, we need a corner OF (Victorino/Pence?) and we got a shot. You know, assuming the Reds ever lose…….

    Comment by CabreraDeath — July 25, 2012 @ 10:32 am

  4. Are you seriously suggesting that the Reds and Cardinals are only interested in trying to win this year and are indifferent to trying to be competitive in the future? Perhaps you need to take a look at the two teams’ rosters and farm systems. Each team has a number of young players who have prominent roles on the team and each team has a strong farm system that will be used to complement the current roster in years to come. Suggesting that these two teams are not “looking to sustain competitiveness over multiple years” is patently absurd, frankly.

    Comment by chuckb — July 25, 2012 @ 10:33 am

  5. Houston got a pretty solid haul for Wandy. Another good deal for Luhnow.

    Comment by chuckb — July 25, 2012 @ 10:34 am

  6. “the Pirates are …looking to sustain competitiveness over multiple years while trying to win this year. Interesting that they are really the only NL team firmly in this category.”

    Do you think you might be overlooking the best team in the NL that’s still going to shut down its #1 pitcher?

    Comment by Well-Beered Englishman — July 25, 2012 @ 11:17 am

  7. Why would you want average prospects? Isn’t a better deal is to trade for one top prospect like the Lawrie Marcum deal?

    Comment by scott — July 25, 2012 @ 1:38 pm

  8. Love the trade for the Bucs. Liked Grossman but OF depth is an organizational strength, especially with Polanco’s breakout year.

    Comment by Melkman — July 25, 2012 @ 2:45 pm

  9. The funny thing about trades is that you don’t get to tell the other team to just hand over the top prospects. The Astros have middling players to give away, and they’ve gotten some nice, quality depth in exchange for them. PIT ain’t giving away Cole/Tallion/Marte/Hanson/Bell/Heredia for a decent #3 guy.

    But, hell, Grossman made it into a couple top 100 lists before the season started, and a guy like that is more than fair for a 33-year-old lefty whose best pitch (curve) is starting to flatten out. Toss in a BoR starter and an upside guy, and it works for Houston rather well.

    Comment by Kev — July 25, 2012 @ 3:44 pm

  10. “As opposed to the alternative” was poor phrasing. Those teams have a history of giving up top prospects to get a really good player even if its a rental, OR just giving up top prospects in general for really good players. Examples would be both of the Reds’ big trades this offseason.

    Then you have a GM in Huntington who apparently has been pissing off other GMs by calling them up with lowball offers, then trades a bunch of random guys for an old third starter who is not capable of putting them over the top. I would fully expect both Cincy and St. Louis to go get legit players and give up prospects if that’s what it takes. I strongly prefer the latter method, because GMs like Jockety and Dombrowski have shown over and over that a) the washout rate for prospects is very high; and 2) they are easier to acquire than some folks assume.

    Comment by Paul — July 25, 2012 @ 4:17 pm

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