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2008 Trade Deadline Deals

We’re going to take the time machine all the way back to July of 2008, assessing some of the deals made around the trade deadline.

Dodgers receive: LF Manny Ramirez
Red Sox receive: LF Jason Bay
Pirates receive: RHP Bryan Morris, 2B/3B Andy LaRoche, OF Brandon Moss, RHP Craig Hansen
Winner: Red Sox, Dodgers

It was time for Manny to leave Beantown, and although the deadline seemed to have passed, these three teams were able to work a deal that would shake the baseball world. Jason Bay found the postseason in Boston and had a huge 2009, putting up 5.0 WAR. Manny said hello to L.A.-L.A. land and was unstrasburgly for the Dodgers, hitting .396/.489/.743 for the boys in blue in 2008. The Pirates, well, they decided to go with quantity over quality, and it bit them. After a nice year from LaRoche in 2009 (2.6 WAR), he’s been awful this season (-0.6 WAR), and doesn’t project to be the line drive hitter he once was. Craig Hansen has had health issues and Brandon Moss was below average, but Bryan Morris does seem to be a promising prospect. Still, Pittsburgh could have done better for Bay.
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Angels receive: 1B Mark Teixeira
Braves receive: 1B Casey Kotchman, RHP Stephen Marek
Winner: Angels

The Braves thought they had found Teixeira’s semi-replacement in Kotchman, but instead they got someone who’d hit .267/.346/.378 at first base, never giving Atlanta anything of much substance. Stephen Marek is 26 years old and floundering in Triple-A. Teixeira? He hit .358/.448/.632 for the Angels and helped get them to the playoffs in 2008. They also used his compensation draft pick to take OF Mike Trout, one of the brightest young outfield prospects in the minors today.
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Dodgers receive: 3B Casey Blake
Indians receive: RHP Jon Meloan, C Carlos Santana
Winner: Indians

Poor Paul DePodesta is an Assistant GM while Colletti gets to make moves like this. While Casey Blake has certainly been valuable for the Dodgers, this one has to hurt LA in the long run. Blake racked up 4.6 WAR last year, but his defense has dropped and his offense is stagnant. He’s on the downside of his career. Santana, meanwhile, is a switch-hitting catcher with a stance just like Victor Martinez and serious power. Blake has been a nice player for LA, but Santana looks to out-WAR him over the next few years, and then some.
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Phillies receive: RHP Joe Blanton
Athletics receive: 2B Adrian Cardenas, LHP Josh Outman, OF Matthew Spencer
Winner: Push

For now, the Phillies generally win because flags fly forever. This one is likely to change in the next few years, but the guarantee isn’t enough there that I’ll give it to Oakland quite yet. Outman has produced a 4.09 FIP and 1.6 WAR for the A’s in 2008-09 (he’s been hurt this year). Cardenas is a slick middle infielder who may be a star one day, but until then is no sure thing. At 22, he’s crushed Double-A pitching, but has stagnated in Triple-A, hitting .242/.305/.337 there in 82 games, and just .228/.285/.281 this year. However, he has time to adjust, and once he does he can be dangerous.
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Brewers receive: SP CC Sabathia
Indians receive: OF Matt LaPorta, LHP Zach Jackson, RHP Rob Bryson, OF Michael Brantley
Winner: Brewers

As well as Mark Shapiro made out in the Blake deal he underperformed in the Sabathia trade. CC helped bring Milwaukee to the playoffs via the Wild Card by throwing seven complete games in seventeen starts with a 1.65 ERA. He was simply outstanding. LaPorta, meanwhile, has struggled in adjusting to the big leagues. In 87 combined games in the majors during his age 24-25 seasons, LaPorta has hit just .240/.301/.377. An OPS of .678 just will not get it done for a guy who was touted for his massive power, especially when he’s a DH trying to play a mediocre outfield and first base.
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Yankees receive: OF Xavier Nady, LHP Damaso Marte
Pirates receive: OF Jose Tabata, RHP Ross Ohlendorf, RHP Jeff Karstens, RHP Daniel McCutchen
Winner: Pirates

While Nady hit pretty well with the Yankees (.270/.319/.469), Marte’s inability to stay healthy and his mediocre pitching gives this to Pittsburgh. The Pirates decided to go with both quality and quantity here, getting a bunch of players who will help them in the long run, highlighted by Jose Tabata. At worst, Pittsburgh can always put Ohlendorf, who majored in Operations Research and Financial Engineering at Princeton, in the front office.