- Yankees acquire Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte from the Pirates for Ross Ohlendorf, Jose Tabata, Phil Coke and George Kontos:
Damaso Marte is a former Yankees farmhand who's bounced around and found a home with the Pirates as more than just a lefty specialist. His numbers against righties are good enough that he's no Mike Myers/Tony Fossas where leaving him in to pitch to a righty----any righty----is done so at their own risk. He was a workhorse with the White Sox before and during their championship season and pitched well for the Pirates as a set-up man and occasional closer. He has a $6 million team option for 2009, but the Yankees won't think twice about exercising that or extending it if Marte does well for them.
The Pirates had previously been asking for the moon for both Nady and Marte, but acquitted themselves well enough in this trade. They probably wouldn't have gotten more from any other interested team, so it was smart to take the Yankees deal when it was offered. Ross Ohlendorf struggled as a long-man/mop-up man for the Yankees this year and they projected him as a reliever, but he showed potential as a starter in the minors and may be better off in that role as a potential innings-eater at the middle-to-back-end of the rotation. He's big enough (6'4" 235) to handle a heavy workload. George Kontos is a right-handed pitcher who's also big (6'3" 215) and has put up big strikeout numbers in the minors as a starter. (Presumably both Ohlendorf and Kontos are smart as the former went to Princeton and the latter went to Northwestern.) Phil Coke sounds like more of a project than prospect since he's already 26, but he's lefty and has put up promising strikeout numbers. The big part of the trade for the Pirates, other than stockpiling some power arms, is Jose Tabata.
Tabata was one of the Yankees "untouchable" prospects that they were reluctant to include in any trades for veteran pitchers like Johan Santana (although I think Cashman was just trying to find excuses not to trade for Santana and then have to pay him as the Mets did). Tabata is still a baby as he's only going to be twenty next month; his walk totals imply plate discipline impressive in such a young player; he can run and will develop power as he matures; he's struggled a bit at Double A this year, but not enough to raise any questions about his future. If the Yankees make the playoffs and get what they need out of Nady and Marte and the Pirates get use from at least one of the pitchers and Tabata becomes a productive big leaguer, neither team is going to regret making this trade which had to be made from both ends. The Yankees couldn't afford not to improve both their bullpen and injury-ravaged outfield and the Pirates couldn't let their demands stand in the way of clearing salary for players they probably weren't going to keep past 2009 and who weren't going to be present when the Pirates become true contenders anyway.
- Now that you mention it, the Padres should trade Jake Peavy as well:
- Mets 7-Cardinals 2:
I had to look back into my previous postings to make sure I never said anything too derogatory about Carlos Delgado and I didn't. While guys like Mike Francesa and the other "experts" at WFAN and in other places were saying that Delgado should be dumped or released----released!----my view was that as a veteran player who has lost bat speed, Delgado can't catch up to the fastballs of top-notch pitchers anymore, but since they had other holes and few alternatives, the Mets had little choice but to keep writing Delgado's name in the lineup and hope for a resurgence. Well, that hope has come true (for awhile at least) as Delgado has carried the Mets during this hot streak.
Looking at it objectively, Delgado's lack of production was considered age-related when it may have been just a slump. If he were ten years younger, no one would've said a word about releasing him; they would have come up with other suggestions, but releasing him and saying that he's "finished" wouldn't have entered the conversation (or PEDs might have been suggested); but with a struggling veteran at age 36, in the age of testing for PEDs and, possibly more importantly, amphetamines, it's harder for such a veteran to regain the public confidence without a sustained streak like Delgado has had. That he's had it has made people like Francesa look foolish. And this isn't an indictment for the statements that were made; Delgado did look finished for much of the first half; my problem with these critics is that they have to come up with a justification for their statements and still try to weasel away from making the credibility-accruing admission: I was wrong. And if Delgado continues this hot streak, they still won't admit they were wrong; and I don't think they realize how such an attitude damages credibility, but if they haven't figured it out yet...
- Rockies 7-Reds 2; Dodgers 3-Nationals 2:
I'm going to maintain my belief in Joe Torre and the Dodgers. They've been lucky that the Diamondbacks haven't taken control of the division and, with all their injuries and horrendous performances (see Jones, Andruw), they're still right there at the top of the division. By late August, they're going to start getting their injured veterans back; the cooling weather will rejuvenate guys like Jeff Kent and Nomar Garciaparra and they'll have a characteristic Torre-run to make the playoffs. The Wild Card, though unlikely, isn't completely out of the question for any of the three teams either.
- Braves 8-Phillies 2: