Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Morning After on TSE - 8.1.2007

August brings with it many things. School, for some, begins in this month. I used to be out the requisite $50+ on dinner and a gift for a money-grubbing whore very nice and respectful young lady I used to date back in High School. But in sports, it primarily means that the grind that is summer is coming to a close. Yes, August is still hotter than an Ana Ivanovic/Natalie Gulbis/GoCM Three-way, and no, football hasn't started yet.

(GoCM Note: There was a great MS Paintjob here originally but blogger eats pan-seared asshole and it got screwed up on import. I am supremely depressed by this.)

But still.

The first of August also marks the passing of the Major League Baseball's trade deadline. It wasn't a star-rich trade period this time around but 16+ hours after the deadline came and went, there are certainly some big winners and some sore losers. We'll start in the National League.

NL Winner
The Atlanta Braves
Talk about a big-time win. You get Mark Teixeira from Texas and only have to give up Jarrod Saltalamacchia for him. I'll concede that SalTal is probably the next Joe Mauer-type young catcher, but the Braves already have Brian McCann as a backstop and he is an all-star this year. Teixeira is an automatic upgrade at first, as the former Ranger is the two-year reigning Gold Glover at 1B. Offensively, there's not a lot going on for him this year...yet. Playing for a team in the thick of a playoff run can only help boost Teixeira and will likely elevate him above .300 on the year. His as yet mediocre RBI numbers (49) will also come up with a good lineup around him, most notably Andruw/Chipper Jones, Edgar Renteria and the aforementioned McCann will play big roles. Big win for Atlanta, who as of now are just three games back of the struggling Mets.

NL Loser

The Milwaukee Brewers
If there's a team that is sweating more than the BrewCrew right now, I can't name it. The big lead that seemed safe in the lackluster NL Central is down to just one game. Let's face it: Sweet Lou knows what he's doing and it was only a matter of time before the Cubbies got hot. Well, they are now and the Brewers need to make a move to make sure they weren't a problem. And they didn't. The rumor is that they were second in the running to get Gagne (more later), and he would have been an excellent get for the Brewers. But instead, they're left with question marks on the hill in the late innings, as well as with a lineup that has been up and down more than a jackhammer (and you thought I was going to make a sex joke there, didn't you?)

AL Winner

The Boston Red Sox
What a day it was in Beantown yesterday. First the Celtics get Kevin Garnett (for 7 players, the Prudential Building, the Bruins, a few cases of Sam Adams, Curt Schilling's bloody sock, a box of those naked lady tees, etc)* and then the Red Sox bullpen, currently baseball's best, gets a very good shot in the arm in the person of former NL Cy Younger Eric Gagne. He joins All-Star reliever Fukijama and lights out closer Jonathan Papelbon as the most untouchable 8th and 9th inning in baseball. Gagne fills two rolls immediately: most importantly he's insurance if either of Boston's principle set-up man or closer go down. Gagne has proven that he can handle the closer roll this year (16 saves in 17 tries this year) and he could work set-up no problem. But more importantly, he's one of the league's best against lefties and hasn't given up a run to one of them crazy southpaws all year. With Schilling on the way up (another scoreless 7 innings in rehab last night), Beckett and [Andrew] Dice-K looking good, losing Kason Gabbard won't hurt too much for now. Regardless, the rich just hit the jackpot.

*stole that joke from Mike and Mike.

AL Loser(s)
The AL Central, the LA Angels of Anaheim or Greater Los Angeles or California of the USA

The Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians, Minnesota Twins and Angels all needed relief pitching or a bat. The only active team was Minnesota...who sent three-time Gold Glover Luis Castillo to the Mets for a few minor leaguers. Are you kidding? Detroit's starters will be lights out but the bullpen is shaky at best. Cleveland can score runs on par with anyone in the league but Joe Borrowski couldn't stop Minnesota a few nights ago and has been made Tribe fans sit with their bellies in their throats since save #1. And Johann Santana can't pitch every game for 9 innings (though he hasn't turned it up to 11 like he usually does post-break yet). The Angels, meanwhile, can beat you a few different ways but they needed a Gagne-type pitcher and they really need another bat to take the pressure off of Vlad Guerrero, the HR Derby champ, who hasn't hit an HR since that derby.

In the Central, nothing is going to change much and the Angels have held their lead to this point. But for the Red Sox, Yankees (who dumped Scott Proctor for Wilson Betimet, another 3B/SS type player...your best guess) and Mariners, things must be looking much better now, knowing that their principle competition in the wild card and AL West didn't do anything.

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