All About Action

The trading deadline in Major League Baseball is hyped beyond all recognition in terms of importance. I can think of no other sport’s trading deadline that gets as much MSM TV time and column space in newspapers, but there are years that the frantic typing and blathering are actually in proportion to the importance of the deals made. This may be one of them.

The Angels just swept the Red Sox again after tonight’s game, its first with new 1B Mark Teixeira in the line-up. Although there was a minor leaguer in the mix not named Nick Adenhart or Brandon Wood in the deal, best to think of it as a straight-up deal for Casey Kotchman, who will be an even better hitter (though probably not a power hitter in the classic sense) with the National League’s pitching deficit — and particularly the lack of quality pitching in the NL East throughout all five spots of each team’s starting rotation.

Essentially, this is L.A. of A’s GM Tony Reagins making his Kenny Williams move — and I’m not just using this comparison because they’re the only two black GMs in MLB) — you’ll remember that the 2005 White Sox were largely considered a “small ball” team too, one that didn’t rely on mashing to get there, but that team got quality mashing when they needed it from both Paul Konerko and Jim Thome.  All the “World Series or bust” writings from SoCal columnists ring true, but if anyone can get Teixeira and agent Scott Boras to take enough money to make it more than a two-month rental, it’s probably Arte Moreno and his deep pockets.

Now, this is a real straight-up trade: Ivan Rodriguez is now a Yankee, having been dealt for reliever Kyle Farnsworth.  Detroit was in desperate need of bullpen help with the Todd Jones Experience running off the rails, and while it’s always risky to switch catchers like that in mid-season (pitchers’ adjustments, calling games, the lack of time that Brandon Inge has spent behind the plate lately), these are the trades that keep GMs employed.  Brian Cashman, albeit overrated and still waiting for the fallout from not landing Johan Santana to end, has filled two major needs for very little in the past few days.

Have the Tigers conceded the AL Central with this move? No. There is enough talent with the bat up and down the line-up to keep them within striking distance, but the front office there seems to know that it won’t do any good if the bullpen continues to cough up leads. Farnsworth has been inconsistent as a Yankee, but he wasn’t having too bad a season this year, and any holds will help the Tigers, who are still trying to make up for a poor start.

Photo: AP/Elise Amendola

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