The Baseball Revue
All I can say as an O's fan is it's about f'n time they brought John Stephens up this year, and now that they have, it's time to keep him there. Get rid of Travis Driskill for god's sake. He was cute for a couple weeks but now that hitters have gotten a read on him, he can't get anyone out. Stephens is one of those guys that doesn't have the Stuff that the scouts love to see, but he gets people out and his numbers speak for themself: 11-5, 3.03 ERA at Rochester this year after a great season last year. It's about f'n time.
BOSTON RED SOX
Floyd gives the Red Sox some very important ingredients. One thing he does is help them get Jose Offerman and Tony Clark off of the field, and that may be most important. Clark has done about everything he can this season at the plate to sabotage the Red Sox. I really don't understand what happened to him, but he looks finished. As an occasional sub at first or a DH, he could have some value. Maybe. Floyd bolsters the middle of Boston's order by giving them a five-hitter that's really a three-hitter, and gets Shea Hillenbrand out of that position in the order. For all his faults, Hillenbrand is a useful player, but not someone you want to bank RBIs with. If Floyd can stay healthy (knock on wood), Boston has really improved their chances at the wild card and maybe even getting back into the AL East race seriously, though the first would be perfectly fine to shoot for since either one means the Sox are in the postseason.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
Acquired P Enemencio Pacheco from the Colorado Rockies for C Sandy Alomar. (07.29)
Recalled 3B Joe Crede and C Josh Paul from Triple-A Charlotte. (07.30)
The calculated risk that was signing Kenny Lofton didn't really hurt Chicago at all. He had a fast start, so they were able to gloat about signing a quality veteran for a low salary with the hopes that he'd be rejuvenated. He predictably tailed off, but his numbers aren't so bad that they turned off contenders, and his salary was low enough to give a team like the Giants the flexibility to make this kind of deal. He's not quite the defensive star he used to be, but he's only slightly worse than Shinjo and sure beats Marvin Benard. His first swing as a Giant resulted in a home run to left center in Philadelphia, too. How about that?
Getting rid of Alomar is a blessing. I have absolutely no clue why the Rockies would want a 36-year old catcher that hasn't done anything worth noting since 1997, but if they think that Alomar will provide better offense than any of the 12,000 retreads, journeymen and goobers they've tried over their existence, more power to them.
If Crede actually plays, then it's a good thing he's up. But I wouldn't count on it.
Placed RHP Big Lug No. 587 (Chad Paronto) on the 15-day DL. (07.29)
Acquired IF Marshall McDougal from the Oakland Athletics for LHP Ricardo Rincon; activated OF Todd Dunwoody from the 15-day DL and sent him to Triple-A Buffalo. (07.30)
Purchased the contract of IF Carl Sadler from Buffalo. (07.31)
Operation: SELL EVERYONE has probably come to a close with Jim Thome still an Indian, though Ellis Burks is probably still likely to be shipped out. You have to respect Thome's desire to stay with the team through what are going to be very, very dark years until at least 2004.
Ditching Rincon and Shuey is good for the teams that got them, but the Indians had to take on Terry Mulholland. Mulholland has been traded six times, signed as a free agent six times, and waived nine times, or something ridiculous like that. The fact that he hasn't pitched well in a dog's age shows that you can never be a bad enough or old enough lefty to not get major league work.
Mays may never again have a season like he had in 2001, but his return is good news for Minnesota. They've got the division all but sewn up already, so they have time to ease Mays and Radke back in for the postseason. Minnesota will need strong playoff performances from ALL of them to get out of the first round.
NEW YORK YANKEES
Hitchcock sucks and he's a waste of money. The only time I'll ever bitch about player salaries is when people are just a complete waste of resources that could have been spent better elsewhere.
Acquired LHP Ricardo Rincon from the Cleveland Indians for IF Marshall McDougal; designated LHP Mike Magnante for assignment. (07.30)
The Oakland lefties (Venafro, Holtz, Magnante) have fallen like dominoes so far this season, and here's Ricardo Rincon in to maybe stop the bleeding. No one's arguing that Rincon might pitch, but the stars seem to be aligned against Oakland having left-handed success out of the bullpen.
This was a long time coming. Dave Burba hasn't been quite as bad as I've made him out to be, but what bothered me was that he was bad and they still kept using him when three facts were very clear: 1) they were well out of contention, 2) they have a glut of young starting pitching talent that needs to be evaluated at the major league level, and 3) their sorry excuse for evaluation of these pitchers (Benoit, Aaron Myette, Doug Davis, Rob Bell) was calling them up for a spot start and then sending them back to Oklahoma. Burba will get another shot somewhere, almost certainly. I'm not the guy to say what's wrong with him, but someone out there probably knows and could fix it. It sounds like a job for Don Gullett, but it might be more of a job for someone like Tony Cloninger.
Activated LHP Kent Mercker from the 15-day DL. (07.30)
Okay, I've gotten this far, and I found out that the Rockies basically took Alomar while the White Sox pay him. I suppose that hurts no one (except the stupid White Sox).
RELIEVERS NEVER DIE. Just remember that when YOUR team signs T.J. Mathews to a minor-league deal or invites him to spring training next season.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Well, they got rid of Mulholland and gave up two possibly good pitchers in order to get Shuey, who adds to a pretty good bullpen by...being in it. I dunno, they should have gotten an impact starter, which is something they're lacking. (Don't tell me Odalis Perez.)
In my expert opinion, Dave Stewart is starting to seem like a giant weiner.
The Expos got one good prospect (Kim) and one great one (Song) for Floyd in his contract year. This should certainly help the Expos in the future, as they are building a fine young rotation as is. In 2005, the Expos could be serious contenders for the World Series thanks to their staff.
NEW YORK METS
Let's just humor the Mets and pretend along with them that they're still in the playoff race.
Sent LHP Hector Mercado to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. (07.30)
The best thing I can say about the package Philly got for Rolen is that at least they got something. Bud Smith still has some upside, Timlin is a solid middle reliever that could be traded again and bring in someone younger, and Polanco...is sure named Placido. That's for sure. Polanco is supposedly going to be the everyday third baseman, which I assume will last about two weeks before Larry Bowa joins the rest of the world that isn't named Tony LaRussa in realizing he's not anything close to an everyday third baseman, at which point he'll likely blow a gasket and ruin poor Placido's confidence. I'm not saying there's no place on a team for Polanco, I'm just saying it isn't starting daily.
Brian Meadows, huh? So much for the improving Pirates.
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
Acquired 3B Scott Rolen and RHP Doug Nickle from the Philadelphia Phillies for UT Placido Polanco, RHP Mike Timlin and LHP Bud Smith. (07.29)
I don't like to spoil the fun, but Scott Rolen is not a starting pitcher. He's an upgrade over Polanco (a huge, huge upgrade over Polanco) but he doesn't help a staff that's now relying on Chuck Finley, Jason Simontacchi and the return of Woody Williams to get them into the playoffs. Bud Smith is no longer an option, which leaves this laundry list of jokers as possible fillers-in whenever someone is hurt, or whenever Simontacchi implodes: Andy Benes, Darren Oliver, Travis Smith. This team, with or without Scott Rolen, is not good enough to win the World Series, which you're likely to hear they are from everyone now that they got Rolen, which adds to the fact that everyone has a boner for the Cardinals in the first place.
SAN DIEGO PADRES
Having both Bobby Joneses is always a plus, just ask the Mets.
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Optioned OF Tony Torcato to Triple-A Fresno. (07.29)
Lofton gives the Giants a decent leadoff hitter (at least against righties), better defense than Benard, better offense than Shinjo, and more speed than either of them. All for the low low price of his tiny salary and two nothing pitchers.