We spent the last month in Europe, and, well, it's not a great place to keep up on baseball news. But we pieced together what we could find from perusals of USA Today and the occasional internet access, and took notes on what jumped out at us. Since it's old news, we'll offer merely a sentence or two analysis of the important stuff, and then it's back to regularly scheduled programming.
David Ortiz: So he did steroids....big deal. I don't think anyone's really THAT shocked - we mean, just look at his body and his late-career number spike. What we do find noteworthy is that despite the same evidence being leveled against him as Alex Rodriguez faced, people are defending Ortiz, saying that the list may contain contaminated samples and false positives. When A-Rod's name was revealed to be on the list, it was just outright condemnation. It's hard to feel sorry for a guy making $300 million....but we kinda do.
Jeff Francoeur - Ryan Church Trade: Wahoo! As Braves fans, we're thrilled to see Francoeur go - and not only go, but to go to a division rival whom he can sink, and to bring back a legitimate talent as he departs! Church isn't great, but he is better than Frenchy, and we're glad he's a Brave.
Freddy Sanchez - Tim Alderson Trade: Wowee...Brian Sabean does it again. Look, Alderson may not pan out, and the Giants have plenty of pitching, but he's still one of the premier pitching prospects in the system, and one of the more noteworthy prospects in the game. Together with Madison Bumgarner, they had a great 1-2 punch coming through the ranks. Now...they ship off half of that for a middling second baseman who hits an empty .300 or so. We remember a few years ago, Yahoo Fantasy Baseball had a competition where you could win a spot in the SF front office for winning some competition...we'd bet whoever wins that could avoid doing as poor a job as Sabean is.
Scott Rolen - Edwin Encarnacion: Huh? Why trade for a vet at a position where you already have a good young player when you're not really even close to competing? What does Rolen bring to the table that Encarnacion doesn't? Where is the benefit in this trade for the Reds?
George Sherrill to the Dodgers: We like this a lot if the Dodgers don't try to get cute and give him closer duties over the excellent but oft-injured Jonathan Broxton. If he's a situational lefty, this is a fantastic addition to the strongest team in the NL.
Orlando Cabrera to the Twins: Sure, why not? Add a nice glove and an OK bat to a middle infield that had been struggling, and now shortstop and second base are a plus for the Twins. Between Cabrera, Brendan Harris, and Nick Punto, you've got three quality guys you can move around in there - depth that could pay off in spades during the playoff chase.
Jake Peavy to the White Sox: Well, Round 2 worked out for the Sox. We're not totally sold on this trade - we think we might rather have Poreda and Richard than an injured - albeit rehabbing well - Peavy, especially once you consider the transition to the homer-happy Cell from homer-humbling Petco - and that's not to mention the uptick in difficulty going from the NL to the AL. We hope Peavy recovers well and is dominant again, but we have our doubts - and the Sox may have overpaid.
Casey Kotchman - Adam LaRoche Swap: We like this, too, if only because of Braves nostalgia. We never did care for Kotchman, and even if his glove outstrips LaRoche's by a long shot, LaRoche's bat is something Kotchman just can't match. The Red Sox will be happy to have another good glove at the corner, but the Braves needed more thump in their lineup, and this incremental upgrade should help.
Cubs Trade for Lefties: Ugh. Trading Kevin Hart and Miguel Ascenio - decent players, both - for a pair of scrap heap lefties in John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny - who was in AAA no less - just smacks of a bad, bad deal to us. But...the Cubs must feel like they've identified a problem and are taking steps to address it, so more power to 'em, we guess.
Pirates Dismantling: We saw this on FanGraphs: the Pirates have traded 22 years worth of player control for 94 years worth. Without even getting into the list of who was traded for whom, that's a positive step for a young, low-revenue team. They need players they can control long-term and build around, and have needed that for some time. If their pitching doesn't regress too badly over the course of this season and the next, and Alderson, Milledge, and the other high-ceiling guys they acquired pan out, we could actually be talking about a good team in Pittsburgh for the first time since we here have been alive. And we are quite excited about that.
Cliff Lee to the Phillies: Win-win. The Indians get a nice return, but not so rich that the Phillies regret it. The Phils held onto Kyle Drabek and J.A. Happ - a sticking point in the Roy Halladay deal - and managed to bring back the ace they wanted. The Indians get some of the best prospects in the Phillies' system and with any luck could create a decent nucleus out of those parts and what they've already got.
Matt Holliday to the Cardinals: Fantastic pickup for the Cards. They desperately needed lineup protection, and since Holliday's been slugging over .800 since coming over, we'd say they got it. They did have to give up their best prospect in Brett Wallace and a great pitching prospect in Jess Todd, but that's a deal you have to make if you're the St. Louis GM - particularly since Wallace was likely to end up at first base, a position where the Redbirds are pretty well set.
Alright, that was the quick and dirty getting up to date post. We realize that the analysis there was pretty terrible, but we'll try to step our game up in the coming days. Oh - and to continue the quick hit format...
Adrian Beltre: Is a fool. No cup? In the Major Leagues? No man deserves that kind of injury, but...he was kind of inviting it, no?