Deadline Wrap-up
August 1, 2005

Wouldn't you know it - the very day I point out Pedro Astacio's one redeeming pitching ability - that he hasn't walked many batters this year - he goes out the very same night and walks six Cincinnati Reds.  This only days after I suggested that the Reds would be a good team to start against because a) they'll be playing in Petco and b) because the Reds have the second worst offense on the road in the NL.  So of course, they turn those 6 walks into 7 runs.  It's been that kind of year for me.  Oy!

Well, the trade deadline passed and as expected none of the big names that had been mentioned got traded.   However, there were a few surprising names that moved.  The Braves nabbed Kyle Farnsworth from the Tigers for Roman Colon and Zach Miner.  I don't know what the record is for the shortest time period between a guy being named closer and being traded as such, but Farnsworth has to come close.  Even though Braves GM John Schuerholz confirmed that Farnsworth will be used in a set-up role, it's an interesting gamble on the part of the Braves because Farnsworth is returning to a league in which he suffered some major meltdowns the last couple of years.  Then there's also the issue of moving to a park that turns more fly ball outs into home runs than Comerica.  On the plus side, Farnsworth is much less a flyball pitcher than he was so there's a good chance that he'll continue to pitch well.  Still, the Braves problem hasn't been getting to the 9th but closing it out.  Unlike current Braves' closer Chris Reitsma, Farnsworth has yet to blow a lead as the closer.  Reitsma will be on a short leash but it will probably take successive failures for Bobby Cox to switch to Farnsworth.  Fernando Rodney is the favorite to get the saves in Detroit now and I like his chances to thrive in the role.  Colon is not a bad pitcher and should be given a chance to show if he can make it as a starter.  Regardless, his results will be inconsistent this year.

Jody Gerut got traded again, this time to Pittsburgh.  After getting buried on the bench in Chicago where Dusty Baker has trouble figuring out which players give him the best chance to win, Gerut may get a reprieve with the Pirates.  He still may end up as nothing more than a caddy for rookies, but if he can get off to a hot start, he could see regular playing time over Tike Redman until Craig Wilson returns.  Matt Lawton goes to the Cubs and takes over in left field.  The obvious place in the line-up to bat him would be lead-off, but with Baker at the helm he could bat anywhere.  If he bats lead-off, Derrek Lee's chances of winning the triple crown go up significantly. 

Ron Villone got traded to the Marlins for prospects.  He'll be the designated lefty in the late innings which could yield some vulture wins down the stretch along with solid ratios.  in real baseball terms, it gives the back-end of the Marlins' pen a little more legitimacy with another hard thrower.

With Ramon Hernandez opting for season-ending surgery on his wrist, the Padres acquired Miguel Olivo and David Ross to backstop.  Olivo still has intriguing offensive talent although it has yet to show up in his batting average.  Perhaps hitting coach Dave Magadan can teach him to be more selective.  If Olivo can raise his average to the .250-.260 range, he could be the only 15-homer, 15-steal catcher in the big leagues.  Ross won't add much production in a back-up role and is probably not worth considering for a fantasy roster.  He entered the league with a bang in 2003 when he popped 10 homers in 124 at bats, but his power production has been in steady decline since.

The Mariners and Giants exchanged Yorvit Torrealba and Jesse Foppert for Randy Winn.  The Padres and D-backs have not taken advantage of the division and now that the Giants have Randy Winn in the fold, they have an outside shot to win the division, especially if Bonds returns (however unlikely).  The Padres had a chance to bury the West the way the Cardinals have in the Central, but poor play, poor game managing, poor roster management and injuries to some key players have cost them their chance to run away and hide.  Now they will have to fight to get into the playoffs.  With the addition of Winn, the Giants actually have a line-up that resembles that of a major league team.  They are still a long shot to win the division, but Winn is imminently signable for next year, making one less thing to worry about this winter for GM Brian Sabean.  As for Torrealba and Foppert, both have some talent but both also have significant performance hurdles to overcome to make it in the majors as regulars.  Torrealba struggles to make contact and Foppert has walked more than a batter per inning this year in limited major league action.  His walk rate in AAA this season hasn't been much better.  At this point, neither is worth a roster spot in a keeper league.