Deadline deals could impact pennant races

Originally Published: July 31, 2006
ESPN.com

BASEBALL TONIGHT EXTRA

There wasn't an overwhelming blockbuster on Monday. But there were 12 trades, involving 28 players, and some fairly significant names changed teams. Though it was most notable that Alfonso Soriano wasn't dealt, there were several deals that could impact the pennant race.

Even the little moves, like Jeremy Affeldt going to the Rockies and Matt Stairs heading to the Rangers, could be big deals by October. Remember that in each of the last three seasons, an underrated deadline-day trade proved to be key to a team's postseason hopes.

CHANGE OF SCENERY
Player New team Skinny
Greg Maddux Dodgers 1-5, 7.00 ERA vs NL West rivals since 2005 (2-0 vs Dodgers)
Julio Lugo Dodgers .333 BA, 11 HR, 22 RBI since June 1
Jeremy Affeldt Rockies 2-5, 7.80 ERA as starter; 2-1, 1.96 as reliever
Roberto Hernandez Mets Mets bullpen: 356 1/3 IP, ranks 2nd in MLB
Todd Walker Padres 60 career games at 3B, none since 1997
Sean Casey Tigers 1,140 career games, may play in first postseason
Matt Stairs Rangers .251 career BA in September, 15 points below career BA
Craig Wilson Yankees 7 HR in April, 6 HR since
Kip Wells Rangers 1-1, 1.83 ERA in last 3 starts

UNDER THE RADAR*
Player Impact
Geoff Blum (2005) Home run to win Game 3 of World Series
Dave Roberts (2004) Key stolen base in Game 4 of ALCS
Aaron Boone (2003) Hit home run to beat Boston in ALCS
*Traded last three years on July 31

BRONX BUSINESS

The Bobby Abreu deal is another aspect of the new approach the Yankees have been taking the last 15 months -- and if they follow in the same vein, don't be surprised if they exercise the $13 million option on Gary Sheffield for 2007.

The Yankees made a mistake in letting Jon Lieber get away after the 2004 season. They could've retained him had they exercised a one-year, $8 million option, but they thought that Lieber wasn't worth that kind of annual salary. And they were right, partly; Lieber didn't get an $8 million salary. He got a $6 million salary, for each of three years, from the Phillies.

Here's the lesson: It would've made more sense for the Yankees to overpay Lieber somewhat on a short-term deal, rather than go out and spend $40 million on a Carl Pavano in a long-term deal.

More from Olney's blog Insider

ELIAS SAYS
• Rookie Josh Johnson allowed two runs in seven innings in the Marlins' 15-2 victory over the Phillies, to take the NL lead in earned run average (2.52). Another rookie, Francisco Liriano, leads the AL and the majors with a 1.96 mark. This is the first time in major league history that rookies lead both leagues in ERA at the end of July.

• David Ortiz hit a walk-off home run -- the eighth of his career and his third in 51 days -- to give the Red Sox a 9-8 win over the Indians. Over the last 10 seasons, the only other players to hit three walk-off homers in that short a span of time were Barry Bonds (over 29 days in 2003) and Rafael Palmeiro (51 days in 1998).

• Freddy Sanchez carries a 12-point lead over Chipper Jones in the NL batting-average race into August. Sanchez is the first Pirates player to lead the league in August or later since Orlando Merced held the lead from Aug. 5 to Aug. 9 in 1993.

More from Elias Says

THANKS ... BUT NO THANKS
Some deals didn't get done at the deadline.
NOTEWORTHY PERFORMANCES
GOOD
Torii Hunter had a home run and four RBI in his return from the disabled list to lead the Twins to a 15-2 victory over the Rangers. Hunter also had three of Minnesota's 18 hits, one shy of the Twins' season high.
BAD
Kenny Rogers allowed five runs in five innings to take the loss in the Devils Rays' 7-3 victory over the Tigers. He is 0-2 with two no-decisions and a 10.34 ERA since the All-Star Game.
UGLY
Cubs pitchers gave up six home runs in a 15-4 loss to the Diamondbacks. Mark Prior (0-5) started the game and lasted just five innings, allowing six runs, six hits, and three walks while striking out five and hitting two batters.
CHASING HISTORY
Phillies second baseman Chase Utley extended his hitting streak to 32 games. He is hitting .404 (55-for-136) with 20 multihit games during the streak.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
"If we score five runs, the way our pitching is supposed to be, we should win."
-- White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen
FORWARD THINKING: TUESDAY
Scott OlsenMets at Marlins, 7:05 ET: Mike Pelfrey (2-1, 5.28 ERA) and Scott Olsen (9-4, 3.79) square off in a matchup of potential future Cy Young candidates.

Tigers at Devil Rays, 7:15 ET: Justin Verlander (13-4, 2.69) looks to gain ground on Francisco Liriano and Jonathan Papelbon in the AL Rookie of the Year race. J.P. Howell (0-0, 0.00) gets the call in place of Scott Kazmir, who's on the DL with a sore left shoulder.

Andy PettitteAstros at Padres, 10:05 ET: Both Andy Pettitte (9-11, 5.18) and Jake Peavy (5-10, 5.01) have shown signs of life again recently. Pettitte is 2-1 in his last three outings, and Peavy won his first start in almost two months last week against the Dodgers.

Tuesday's probable starters

PHOTO OF THE DAY
AP Photo/George Nikitin
Brewers ace Chris Capuano took the loss against the Rockies in the fastest nine-inning game ever played at Coors Field (2:06).

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