So the Padres were the biggest story in baseball today for doing almost nothing — except trading a 4A outfielder for a left-handed reliever. Sometimes, as the baseball trading deadline approaches, it’s better to hold them rather than fold.
Eric Bland, the fictional general manager of the humorous baseball short story THE TRADING DEADLINE, knows something about that.
Real-life first-year GM A.J. Preller of the Padres now understands. After making a whirlwind of trades before this baseball season started and having nothing to show for it, all the baseball experts expected Preller to undo all his works and stock all of the contenders with fading talent. OF Justin Upton was going here. Closer Craig Kimbrel there. Reports had discussions with the Red Sox, Astros, Cubs and Yankees — including a three-team deal. None happened. He still valued his players and, ultimately, didn’t get a deal that was worthy of pulling the trigger.
So hold them — and he did.
The trading deadline splashes, then, were made by Toronto, Houston and Texas. The Blue Jays just became the best team in the American League East by acquiring P David Price and SS Troy Tulowitzki and beefing up their bullpen. The Astros picked up P Scott Kazmir and CF Carlos Gomez. The Rangers grabbed P Cole Hamels, who will help if the can ever get near the Angels. Credit also goes to the Royals, who traded for P Johnny Cueto.
Lots of trading deadline love has to go, again, to the San Francisco Giants, too. As mentioned in a post last year, the Giants might be the most effective organization in baseball in the days leading up to July 31. In picking up P Mike Leake to shore up their starting rotation, they might have set up a rare odd-year playoff run.
Preller can still make some moves if he can sneak guys through the waiver wire, and there’s been some talk that if he arranges the right trade, no one will put in a claim on over-rated P James Shields. So, as important as the trading deadline is, there could be more to come.
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