The Book of Mike

"This is no junior college. This is the notorious University of Miami.” -- Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis, after getting knocked around for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Canes.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Post-Deadline Trade Update

Some fortunes seem to have turned since the trade deadline passed – or at least since some key transactions were made (or not made). It's still far too early to tell who the ultimate winners and losers of this year's deal were - that will take years to tell - but we can figure out who's ahead at this point. Let’s take a quick look at how some of the pennant contenders have fared of late:

Florida Marlins and Los Angeles Dodgers
Since their deadline deal involving Paul Lo Duca and Brad Penny as the central figures, the Fish have gone 20 – 11 (a .645 winning percentage), which is quite a bit better than their 52 – 51 pre-trade record (.505).

The trade doesn’t seem to have had as much impact on the Dodgers, even though they’ve been without Penny for most of the time and Choi’s been in a funk. If those two get healthy and break out, respectively, - look out, it could be trouble. Since the trade, the Dodgers have gone 20 – 16. That .556 winning percentage is a little bit lower than the Dodgers pre-trade percentage of .588.

Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox
The two – allegedly – cursed teams made a blockbuster deal right at the deadline. This trade, of course, brought apparent OCD sufferer Nomar Garciaparra to the Red Sox. Since then it’s appeared that not having Nomar around has been a bigger benefit to the Sox than the acquisitions of Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz. The Sox are a mind-boggling 30 – 8 (.789) since jettisoning Nomar, which is obviously better than their pre-trade .540 winning percentage. The Red Sox are now nipping at the heels of the Yankees, and may end up with the division title when it’s all said and done.

The Cubs, on the other hand, are probably just about now receiving their message from Mike Tyson inviting them to “fade into Bolivia” with him. Since acquiring the repetitive gesture-stricken-one, the Cubs have gone 18 – 14 and have lost some ground in the Wild Card race. Granted, the Cubs have a better winning percentage since the trade than they did before it, but they’re still losing ground to the Astros, Giants, Padres, and Marlins in the race for the post-season.

Houston Astros
Speaking of the Astros, that team in Houston didn’t make a deadline deal. Sure, they acquired Carlos Beltran in June and Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens during the off-season, but the conventional wisdom was that they should dump a player or two (or three) before the deadline passed. Everyone, or at least nearly everyone, felt that the ‘Stros were done and that it was time to start rebuilding for 2005. Well, as of last night, the Astros control their own Wild Card destiny, as they are the leaders here heading into the home stretch.

After wallowing through most of the first half (plus) of the season, the Astros have really turned it on of late, winning twelve (and counting) in a row, fifteen of sixteen, and twenty of their last twenty three. It’s an impressive run and much more than anyone could have hoped or expected. It will be interesting to see how it holds up over the stretch run.


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