Sober Rankings

1. Los Angeles Dodgers (65-40) If there was any doubt about the acquisition of George Sherrill, he quickly got rid of it Friday against the Braves striking out the side in the 7th inning. A proven left-handed reliever is exactly what the Dodgers were looking for at the deadline. I would argue that they also should have tried making a deal for a starter, but they seem content with what they have.

2. New York Yankees (63-42) Melky Cabrera’s cycle has overshadowed two minor moves the Yankees made before the deadline. They picked up Eric Hinske who has put up ridiculous numbers in his first seven games (5 HR and 8 RBI) and Jerry Hairston Jr., who will add solid depth in the infield. He’s also a pretty good fielder, so he may be a late game defensive replacement in the playoffs, should the Yanks make it there.

3. Boston Red Sox (62-42) The Red Sox have started regaining their mojo. They made a major acquisition of Victor Martinez, who has filled in admirably for the Nation (5 RBI in two games.) Martinez has gotten over the sadness in leaving Cleveland quickly. Just last week he was heartbroken his former team traded him away before his bobblehead night, and now he’s ready for a playoff push.

4. Los Angeles Angels (63-40) Don’t look now, but the Angels have the best record in the AL. The Angels are the hottest team in baseball on a five game winning streak and looking ready for postseason play. They didn’t make any trades before the deadline, but maybe that’s because guys like Kendry Morales (23 HR, 69 RBI) and Bobby Abreu (73 RBI) have filled the void of Torii Hunter and Vladimir Guerrero.

5. Texas Rangers (59-44) The Rangers aren’t going anywhere. They sit only 2.5 game behind the wild card and are in contention. They made no deals at the deadline, but the two deals they made earlier in the season, for Jason Grilli and Darren O’Day have worked out. These two pitchers (1.53 and 1.80 ERA respectively) have the best two ERA’s on the team.

6. Philadelphia Phillies (59-44) The Phillies are definitely one of the trade deadline winners. They acquired former Cy Young Cliff Lee without giving up any players on their current MLB roster. Lee adds another lights out starter to the defending champs. He threw a complete game his first start for the Phillies. I just wonder if having two lefty starters will be exactly what a team like the Dodgers would relish in the playoffs. The Dodgers are 18-11 with an NL best .291 BA against left-handed pitchers this season.

7. Tampa Bay Rays (57-48) The Rays were nonexistent at the trade deadline. They weren’t even in any trade rumors or discussions. They stayed the same, but the Red Sox got better, which could be the end of their playoff hopes this season. They should still stay in the hunt for a while, but don’t look for them to make another Cinderella run this year.

8. St Louis Cardinals (58-50) Congratulations to the trade deadline winners in St. Louis. They even got the deal done for Matt Holliday with about a week to spare, not to mention picking up Julio Lugo off the radar. The Cardinals top four hitters are now completely revamped. Albert Pujols is their only hitter in their top four that was on the roster at the beginning of the season.

9. San Francisco Giants (58-47) Give credit to the Giants for trying to make their team better. They picked up former batting champion Freddy Sanchez and Ryan Garko at the trade deadline. The lineup is now starting to look a little more adequate with these new players. Maybe the greatest pitching staff in baseball can finally start getting a little bit of run support.

10. Chicago Cubs (55-48) The Cubs are still hot, they are 7-3 in their last 10 games. They made minor deals for Luis Vizcaino and John Grabow. The two relievers have not given up a run in 5.1 combined innings and have struck out four.

11. Colorado Rockies (58-47) The Rockies, like the Cubs, dealt for two relief pitchers before the deadline. They received Rafael Betancourt from the Indians and Joe Beimel from the Nationals. The Rockies rebounded from a tough trip in New York to sweeping the Reds. They have a huge week coming up against the Phillies and Cubs.

12. Detroit Tigers (54-49) The Tigers added a third star pitcher in Jarrod Washburn at the trade deadline. This means they have three of the top seven ERA’s in the AL. They could be a very scary team to play in the playoffs this year.

13. Chicago White Sox (54-52) So the White Sox finally got their man Jake Peavy a couple months later. The Mark Buerhle-Peavy combo has to get the South Side excited about the future, and hopeful for this season too, should Peavy recover from his ankle injury.

14. Florida Marlins (55-50) The fish are still hanging around there. They even made a minor deal for National first baseman Nick Johnson to improve their team. Impressive for a team that usually doesn’t upgrade itself through trades ever nor do they usually pay players like Johnson (who makes $5.5 million.)

15. Seattle Mariners (54-51) The Mariners moves raised my eyebrows. On the one hand, they gave up the man with the second best ERA in the AL. On the other they traded for Ian Snell and Jack Wilson. This is sending mixed signals. Are you buyers or sellers? Or do you have no idea what you are? Or did the Pirates just say: here, take our two best players we still have on our roster – we don’t want them!

16. Atlanta Braves (53-52) The Braves made an interesting trade. They traded for Adam LaRoche, who they traded away just three seasons ago.

17. Minnesota Twins (52-53) The Twins, much like the Marlins, usually don’t make deals at the trade deadline, but this season they picked up Orlando Cabrera to solidify their infield and add a man who’s always on base for the M&M boys.

18. Milwaukee Brewers (52-53) The Brew crew hasn’t been doing too well lately. The Brewers are 4-6 their last 10 and travel to Los Angeles today. They acquired Felipe Lopez a couple of weeks before the deadline. Lopez (.313 BA in 13 games) has played well.

19. Houston Astros (52-53) The Astros stayed pat at the trade deadline. Probably not the right decision for a team that was surging toward the top of the NL Central. They’ve now fallen back, and really pose no threat to the Cardinals and Cubs.

20. Toronto Blue Jays (51-54) The Blue Jays acquired Edwin Encarnacion to bolster the lineup for the future, and kept Roy Halladay for one more season. This is the right decision to try to go for one more run at the playoffs next season. Especially considering they’re going to have all their pitchers healthy next year.

21. New York Mets (50-54) Acquiring Jeff Francouer three weeks ago was a good move for the Metropolitan future. For the present, they need to get healthy. It’s tough for any team to recover when three of their top players are injured.

22. Baltimore Orioles (44-60) The Orioles did all they could at the deadline trading away their closer for prospects. They also traded for Cla Meredith of the Padres, who may be able to fill in immediately at the closer role for the Orioles.

23. Cleveland Indians (44-61) The Tribe is showing signs of life for the first time all year. They are 7-3 their last 10 and have dealt pretty much everyone on their team but Grady Sizemore. The good news for them is they have acquired about a thousand great prospects! Check back in three years, maybe this team will be back in an ALCS.

24. Arizona Diamondbacks (46-59) The Dbacks surprisingly kept all of their pitchers. This shows they still believe in their chances next year with a healthy Brandon Webb in the starting rotation.

25. Cincinnati Reds (45-59) Since the all-star break, this team has been absolutely dreadful. They were forced into trading away young players like Encarnacion for old expiring contracts like Scott Rolen at the trade deadline this season. They’ll pray Edison Voloquez’s Tommy John surgery goes well.

26. Pittsburgh Pirates (45-59) What can I say about the Pirates. They traded away Jack Wilson, Freddy Sanchez, Ian Snell, Adam LaRoche, Eric Hinske, Nate McLouth and Sean Burnett. WOW. That’s it? Don’t you guys want to make any more trades?

27. Oakland A’s (44-60) The A’s became major sellers at the deadline after signing Orlando Cabrera and Matt Holliday backfired this season for them. They’ll look to improve in the future with a lot of talented young guns.

28. San Diego Padres (43-63) The Padres felt they had to get what they could for Jake Peavy while he was still an ace. They did, and now they must move on. Keeping Adrian Gonzalez was a good decision only if they provide him with adequate support in the off-season.

29. Kansas City Royals (41-63) The Royals were remarkably quiet at the trade deadline for a team that has hit rock bottom. The Royals still feel they have the young talent, especially pitching wise, to build upon in the future.

30. Washington Nationals (33-72) The Nats kept most of their pieces in tact only trading away Nick Johnson at the deadline. They have a bunch of young players now. Keeping Adam Dunn was a bit surprising considering he’s not young like the rest of the team, and a contender could have used him power down the stretch.


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