MLB Trade Deadline: Cards Roll Dice With Lackey Deal, While Other Contenders Stand Pat
Perhaps the "most intriguing trade" that occurred Thursday before the MLB trade deadline belonged to the Cardinals, who "shook up their clubhouse by dealing away two of their most popular players" in RF Allen Craig and P Joe Kelly and "bringing in a fierce competitor" in Red Sox P John Lackey, according to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. It was an "awfully steep price to pay, considering Craig was one of the most feared hitters in the National League just a year ago, and Kelly helped them to the World Series." Maybe the Cardinals "just wanted to change the clubhouse culture, and bring in a mean streak." Or, maybe, with Rays P David Price going to the Tigers, the Cardinals "can use that savings to make a run" at Tigers P Max Scherzer, a Missouri native who will "be a free agent in three months" (USA TODAY, 8/1). In St. Louis, Bernie Miklasz writes Cardinals GM John Mozeliak "will leave himself open to second-guessing" after the trade. Not so much for "making this particular trade, but for not being able to wrest" Price from the Rays (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 8/1).
QUIET IN CALIFORNIA: In S.F., Henry Schulman writes Giants GM Brian Sabean on Thursday "did not get the second baseman he sought but sounded satisfied he did not feel forced to make a bad deal either." Sabean: "I've done this a long time, and I feel as good about not getting something done as any year we've done something." He added that he "was not prepared to part with the prospects other teams demanded." Sabean: "There were a lot of bad deals to be made, and we weren't going to do that" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 8/1). Meanwhile, the Dodgers also did not make a move before the deadline, and in L.A., Bill Plaschke writes the team admitted that it "wasn't quite willing to sacrifice the future for winning immediately." Also, a team that "promised to spend whatever was required acknowledged that, well, money was a bit of an issue." This is a first-place team that "is but one or two arms away from looking like late October." Yet when they "have a chance to go for it, like the first-place" Tigers and A's "went for it Thursday, they sit on their hands?" (L.A. TIMES, 8/1). However, in L.A., Jill Painter writes the Dodgers "didn’t make a blockbuster deal at the trade deadline, and that’s OK." The Dodgers "are sticking with what they’ve got, and what they’ve got is a very good team anyway" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 8/1).
WALKING THE PLANK? In Pittsburgh, Bill Brink writes the Pirates' lack of a trade mirrored what they did last season. This year, the "hope for upgrades from within the organization and the nature of the requests from other teams contributed" to the Pirates' "failure to make a deal" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 8/1). Also in Pittsburgh, Rob Rossi writes Pirates Owner Bob Nutting "probably should possess Pittsburgh's trust by now." Under his ownership, change "has come to a once comically clumsy franchise." Yet the "conventional thinking is that Thursday was just another example of the same old Pirates settling for almost instead of awesome" (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 8/1).
THE CAGED BIRDS SING: The Blue Jays were quiet Thursday, and GM Alex Anthopoulos said that the team "would continue to be active into August, when players can be traded only after they have cleared waivers." But the NATIONAL POST's Eric Koreen notes that "was not enough for star Jose Bautista, who expressed disappointment at the Blue Jays’ inactivity prior to the team’s game" against the Astros on Thursday. Anthopoulos said that he "simply could not find a good match of talent, denying that ownership put financial restraints on him at the deadline" (NATIONAL POST, 8/1).
QUITE FRANK-LY: The Braves made one trade, acquiring CF Emilio Bonifacio and P James Russell from the Cubs, and in Atlanta, Jeff Schultz writes the Braves "didn’t do anything of significance, either because they couldn’t or they didn’t want to (probably a little of both)." If they "don’t make the playoffs, or if they get there and again exit meekly, that’s on" GM Frank Wren and "nobody else." Schultz: "This is Frank Wren’s show. This is Frank Wren’s team. Over the next two months, we’ll learn more about just how right or wrong he has been" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 8/1).