The New York Yankees didn’t make a move in the week before Major League Baseball’s trade deadline for the first time since 2002, while the sport’s six division leaders all bolstered their rosters for a postseason push.
The American League East-leading Boston Red Sox yesterday acquired starting pitcher Erik Bedard from the Seattle Mariners as part of a three-team swap, a day after their trade for Oakland Athletics pitcher Rich Harden fell through.
The Red Sox (66-40), who lead the Yankees by two games in the AL East, needed pitching help with Clay Buchholz and Daisuke Matsuzaka both out with injuries. While Boston also picked up infielder Mike Aviles from Kansas City two days ago, the Yankees’ inactivity last week means they failed to make a July trade for the first time since 1998, when they won 114 games.
“I explored every opportunity. It just didn’t lead to anything that was of comfort from my perspective,” Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said on the team’s website. “I didn’t feel like I got close on any of it. The positions that were presented to me were easy to say no on.”
The National League East-leading Philadelphia Phillies, whose 68-39 record is the best in the majors, got outfielder Hunter Pence from the Houston Astros.
The Atlanta Braves, who trail the Phillies by six games and lead the NL wild card playoff race, also made a trade with the Astros, whose 35-73 record is the worst in baseball. The Braves yesterday added outfielder Michael Bourn, who leads the majors with 39 stolen bases.
Cardinals, Pirates Trades
St. Louis and Pittsburgh, who are chasing first place Milwaukee in the NL West, both completed trades ahead of yesterday’s deadline. The Cardinals got 33-year-old shortstop Rafael Furcal from the Los Angeles Dodgers for a minor league prospect, while the Pirates acquired outfielder Ryan Ludwick, who led the San Diego Padres with 64 runs batted in.
The Pirates two days ago got first baseman Derrek Lee from the Baltimore Orioles.
Milwaukee (60-49), which leads St. Louis by two games and Pittsburgh by 4 1/2, on July 13 picked up reliever Francisco Rodriguez in a trade with the New York Mets.
The World Series-champion San Francisco Giants followed their July 28 acquisition of outfielder Carlos Beltran from the Mets by getting Gold Glove shortstop Orlando Cabrera two days ago from Cleveland.
The Arizona Diamondbacks, who trail the first-place Giants by two games in the NL West, bolstered their bullpen yesterday by getting reliever Brad Ziegler from the Athletics.
Cashman said while the Yankees sought to strengthen their pitching staff, he wasn’t willing to part with the prospects other teams were looking for.
Indians Get Jimenez
Instead, it was the Indians who parted with four minor leaguers to land All-Star pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez from the Colorado Rockies. Cleveland is 2 1/2 games behind Detroit in the AL Central, where the Tigers (57-51) got starting pitcher Doug Fister and reliever David Pauley from Seattle.
The Yankees also came up empty in their pursuit of starting pitchers Wandy Rodriguez of Houston and Hiroki Kuroda of the Dodgers, and Padres relievers Heath Bell and Mike Adams.
“What I saw out there and the price tags associated with it, I’m not sure if it was better than what we have,” Cashman said after the Yankees beat the Orioles 4-2 yesterday.
The defending AL-champion Texas Rangers got Adams, who is 3-1 with a 1.13 earned run average, for a pair of minor league pitchers yesterday. That move came a day after the Rangers, who lead the Los Angeles Angels by two games in the AL West, picked up reliever Koji Uehara from the Orioles.
“We’ve liked our team all year and we made it pretty clear what area we wanted to improve,” Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels said. “We gave up four good players, but we got two players that fit an area of need.”
Adams said he was surprised he was traded by the Padres instead of Bell, who is tied for fourth in the majors with 30 saves and is set to be a free agent after the season.
“I didn’t think I was going anywhere, but things happen, and things happen fast,” Adams told reporters. “That’s the baseball world. I’m excited about it.”