Trade top-9 list
9 And this solves what?
The Astros acquired free-agents-to-be Randy Wolf and LaTroy Hawkins. Did GM Ed Wade suffer some kind of head injury during his June scuffle with Shawn Chacon? They are last in the NL Central, stuck well behind the leaders in the wild-card race, and became an even older team.
8 The Mercenary:
Mark Teixeira said he loved Atlanta and wanted to remain there his entire career but made no attempt to re-initiate contract talks before being traded to the Los Angeles Angels. He might get a World Series ring, but he's definitely earning a reputation as a passionless businessman concerned more about contracts than quality of life.
7 High price of relief:
Desperately needing bullpen help to have any hope of staying in the AL Central and wild-card races, Detroit acquired Kyle Farnsworth from the Yankees ... for future Hall of Famer Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez.
6 Pirate plunder:
Though it appears one deal fell apart, Pittsburgh got four solid prospects from the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston for Jason Bay. The Pirates also got four lesser prospects from the Yankees. It was the poor man's version of the haul the Rangers made at the last deadline. They were the top seller.
5 The Junior trade:
There must be a plausible explanation for the White Sox's acquisition of Ken Griffey Jr. The one that seems most logical is GM Kenny Williams simply wanted to make a headline-making trade.
4 Yankees win! Yankees win!
The Yankees were able to acquire solid outfield (Xavier Nady), relief (Damaso Marte) and catching (Rodriguez) help for a pittance. How'd they do that?
3 Calling on the Angels:
Los Angeles refused to part with Joe Saunders and Casey Kotchman last year as part of a package for Mark Teixeira. This season, in better shape to win it all, the Angels landed Teixeira for Kotchman and a minor league reliever.
2 Manny being Manny:
Manny Ramirez's strange behavior was bound to wear out its welcome in Boston sometime. But after all he and the Red Sox have been through, they couldn't patch things together for another two months while locked in a tight playoff race?
1 Early-bird specials:
The three teams that helped themselves most Milwaukee, the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia all got top-of-the-rotation starters two weeks or more ahead of the deadline. The pitchers' new teams were a combined 8-3 in their starts through July 31. Not only did the teams get impact pitchers, they got them early enough to allow maximum contributions.
TEAM Last week
3. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 3
Added: OF Mark Teixeira
1. Chicago Cubs 1
Added: SP Rich Harden
2. Boston Red Sox 2
Added: OF Jason Bay
4. Tampa Bay Rays 4
5. New York Yankees 5
Added: Nady, Marte, I-Rod
6. Chicago White Sox 6
Added: OF Ken Griffey Jr.
8. Minnesota Twins 8
9. Philadelphia Phillies 9
Added: P Joe Blanton
10. Milwaukee Brewers 10
Added: P CC Sabathia
7. New York Mets 7Added: none
One of the major statistical revelations from last season was a significant decline in home runs almost across the board.
In 2006, 23 players hit 35 or more homers, but last year only eight (Alex Rodriguez, Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard, Carlos Pena, Adam Dunn, Matt Holliday, Jim Thome and David Ortiz) reached that number. In all, there were 429 fewer homers hit in 2007 than during the previous season.
With about two-thirds of the season complete, it's a good time to look at the overall numbers to see if the outage is just a one-year blip or perhaps the beginning of a trend.
At first glance, the individual power stats seem to be rebounding. Injuries have taken their toll on Pena and Ortiz, but the rest of last year's top sluggers have a reasonable chance of returning to the 35-homer level (though Holliday will need to match the 21 he hit after the break last season).
However, the real reason for the resurgence of sluggers this season is the addition of Carlos Quentin, Ryan Braun, Pat Burrell, Chase Utley, Hanley Ramirez, Grady Sizemore, Dan Uggla and others to the frequent-long-ball fraternity. Through Sunday, those players were among 19 on pace to finish with 35 or more homers.