Whee! Was that a fun deadline day or what?
Most of the big deals didn't get made. Alfonso Soriano, Miguel Tejada, Roy Oswalt, Brad Lidge, Roger Clemens: They were all rumored to be on the move at one time or another, and with one level of believability or another, and they all stayed put. The Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays did nothing to respond to the New York Yankees' Sunday blockbuster.
But the rumors were sure fun. And here you thought they all came from Peter Gammons. Even if they don't, he should get well soon anyway.
And 12 trades were made. Clemens wasn't dealt, but the other 300-game winner and slam-dunk Hall of Famer, Greg Maddux, was. The Yanks made more moves. The New York Mets scrambled to replace setup man Duaner Sanchez, who was knocked out for the year in a taxicab accident in Miami, of all things. The Cincinnati Reds continued their attempt to get every relief pitcher in the world into their bullpen.
The 12 trades completed Monday were twice as many as on deadline day last year, and about twice as many as average this century, according to Retrosheet's transactions records.
There were four more trades than in 2004, though Monday lacked that year's deadline-day humdingers, the gargantuan four-team trade that sent Nomar Garciaparra to the Chicago Cubs and Orlando Cabrera to the Boston Red Sox, among many other players, and the big Yankees-Chicago White Sox pitching challenge trade, Jose Contreras for Esteban Loaiza.
So the big deals made over the weekend, the ones that sent Carlos Lee from the Milwaukee Brewers to the Texas Rangers and Bobby Abreu from the Philadelphia Phillies to the Bronx, will stand as this year's deadline headliners, but there was plenty of interesting action Monday.
Various contenders made relatively unsexy moves -- unless you consider, say, Todd Walker or Kip Wells sexy, which I confess I don't -- to try to reposition themselves. Wonky fun. And the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Pittsburgh Pirates provided an object lesson in how losing teams should and shouldn't act at the deadline.
The Rays made a run at signing shortstop Julio Lugo, having a career year in a walk year, to a contract extension and, fortunately for them, failed. Needing to get something for him, they sent him to the Dodgers for Joel Guzman, a top prospect who, with newly recalled B.J. Upton, might make up one of the best left sides of the infield in the game over the next few years.
The Pirates, with various journeyman big-leaguers of the type contending teams are looking for at this time of year, should have loaded up on prospects.
Instead they traded pitchers Roberto Hernandez and Kip Wells, pitching reclamation project Oliver Perez, bad-field good-hit outfielder Craig Wilson and first baseman Sean Casey and got back -- more of the same: bad-field good-hit outfielder Xavier Nady and pitching reclamation project Shawn Chacon, plus Jesse Chavez and Brian Rogers, a pair of minor-league relievers.
You don't rebuild a franchise with minor-league relievers.
It will be fun to see how all those trades Monday, and in the days leading up to Monday, play out over the next two months. None of Monday's trades look like deals that will win anybody a division, the way Sunday's Abreu-Cory Lidle deal looked for the Yankees.
But you never know. Conventional wisdom is that the Dodgers wouldn't have won the N.L. West two years ago if they hadn't made what seemed like a fairly uninspiring deadline trade of prospects for a fading Steve Finley. The Dodgers also sent Dave Roberts to Boston that day in a humdrum transaction, and three months later he stole a base on which the greatest comeback in baseball playoff history hinged.
One day last year I listed my favorite days on the sports calendar, and it being the dead of winter I pretty much forgot about baseball's trading-deadline day. It should be there. One of the most fun days all year, if you're into that sort of thing.
And it's a little-known fact that Aug. 1 is the trade deadline for the commentariat. There's word of a blockbuster deal that would send me, Cary Tennis and Heather Havrilesky to Disney for Stuart Scott, two ESPN interns, Daisy Duck and an animatronic bear to be named later.
Bad trade for Salon. With Havrilesky and Tennis in the deal, they should get Donald.
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Prediction watch: Reggie Bush contract [PERMALINK]
To say I get one right every once in a while would be a vast overstatement of my prognosticating ability, but once in a blue moon, I kind of drive past the neighborhood of a correct prediction as I cruise down the Blind to the Future Freeway.
So I like to mention those times.
On Friday, I predicted that Reggie Bush's contract holdout from New Orleans Saints camp would end thuswisely:
"After some preseason games are played, but before New Orleans fans really turn on him, Bush will sign a deal for something like $26.4 million guaranteed, but with a 'total' figure well in excess of $60 million. It will also have reachable, so-called likely to be earned incentives that will end up paying Bush more than [top draft choice Mario] Williams."
Here's what happened: Bush signed the next day, Saturday. According to the Associated Press, his deal is worth up to $62 million over six years -- $2 million of funny money more than Williams "got" -- and with a little more than $26.3 million guaranteed. Juuuuust a little less than Williams' guarantee, if you can stomach calling $100,000 juuuuust a little less.
Whiffed on that first part, but otherwise not so bad, he typed as he roared down the road toward the exit marked "Braves-A's World Series."
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Table Talk chat, XM Radio [PERMALINK]
Join me Wednesday at 3 p.m. in this column's Table Talk thread for the monthly chat. You have to be a Salon subscriber to post, but not to read. Note the time, which is a little later in the day than usual.
But at least it's on the first Wednesday of the month, finally, as promised.
On Thursday you can catch me talking sports on "The Bob Edwards Show" on XM Radio Channel 133. It's a rare -- about once every other week -- chance for you to hear a radio legend talking about the games we play with a deservedly obscure dot-com typist.
The show airs live at 8 a.m. EDT and repeats at 9 and 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. You can also listen to it online. The August Table Talk chat will be Wednesday at 3 p.m. EDT. Finally, the long-promised move to the first Wednesday of the month is coming to fruition. Our long national nightmare is over. Please note the time, which is an hour later than usual.
Join me then in this column's thread for at least an hour, and maybe more, of talk about whatever you want to talk about.
Previous column: Yanks get Abreu for magic beans
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