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    The Greg Maddux Watch: Stunning at 355

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    Baseball Told the Right Way
    In-depth Baseball analysis on various topics regarding the sport we all love!

      Treading water...
    Pittsburgh Pirates
    Give up:        Get:
    Kris Benson Ty Wigginton
    Jeff Keppinger Matt Peterson
    Jose Bautista
    The Pirates went into the trading deadline with one intention: get prospects for Kris Benson. They actually did all-right considering the relative lack of interest in Benson.

    Matt Peterson is a pretty good prospect. If not for Kazmir, he would be the top pitching prospect in the Mets system. Peterson is 22 years old and has great stuff. Between A and AA, he's got a 430/193 K/BB ratio in 470 1/3 innings. Any slight improvement in his control and he would probablly bump up to an A-level prospect and possibly a top-of-the-rotation starter.

    The path of Jose Bautista is an interesting one. To start the year, he was picked by the Orioles from the Pirates in the Rule 5 draft. He was then designated for assignment, and claimed by the Devil Rays. He wasn’t good enough for the soon-to-be-mighty Devil Rays, who waived him for the second time. Bautista was finally claimed by the worst-record-in-baseball Kansas City Royals. Now that's a trip down the waiver wire priority if I ever saw one.

    Now Bautista is involved in a trade that brings him right back to the Pirates who oringally left him off the 40-man roster and eligible for the Rule 5 draft. Why the Pirates just didn’t ask for the better prospect, Justin Huber, instead of Jose Bautista is beyond me. Actually the more I think about it the more I have to think Dave Littlefield should be drug tested. Why didn’t he just protect Bautista in the first place?

    Summary:The Pirates continue to confuse the hell out of people with their obvious lack of prudent decision making ability. They did get a decent prospect back for Benson, so all is not lost. It would be funny if the Pirates finished ahead of the Mets, and that is not as unlikely as you might think.
    Grade: C+

    New York Yankees
    Give up:         Get:
    Jose Contreras Esteban Loaiza
    Nobody knows quite what to make of this trade. One team could end up way ahead, or it could make absolutely no difference down the stretch. I vote for the latter.

    Esteban Loaiza was runner-up to the Cy Young last year. I hear this statement repeated constantly from those who think the Yankees got the better end of this deal. Well, Derek Lowe was runner-up to the Cy Young the year before, why didn’t the Yankees go after him? The difference is that Lowe had some precedence for being good, Loaiza truly came out of failed prospect-dom obscurity to put together an excellent season.

    Loaiza has been pretty bad this year. He's walking more people, striking out less, giving up more hits, and giving up more home runs. I don’t know what else to say about the guy other than that his 2003 season will go down as one of the greatest fluke seasons of all time, right up there with Brady Anderson's 1996 season. At least Loaiza is a free agent after the year, so the Yankees will be able to go out and pay Matt Morris $15M to be their 2005 5th starter.

    Summary:Yankees traded an enigma for a fluke and are no better off for it. They shaved some salary off the 2005 payroll so unless Contreras remembers how to pitch in the next two years, they come out ahead.
    Grade: C

    Chicago White Sox
    Give up:         Get:
    Esteban Loaiza Jose Contreras
    The White Sox traded an ineffective starter for an ineffective starter with potential. Jose Contreras can be a dominant pitcher, he definitely has the stuff. He hasn’t yet shown he can do it consistently and against the better teams, he usually does the opposite.

    Trading a bad starter for a bad starter with potential is usually a good move, but don’t forget that Contreras is owed $17M over the next two years. If someone can fix this enigma, Kenny Williams looks like a genius. If not, Kenny Williams will look like.......Kenny Williams.

    Summary:Oh well, whats $17M to the White Sox? Might as well give Contreras a tryout.
    Grade: C

    Minnesota Twins
    Give up:           Get:
    Doug Mientkiewicz Justin Jones
    The Twins needed a starting pitcher, which they didn’t get. The Twins also have a glut of corner outfielders, which they didn’t give up. The last obvious thing about the Twins is that they have this Doug Mientkiewicz character playing first base. Curiously, the Twins gave Minky a 2yr/$7M deal even though they had Justin Morneau ready and waiting to tear up the major leagues.

    The Twins fix this problem by getting involved in a four team deal and trading Mientkiewicz for prospect Justin Jones. Jones is only 19 and he's had arm problems so he's a risky pick, but he has looked great so far, striking out 148 in 135 1/3 innings in A-ball. He's got the potential to be a very good starter if he can stay healthy. Realistically, the Twins weren't going to get more value for Mientkiewicz than this, so it looks like a decent trade for them.

    Summary:Didn't get a much needed starting pitcher, but Terry Ryan redeemed himslef by trading an expensive, redundant part for a solid pitching prospect.
    Grade: B-

    As always, email Curt to tell him he's wrong.