MLB Trade Deadline: Roy Oswalt to Phillies, Lance Berkman to Yankees

July 30, 2010   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

Roy Oswalt struggled in his Philadelphia Phillies debut, but he should form a formidable duo with Roy Halladay atop their rotation down the stretch.

With Saturday’s trade deadline looming, teams are looking either to bolster already formidable rotations and lineups or to move the present and build for the future. It happens every season in baseball.

And considering the excitement generated so far, 2010 has been no different.

The Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees, last year’s World Series representatives, improved just for the heck of it.

The Phillies, which acquired ace Roy Halladay in December, traded for another very accomplished pitcher, the Houston Astros’ Roy Oswalt , in exchange for 27-year old left-hander J.A. Happ and two prospects on Thursday.

Oswalt, who spent his first nine-plus seasons with the Astros, will bring his 3.46 ERA over to Philly to try to win his first World Series championship.

Considering Oswalt, 32, has a career 3.24 ERA, a tremendous repertoire, and a knack for pitching effectively deep into games, it would be hard-pressed not to believe they will once again be the National League’s representative in the Fall Classic.

A tandem of Halladay and Oswalt atop a rotation will undoubtedly make opponents cringe, especially come playoff time when the duo can pitch four of a seven-game series.

Halladay is one of the best pitchers in baseball, if not the best, and Oswalt isn’t far down the list of elite arms in the league. His 6-12 record on the season isn’t indicative of his performance on the mound. It’s just that Houston’s offense has been dreadful.

One of the players responsible for their ineptitude is Lance Berkman. He watched his career-long teammate move on Friday, and then was sent packing Friday.

The New York Post ‘s Joel Sherman first broke the news that the 34-year old slugger is now a member of the New York Yankees.

The deal won’t be announced until Saturday, and it is not known who the Astros have received in return, but considering the reconstruction of his deal that allows New York to buy him out after the season, he’s a very solid rent-a-player, even though he doesn’t fit an immediate need.

Berkman has had a terrible season by his standards, hitting .245, 51 points lower than his career average. Despite hitting poorly average-wise, he has 13 homers, 49 RBI and a .372 on-base percentage.

He will presumably become their designated hitter, and if he can turn his season around, the Yankees offense that has scored the most runs in baseball to date will be even more deadly.

Two teams that desire to thwart New York’s plans of reaching the World Series improved their chances tremendously: The Chicago White Sox and Texas Rangers.

First, the White Sox acquired 26-year old starting pitcher Edwin Jackson from the Arizona Diamondbacks for pitching prospects Dan Hudson and David Holmberg .

Jackson has had a tumultuous career, and this is now the fourth time he has been traded, but he did throw a no-hitter earlier this season , is a tremendous athlete, and is capable of winning 15-plus games a season if he cuts down on his wildness.

He would be a solid acquisition for the White Sox, though a project for pitching coach Don Cooper. But his stay in Chicago may be a short one.

Rumors are flying that he could be flipped to the Washington Nationals as part of a package for slugging first-baseman Adam Dunn .

Unlike Berkman’s situation with the Yankees, Dunn would fill a hole in the middle of Chicago’s order and greatly help them in their efforts not only to keep their extraordinary in-season turnaround going, but also to create some distance between the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers, two teams currently on their heels.

The asking price for Dunn is astronomical, so it would most likely take Jackson and a few solid prospects to bring him to the Windy City.

Dunn has been one of the more prolific home-run hitters over the past nine seasons. He has hit 40 homers in a season six times, and should be on his way to notching his seventh, as he currently has 24 longballs.

He has never been one to hit for average, as his career clip is .251, but he has done much more than swing for the fences this season, batting .286. He has 340 homers and is only 30 years old. Scary.

If everything goes as planned for the White Sox and they do acquire Dunn’s bat for the home-stretch, they will look to acquire the next item on their list, who is believed to be Astros starting pitcher Brett Myers .

Myers, a reliever turned starter, would be a very smart acquisition, as he has bounced back from an ineffective end to his career in Philadelphia to go 8-6 this season and boast a 3.10 ERA, which is 116 points better than his career mark.

As with Dunn, it seems he has been around a lot longer than he actually has. Myers is only 29 years old, yet he has eight and a half years of major league experience under his belt.

And with the way he is pitching, he can make those who haven’t completely forgotten about Jake Peavy do so and help the White Sox considerably.

Infielders Jorge Cantu and Cristian Guzman could bolster the American League West-leading Rangers, as the two were acquired from the Florida Marlins and Nationals respectively.

The Rangers, like the White Sox, are aggressively buying this trade season in hopes of dethroning the Yankees as the league’s best. They lost second baseman Ian Kinsler to a strained groin, and did extremely well in replacing his production.

Though the Yankees are the cream of the crop and are about to acquire Berkman, I consider the Rangers to be the most dangerous team in the American League.

A few weeks ago they acquired one of the best pitchers in baseball, Cliff Lee , to make an already top-ten ranked rotation even better. And now they acquire two players that can bring plenty to the table offensively.

Cantu’s numbers aren’t all too flattering, as he’s hitting .262 with 10 homers and a well below average .310 on-base percentage, but he does have 54 RBI, and could be very productive in a utility role.

He was acquired not only for his bat, but for his versatility defensively. It is believed that he will platoon with rookie first baseman Mitch Moreland to begin his tenure in Texas, then will see time at second and third base.

Similarly, Guzman, who doesn’t get on base much either but has put up respectable numbers, will see time at second and shortstop.

He is hitting .282 this season, and, like Cantu, could help replace Kinsler’s production, then, once Kinsler returns, become adequate infield depth.

As these moves suggest, many of the contenders made the most of their aggressiveness.

The Phillies, Yankees, White Sox, and Rangers didn’t necessarily need to do anything to be dangerous during the heat of August and September, but they did plenty and will be rewarded greatly.

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