Forgive the processing time, as we digest the post-trade-deadline world. While others obsessed about blockbuster deals involving former MVPs and Cy Young Award winners, my concerns were clear: were any Venezuelans involved?
There were, in fact, three Venezuelans who switched addresses last week on or before the July 31 deadline: Felix Doubront was traded by the Red Sox to the Cubs, exchanging mediocre baseball on the coast for mediocre baseball in the Second City. He wasn’t even traded for a tangible entity; the Sox settled for a cipher, the infamous “player to be named later.”
Felix, it seems, was unhappy with his role as a spot starter for the Sawx and wanted to be a true abridor, or starter. Maybe he’ll get that chance in Chi-town, where suddenly Ronald Belisario’s hackles were raised. Now the White Sox middle reliever isn’t the only VZ pitcher in town with a plus-size ERA; as if he had something to prove, Belisario went out on Sunday and served up this seventh inning against the Twins: 4 runs, 4 hits, 0 outs. Thus raising his ERA to 6.23—take that, Doubront (6.07 ERA, currently on the DL). In the Sunday game Twins rookie OF Oswaldo Arcia had one of the best games of his nascent career, going 3-for-6 with 3 RBIs in the Minny rout.
Martin Prado headed east, from the desert sands to the Great White Way, via the Cross Bronx Expressway. It was unclear if the Yankees wanted him to play third base or the outfield, but thus far he’s acquitted himself well at both positions as the Yankees battle a pernicious injury bug to remain in the A.L. playoff picture. Prado’s been an All-Star, been to the playoffs, and brings a career .290 average and a veteran composure to New York.
Finally, long-time Indian shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera traded the shores of Lake Erie for the banks of the Potomac, and he’ll also trade sides of the infield to take over at second base for the front-running Nationals. Asdrubal had 25 homers in his breakout 2011 season but his numbers have gone down since; he’s still a better option than Washington had at the 4-hole as they try to finish atop a rather schizoid and weak NL East. (On Monday, batting behind Cabrera in the order, catcher Wilson Ramos continued his renaissance at the plate, going 2-for-4 with his seventh home run in a Nats loss to the Orioles.)
When the flurry of trades ended, it was back to pennant race baseball, and while King Felix Hernandez (11-3) set some sort of modern record for most consecutive starts giving up 2 runs or less, he did prove human in a loss to Cleveland and their as-yet, rather anonymous ace Corey Kluber of the great state of Alabama. Give the Birmingham boy his props: he now has 12 wins, one more than Felix.
In New York, youngster Wilmer Flores is back from a stint in the minors and clubbed two RBIs on Saturday to win a 4-2 game for the Mets against the Giants; Jacob de Grom and Jake (don’t call me Jacob) Peavey had no-hitters into the seventh inning. On Monday, Pablo “Panda” Sandoval returned the favor, slashing two doubles for three RBI in a come-from-behind Giants victory. San Francisco took three of four from the Mets to keep pace with the Dodgers as they look to maintain their even-year World Series streak (2010, 2012). ,
Bringing up youngsters like Flores meant the Mets finally had to say goodbye to 40-year-old Bob Abreu, who started the season quite well but had slumped badly as a pinch hitter. Regardless of his final weeks, Abreu was a class act who showed many young Mets how to approach the game and the fine art of hitting; in his final interview he even said “Thank you” to the Mets. I saw Bob’s last four-hit game in June against San Diego; he was a pro and ranks as one of baseball’s best hitters of the past two decades. At the very least, he’ll return to play another season of Winter Ball in Venezuela come October.
In a rare day when both New York teams played at home, visiting centerfielder Ezequiel Carrera (rhymes with Miguel Cabrera) stole a few headlines by robbing Jacoby Ellsbury of a certain extra-base hit with a circus catch in the third inning of Monday’s night game. It was just the Guiria man’s third game for Detroit; he played about half a season in the Big Time for Cleveland in 2011. Apparently the Tigers think highly enough of him to have jettisoned star OF Austin Jackson at the trade deadline. And I don’t know if this is any sort of indicator of future performance, but Carrera,–#61 in your scorecard, folks–has the same ears as Miguel Cabrera. If you don’t believe me, just look at their mug shots on MLB.com.