As I mentioned the other day, I have yet to see a trade that will greatly impact the playoff picture. The Feldman to Orioles and Garza to Rangers were both moves that needed to be made, but I am not sure either is going to be enough to push them over the hump. As a matter of fact, I think the two best moves made so far were by the Tigers and Braves.
Let’s start with the Tigers. When you are #1 in virtually every offensive category and your starting rotation is 1st in quality starts, you really only have one area left to improve…. the bullpen. Which is exactly what the Tigers did.
Acquiring Astros closer Jose Veras in exchange for Danry Vasquez and a player to be named later was a huge move for Detroit. Not only is Veras experienced, but also is having one of the best seasons of his career. At 32 years old, Veras has converted 19 of 22 saves for the last place Astros and has limited opponents to a .192 average while striking out more than a batter per inning. While it appears for now that Joaquin Benoit will remain the Tigers closer, having a guy with closer experience locking down the 7th or 8th inning is a really big deal for a world series caliber team.
On to the Braves….Braves GM Frank Wren had a stroke of genius while pulling off a move that sent minor league pitcher Cory Rasmus to the Angels in exchange for Left-handed reliever Scott Downs. Not only are the Braves adding a lefty reliever that has absolutely brilliant for the last 7 seasons, but also are bolstering a bullpen that has posted the best ERA in the MLB while missing their top two lefty relievers.
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With Jonny Venters and Eric O’Flaherty missing the entire 2013 season, the left-handed load has fallen almost solely on Luis Avilan. Now, the Braves have added a guy that has posted a 1.84 ERA this season while limiting Lefties to a .192 average in over 30 innings. As a matter of fact, the Braves have already reaped the benefits of adding such a experience quality reliever, as Downs picked up the win over the Rockies in his first appearance with the Braves. Oh, by the way, while Rasmus could very well turn into a solid MLB pitcher, thus far in his career he has given up 8 hits, 3 walks, and 6 runs in less than 7 innings. Perfect move for the Braves.
Granted, there is still plenty of time for moves to be made, but these two moves, in my mind, have been the most important trades so far.
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