However, there was a hidden fringe benefit to this trade that will probably matter most historically: It put some viable candidates into what otherwise was shaping up as the worst NL Rookie of the Year battle since
By clearing out McLouth, the Pirates created the room to summon their top prospect,
Having McCutchen and Hanson join these rookie proceedings is like having Lennon and McCartney decide they want to be part of your band.
Because as the 10th week of the season began,
This race was promising all the pizzazz of a 24-hour mah-jongg channel. It was actually making the AL's race seem exciting. At least in the Junior Circuit the front-runners have been two players with real pedigree in Rangers shortstop
There are plenty of instances of Rookie of the Years who came late to the party, including
But there is little doubt that we are seeing more and more of the game's best prospects joining the season already in progress. Many teams simply value the cost savings in keeping their top farmhands in the minors for the first few months of the season over the potential to win a few more games. By keeping a prospect in the minors for a few extra months, teams can get 6 1/2 seasons from a player before free agency rather than six. In addition, players who rank in the top 17 percent of those with more than two years of service time and fewer than three gain Super Two rights and are eligible for arbitration. So teams try to gauge when it's safe to promote their best players so that they will not be in that 17 percent. The accepted safe period to avoid Super Two status is usually after Memorial Day, which was May 25 this year.
Wieters, Beckham, Price, McCutchen and Hanson were all promoted on May 25 or later, and so was Mets top prospect
McCutchen, Hanson and Martinez should energize a dud competition, and the Cardinals' well-regarded outfielder
In a few weeks, those who chose to remember Seth Smith and Randy Wells will probably remember them not as front-runner's for Rookie of the Year, but placeholders until something better came along.