Friday July 31st, 2009

1. You have to give the Phillies and the Red Sox credit. Yes, they have large payrolls and have resource advantages most clubs do not have. But both organizations were able to draw from fertile farm systems to make key deadline deals this week -- and do so without giving up their very elite prospects. The Phillies made themselves the team to beat in the National League by getting pitcher Cliff Lee without trading pitcher Kyle Drabek or outfielder Dominic Brown.

Likewise, the Red Sox addressed their diminishing offense problem, as well as issues behind the plate, by getting Victor Martinez -- without giving up pitchers Clay Buchholz, Daniel Bard and Junichi Tazawa. In an era when young players under control are valued more and more, Philadelphia and Boston won the week because of they could draw on fertile farm systems without running them dry. It's a lesson for the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Mets of the world: player development is a key currency in the baseball realm.

2. Great move by the Tigers to snap up Jarrod Washburn. Okay, he might be having a career year, but he's also red hot (1.87 ERA in his past 12 starts) and he's entering a similar environment he left in Seattle (pitchers' park and good defense behind him). Washburn is only a rental, and I don't think the Tigers could risk offering him arbitration (would you pay Washburn $14 million or so next year?) to get two draft picks, but Detroit needed him for a playoff push.

The Tigers followed the key rule when trading for starting pitching this time of year: don't make the move unless you know the starter is guaranteed to start one of the first three games of a playoff series. Washburn gives the heavily-righthanded Tigers another look between Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson and gives them protection against an expected late-season decline for 20-year-old rookie Rick Porcello (8.79 ERA in July).

3. Kenny Williams paid a high price for Jake Peavy, but his persistence just might give the White Sox a beast of a postseason rotation. The trade for the San Diego ace hinges on how quickly Peavy returns from his ankle injury. Here is Williams' take on that bet: The Sox are losing only three starts by Clayton Richard (because of off days) by the time Peavy comes back to face the Yankees or Red Sox at the end of August. Of course, that assumes all goes well for Peavy in an upcoming minor league rehab assignment. He just started throwing off a mound again.

But if Williams is right (and he has Peavy through at least 2012, anyway), the White Sox will be a bear to deal with in September and possibly October. Would you rather have Justin Verlander, Edwin Jackson and Jarrod Washburn, or Jake Peavy, Mark Buehrle and Gavin Floyd (with John Danks and Jose Contreras in the wings)? The Tigers made a nice addition with Washburn, but the White Sox answered it and more. Is it enough to make up four games in the loss column? It depends on how quickly Peavy gets back and how D.J. Carrasco and friends fill the three or more starts until he's ready.

CORCORAN: How will Martinez impact Boston? CORCORAN: Peavy won't be White Sox's savior

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