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Speaking of Friedman Love...

Scoping The Hardball Times and their deadline deals analysis and naturally I read the Rays' deals with more curiosity than others...

Seth McClung for Grant Balfour:

The Brewers were forced to make this trade because they had to make room on the roster for Linebrink and Balfour was out of options, but to me, that's just all the more reason to dislike the Linebrink deal.

Balfour struggled in his three appearances with the Brewers, allowing six runs and losing two games, but his minor league numbers this year were eye-popping: 68 strikeouts, 15 walks, and two home runs in 43 innings pitched. He has struggled with injuries the past few years, but Balfour still looks like he could be a very good reliever. More and more, the Linebrink trade looks like it was more about getting a "reliable veteran" than actually improving the Brewers organization.

For the record, I still think Doug Melvin is one of the best general managers in baseball. I just don't happen to believe that these are very good deadline deals.

Jorge Cantu and Shaun Cumberland for Brian Shackelford, Calvin Medlock, and cash:

Remember when Cantu his .286 with 28 home runs and 117 RBIs in 2005? Well, how the mighty have fallen: Cantu hasn't posted a .700 OPS at any level since. Besides Cantu, no one traded in this deal has any cachet, though Medlock may yet turn into a serviceable reliever. Overall, this is one team trading its spare parts for another's, though I do think this deal has a little bit more upside for the Rays.

And the 'biggest' of deals, Ty Wigginton for Dan Wheeler:

And the Devil Rays make another spectacular acquisition for their bullpen! Andrew Friedman is quickly moving up the ranks as one of the smartest baseball executives around. Wheeler's 5.07 ERA this season is deceiving: His xFIP is a solid 3.56, which is in line (actually, a little better) with his xFIPs the previous two seasons.

Wheeler is a closer-quality reliever, and he actually did close for the Astros for awhile this season. Along with Balfour, he should go a long way towards shoring up the Rays bullpen.

The more I think about this trade, the more I like it for the Astros as well. Wigginton is not a very good fielder, but he is an above-average hitter and should be even better in the weaker National League. He is also an extreme pull hitter, and the Crawford Boxes should do some great things for his home run totals.

This looks like the rare trade that will help both teams quite a bit.

Friedmanism is alive, now if you'll excuse me I must show Dierkes.