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