Ferguson: Some August trades can have a big impact

Scott Ferguson
8/19/2013 1:20:14 PM
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Alex Anthopoulos cautioned us last week not to expect the Blue Jays to make any more deals for the rest of this month after he shipped Emilio Bonifacio to Kansas City for cash or a player to be named later. The month following the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline traditionally isn't as busy. Teams can for instance use waiver claims to block rivals from picking up key players. That can cause deals to be aborted, or teams to be stuck with players they didn't really want in the first place.

In 1998, San Diego claimed lefty reliever Randy Myers from the Blue Jays just to make sure he didn't wind up with Atlanta. Myers' career was beginning a slow fade, and the Blue Jays were able to get out from under his rather large contract.

Still, there have been significant trades made in August. In fact you could argue that the Blue Jays made two of the biggest in franchise history during the eighth month of the year.

On August 27, 1992, the Blue Jays acquired right-hander David Cone from the New York Mets for Jeff Kent and Ryan Thompson. Though the rookie Kent would later star with the Mets and the Giants, Cone was instrumental in helping the Blue Jays win their first World Series when they beat Atlanta in six games. Former Blue Jays reliever Dan Plesac, who was with the Milwaukee squad that was trying to pass the Jays for first place, said at the moment that trade was made, the Brewers knew it was over because they realized their organization would never be able to swing that kind of impactful trade at that point of the season.

Cone, you must remember, was essentially a rental. He become a free agent in the off-season and signed with Kansas City. The Blue Jays traded for him again in the spring of 1995. However, lightning didn't strike twice. Toronto had a disappointing season and Cone was ultimately traded to the Yankees later that same year.

The Blue Jays' other big August deal looked rather innocuous at the time. The Blue Jays picked up Jose Bautista from Pittsburgh for catching prospect Robinson Diaz on August 21, 2008. At the time Bautista was a journeyman outfielder who was running out of last chances. It took him the rest of 2008 and most of 2009 to find his groove. But in six years with the Blue Jays, "Joey Bats" has hit 168 homers, has been an All-Star four times and twice has finished in the top four of MVP voting. Diaz hasn't played in the Majors since 2009 and has only one career home run.

Unless the Blue Jays move one of their boatload of relievers or send free-agent-to-be Rajai Davis to a contender, I don't see them making any deals between now and the end of August. All A.A's heavy lifting will be done in the off-season.

Around the Majors

The Baltimore Orioles are still in the thick of the battle for a postseason spot. They're only four-and-a-half games back of Boston in the A.L. East and three behind Oakland for the second Wild Card slot. It will be interesting to see how they react to losing pitching coach Rick Adair who has taken a leave of absence to deal with a personal issue. Bullpen coach Bill Castro takes over as pitching coach, and former Orioles star Scott McGregor moves in as the new bullpen coach.

The A's have got their own issues to worry about. Their 14-game winner Bartolo Colon has gone on the 15-day DL with a groin muscle problem. Veteran lefty Tom Milone, who had struggled off and on this season and was demoted to Triple-A, has been called back up.

The L.A Dodgers have practically wrapped up the NL West with a seven-and-a-half game lead on Arizona, and what a run they are on. Don Mattingly's crew has won 42 of their last 51 games. They are on a 19-2 run on the road and are on an incredible stretch of 25-4 since the All-Star break.

As well as Dustin Pedroia has played for the Red Sox, and Mike Trout for the Angels, there is little if any doubt Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers is going to win his second straight AL MVP Award. He's hitting .360 with 40 home runs and 120 runs batted in with six weeks left in the season. Only two other players in history have put up those kind of power numbers while hitting over .350. Those two gentlemen, Hall of Famers Babe Ruth and Jimmie Foxx.

Travis D'Arnaud, who was a key component of the deal with the Mets that brought R.A. Dickey to the Blue Jays, played in his first two Major League games over the weekend at San Diego with John Buck away on paternity leave. The Mets, however, dropped both games. D'Arnaud went 0-for-4 but did walk four times, twice in each game. On Sunday, Mets ace Matt Harvey pitched six solid innings in a no-decision. He gave up just two earned runs on six hits and didn't walk anyone, while striking out six with the rookie behind the plate. The Mets are playing a make-up game on the road against the Twins on Monday afternoon before Buck is due to rejoin the team for Tuesday night's game at home against Atlanta.

Here's hoping the National League Central stays as close as it is right now, because the Pirates and the Reds will play home-and-home series on the final two weekends of the regular season, first at Pittsburgh and then at Cincinnati. Right now the Pirates, who haven't made the playoffs since 1992, lead St. Louis by one game and the Reds by two-and-a-half. Over those same two weekends, the Cardinals are at Milwaukee and home to the Cubs.

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