Pittsburgh Pirates - Kudos to new Pirates GM Neal Huntington for turning the tide for the Pirates. At this time last year, the Pirates were the laughing stock of MLB. Former GM Dave Littlefield summed up his reign as GM by acquiring washed-up SP Matt Morris and his $9.5 million contract at a time when the Pirates's opening day payroll was $38.5 million (thank you Wikipedia). This season, Huntington has traded veteran players for good young players, capped off by involving himself in the Red Sox-Manny Ramirez soap opera and coming away with four young prospects from two different teams.
For the last few years, Jason Bay has been the centerpiece of the Pirates organization. From 2004-2007, Bay averaged 28.5 HRs and 94 RBIs . Despite Bay's production, the Pirates have failed to have a winning season since 1992. With this trade, the Bucs get a instant OF starter in LH Brandon Moss and a future closer in Craig Hansen from the Sox, and 3B Andy LaRoche (brother of Pirate 1B Adam LaRoche) and RH SP Bryan Morris (2006 1st round pick) from the Dodgers.
When added with their earlier trade of Xavier Nady/Damaso Marte to the Yankees, the Pirates have moved veterans and opened up space for big name prospects like Steve Pearce. This is a good sign for a storied franchise that has been losing for too long.
Los Angeles Dodgers - As the rumors of the Manny trade floated around like a National Exquirer scandal, I was ready to slam the Dodgers. The Dodgers have hurt themselves by burdening their team with overpriced, underperforming veterans like Andruw Jones and Juan Pierre. However, the Dodgers made a shrewd move in acquiring Manny but 1) not trading Matt Kemp or Andre Ethier 2) declining Manny's options, making him a free agent at season's end and 3) getting the Sox to pay for Manny's salary for the rest of the season. The Dodgers get the big bat as a free rental, in addition to picking up draft picks as compensation when Manny hits the free agent market. Andy LaRoche has been the "Next Big Thing" for the Dodgers for last few seasons, but he has yet to step up. LaRoche now gets the change of scenery that he needs, and the Dodgers still have Blake DeWitt for 3B next season. If I were the Dodgers, I would call the Nationals to see if Dmitri Young wants Andruw as a diet buddy.
Florida Marlins - The Marlins win by by not acquiring Manny. In the long run, they will benefit by keeping OF Jeremy Hermida and LH RP Taylor Tankersley. The Marlins are already sixth in scoring runs in the NL (ahead of the Rockies), and it did not look like that they were going to get the sweethart deal that the Dodgers received. In addition, their quiet acquisition of lefty specialist Arthur Rhodes will be helpful in matching up with the Phillies' Ryan Howard and Chase Utley and the Mets' Carlos Delgado in big games.
New York Yankees - Yes, the Yankees made a good trade by getting Ivan Rodriguez for MLB's verision of Russell Crowe. No one really cares.
Seattle Mariners - While the Mariners were smart not to put out early in the trading process (cough ... Jim Bowden ... cough) , the AL West disappointments overplayed their hand by not moving Raul Ibanez and Jarrod Washburn. The Mariners, to use medical terminology, are old and stinky. Raul Ibanez is going to leave as a free agent, and Jarrod Washburn is .... Jarrdon Washburn. Any prospect from the Yankees or Mets will be more valuable to the Mariners than these guys next April.
Boston Red Sox - The Red Sox made the best of a bad situation, but they have seen this train wreck coming for a long time. The last straw should have been Manny attacking a 64-year old man back in late June, not his phantom knee injury before the Yankees' series. Jason Bay is a very good player, but he goes from playing in the anonymity of Pittsburgh to heat of an AL East division race. In addition, the Sox had to give away a few good prospects and pay out Manny's salary to the Dodgers.
Washington Nationals - No cares about the Nationals except me, but I have to make one last gripe. In a move that I am convinced was made to spite me, the Nationals traded minor league pitcher Jhonny Nunez, who has 90 Ks in 89 IP this season, for another weak hitting IF in Alberto Gonzalez. Gonzalez will have a fight on his hands to take time from sluggers Cristian Guzman, Willie Harris, Ronnie Belliard, Felipe Lopez and the recently acquired Emilo Bonifacio to see who can be the first player to hit two HRs in the same month. At this rate, the Nationals 2009 daily lineup will consist of five second basemen, Ryan Zimmerman, and Austin Kearns ears.