Regular Articles

NL EAST 

Braves:
The Trades:
Acquire 1B Mark Teixeira and LHP Ron Mahay for C Jarrod Saltamaccia and pretty much the cream of the Atlanta farm system.
Acquire RP Octavio Dotel for SP Kyle Davies from the Royals
Acquire RHP Royce Ring from the Padres for Wil Ledezema and a minor league pitcher.
The Lowdown: 
The Braves addressed all of their needs in a series of trades which stripped out the best of the farm system in exchange for a chance to win it all this year.  Teixeira certainly is the best player traded at the deadline and he makes the Braves lineup as formidable as any in the NL east.
The addition of relievers Mahay and Dotel also shore up the Braves for the late innings and take some of the pressure off the starting staff who won’t be pressed to throw into the late innings quite as often.  Dotel in addition offers the Braves another closer option should Bob Wickman struggle.
BUT:  The Braves paid a heavy price in terms of young talent and if Mark Teixeira fails to sign a contract extension with the Braves it could condemn the team to a decade of  mediocrity.

Verdict:
  Big Winners for this season.  It makes them the favorite to overtake the Mets.

Mets

The Trade:
Picked up 2B Luis Castillo for two minor leaguers from the Twins.
The Lowdown:
This was a mood forced by the injury to Jose Valentin and  doesn’t really impact this team.  Castillio might be a touch better defensively and should hit for average.
BUT:  Castillo isn’t really the same player he was a couple of years ago and he’s probably more suited to the bottom of the lineup.

Verdict:
Neutral

Phillies
The Trades:
Phillies acquire Kyle Lohse for minor league starter
Acquire RP Rubin Mateo for a AA pitcher
The Lowdown:  This is indicative about how thin the pitching market really is.  Lohse was the biggest name starting pitcher that any contender managed to land.  Lohse is a sub .500 pitcher in his career.
BUT:When they aren’t throwing batting practice the Phillies needed some bodies to eat some innings.

Verdict:  Marginal winners.  It cost them nothing from their Major League roster.

NL CENTRAL

Cardinals
The Trade:
Acquire SP Joel Pineiro from the Red Sox for cash and a player to be named later.
The Lowdown: 
This isn’t going to solve any of the Redbirds problems.  It didn’t cost them anything important but its not a big help either.
BUT: Pineiro could eat some innings preventing the team from overusing their arms.

Verdict:  Neutral

Astros
The Trades:
Sent Morgan Ensberg to the Padres for a player to be named later.
Sent Dan Wheeler to Tampa for 3B Ty Wigginton.
The Lowdown: 
Clearly the goal here was to move Ensberg and the team didn’t believe that Mike Lamb could handle the everyday job.  So they overpaid to bring in Ty Wigginton who might well be their everyday third baseman of the future.  The cost was high in terms of talent, but the team actually slashed payroll by dealing Wheeler and Ensberg.
BUT: Wheeler probably would have brought more in trade to a contender.

Verdict: Loser.  The team slashed payroll and dealt talent - and had to pick Ensberg’s money too.

Reds
The Trade:
Acquired Jorge Cantu for minor leaguers.
The Lowdown: 
Just two years ago Cantu tore through the AL racking up 28 HR and 117 RBI to go with a .286 average.   His average, power and RBI totals have all plummeted and the D’Rays finally gave up on him.  The Reds are hoping for a resurgance which makes this trade something they can build around.
BUT:  Cantu could have been a flash in the pan.

Verdict:  Neutral.

Pirates
The Trade:
Acquire Matt Morris for OF Rajai Davis from the Giants.
The Lowdown: 
This one is a bit puzzling.  Morris is a highly paid pitcher who is in the twilight of his career.  He’ll eat innings and can be a mentor to the young staff in Cincinnati.
BUT: This move doesn’t make a lot of sense unless the goal is simply not to finish in last place in the division.

Verdict: Loser.

NL WEST:

Padres:
The Trades: 
Padres acquire 3B Morgan Ensberg from Houston for a player to be named later or cash.
Padres acquire utility player Rob Mackowiak for minor league pitcher Jon Link
Padres acquire the lefthanded RP Wilfredo Ledezma for RP Royce Ring and minor league pitcher Will Startup
The lowdown: 
Ensberg has had a dreadful season thus far but is a veteran who’s come off two solid seasons.  For that reason he’s probably going to cut into the playing time of young Kevin Kouzmanoff and create a platoon situation.  If Morgan can turn it around he’s a steal for very little money.  In any case he should help slighty bump up the San Diego offense.
Rob Mackowiak is a solid all around player who can play almost any position and can provide a reliable bat either from the bench or in the regular lineup.  He’s also been killing the ball lately (.391 in July).
In Wil Ledezma the Padres added a third lefty to the bullpen and one with a little big of experience.  Considering that their other two lefty relievers Joe Thatcher and Justin Hampton are rookies its a shot in the arm for the bullpen.
BUT:  Unless Morgan finds his power stroke again, the Padres have not really found a big bat to put them over the top and let them pull away in the division.

Verdict:  Winner

Dodgers:
The Trade:
Swapped out 3B Wilson Betemit for RHP Scott Proctor.
The Lowdown: 
Proctor has been a very effective reliever (2-5, 3.81, 37 SO) despite the fact that he walks almost as many as he strikes out.  But the truth is that the Dodgers have the most worn out bullpen in all of the Majors and they needed to add relief help.  Its exactly what they needed.
BUT:  The price is very high if Betemit ever reaches the potental, or even half the potential that scouts once predicted for him.

Verdict: Winner

Giants
The Trade: The Giants acquire OF Rajai Davis for Pitcher Matt Morris..
The lowdown:
Struggling and overpaid starters are fairly abundant and not many teams were interested in Morris  - especially since his numbers (7-7, 4.35 ERA, 1.47 WHIP) are pretty ugly for someone who pitches in one of the worst hitting divisions and one of the best pitchers parks in the game.
The Pirates didn’t exactly offer a prize in the 26 year old Davis who offers speed and a bit of average but hasn’t shown much else in his Major or Minor league career.
BUT:  This could work out well in the Giants favor as they’ll need some interim players as they rebuild and at 26 years olf Rajai Davis still has some upside.  He could potentially end up as a leadoff hitter although his career .333 OBP argues against that but a look at his minor league numbers suggest he is still improving there.

Verdict:
  Winner