08/02/11 1:27 PM ET
Rockies win Trade Deadline sweepstakes
By Mitch Williams / MLB.com
I'll start with the trade I felt was the biggest robbery -- that would be what the Rockies were able to do to the Indians. Cleveland got what it believes is a No. 1 starter in Ubaldo Jimenez, but the Indians gave up four very good prospects to get this done. Ubaldo has one of two things going on: He is either injured in some way or has no confidence at all. Considering he passed a physical examination, it would appear to be the latter.
Last year, Ubaldo had his fastball anywhere from 97-100 mph and was dominating hitters. This year, he has regressed to a pitcher who now finds his fastball down around 92 or 93 most of the time. That tells me that the problem is from the neck of his jersey to the top of his hat. He will occasionally throw a fastball that will hit 96 or 97, and his breaking ball and changeup are nowhere near as devastating as last year. When I watch film on him, he looks like a guy who is wishing the ball to spots. He is not finishing his pitches like he did last year.
For the Rockies to have traded a guy like this, you have to know there is a problem somewhere. So unless the Indians' pitching coach can get him to throw the ball as hard as he can throw it (and trust the results), the Rockies made out like bandits because they got back some of the Indians' top pitching prospects in Alex White, Drew Pomeranz and Joe Gardner, in addition to first baseman Matt McBride. The Rockies won this deal.
The Giants desperately needed a big bat in the middle of their order and got one by acquiring Carlos Beltran from the Mets. Because he's a free agent at the end of the year, Beltran is a rental. The Mets, who aren't going anywhere this year, got back one of the top prospects in baseball in Zack Wheeler. This deal is a push.
Mike Adams, and not Heath Bell, going from San Diego to Texas caught my eye. The Rangers gave up two very good prospects to get Adams, but in the end, both teams will benefit from this trade. Neftali Feliz has not been the same guy since the Rangers tried to make him a starter in Spring Training.
I see the problem with Feliz as a simple one to fix. He is so concerned with being quick to the plate that he is not finishing his leg kick. This has led to his velocity being way down, and his walks are way up. Last year, Feliz walked 18 in 69 1/3 innings. This year he has walked 20 in 38 2/3 innings. His strikeouts are down from more than one an inning, to 27 in 38 2/3 innings. Both teams will benefit from this trade, but Neftali needs to look at film from 2009 and 2010. If you get the hitter out, it doesn't matter how many bases they steal unless they can steal home.
The Phillies did a great job of getting the right-handed bat they needed to hit behind Ryan Howard when they got Hunter Pence from the Astros for a package of Minor League players. Again, I think this trade will help both teams in the end, but it gives the Phillies a chance to win the World Series now, whereas, without getting that right-handed bat, I didn't think they could.
The trade I like best is one that didn't get much attention -- the Tigers getting Doug Fister and David Pauley from Seattle in exchange for Charlie Furbush and Casper Wells.
Fister is 3-12 with a 3.33 ERA, and Pauley is 5-4 with a 2.15 ERA. He's pitched 54 innings in 39 games. Detroit's big offseason free agent, Joaquin Benoit has a 4.03 ERA, and the league is hitting .280 against him. The league is hitting. 200 against Pauley, so this is the trade I like the best. It seems like an insignificant deal, but this is the trade that puts the Tigers over the hump.
The other curious thing is that the Yankees did nothing. Surely, they can't feel like they are sitting perfect right now with their rotation. So, it was an exciting Deadline, and while the results remain to be seen, I think the Rockies made the best deal. It might not pay off until next year but they made a great deal.
Mitch Williams is an analyst for MLB Network. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.