August 12, 2003
As the season winds down, remember to make your final deals before the deadline. No trades may be made after Tuesday, August 26th. This year has been a whirlwind of trades, debates, and more trades. All in all, it has been a year with major owner involvement and is shaping up to be a heck of a finish.
With MRLB's new prize structure and expansion to 12 teams, 10 teams still have a legitimate chance at winning something and the other 2 teams just completed trades in August. Thanks to Big League Chew and North Siders for retaining the spirit of the league and playing for pride even when things don't look so good in the standings.
Heading into the last 6 weeks of the season, Shady's lead has dropped to Slim proportions. At mid-season, I predicted that someone would be within 10 points of Slim by August 10th, and sure enough, Camerano was only 9 back that Sunday morning. While everyone was wheeling and dealing, Slim was busy gloating but failed to address some moves that would solidify his first place standing. Now, he only has 2 weeks to close a deal and the asking price is getting steeper by the day. Stay tuned for a great finish.
Of course, many MRLB owners will point to the suspicious deal made between Vandelay Industries and Camerano (now known in the message boards as "Camelay") as reason for Camerano's recent climb. Taking a closer look, the owners made 2 deals so far. Here are the basics: Camerano acquired the likes of Pujols, Sheffield, and Millwood for Wood, Rolen, some mediocre players (Damon, Grissom, Mueller, J. Williams), and some players who will downright hurt a team (F. Garcia, K. Rogers). The results have been predictable, as Camerano is soaring in 2nd place while Vandelay is tied for 8th and just 2 points away from 10th. Does this imply that these deals were made in bad faith? That's for the owners to decide, and apparently enough of them felt otherwise and let the deals go through.
Not to single out the above trades, Camerano must be given credit for his incredible timing in his deals. The one bad deal Camerano made which sent Oswalt and Bonds to Unlimited for Miller, Vlad, and Kielty was salvaged quite nicely as Camerano quickly dealt Miller and some useless players to Towns for Garcia, Derrek Lee, and Alex Sanchez. Garcia has a nice run in June, the Camerano dealt the struggling hurler to Vandelay in late July. Not to be outdone, Camerano acquired solid hitting Edgar Martinez for Jae Wong Seo and Scott Podsednik. Seo has been atrocious since the deal (0-5, 6.75 ERA) and was dropped by Damage Inc. Podsednik hasn't fared much better, hitting only .248 with just 4 RBIs to go along with his 7 steals since the deal.
Two more moves sealed the deal for Camerano. Realizing a player at his peak, Jose Lima was shipped off to Z Money with Delgado and 2 others for 2 solid closers (Foulke and Kim) AND Aaron Boone. With Boone's hottest streak behind him, Camerano unloaded him to Unlimited just one week later for Ben Sheets who has been as good as a Brewers pitcher can be in a short period (2.941 ERA, 1.010 WHIP, 3 Ws, and 26 Ks in 33+ IP). So before you credit the "Camelay" trades as the reason for Camerano's surge, look at the other deals as well. However, adding Pujols, Sheffield, and Millwood sure didn't hurt.
Other deals are making and breaking clubs elsewhere in the standings. The controversial deal between Vavster and Unlimited Access has been a boon to both squads. Vavster has gotten the better end of the deal so far, thanks to some record setting hitting from Marcus Giles, but Abreu has hardly been a bust for Unlimited. On paper, the deal between BLC and Flux looks like a steal for BLC, but Flux has gained some ground while BLC has landed in the cellar since the deal. Despite decent hitting from Matsui, Bret Boone, and Brian Giles since the trade, Flux has managed to compensate for the loss and take advantage of the players he received (Zito, Worrell, Encarnacion).
There are many other deals which can be dissected and debated in the updated spreadsheet below. Look it over, hit the message board and let the arguing begin! Good luck the rest of the way.