Several baseball trade acquisitions have turned into busts
Carlos Beltran was the most sought-after player to change teams at the non-waiver trade deadline last month. And when the punchless San Francisco Giants landed him, it figured to make their path to a second consecutive National League West title a lot easier.
But it hasn’t worked out that way. The Giants, who led the division by three games when they acquired Beltran, have gone 10-18 since and entered Saturday three games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks in the division race. And Beltran certainly did little to halt that skid, hitting just one home run and driving in three as a Giant while spending most of August on the disabled list with an injured hand.
But Beltran isn’t the only trade-deadline acquisition who has been less than spectacular. Ubaldo Jimenez has given up 37 hits and 22 runs, posting a 5.79 earned-run average, in 28 innings since going from Colorado to Cleveland. Derrek Lee, who homered twice in his first game for Pittsburgh after arriving from Baltimore, got just three more hits before going on the DL. And relievers Koji Uehara and Mike Adams have combined to go 1-4 for their new team, the Texas Rangers.
The Atlanta Braves, meanwhile, have won 16 times in 24 games with former Houston outfielder Michael Bourn, who is hitting .297 since the trade. And the Philadelphia Phillies, who were deep in negotiations with the New York Mets for Beltran before losing him to the Giants, wound up with Hunter Pence instead. That has turned out to be a lucky break since Pence, hitting .330 with five homers and 15 RBIs as a Phillie, led his new team to 11 wins in his first 12 games after the trade.
Bourn and the Braves won’t catch Pence’s Phillies in the NL East, but Atlanta figures to cruise into the playoffs as the league wild card in its first season under Manager Fredi Gonzalez. And rookie closer Craig Kimbrel has played a big part in making that happen.
Kimbrel, who has already tied Neftali Feliz’s 11-month rookie record for saves with a major league-leading 40, hasn’t given up a run since June 11, converting 21 consecutive save chances. And he’s not the only reliever who’s been pitching well for the Braves.
Left-handers Jonny Vetters and Eric O’Flaherty have both made more than 60 appearances while posting ERAs below 1.35 and combining for 51 holds.
Among NL teams only the Cubs have gotten more innings out of their bullpen, yet Atlanta relievers are second in the majors with a 2.88 ERA and lead baseball with a .217 opponents’ batting average.
Stat watch (Did you know? edition)
• With 10 triples, 24 stolen bases, 36 homers and 103 RBIs, the New York Yankees’ Curtis Granderson is the first American League player since the St. Louis Browns’ Ken Williams in 1922 to collect at least 10 triples, 20 steals, 30 homers and 100 RBIs. Granderson, who leads the league in RBIs, runs (119) and triples, is the first Yankee with 30-plus homers and at least 10 triples since Mickey Mantle in 1955.
• The Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw is tied with Arizona’s Ian Kennedy for the NL lead with 16 wins. The last Dodger to finish the season alone atop the leaderboard was Fernando Valenzuela with 21 victories in 1986.
— Kevin Baxter
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