BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
When one associates the July 31 trading deadline, most baseball people figure that the New York Yankees will try to gain an advantage over the Boston Red Sox.
Which moves will the rest of the teams make?
The Detroit Tigers and the Cleveland Indians are two teams that are playing the role of the Yankees and the Red Sox. Which team will have more horses down the stretch to make the playoffs?
When they get to the playoffs, they're not looking to be an easy out for the Yankees and the Red Sox.
Judging by the moves these two teams have made in the last 11 days, it's not only enjoyable to watch them in the standings but off the field as well.
The Tigers began the trading spree on July 20 as Detroit attempted to solidify their third base dilemma by landing Wilson Betemit from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for Single-A prospects left-handed pitcher Antonio Cruz and catcher Julio Rodriguez.
Cleveland answered with a move of its own on July 28 as the Indians traded for Chicago Cubs outfielder Kosuke Fukudome. The Indians gave up a pair of prospects in outfielder Abner Abreu and left-handed pitcher Carlton Smith.
Saturday July 30 saw these two franchises continue to play Ping Pong.
The Tigers made the first transaction with the Seattle Mariners. General Manager Dave Dombrowski acquired right-handed starter Doug Fister and righty reliever David Pauley for outfielder Casper Wells, infielder Francisco Martinez, left-hander Charlie Furbush and a player to be named later.
Fister is 3-12 but that's misleading due to the lack of run support. Seattle has scored 1.97 runs per-game and has lost seven decisions spanning 10 starts. But in these 10 starts, Fister has a 3.42 ERA with a pair of complete game losses. He has thrown at least six innings in each start.
Pauley is 5-4 with a 2.15 ERA in 39 appearances.
The Indians pulled the trigger again by acquiring Colorado Rockies right-handed pitching ace Ubaldo Jimenez for three minor leaguers and a player to be named later. Cleveland gave up right-handers Alex White and Joe Gardner along with first baseman--outfielder Matt McBride.
It's hard to believe that Cleveland managed to charge ahead of the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Toronto Blue Jays and Detroit Tigers, who were aggressively scouting Jimenez, the biggest prize at the July 31 trading deadline.
Indians Hall Of Famer, the late Bob Feller, would be proud.
Cleveland wasn't finished because Saturday Night, it dealt infielder Orlando Cabrera, who lost his starting job to rookie Jason Kipnis last week, to San Francisco for Triple-A outfielder Thomas Neal.
As it stands, the Indians trail the Tigers by 1.5 games in the AL Central Division. That could change today and we have a lot of time by the end of the regular season.
Now the question remains, will the Tigers counter with one more move in this Table Tennis Match with the Indians? We'll find out. But everybody will be monitoring the moves made by these clubs for the next eight weeks.
Will we see playoff action in Cleveland or back at Comerica Park? Stay Tuned.
Scott Morganroth can be reached at email@example.com and his blog can be seen at www.scottsports33.com.
- Scott Morganroth
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