Teams shuffle the deck

BOB ELLIOTT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:47 AM ET

Yesterday's Jays are today's Jays as the trade deadline came and went.

What you see is what you get until the final day of the season unless, of course, a player clears waivers.

Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi tried but was unable to add another starter, or a shortstop.

What is troubling for the Jays is they did not get a designated hitter to replace Shea Hillenbrand. They had pursued Ryan Shealy of the Colorado Rockies, going back to before the all-star break.

Shealy awoke this morning a member of the Kansas City Royals, obtained for lefty Jeremy Affeldt and right-hander Denny Bautista.

Affeldt was 4-6 with a 5.91 in nine starts with 42 walks and 28 strikeouts in 70 innings. Bautista was 0-2 in seven starts with a 5.66 ERA, walking 17 and striking out 22 in 35 innings.

In return, the Royals gave Colorado two big-league pitching arms.

The Jays also didn't add Tampa Bay Devil Rays shortstop Julio Lugo. The Los Angeles Dodgers obtained Lugo for minor-leaguers Joel Guzman and Sergio Pedroza.

Guzman hit .297 with 11 homers and 55 RBIs at triple-A Las Vegas before being promoted to L.A., while Pedroza was hitting .281 with 21 homers and 75 RBIs at single-A Columbus.

The Dodgers, it would appear, made the better pitch.

So if the trade deadline is the time to improve, the Jays fall into the losers category.

They are not alone. Joining them there are:

Red Sox: They were in on Andruw Jones of the Atlanta Braves, tried to obtain Roy Oswalt of the Houston Astros and were after Miguel Tejada. But they did nothing.

The Yankees, on the other hand, ...

Angels: They are a bat away from winning the AL West, sitting a half-game back of the A's going into play last night. They didn't even add an usher.

Astros: They failed to add another hitter like Tejada. And after news got out that reliever Brad Lidge and Oswalt were available, the team now has some fence mending to do. Roger Clemens had four choices when he came out of retirement: the Yanks, the Red Sox, the Rangers and the Astros. He joined the worst offence.

Padres: Added Todd Walker from the Cubs to play third. This is bad news for Padres starters -- he hasn't played third in nine seasons.

Nationals: GM Jim Bowden had his phone hosed down three times attempting to move Alfonso Soriano. He turned down a number of offers. When the clock struck four, he wound up with nada for Soriano, who becomes a free agent in the off-season.

Phillies: They dumped salary, as was their intent and added reliever, Matt Smith and a former No. 1 pick, shortstop C.J. Henry.

Dodgers: Add 300-game winner Greg Maddux from the Cubs and Lugo from the Rays. But Los Angeles was a buyer when it should have been a seller. The Dodgers sit five games below .500, five games behind Cincinnati.

Maddux is 40 and is going to a pitcher's park, but he is joining an offence that hits as well as the Cubs do with the wind blowing in.

Pirates: Dealt Casey, Wilson, Wells. Added Shawn Chacon from the Yanks, right fielder Xavier Nady and minor leaguers. Will the last Pirate leaving PNC Stadium please put out the cat?

And as for the winners:

Reds: GM Wayne Krivsky had the worst bullpen in the National League.

In less than a month, the wild-card leaders added Eddie Guardado from the Mariners; Gary Majewski and Bill Bray from the Nats and yesterday Kyle Lohse from the Twins and lefty Rheal Cormier from the Phillies.

Cormier, of Moncton, N.B., was given a $2.25 million US contract extension for 2007. The 39-year-old Cormier was 2-2 with a 1.59 ERA.

The Reds moved righty Justin Germano, preferring not to part with Etobicoke first baseman Joey Votto, who owns two-thirds of the double-A Southern League triple crown at Chattanooga.

Yankees: We know, we know -- same old, same old.

The Yanks added right fielder Bobby Abreu and right-hander Cory Lidle from the Philadelphia Phillies and first baseman Craig Wilson from the Pirates.

Same thing every year right?

On July 31, 2005, Buddy Groom was sent to the Diamondbacks for a player to be named.

Tigers: We had them amongst the losers. They chased Soriano and Tejada. All they added was Sean Casey and his three home runs and demoted Chris Shelton.

But what did their rivals add?

Zeroes across the board.

Mets: Added reliever Roberto Hernandez and Oliver Perez -- who would make Mitch Williams look like a control artist -- from the Pirates. The Mets needed Hernandez to replace injured set-up man Duaneer Sanchez.

Rangers: Acquired Kip Wells from the Pirates and Matt Stairs from the Royals. Wells was 1-5 with a 6.69 ERA in seven starts for the Pirates.

Stairs, of Saint John, N.B., was hitting .261 with eight homers and 32 RBI for the Royals.

All in all it was a busy day.

One which will no doubt change the history of the 2006 season.

Okay, maybe a game or two anyway.


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