Trade deadline dilemma

BOB ELLIOTT -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:04 AM ET

The Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees usually match each other stride for stride.

For every action in one city there is a reaction in the other. Often times, an over-reaction.

In the off-season, if one lands a free-agent pitcher, the other is close to follow. If one lands an import from the far East, the other follows. In other words, executives can match each other hiccup for hiccup.

Not yesterday.

While the Red Sox landed the best bullpen arm on the market in Eric Gagne, the Yankees, unable to move Kyle Farnsworth, traded reliever Scott Proctor from their overworked bullpen to the Los Angeles Dodgers for infield help.

There was a punch, but no counter punch, after the Texas Rangers sent Gagne to Boston for starter Kason Gabbard and minor leaguers Engel Beltre and David Murphy yesterday before the non-waiver trade deadline.

The Yanks depleted their bullpen by moving Proctor to the Dodgers for infielder Wilson Betemit, who has 10 home runs, 26 RBIs and a .231 average in 84 games. He might be the starting third baseman in 2007 if Alex Rodriguez uses his opt-out clause to bolt at the end of this season.

Proctor appeared in 83 games in 2006, working 102S innings. This year he is 2-5 with a 3.81 ERA in 54S innings, allowing 53 hits, walking 29 and striking out 37.

New York will fill from within by promoting hard-throwing youngster Joba Chamberlain.

The Yanks, the Milwaukee Brewers and the Dodgers also had shown interest in Gagne.

A native of Mascouche, Que., Gagne waived his no-trade clause after the Sox re-structured his contract. Boston will pick up $2.1 million US in Gagne's performance bonuses, while the Rangers will pay $400,000.

Boston is set with Jonathan Papelbon closing games, while Gagne, signed by scout Claude Pelletier, will be Papelbon's setup man. With the Rangers, Gagne was 2-0 with a 2.16 ERA and 16 saves.

Boston's bullpen has the best ERA in the majors (2.74) and fewest blown saves (four).

The Sox went into play last night eight games up on the Yankees in the American League East, 12 games ahead of the Blue Jays. The Yanks are four games behind the Cleveland Indians, the AL wild-card leaders.

Gagne finally will get a chance to pitch in the post-season with a lead for the first time.

Despite winning the NL Cy Young award in 2003 winning the Rolaids Relief award as the top closer in 2003 and 2004 and converting a record 84 consecutive saves, he had never been on the mound with the Dodgers in the lead in the post-season.

Gagne did work twice as the Dodgers were eliminated in four games in the best-of-five NL division series against the St. Louis Cardinals in 2004, pitching a run-less final inning in an 8-3 loss in Game 2 and working two run-less in a 6-2 loss to St. Louis in Game 4.

Boston also sent reliever Joel Pineiro to the St. Louis Cardinals.

The strangest deal was the Pittsburgh Pirates dealing for San Francisco Giants righty Matt Morris, 33, who is owed $14 million through 2008. The Bucs gave up outfielder Rajai Davis and a player to be named. Also-rans usually are not in the habit of adding arms that are so expensive.

The Braves were the biggest winners heading into the deadline adding first baseman Mark Teixeira and lefty Ron Mahay from Texas, lefty Royce Ring from the San Diego Padres and reliever Octavio Dotel from the Kansas City Royals.

NOT ALWAYS TRUE

Every year we read about deadline deals and how they never work out. Then we think about David Cone joining the Blue Jays in 1992, Rickey Henderson coming to Toronto in 1993 or Dave Roberts joining the Red Sox in 2004.

Teixeira, who makes his Atlanta debut tonight against Houston, will make a difference the way Cone, Henderson and Roberts did.


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