The Red Sox picked up a pitcher at the trade deadline, to nobody’s surprise. But it’s a really interesting trade — I’m coming to the conclusion that Theo Epstein has some kind of a mind control ray. Follow this one with me:
A couple of weeks ago, the Red Sox traded Brandon Lyon and Anastacio Martinez to the Pirates for Scott Sauerbeck and Mike Gonzalez. Sauerbeck and Lyon were the meat of the trade. Sauerbeck is a very good lefthanded reliever, and Lyon is a young guy with promise but a tendency to be wild. Good trade for the Sox.
The Pirates soon reported that Lyon was injured, and complained that the trade should be redone. The Red Sox held firm.
Then, today, the Red Sox traded Freddy Sanchez and Mike Gonzalez to the Pirates for Jeff Suppan, Anastacio Martinez, and Brandon Lyon. Yes, that’s the same Martinez, Gonzalez, and Lyon. So — for those of us keeping score — that comes down to trading Freddy Sanchez for a really good lefthanded reliever and a guy who’s won five in a row including three complete games and two shutouts. Suppan led the Pirates in innings pitched, ERA, wins, and was second in strikeouts.
Now, Freddy Sanchez is a good prospect, but I believe the Red Sox just traded him for two of the three best pitchers on the Pirates. That’s what you call a steal. It’s incredible that Epstein managed to pick up three quality pitchers over the course of the season without really touching the deadly Boston offense.
I don’t think you can count on Suppan to keep on reeling off five game winning streaks, but when you’re pitching for a team that’s averaging over 6 runs per game, you get a little more leeway. I’d be really surprised if the Sox don’t make the playoffs. How’re their chances against Oakland’s starting rotation? Frankly, I’d rather they get the Yankees bullpen.
The other cool thing about the trades this year is that they aren’t just about this year. Everyone’s contract expires in 2005 — so there’s another year of opportunity before (probably) Pedro moves on, and maybe Nomar.