Last weekend also saw the non-waiver trading deadline come and go. For all the talk that it would be a quiet deadline this year, it sure seems like there was a lot of activity. The Yankees added Lance Berkman, Austin Kearns and Kerry Wood. I was pleased with all three acquisitions, and think this might strengthen the team to a point where they'll be awfully tough to beat in October, providing their starting pitching returns to full health. Wood is a player that I was especially pleased to see in pinstripes. I've watched his career from the beginning, and really was annoyed with the way the Cubs shuffled him out of town. He adds depth to a bullpen that has been struggling of late.
Down in St. Louis, it has been a bit of a mixed bag. The Cardinals ripped off 8 straight wins after the All Star Break, but have been a model of inconsistency since. Most frustrating for me is that they seem to play poorly against teams they should be beating. Both Houston and the Cubs are teams that are struggling and there really is no excuse for expecting a team to take 2 of 3 games in a series from these teams. But, time and again, we've seen this team lost 2 of 3, and that just doesn't give you a good feeling as we get closer to the end of the season. Cincinnati hasn't show much sign that they are going away, and a team with championship aspirations MUST pad a lead against the lesser teams in the division.
The trade deadline was a bit quieter in St. Louis. The team was in the mix for Roy Oswalt, but had to settle for Jake Westbrook. Westbrook, who is a groundball pitcher, seems like an ideal guy for Dave Duncan and the Cardinals pitching staff, and the depth helps negate the injuries to Lohse and Penny, not to mention gives you some protection against Jaime Garcia hitting the rookie wall. The trade did spell the end of Ryan Ludwick's time in St. Louis and I'm very sorry to see him go. His was a great story and you love seeing a guy like that stick with things and finding his chance to be an everyday player. His playing time had slipped due to injury and the emergence of hot-hitting rookie John Jay, so something had to give. Ludwick should fare well in San Diego. They're a team that reminds me very much of the Cardinals of the last few years, and they should have a regular spot for "Luddy" in their outfield. They are a possible playoff opponent, should the Cardinals hold off the Reds, so you do worry a bit about him coming back to haunt his old team.