Previously in the Recap series, I discussed some of the trades that occurred in early-mid July. As the trade deadline loomed on the horizon, GMs became more aggressive and went after the more coveted players that were being shopped on the block.
07/23/12: (NYY-SEA) Yankees get I. Suzuki (OF), Mariners get D.J. Mitchell (SP), and Danny Farquhar (RP)
Another superstar has entered the fold in New York. Ichiro (38) will merely serve as another insurance OF for the Yankees. Yes, he had 10 consecutive 200+ hit seasons. Yes, he batted above .300 for 9 of them. However he is on the decline. In 2011, he had career lows in hits (184), BA (.272), and OBP (.310). While he is still racking the SB count (and those will go down soon as well), he cannot beat out the infield single as easily as he used to. His biggest asset was his quickness, but his second was his gold glove. He still is a premier defender and will provide a nice defensive substitute down the stretch. Until Gardner returns, Ichiro will most likely get the nod. If he does well, Manager Joe Girardi will stick him somewhere else (depending on the FA this offseason). On the other side of the trade, Seattle is clearly making a break from the Suzuki-era; they are trying to rebuild and create a new face to the franchise. These two 2008 draftees will help out one way or another. Of the two, Mitchell has greater potential but Farquhar will make the quicker impact at the major league level.
Conclusion – This was more or less a dump by Seattle in order to transition to an Ichiro-less future.
Having taken a brutal beating from the National League in the 2012 All Star Game (an 8-0 shutout), the American League sits shocked wondering how it all went wrong. Barring the loss of home field advantage, A.L. teams must steel themselves for the next 81 games, and potentially thereafter.
American League East
Overview: If you took a look at the standings as of the All Star break, you would see some peculiarities. So many questions lie within the 2012 second half, and that is what will make this year a very exciting year to call one’s self a baseball fan.
Aside from the Yankees being at the top of the division, nothing looks as it did the for the past half-decade. The Orioles, currently in second, had the A.L. East lead on lock down for almost all of the first half. The next few weeks will be the deciding factor on whether or not they will attain playoff status (their last time this occurred was in 1997). They need help at 3B and with their rotation. Will they land an ace in Wandy Rodriguez (HOU) or Zack Greinke (MIL)? Who would they be willing to give up? Young’uns like Manny Machado, an elite young SS, and top pitching prospect 19 year-old Dylan Bundy? Or are they looking to give away high potential starting pitchers, Jake Arrieta and Brian Matsuz, who have been major letdowns at the major league level? Gut feeling tells me they realize that they actually can field a playoff team and will do whatever it takes to get that; the Orioles have grit.