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Blockbusted: MLB trade deadline sapped by 'inertia'

The SportsXchange

The Major League Baseball trade deadline is typically one of the most frenzied days on the sports calendar, with a flurry of juicy rumors and usually a handful of playoff-impacting trades.

So why were many general managers who predicted this year's deadline would lack blockbuster deals ultimately proven right?

The closest thing to a jaw-dropping trade was made Tuesday night when former Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy was the headliner in a three-team trade between the Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers.

"There was just a whole lot of inertia," said one American League general manager, who asked not to be identified for competitive reasons. "Everybody thinks they are still in the (pennant) race, even teams that really have no chance of going to the postseason. So, you had a lot of buyers, very few sellers -- and the sellers had astronomical asking prices -- and it created an atmosphere that wasn't conducive to making trades."

The three trades that were consummated Wednesday aren't likely to cause a seismic shift in any of the pennant races.

The Baltimore Orioles acquired right-hander Bud Norris from the Houston Astros for outfielder prospect L.J. Hoes, another minor-leaguer and a competitive balance draft pick. Norris strengthens the Orioles' starting staff but isn't the top-of-the-rotation arm they sorely lack in their bid to overtake the Tampa Bay Rays and Red Sox in the AL East and if they are to make a deep run in the postseason.

The Arizona Diamondbacks made what seemed on the surface to be a strange trade for a team that entered the day in second place in the National League West, 3 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers, as they shipped right-hander Ian Kennedy to the San Diego Padres for left-handed reliever Joe Thatcher, a minor-leaguer and a competitive balance round draft pick.

While Kennedy has been winless in his last 10 starts and is 4-8 this season, he was also a 21-game winner two years ago and a 15-game winner in 2012. However, a constant during the reign of general manager Kevin Towers and manager Kirk Gibson with the Diamondbacks is that if they feel a player doesn't fit within the parameters of the organization's culture, they unload him.

The third deal was a minor one with the Kansas City Royals getting outfielder Jason Maxwell from the Astros for a minor-leaguer. However, the 29-year-old Maxwell has long been a scout's dream because of his raw talent and he hit 19 home runs last season for Houston.

The most interesting trade was clearly the three-teamer on Tuesday in which the Red Sox acquired Peavy from the White Sox and right-handed reliever Brayan Villareal from the Tigers, Detroit received shortstop Jose Iglesias from Boston and the White Sox landed outfield prospect Avisail Garcia from the Tigers.

While no longer the ace who won the National League Cy Young Award with the Padres in 2007, Peavy should help a Red Sox rotation that has been missing Clay Buchholz for the past six weeks because of shoulder and neck injuries and remains out indefinitely. Peavy was 8-4 with a 4.28 ERA in 13 starts for the White Sox.

The hard-throwing Villareal should also bolster a bullpen that will be without injured right-handers Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey for the remainder of the season after having arm surgeries.

With Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta likely to be hit with a 50-game suspension this week from Major League Baseball for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal, the slick-fielding Iglesias is expected to fill that void. The presence of Iglesias makes it unlikely the Tigers will re-sign Peralta when he becomes a free agent at the end of the season.

Garcia is 22, but gained postseason experience last October when the Tigers advanced to the World Series. He is a player who the last-place White Sox can build around as many scouts believe Garcia could blossom into the type of hitter who annually hits 25-30 home runs and drives in 90-100 runs.
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