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Trade Deadline Recap: Hairston, Marquis, Lee, Ludwick

August 2, 2011

Every year there are a number of minor deals that get completed at the trade deadline. While each deal has its own significance to the teams involved, some are just so under the radar that they often are completely overlooked by many of the major media outlets. So, let’s take a look at some of them here just for the sake of covering all of the moves made at the deadline.

Milwaukee Acquires Hairston, Jr. & Lopez

Dealing with an expected injury to starting second baseman Rickie Weeks, the Brewers went out and picked up a pair of infielders who will both provide depth in the coming weeks and strengthen the team’s bench going into the season’s final two months. First, on July 28th, the team acquired Felipe Lopez in exchange for cash considerations. Then, on July 30th, they brought aboard Jerry Hairston Jr. in exchange for outfielder Erik Komatsu.

Lopez, who hasn’t spent a full season with a single team since 2007, has spent the bulk of the 2011 season with Tampa Bay’s Triple-A team but has seen some opportunities with the Rays in the wake of injuries. In 97 at bats he’s hit a mere .219/.248/.320 with just a pair of home runs.

Hairston, meanwhile, is likely to see more of the field than Lopez over the next few weeks until Weeks returns. He’d been used at multiple positions this season by the Nationals, again being used primarily as an injury replacement. He’s batted .268/.342/.385 with 4 HR and 24 RBI in 213 at bats. Both Lopez and Hairston will be free agents at season’s end.

Komatsu, 23, has been splitting his time between center field and right field for Milwaukee’s Double-A affiliate. In 320 at bats he’s batted .294/.393/.416 with 6 HR and 40 RBI. One of his strengths has been his plate discipline, having earned more walks than strikeouts on the season – an unusual accomplishment, especially for a minor leaguer. The biggest question, according to scouts, is whether his defense will be enough for center field or if he’ll develop the power to justify keeping him in a corner outfield spot.

Diamondbacks Acquire Marquis

In need of a veteran innings eater to both help the team remain in contention and alleviate the workload on a young starting rotation, the Arizona Diamondbacks went out on July 30th and acquired one of the more consistent starters available at the trade deadline this year. Right hander Jason Marquis has made 20 starts for the Nationals this season, after missing most of the 2010 campaign, compiling an 8-5 record and 3.95 ERA over 120.2 innings of work. He’s still owed roughly $2.5 Million which the Diamondbacks will be responsible for.

In return, the Nationals will be receiving shortstop Zach Walters, the Diamondbacks’ 9th round pick in the 2010 Draft. Walters, 21, has spent this season with the team’s Low-A affiliate where he’s batted .302/.377/.485 with 9 HR and 56 RBI in 361 at bats. The switch hitter profiles are a future utility type – not quite strong enough offensively to start everyday, not quite agile enough defensively to stick at shortstop long term.

Pirates Acquire Lee & Ludwick

Perhaps the most surprising contender at the midpoint of the season, the Pirates find themselves in the thick of things in the NL Central. Approaching the deadline, however, it wasn’t certain whether the team would stand pat or if they would try to shore up some of the needs that might keep them from their first winning season since 1992. In the end, the team made a pair of minor deals in which they would acquire first baseman Derrek Lee and outfielder Ryan Ludwick.

Lee had been batting .246/.302/.404 with 12 HR and 41 RBI in 334 at bats for the Orioles after signing with them this past offseason. He provides an immediate upgrade for the Pirates as they’ve primarily used Lyle Overbay at first base despite the fact that he’s hit just .227/.300/.349 in 352 at bats. Overbay was actually designated for assignment after the move in order to make room on the roster for Lee.

In return, the Orioles will receive High-A first baseman Aaron Baker. The left handed hitter has batted .282/.351/.469 with 15 HR on the season in 386 at bats, showing strong power but few other tools. He’ll need to work on his plate discipline if he is going to continue to develop into a legitimate prospect.

Ludwick, meanwhile, was having a strong season for the Padres prior to the trade just before Sunday’s deadline. In 378 at bats he’s batted just .238/.301/.373 but he has hit 11 HR with 64 RBI while showing some decent plate discipline. It’s no surprise that the Padres ended up moving the outfielder but there was an expectation that he’d command more of an interest at the deadline. In the end, the Padres will receive a PTBNL from the Pirates.

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