Most MLBTR readers said R.A. Dickey was the best minor league signing of the year when we voted earlier in the month, but the Mets fell out of contention long ago, so Dickey didn't have much of an impact on this year's pennant race. The five minor league deals below had lasting effects on the 2010 pennant race:
- Rays sign Joaquin Benoit – The reliever has a 1.39 ERA in 61 games with 11.1 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9. Amazingly, Benoit has allowed just 28 hits in 58.1 innings.
- Reds sign Miguel Cairo – There are bigger stars on the Reds, but Cairo has batted .289/.352/.411 and played all four infield positions. Cincinnati GM Walt Jocketty deserves credit for this find.
- Yankees sign Marcus Thames – Thames has hit .287/.352/.500 this year with 12 homers in 227 plate appearances.
- Giants sign Pat Burrell – GM Brian Sabean bought low on Burrell, who has responded with 17 homers and an .869 OPS in San Francisco. Burrell is playing the way he did in 2008 and without that kind of production, the Giants probably wouldn't be leading the NL West.
- Padres sign Chris Denorfia – Denorfia has hit .264/.332/.435 in 302 plate appearances for the Padres, who have seen outfielders Tony Gwynn and Kyle Blanks miss significant time with injuries.