5 Minor League Deals That Shaped The Pennant Race

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.

27 Responses to 5 Minor League Deals That Shaped The Pennant Race Leave a Reply

  1. Corey Italiano 5 years ago

    I don’t know what your definition of bad is…Kearns stinks

    • Montero1220 5 years ago

      Yeah I’m a Yankee fan and I totally hate Kearns. He is the poster boy of the Yankees’ struggles. Cashman is the worst at building a bench. Actually he’s pretty bad at most things he does but people give him more credit than he deserves. Meh. Then again he did steal Teixeira from the Red Sox and keep Hughes instead of trading him for Johan Santana. Still, he hasn’t won me over as Yankee GM.

      • Corey Italiano 5 years ago

        The problem with building a good bench is, most of the people Yankees fans consider good bench players can start for other teams. If you had the choice of riding the pine everyday and playing 9 innings, what would you pick?

      • Guest 5 years ago

        . Still, he hasn’t won me over as Yankee GM.


      • moonraker45 5 years ago

        world series championship, another post season birth.. granted he has a lot of resources, but money can’t by success.

    • rockiesmagicnumber 5 years ago

      .708 OPS is terrible.

      • Corey Italiano 5 years ago

        Watching him play, it feels like he’s even worse than that

        • Montero1220 5 years ago

          Totally. I remember at the trade deadline there were rumors of a Jose Bautista for Joba Chamberlain and Brett Gardner trade. I was like “God please let this happen”. But it didn’t and we got stuck with the bargains (Berkman, Kearns, Wood). Oh Cashman how you love Joba!

          • Sleepykarl 5 years ago

            Bautista for Gardner/Joba is A terrible deal for NY…

            Also, are you do realize that the “bargin” pickup of Kerry Wood has an ERA+ of ~1200.

          • moonraker45 5 years ago

            it also would have been a horrible deal for the jays.

  2. giantsfan4life 5 years ago

    Pat Burrell has definitely been on of the best signings of the year.

  3. what about wilson valdez? with out him the phillies might not be where they are today?

    • mrsjohnmiltonrocks 5 years ago

      No kidding! I thought they also had DFA’d Valdez, and had to put him back on the roster because Rollins went down again. They could have had to survive without Rollins AND Valdez! I like Valdez-Philly can send him to my Pads anytime they want-great defensive, hard nose play, and while his bat isn’t great, he’s a bit above automatic out.

      Cairo has been invaluable helping cover injuries, and old age rest time for Rolen. He has even been fairly decent as a pinch hitter. Yeah, that was a good signing too.

    • millereddie3 5 years ago

      He has filled in great for Rollins, huge improvement over both Bruntlett and Castro.

    • myname_989 5 years ago

      You beat me to it! Hahaha

    • Dylan 5 years ago

      100% Correct. As an added bonus, Valdez also slaps high five better than anyone else in the MLB.

  4. myname_989 5 years ago

    I think Wilson Valdez should be added to this list as well. He was signed to a minor league deal as middle infield depth, but when both Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins hit the disabled list, the Phillies would need him to play second base / shortstop while Juan Castro manned the other. He would eventually go on to outplay Juan Castro, forcing the Phillies to release Castro, and leave Valdez on the roster as the super utility man. He’d continue to play at second until Utley returned, playing some third to relieve Placido Polanco through his injuies as well.

    It looks as though this list isn’t all about offense, and Wilson Valdez has played three positions for the Phillies this season, and he’s played them all well. I don’t think the Phillies would be where they are without him. It was a good sign by Ruben Amaro.

    • millereddie3 5 years ago

      Four people all about Valdez in less than ten minutes…Go Phillies

      • hoagiebuchanan 5 years ago

        Wilson Valdez has got a ROCKET for an arm! Better than Jimmy!

  5. andrewyf 5 years ago

    No mention of Marcus Thames? He’s made a much bigger impact than Kearns.

  6. rockiesmagicnumber 5 years ago

    I guess they’re out of it, but Joe Beimel was a pretty massive impact for the Rockies.

  7. $1519287 5 years ago

    Kearns hasn’t been bad, but you guys are right, Thames has been better. I’ll replace Kearns with Thames.

    – BNS

    • Corey Italiano 5 years ago

      Are you a Yankee fan? If so…I don’t see how you could say that Kearns hasn’t been bad…I’m actually curious, what about the K-Man did you like? (K = strikeouts)


  9. redsox4120 5 years ago

    Red Sox: Darnell McDonald.

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