Five Non-Moves That Shaped The 2011 Season

Blockbuster trades and record-breaking free agent contracts are lots of fun, but not all rumors turn into reality. Some of the storylines that dominated MLBTR early on this season never actually happened. Here’s a look back at five of them:

  1. Giants don’t replace Buster Posey Last year’s Rookie of the Year went down on May 25th. Since then, the Giants have seen their catchers hit .208/.272/.298 with five homers. The Giants wouldn’t necessarily be leading the NL West if they had acquired reinforcements, but I’m comfortable saying the first-place Diamondbacks didn’t mind seeing Brian Sabean roll out Eli Whiteside, Chris Stewart and Hector Sanchez instead of acquiring a replacement. Finding catching midseason is never easy and the Giants’ non-Posey catchers did limit the running game (34% of would-be base stealers caught), but the defending World Champions could have done better.
  2. Padres hold Heath Bell It was a foregone conclusion that the Padres would trade Heath Bell this year. Instead of pitching for a contender, he’s playing out the season in San Diego, wondering how the Padres will handle him this offseason.
  3. Yankees don’t acquire starting pitching – Ubaldo Jimenez, Wandy Rodriguez and Hiroki Kuroda were all linked to the Yankees, who seemed to be in need of pitching depth from day one. 141 games later, Yankees starters lead the American League in K/9 (7.1), are second in xFIP (3.78) and fifth in ground ball rate (44.9%). Brian Cashman’s reluctance to overpay for pitching in trades has allowed Ivan Nova to blossom, but it hasn’t answered questions about who will follow C.C. Sabathia in New York’s playoff rotation.
  4. Rays stand pat – B.J. Upton, Johnny Damon, James Shields and Kyle Farnsworth all made regular appearances on MLBTR this summer, but they stayed put. Executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, who spent the July 31st trade deadline having his appendix removed, added summer reinforcements by calling up hot-hitting prospect Desmond Jennings a week before the deadline.
  5. Mets hold Jose Reyes It's easy to wonder what the Mets would have obtained for Jose Reyes if they had dangled him in early July. He was hitting .354/.398/.529 at the time and had yet to spend time on the disabled list this year. The Mets, who are expected to pursue Reyes when he hits free agency this offseason, held onto him instead of sending him to a contender. Though Reyes missed time in July and August, he would have provided a contending team with a boost (and provided the Mets with more prospects).

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