Consummated as the clock ticked down toward 4 p.m. ET on Friday, the dynamic duo of star-for-prospects swaps -- Jake Peavy traded from the Padres to the White Sox and Victor Martinez going from the Indians to the Red Sox -- put an exclamation point on what has been a long month of rumors and deals.
The Peavy discussions, which came close to fruition in May, and White Sox GM Ken Williams says actually dated back to last year's Trade Deadline, went down to the very last moments before the deadline -- literally.
"I really didn't think it all was going to come together in the end," Williams said. "I was prepared for it to not meet the deadline. It all came together with 23 seconds on the clock."
In all, 10 trades involving Major Leaguers went down Friday, an apt closing act to what has been an active trade season with almost 50 deals taking place since the beginning of May.
And, despite his name being written, spoken and tweeted more than anyone else, that list of trades does not include Roy Halladay. The Blue Jays made it evident early on baseball's biggest moving day that they probably weren't going to find a fit for the All-Star right-hander, and they didn't.
But anybody caught staring at that big, strong tree still standing in Toronto is missing the forest of the 2009 Trade Deadline season.
Some highlights from the final week:
Last year's American League Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee went from Cleveland to Philadelphia, bringing outfielder Ben Francisco with him for four Minor Leaguers -- Jason Knapp, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald and Lou Marson.
All-Star slugger Matt Holliday found a new home in St. Louis, only three months into his stay in Oakland, traded for four prospects.
One of the game's best double-play combinations went separate ways out of Pittsburgh, with shortstop Jack Wilson going to Seattle and second baseman Freddy Sanchez going to San Francisco.
A few veterans changed uniforms in the final hours, as always, with Orlando Cabrera going from the A's to the Twins, Jarrod Washburn from the Mariners to the Tigers and Scott Rolen from the Jays to the Reds on the final day before a player must pass through waivers.
|Friday marked the end of Major League Baseball's non-waiver trading period, and the day saw a flurry of deals leading up to the Deadline.|
|Boston Red Sox|
Acquire C-1B Victor Martinez from Indians for RHP Justin Masterson, LHP Nick Hagadone and RHP Bryan Price. Coverage >
|Chicago White Sox|
Acquire RHP Jake Peavy from White Sox for LHPs Aaron Poreda and Clayton Richard and RHPs Dexter Carter and Adam Russell. Coverage >
Acquire 3B Scott Rolen from Blue Jays for 3B Edwin Encarnacion and RHPs Josh Roenicke and RHPs Zach Stewart. Coverage >
Acquire LHP Jarrod Washburn from Mariners for LHP Lucas French and LHP Mauricio Robles. Coverage >
Acquire SS Orlando Cabrera from A's for SS Tyler Ladendorf. Coverage >
Acquire 1B Adam LaRoche from Red Sox for 1B Casey Kotchman. Coverage >
Acquire LHP Joe Beimel from Nationals for RHP Ryan Mattheus and RHP Robinson Fabian. Coverage >
Acquire 1B Nick Johnson from Nationals for LHP Aaron Thompson. Coverage >
|New York Yankees|
Acquire IF-OF Jerry Hairston Jr. from Reds for C Chase Weems. Coverage >
Acquire RHP Claudio Vargas from Dodgers for C Vinny Rottino. Coverage >
|Complete Trade Deadline coverage >|
There remains the possibility of waiver trades in August, meaning players who would be traded need to pass through waivers first. But already the swapping season has been robust.
Soon, the standings will start showing the real winners and losers in this session of swaps before the deadline.
While what did get done takes center stage, there were teams that didn't do anything, but are still hoping for big things in October, such as the Rays, the Cubs, the Astros, the Angels and the Rangers.
Not that they didn't try.
"We were in for Halladay and [Padres closer] Heath Bell right at the end -- among others," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "There were others, too. A lot of guys were out there."
Of what did get done, the defending World Series champion Phillies and perennial powerhouse Red Sox made the biggest noise in the last days before the deadline, but the White Sox managed to get a pretty good shot in with surprising news of the Peavy acquisition that began leaking out about a half-hour after the deadline.
The Phillies were widely reported to be front and center in the hunt for Halladay, but they were more than pleased with acquiring Lee to give their rotation a lefty-lefty combo with Cole Hamels that is unparalleled in the game. By parting with a package of Minor League prospects that did not include Major League starter J.A. Happ or top prospects the Jays reportedly insisted on having, pitcher Kyle Drabek and outfielder Dominic Brown.
"I don't know how they did it," Phillies closer Brad Lidge said of that deal earlier in the week. "But they were able to pull that off and not give away Happ. Wow."
Members of Red Sox Nation might have the same reaction about picking up Martinez without giving up starter Clay Buchholz. Martinez is a three-time All-Star, a switch-hitter who can play catcher or first base or serve as DH.
"We think Victor Martinez is a great fit for our club and provides a significant offensive boost, and he does it with some versatility that complements our roster really well," said Red Sox GM Theo Epstein.
Each division in baseball was touched by deals made before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, which is pretty much the point: Teams make trades to improve their standing in the race to October.
And this year's session certainly shook things up, perhaps no more so than the AL East with the addition of Martinez to the star-studded three-way race.
Much like they did a year ago, the Red Sox made a powerful statement at the deadline. A year after swapping Manny Ramirez and receiving Jason Bay in return, Boston came away with the biggest haul by far. The division-leading Yankees did not come close to that kind of firepower, only picking up utility player Jerry Hairston Jr. at the deadline. The Rays did nothing to help themselves in the race -- unless standing pat does that, which might be the case for the defending AL champs.
What can't be denied is that the Red Sox have a big, new bat in their lineup.
"I think they got better," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of the rival Sox.
Meanwhile, the finalization of the Peavy trade shook up what already has been a topsy-turvy AL Central race, trumping the deals of the first-place Tigers and second-place Twins in terms of name value. By making a trade very similar to the one Peavy turned down earlier this year, the White Sox finally got their man, and with the three teams separated by less than three games, it was a game-changer.
The difference, of course, is that Peavy's return from an ankle injury is weeks away, whereas Washburn will be starting with the Tigers in a few days and Cabrera will be in the Twins' lineup as soon as he arrives in Minnesota.
"It seems like they were working hard upstairs," said Twins closer Joe Nathan, who was among the Twins publicly hoping for a deal prior to the deadline. "We'll see in October if it works out for us."
Other division races -- in fact, all of them -- were affected as well by deals that went down before the deadline. Certainly, the Cardinals acquiring Holliday made some noise in the NL Central, and neither the Cubs (lefties Tom Gorzellany and John Grabow) nor the Brewers (second baseman Felipe Lopez) responded in kind. The Cubs and Cardinals are neck and neck at the top, followed closely by the Brewers.
"Am I disappointed? No," Piniella said about the lack of further transactions. "We need to continue to play and swing the bats and stay healthy."
But there also were some more stealth maneuvers that could have an impact on the stretch run. Example: The NL West.
The Dodgers didn't make the kind of once-in-a-lifetime trade like they did a year ago for Ramirez, but they did grab closer George Sherrill, who'll be the setup man for Jonathan Broxton. The Rockies, battling it out with the Giants for second in the division and the top spot in the NL Wild Card race, countered by bolstering their bullpen with lefty reliever Joe Beimel, snagged from the Nationals. The Giants already brought the biggest new names to the division with second baseman Sanchez from Pittsburgh and first baseman Ryan Garko.
Not that there weren't other irons in the fire. An SI.com report said the Padres and Dodgers were discussing a trade that would have sent both Bell and All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to the Dodgers for catcher Russell Martin, first baseman James Loney and three others. That, obviously, did not materialize.
"I'm not going to get into who else we talked to or about," Dodgers GM Ned Colletti said. "We had more momentum today than any other day. The Deadline forces you to the maximum momentum."
Other moves may or may not have an impact on the races. Do the Mariners make a move in the AL West race with Wilson making highlight plays at shortstop, or did dealing Washburn make it one step forward, one back? Can the Marlins press the issue in the NL East with Nick Johnson at first base, or are the Hamels-Lee Phillies simply too much to handle? Are the Reds out of the NL Central, or might Rolen's experience and play at the hot corner help propel them into it?
On the flip side, what's to become of the Pirates with their 17 new players from seven deals since June 2 and the Indians with 11 new players coming to the Cleveland organization?
For now, the larger questions revolve around the Phillies and their upgraded rotation, the Red Sox and their bolstered lineup and the White Sox and their ace-in-waiting.
The answers await in the next two months and beyond, following a deadline that was good right down to the last hour.