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updated: 8/2/2014 3:19 PM

MLB trade deadline touches all bases

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  • Oakland Athletics pitcher Jon Lester was acquired from Boston in a deal that ignited more activity before the Major League Baseball trade deadline passed.

      Oakland Athletics pitcher Jon Lester was acquired from Boston in a deal that ignited more activity before the Major League Baseball trade deadline passed.
    Associated Press

 
 

Sometimes we prep for the annual MLB trade deadline, inundate ourselves with rumors and truth-ish intrigue, only to end up disappointed. Then a sheepish baseball populace either admits to an empty feeling, or pretends the quiet was expected all along.

This year, no such choice need be made. Thursday was bananas.

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At 2:45 a.m. on July 31, Boston and Oakland completed a deal sending Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes west while the A's shockingly parted with Yoenis Cespedes. Billy Beane is tired of falling short, and is showing relentless aggression. He won't waste many more starts on former Cub Jason Hammel (0-4 with 9+ ERA).

When that deal was announced, a little before 9 a.m., a palpable excitement hit that carried all day and beyond.

It was too much for some of us. The White Sox were playing the Tigers on The Score, knocking my show off early. But I needed a microphone. We decided I would get on the live web stream at 670thescore.com, bumping national programming for localized baseball frenzy. Chris Rongey joined me for an hour of Twitter-promoted, commercial-free, pure baseball improvised radio. At such times, you're reminded of how much you love what you do, and how lucky you are to do it.

All day and into the weekend, great moments presented themselves.

When the shocking three-team David Price deal was announced, the Tigers were in the midst of that matinee. The key trade piece leaving Detroit, center fielder Austin Jackson, was still in the game.

Not for long. Jackson was pulled from the outfield in the middle of an at bat. There were four minutes to go before the deadline, and injury could not be risked. Appreciative applause and dugout hugs made for compelling stuff.

White Sox TV men Steve Stone and Tom Paciorek, and radio partners Ed Farmer and Darrin Jackson, captured the emotions brilliantly. As former players, they know what it's like to be dealt.

Detroit had countered Lester with Price. At 2:59 p.m., Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski texted Beane and said "you have one minute to acquire Chris Sale." The best lefty in the AL stayed put, of course, even though the second- and third-best did not.

Sent east in the John Lackey trade, pitcher Joe Kelly got to Fenway Park on Friday during a game. He asked for a ticket instead of a uniform, and sat five rows back to watch his new team.

Lefty reliever Andrew Miller was dealt, and made his first appearance for the Orioles in the eighth inning Friday night. The crowd gave him a standing ovation as he ran in from the pen.

"I'm a middle reliever," said Miller, the sixth overall draft pick in the 2006 draft. "I'm looking forward to settling in and nobody paying attention to me again."

A bust as a starter, Miller has found his niche.

The GM of an awful, expensive team in Philly did nothing, and then blasted other executives for "not being aggressive enough." What week was he living?

The Cardinals added two starters. The Indians and Red Sox authoritatively reloaded for 2015. And Detroit and Oakland nearly cornered the market on aces.

Get those two teams to late September for us, when the Tigers could roll out the last three AL Cy Young winners and still not be the favorite.

About 30 minutes after the 3 p.m. deadline, the lone Chicago deal was announced. Emilo Bonifacio and James Russell went to Atlanta for catching prospect Victor Caratini, who will report to Kane County.

Is that enough compensation for a super-utility man and a LOOGY (Lefty One-Out Guy)? Will he or Kyle Schwarber end up being a viable backstop?

I'll pour myself a nice, shaken and chilled Caratini while waiting to find out. I think you make it with carrot juice, Puerto Rican Rum, and sweat from a catcher's mask.

The Cubs had already made their big move on the Fourth of July. The White Sox chose to stand pat, deeming their trade pieces worth more here than the offered compensation.

But the deadline still offered something for everyone, and delivered like few others have.

• Matt Spiegel co-hosts "The McNeil & Spiegel Show" 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday-Friday on WSCR 670-AM. Follow him on Twitter @mattspiegel670.

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