The smoke has cleared and the MLB trade deadline has passed.  There were some good trades that made good teams better, there were some stretches to make a team better and there was some panic deals that I don’t see making too much of a difference.  I’ll give you my top 10 to 1 with some honorable mentions.  And away we go…
10. The Pittsburgh Pirates trading for Wandy Rodriguez
    -A month ago the Pirates were needing offense to fuel their team, but over the last few weeks they’ve had some SPs go down with injuries and were starting to be a little weak in the rotation.  With those injuries, they went out and got a lefty that has proven to be able to win in the NL Central with not much offensive help.  You say, “So…Wandy goes from a team that can’t score runs to join a team that can’t score runs,” but the difference is the attitude in the ‘Burgh.  They haven’t been a winner in a while and now all of a sudden they’re in the mix to make the playoffs.  When you join a team that is excited and playing hard everyday on every play, it pushes you to do better.  I think Wandy going to Pittsburgh gives him a breath of fresh air and gives them another veteran besides Burnett to help lead this young staff.  I like the pick-up and think he can help the Bucs win a couple big NL Central games in Aug/Sept.
9.  The Detroit Tigers trading for Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante
    -Detroit needed another reliable arm in the rotation that could eat innings and give them a chance to win…Sanchez can do that.  He’s not a #2 pitcher, but has shown glimpses of being real good.  He hasn’t put it all together, but could be a solid #4 or #5.  As for Infante, he’s one of the most versatile players in baseball.  He can play about any position on the field well, he can hit a little bit and has experience playing in some big games.  Detroit doesn’t have any big glaring needs, but they took care of the little ones to get them ready for the second half run.
8.  The Texas Rangers trading for Ryan Dempster
    -After getting shredded on Monday night against the hot, second place LA Angels, the Rangers HAD to get someone in their rotation that could help them.  Nolan wanted a #1, but was burned by Cliff Lee in the past and wasn’t about to walk that road again.  They wanted to get King Felix from Seattle, but couldn’t pull the deal.  So, the last option was getting someone that could help them right now.  If the Dodgers or Braves had gotten Dempster, I would have this ranked higher, but because we’re talking about a lifelong NLer moving to the AL I think this is a dangerous trade.  I think Dempster is really good and effective, but again…he has mastered the NL.  If Garza was healthy, I think he’s the guy to go here, but he wasn’t available.  Dempster is not a superstar pitcher that can win in either league, but Texas paniced and did what they thought was best.  I think this trade might burst into flames for the Rangers.
7.  The Atlanta Braves trading for Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson
    -Atlanta pressed to get Ryan Dempster to bolster their rotation.  Dempster was the best option for Braves, but Theo and the Cubs were wanting too much.  With Beachy getting injured, Jurrjens turning into a batting practice pitcher, Minor and Delgado not completely ready for Prime Time, then the Tomahawks needed another arm.  Sheets has been a breath of fresh air for ATL, but another arm was still needed.  Maholm has looked really good and has figured out what problems ailed him in the past.  It’s a win-win for Atlanta.  They get a solid arm for the rotation and keep Delgado and Minor.  Reed Johnson brings to them a guy that can play all over the OF.  This is good for Atlanta.
6.  The New York Yankees trading for Ichiro Suzuki
    -I had a strong feeling a couple of weeks ago that the Mariners weren’t going to re-sign Ichiro and that they would probably trade him…I was right.  I figured he would stay on the West Coast, but also know the track record of the Yankees and knew that they would be highly interested in acquiring him.  When NYY found out that Brett Gardner was out for the rest of the season, Ichiro was the right man for the job.  Ichiro reads the writing on the wall, knows that his time left is limited, wanted to be on a winning team and was willing to be a role player to do it.  The Yanks were happy to oblige that desire and welcomed the Japanese hitting machine in with open arms.

5.  The Los Angeles Dodgers trading for Shane Victorino
    -All of a sudden, the LA Dodgers are turning into the Yankees of the West.  The new ownership is willing to write checks left and right to bring in players that can help them win right now.  The Flyin Hawaiian fills one of the gapping holes that they needed to fill.  I said that LA needed a lead-off hitter that can play LF…enter Victorino stage left.  He’s a switch-hitter with some pop, has speed to run the bases, is a good leader and will bring the bat at the top of the line-up the Dodgers need.
4.  The Chicago White Sox trading for Kevin Youkilis
    -The Pale Hoes haven’t got any production from 3B since their manager (Robin Ventura) manned it.  Youk wasn’t really happy in Boston and Chicago was willing to take him off the Red Sox hands.  Has he produced…uh, yeah!  Bringing “The Greek God of Walks” to Chi-town gives the big bats behind him someone to make the opposing pitchers pay.  He’s a good leader, great hitter and great defensive player that can play the corner IF.  I see Youk sticking around there for a while.
3.  The San Francisco Giants trading for Hunter Pence
    -Talk about a surprise!  I figured that Philly was looking to get rid of some other players so that they could keep Pence.  This is EXACTLY what SF needed to energize them.  They tried with Beltran last year, he left.  Pence is young and can be that #4 hitter for them to put the other bats in the line-up in a better hitting position.  If the Giants can get him to re-sign, then they’ll give LA a run in the West for a while.
2.  The Los Angeles Dodgers trading for Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate
    -If LA got the disgruntled, frustrated slumping Hanley then he’d be back around #10…but they got the guy that put up MVP caliber type numbers.  Adding a former MVP candidate who is five tool to your line-up to bat in front of or behind Kemp and Ethier is enormous!  If they stay healthy, the Dodgers will be a scary team to face in the Playoffs.  Also, adding a lefty reliever like Randy Choate who has seen his fair share of playoff games and knows how to get guys out is another reason this is #2.
1.  The Los Angeles Angels trading for Zack Grienke
    -When you have one of the best rotations in baseball and you add a former Cy Young Award winner to the staff, you have to be considered a favorite to make it to the ALCS or World Series.  The Angels picking up Grienke in his prime, with a good bullpen behind him and plenty of offense to score runs, he shouldn’t have ANY anxiety issues.  Whoever would’ve got him would’ve been a lot better, but with the Halos getting him, it’s hard for me not to think of them as a potential favorite to play the Rangers in the ALCS.
Honorable Mention:
The Chicago White Sox trading for Francisco Liriano (not a top-tier pitcher, but the change of scenery could help him get back on track and give them a push with Sale, Floyd & Peavy)
The Pittsburgh Pirates trading for Travis Snider (he has been one of the top prospects while in the Minors, but still has a hole or two in his swing.  It’s hard for me to put a project in the top 10, but if he puts it together, he could be the #4 hitter they’ve been looking for)