A division leader and a team sensing the chance to contend have made significant trades in advance of Tuesday's transaction deadline:
Madison gets: RP Don Restovich and C Buzz Arnold
Nashville gets C Jeff Eaton and RP Hulk Hodges
Madison is only 6 games back and still has a shot at the AL North Crown. Restovich is a decent bullpen arm; the Badgers are trying him at closer and he's picked up 3 saves despite getting knocked around. Arnold is well onto the backside of his career but is still a competent pitch-caller and a plus hitter at C. The Ramblers get a couple of guys to fill cheap roster slots while they're rebuilding. The splits-challenged Eaton is at least mildly interesting as a defensive-whiz C who can hit the occasional longball.
Crystal Ball says: very nice trade. Ramblers lose a little more contract; Badgers get a little help for really no risk.
Syracuse gets: SP Ruben James
Toledo gets: SP Bailey Anderson, 2B/LF Yeico James, and SP Frank Carson
The Warriors pulled off a coup here, landing a top young pitcher for 3 solid, but not top-of-the-line prospects. James had struggled a bit this year (only 3 wins, 4.31 ERA), but Syracuse was looking more at his first 3 seasons (especially last year's 15-7, 3.01). From Toledo's perspective, they're mired in last place with a $100MM payroll - it may be time to jettison everything and collect prospects for a couple of seasons.
Crystal Ball says: Warriors now have a 3-man rotation (James, Nakajima, Woodward) that will give them a chance in ANY playoff series.