Minnesota, St. Louis and Philadelphia have been fighting for the Aaron Division crown all season with just a few games separating the three teams. Each of these teams made a recent trade in order to make a run for the playoffs.
St. Louis made the first move by acquiring Armando Benitez from Cleveland for reliever Bobby Howry and a second rounder. "We needed to shore up the back-end of the bullpen and we jumped at the opportunity to obtain Armando". However, this immediately caused unrest and confusion in the Redbird bullpen as Troy Percival was leading the league with 13 saves in 13 opportunities at the time. "I am very disappointed", said Troy after being informed he was going to be the new setup guy. Further, Benitez gave up two quick walk-off homers and the boo birds came out quickly in St. Louis. Beleaguered Benitez is now 1-3, 10 saves with a 3.03 ERA.
The Phils made the next move by adding another slugger, Jim Thome, to their already potent lineup. The Phillies sent a 2005 first round pick also to Cleveland for Thome. "Newly acquired Jim Thome has been a major disappointment......Brought in to generate some offense against RHP, he has done very little", quipped skipper Rick Cornell. Thome is hitting just .227 with 7 homers and 17 RBI's in 30 games for Philadelphia.
Surprising Minnesota, which has never made the playoffs, is hanging on to a slim 2 1/2 game lead over St.Louis. The Twins made a move of their own - acquiring slick fielder Jack Wilson from Chicago for a second rounder. Wilson is hitting .301 in 16 games with Minnesota and has provided strong fielding.
Time will tell what teams' trade pays off the most!