Game 36 vs. Seattle Mariners: Thanks For The Help

Let's just run down a few key acquisitions made by the Red Sox that had some dealings with the Seattle Mariners.

July 31, 1997: Seattle Mariners trade Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek to the Boston Red Sox for Heathcliff Slocumb. 

August 6, 2003: Boston Red Sox pick Mike Myers up off waivers from Seattle Mariners

February 20, 2013: Boston Red Sox purchase Mike Carp from Seattle Mariners

Lowe and Varitek undoubtedly helped the Red Sox win the 2004 World Series. Mike Myers and Mike Carp were more bit players, but I will consider them as additional gifts from the Seattle Mariners.

Sure, the Red Sox sent Jamie Moyer to Seattle in return for Darren Bragg, but the Mariners didn't win a World Series with Jamie Moyer, so arguably the Red Sox have made it out on top of the trade history between the two teams.

Today's a short post, but that's the way it goes!

Game 33 vs. Oakland Athletics: Orlando Cabrera

Did you hear? Nomar was traded!

Wait, what? The Cubs, Expos,  and Twins were involved? Who is the new shortstop?

By the time the dust settled on the eight player, four team July 31 deadline deal, Nomar Garciaparra was a member of the Chicago Cubs, Orlando Cabrera was the new shortstop, and the guy from the Twins with the last name that nobody could spell was now on the team.

This was just one of the many thoughts running through the minds of Red Sox fans at the trade deadline in July, 2004. Nomar's departure was imminent, but at the same time no one really expected one of the faces of the franchise to be traded off. At the same time, nobody could have predicted what the haul that was brought back would offer the Red Sox down the stretch. 

Though Cabrera had a bunch of errors, his range improved the shortstop position, and Doug Mientkiewicz shored up defense at first base. More importantly, Orlando Cabrera became a fan favorite and solid offensive contributor as well. Despite not having any prior playoff experience, Cabrera had 11 hits in 29 at bats during the 2004 ALCS. Put simply, the trade from that July changed everything for the Red Sox. The team won 42 games and lost 19 during the rest of the season following the trade. 

Orlando Cabrera was involved in a trade where it was sort of like catching lightning in a bottle. After just 58 games with the Red Sox he signed a four year deal with the LA Angels of Anaheim. Over the next eight seasons there were several teams that acquired or signed Cabrera with hopes of catching lightning in bottle again. Cabrera's clubs went on to reach the postseason in five different seasons, but neither he nor the teams that employed him were able to come close to the success that the Red Sox had when they acquired OCab from the Montreal Expos.

The Red Sox unloaded Edward Mujica on the Oakland Athletics for cash considerations or a player to be named later. It's doubtful that a future player to be named later will be the next Orlando Cabrera, or even the next Bobby Kielty. However, you never know. Nobody knew that Cabrera or Kielty would play the roles they did when they first arrived on the scene. Perhaps the Red Sox will luck out once again, and lightning will strike!

Game 12 vs. Baltimore Orioles: Mike Timlin

There comes a time, whenever a key player is acquired, when you take stock in the acquisition and determine if the pickup was a good decision for the team. For some, this happens to be right after the new player totally bombs. Other times it's after a few starts of continued success.

The Red Sox acquired Rick Porcello for Yoenis Céspedes during the off-season, and if we were to take stock before his 3rd start as a member of the Red Sox, we would be pumping our fists and high fiving our neighbors. The 26 year old right hander has so far come as advertised. For a team without a defined ace, Porcello might fill that role on the days he pitches.

Mike Timlin, a 2004 and 2007 World Series champion with the Boston Red Sox, also came as advertised when he joined the team in 2003. He shut down the opposition in the late innings, and occasionally closed out a few games.  The same cannot be said for Timlin's Baltimore days. He saved a bunch of games for the O's in 1999, but was shipped out of town at the trade deadline in 2000 with an ERA approaching 5.00. 

The hope here is the ghost of Red Sox Timlin will guide Porcello to victory today!

Game 4 vs. New York Yankees: Stephen Drew

Stephen Drew represents quite a bit. Between his lackluster postseason performance in 2013(until that beautiful home run during Game 6 of the World Series), to his equally lackluster 2014, and the subsequent deadline trade to the New York Yankees where he continued his lackluster 2014 campaign... he has come to epitomize the rivalry between the Red Sox and Yankees as it stands today.

Tonight's game will be the 2,119th regular season matchup between the two storied franchises. However, it is a few years removed from the regular excitement that existed for much of the Joe Torre years as Yankee manager and into the first few years of Joe Girardi's tenure. The rivalry exists today, but until there's a hard fought battle on the field, it's almost as if it's dormant. The closest comparison might be during the 1980's when neither team won a championship. That isn't completely correct, though, as the impact of the 2004 World Series title and subsequent 2007 and 2013 titles has leveled the bragging rights playing field.

Stephen Drew illustrates this dormancy pretty well. On July 31, 2014, the Red Sox traded Stephen Drew to the Yankees for cash and a bag of balls(Kelly Johnson). It was the first trade between the clubs since 1997, when the Red Sox shipped veteran Mike Stanley to the Yankees during a rebuilding season. One of the prospects the Yankees sent back was part a trade just a few months later that brought Pedro Martinez to Boston from the Montreal Expos. And the rest is history.

Gone from the last height of the rivalry are Pedro Martinez, Derek Jeter, and the theatrics of Don Zimmer being tossed to the ground. The Yankees are not poised for greatness this year, and lots of baseball pundits have written off the Red Sox as well. 2014 represented the first season that neither the Red Sox or Yankees reached the playoffs for the first since since the first Wild Card was introduced. On paper it looks like it could be 2 straight seasons without either team in the postseason. However, from this biased viewpoint, that is highly unlikely.

Wade Miley will take his first step into the Red Sox - Yankees rivalry tonight, thought this will be his second career start against New York. Let's hope Miley wakes up the ghosts of rivalry past and blows away the Yankees to kick off the season's first rivalry series!