As teams scramble to position themselves for either their late-season push or for the 2012 season, the first shoe has dropped in what may become a series of major deals prior to the July 31 trading deadline.
The Bushwood Gophers, jockeying for position in the Northbound Division with Superior and Hickory, have acquired possibly the league’s biggest stick in their pursuit of a 2011 title: Slugger Josh Hamilton of the Applegate Paperclips.
Granderson had been a drag on the Gophers’ otherwise productive offense this season, hitting 100 points less than what he posted for the Yankees in 2010, and Beckett hadn’t even appeared in a game. Beckett was a ninth-round draft pick, taken as a gamble that he’d return to past years’ form, and he has.
Beckett sports a 0.92 WHIP at the time of the trade, and Granderson has 21 homers plus a .940 OPS, giving the Clips two strong players for 2012 if they continue to perform at this pace.
A 7-13 performance in June, including 1-4 series against both Bushwood and Margaritaville, had dropped Applegate back to a 38-42 record, dousing any hopes of morphing into a contender for 2011 after 13-7 May.
In Hamilton, the Gophers pick up a studly hitter who was hitting .387 going into May play, plus a -4 arm in CF. Beckett didn’t figure into the Gophers’ 2011 plans.
And so the gauntlet has been dropped. What will Superior or Hickory do to match that move? How about Wisconsin or Margaritaville? Stay tuned.