The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired a former All-Star first baseman and veteran closer at the trade deadline Tuesday as they fortify for a run at their first playoff berth in 20 years.
Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Rays stood on the sidelines and kept their roster intact. James Shields, rumored for weeks to be a hot commodity on the trade block, made his start as scheduled for the Rays late Tuesday night in Oakland.
The Pirates obtained first baseman Gaby Sanchez and minor-league pitcher Kyle Kaminska from the Miami Marlins for minor-league outfielder Gorkys Hernandez and a 2013 draft pick.
Pittsburgh, chasing Cincinnati for the NL Central title and doing well in the wild-card race, also obtained right-handed reliever Chad Qualls from the New York Yankees for infielder Casey McGehee, just before the deadline for trades without waivers.
General manager Neal Huntington said the price to acquire a high-profile player for the rest of the season was too steep.
"We feel like overall we've improved our rotation, we've improved our lineup, we've improved our bench, and we'll work to put our bullpen in the same spot it was," Huntington said. "The acquisition cost on every quote-unquote sure thing which I will remind you, there is
no sure thing was prohibitive for us. "Short term rentals more often than not don't work out for the team that gives up the prospects," he added.
Baseball's haves picked up more players from the have-nots at the deadline, when Ryan Dempster was dealt from the Chicago Cubs to the Texas Rangers and Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence and Jonathan Broxton all wound up on new teams.
Matt Garza, Josh Johnson and Joe Blanton stayed put for now as the window closed for clubs to make trades without having players pass through waivers.
Four days after the AL West rival Los Angeles Angels acquired former Cy Young Award winner Zack Geinke, the Rangers obtained Dempster for infielder Christian Villanueva and pitcher Kyle Hendricks. Texas also acquired catcher Geovany Soto from the Cubs for right-hander Jake Brigham.
"It's a great opportunity over there," Dempster said. "It's not going to be easy. There are a lot of teams out there that are really good. I think they have as good a chance as anybody."
Dempster, who will replace Roy Oswalt in the rotation, had power to block deals and refused to approve a trade to Atlanta last week.
"I just never said no," he explained. "The last few days, I had to give it a lot more thought to the teams I might possibly be traded to."
Dempster was 5-5 with a 2.25 ERA in 16 starts for the Cubs and can become a free agent after the season.
"He's a veteran. He's been through some wars before," said Rangers general manager Jon Daniels, who team has won two straight AL pennants but no World Series.
The faded Philadelphia Phillies, last in the NL East and their run five straight division titles all but over, sent Victorino to the Los Angeles Dodgers for right-handers Josh Lindblom and Ethan Martin and cash. They also shipped Pence to San Francisco for outfielder Nate Schierholtz, catching prospect Tommy Joseph and right-hander Seth Rosin.
Cincinnati received Broxton from Kansas City, also a cellar dweller.
"When you're in last place, you can try any damn thing," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "You don't have nothing to lose."
After winning a franchise-record 102 games last year, the Phillies never recovered from Ryan Howard's stumble on the last out of last year's NL division series against St. Louis. Howard, the 2006 NL MVP, tore an Achilles tendon and didn't come off the disabled list until July 6. All-Star second baseman Chase Utley missed the first 76 games because of a chronic problem in both knees.
Pence is batting .271 with 17 homers and 59 RBIs this season. He fills a major need for the Giants, giving them a right-handed hitter with power.
Victorino, nicknamed the Flyin' Hawaiian, is batting .261 with nine homers, 40 RBIs and 24 steals.
"Mahalo to the (at)Phillies and the AMAZING fans in Philly for a great run. A lot of unforgettable memories in this city. I'll miss you guys!" Victorino wrote on Twitter.