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Deadline deals

The Cardinals didn't make any moves at the waiver trade deadline. But a couple of their potential post season foes made some serious tweaks.

Los Angeles, the best team in the National League for most of the season, surprised with the depth of its changes, not to mention the specifics...

The Dodgers added a second baseman -- former Cardinal Ronnie Belliard -- to their squad after they signed free agent Orlando Hudson over the off season. They added starting pitcher Jon Garland from the Diamondbacks -- during the middle of a game they were playing AGAINST the Diamondbacks... And the real head scratcher is that they went out and traded for a designated hitter, Jim Thome, formerly of the White Sox.

The most sensible move was the Garland pickup. The Dodgers' rotation has been nagged by injuries, which has led to the team falling back to the pack in the second half of of the season. I suppose Belliard can be a utility player with experience at second, short, third and first base. Hudson is hitting .291 with nine homers, so Belliard probably isn't going to take Hudson's job away.

Thome, who will probably see time in the field at first base in Los Angeles, is hitting .249 with 23 homers and 74 RBIs. Current Dodgers first baseman James Loney is hitting .274 with nine homers and 75 RBIs. I'm not sure the downgrade in defense is worth the extra home runs at the sacrifice of batting average... Especially when the runs driven in are about identical.

The Rockies, hot on the tail of the Dodgers in the NL West and fighting for a wild card spot, also bolstered their club with the addition of a White Sox player, starting pitcher Jose Contreras. At 5-13 with a 5.42 ERA, Contreras was having a terrible season. But a change of scenery can help a lot, especially when you switch to the opposite league at the end of the season and the batters you are going to face haven't seen you all year long. (Unless they got a glimpse of you in interleague play, but even then, it wasn't much of a look.)

If anything, the Cardinals would have liked to add a righthanded reliever. But that demand was lessened by the addition of John Smoltz. Even if Smoltz stays in the rotation, righties Todd Wellemeyer and Kyle Lohse could pitch in with the bullpenners.