Big heist for the Yankees 

July, 30, 2006
07/30/06
6:01
PM ET
The Yankees get a big OBP boost and the best fifth starter they've had all year, and they did it by using money (of which they have a lot) instead of prospects (of which they have few once you exclude Philip Hughes and Jose Tabata). The Phillies, meanwhile, get some salary relief for 2007, but not much else.

Bobby Abreu may or may not have lost his power -- I think it's overblown, as he's still on pace for 40-plus doubles and doesn't look like he's lost bat speed or raw strength -- but he's still one of the best offensive players in the game. He's about to post his eighth straight 100-walk season and has the fifth-best OBP in the game. The Yankees have been running a Bernie Williams/Aaron Guiel platoon out in left, and while Guiel has hit a few homers since he came to the Bronx, he's still a four-A player who has no place on a contending club's roster. Even if Abreu's home run total remains low, he's worth two extra wins to the Yankees if he takes at-bats away from Bernie and Guiel, and more if his home-run power comes back.

Cory Lidle is a finesse right-hander with excellent control who will probably struggle to be a league-average starter in the American League at this point, but he is an enormous improvement over Sidney Ponson, Kris Wilson and Aaron Small -- whom the Yanks have employed as fifth starters this year. Lidle's best pitch is a splitter, but his fastball is a tick below average so he has to have good command to be effective and keep the ball out of the seats. Since the guys he's replacing have been so bad, he's still a one-to-two-win upgrade for the balance of the season, making this one of the biggest impact deals any club will make this month.

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