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The Trade Deadline

Heard a lot of people express shock at the moves (or lack thereof) regarding the locals before Tuesday afternoon’s trade deadline. And indeed, Matt Morris moving from one last place team to another, certainly qualifies as a stunner. Not just that it was a sad sack team such as Pittsburgh that wanted him but because the Pirates agreed to pick up his salary in 2008. Great news for the Giants, regardless of how Rajai Davis develops.

The rest of it, though, went about as expected. It’s a little surprising that the A’s didn’t move Dan Johnson and create a spot for Daric Barton. But keep in mind that with each day Barton spends in the minors, the more the A’s push back the start of his service time. Don’t think for a minute that’s not something A’s general manager Billy Beane occasionally considers. As for catcher Mike Piazza, outfielder Shannon Stewart and lefty reliever Joe Kennedy, the three other prime candidates who weren’t could net some compensation draft picks next season, and the A’s need to replenish their farm system.

Keep this in mind also. Scouts expect more moves than normal to come between now and Aug. 31, because teams will be afraid to take on salary by making claims on players going through waivers. Players who pass through waivers without being claimed can be traded. So just because Piazza, Stewart and Kennedy are with the A’s now, there’s no guarantee they will be a month from now.

The waiver-deadline dynamic could benefit the Giants, too. If you’re a team, are you really going to stake a waiver claim on Ray Durham, Randy Winn, Dave Roberts and several other overpaid vets? Probably not.

Meantime, we’re all left to wonder what the Pirates were thinking, regarding their acquisition of Morris. Maybe general manager Dave Littlefield thinks a big-budget team such as the Yankees will get so desperate come Aug. 31 that a bounty will be offered for Morris. More than likely, it’s simply desperation on Littlefield’s part, a last-ditch attempt to save his job after years of ineptitude in his attempt to turn around the Pirates.

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