Christmas in July


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As the 4 p.m. Major League Baseball deadline approaches, potential playoff contenders are scrambling to find new toys to employ for the final postseason push. The New York Yankees—usually avid shoppers and big spenders this time of year—have been relatively quiet so far. But do Mr. Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman have a blockbuster wrapped up in a closet somewhere that they’re just waiting for the last second to unveil, or will they continue to play the conservative card as they’ve done all season long?


The Yankees did already make one minor move today—[an “addition by subtraction” deal]. The Bombers sent much maligned reliever Scott Proctor to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Wilson Betemit. Betemit serves two purposes: 1) He’s a potential first baseman/DH option in case Jason Giambi doesn’t successfully return, and 2) He’s a potential replacement at third base for Alex Rodriguez next year. Betemit has hit .231 with 10 homers and 26 RBIs since LA acquired him last season, while Proctor has blown lead after lead this year and, in an amusing showcase of his outrage, [set his equipment on fire](ttp://www.nypost.com/seven/07012007/sports/yankees/proctor_in_shambles__burns_glove_yankees_michael_morrissey.htm). Of course, Yankees fans would have preferred he set himself on fire, but this is the next best thing.


Unfortunately for New York, the archrival Red Sox nabbed this season’s [most coveted gift]: Eric Gagné (pictured). The former All-Star, who topped both the Yankees’ and Mets’ wish lists, will head to Boston to bolster baseball’s best bullpen, which held that title even before this trade. He will join forces with closer Jonathan Papelbon and Hideki Okajima, all but shutting the door on the Yankees’ hopes of catching the Sox in the AL East.


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