Originally written on Phillies Nation  |  Last updated 10/20/11

Few (and I mean few) within the industry praised John Mozeliak for trading a 24-year-old centerfielder with major league success and loads more potential to the Blue Jays for a soon-to-be free agent starting pitcher and relief help on July 27. Who does that? Even if Colby Rasmus and Tony La Russa were at odds more than Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, how could a team give up on a potential superstar for journeyman spare parts?

Well, we’re witnessing La Russa and Mozeliak’s best-case scenario.

Edwin Jackson, a mid-rotation starter who will be able to test the market for the first time after the World Series, has pitched 12 1/3 playoff innings for the Cardinals in a spot that may have otherwise gone to the eminently hittable Jake Westbrook. Jackson’s last outing was awful, but the Cardinals have won all three of his starts, and at this time of year it’s hard to argue with results.

The Cardinals couldn't ask for more than what lefty specialist Mark Rzepczynski has given them.

Lefty Mark Rzepczynski, a starter prior to 2011, has become a true specialist for La Russa in October. After serving up three runs to the Phillies in Game 1 of the NLDS, “Scrabble” has allowed just one run and three baserunners in 6 1/3 innings in his seven appearances since. He faced two Rangers Wednesday night and struck them both out as the Cardinals took Game 1 of the World Series.

And how about Octavio Dotel? The 37-year-old righty has played for 12 different teams and is only now experiencing playoff success. Dotel has struck out 10 batters while allowing a lone run in 7 1/3 innings this postseason. Only three men have reached base with him on the mound.

What Mozeliak and La Russa did was turn a glaring weakness into a strength. The Rangers did so much less subtly in July, acquiring dominant relievers Mike Adams and Koji Uehara for some significant young pieces.

But just as it was in 2010 when the Giants quietly dealt for Cody Ross and Javier Lopez, it is the moves few appreciated that have counted the most…sort of like the signings of Jayson Werth and Greg Dobbs prior to 2007 or the deal for Joe Blanton in mid-2008.

Corey Seidman also writes for CSNPhilly.com’s Phillies Talk and co-runs the analytical Phillies site, Brotherly Glove.
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