Sunday, August 31, 2008

Diamondbacks Close In On Eckstein?

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Diamondbacks are leading in the race for Blue Jays shortstop David Eckstein. The Diamondbacks lost Orlando Hudson for the season and, in an attempt to hold onto the division, will try to bring in a veteran in hopes of holding onto the division.

Eckstein is hitting .273 with 1 HR and a .352 OBP in 297 plate appearances this season.

Nationals After Manny?

Nationals GM Jim Bowden is looking to make a big splash this off season and may target Manny Ramirez to excite fans. Not too many teams will go after Manny Ramirez, 36, who is hitting .326 with 29 HR in 129 games this season. He is reportedly looking for a four year deal, so the number of suitors for Ramirez should be pretty short.

According to a source, the Nationals are also looking at Adam Dunn, so expect them to be very to aggressively pursue a big time hitter come November.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Astros Extend Erstad, Moehler

According to's Karen Oliphant, the Astros have extended both Darin Ertad and Brian Moehler through 2009. Erstad, who is hitting .292 with 3 HR in 119 games, will receive 1.75 million dollars plus incentives while Moehler, who is 9-5 with a 3.99 ERA, will make 2.3 million dollars with an option for 2010. "We just thought that if we had a chance to move it forward we'd take advantage of it," said general manager Ed Wade. "They both epitomize the professionalism that we pride ourselves on and also are very talented guys. Their presence on the club speaks for itself."

GM Ed Wade was smart to get these two contracts out of the way, mostly because it will allow him to focus on bigger, more pressing issues in the off season.

Alvarez Dispute Affecting Royals' Hosmer

Royals first round draft pick Eric Hosmer was pulled off the field by the commissioners office due to the dispute between the Pirates and first round pick Pedro Alvarez. In no way is Hosmer in trouble, but Hosmer's deal was supposedly submitted after Alvarez's, which agent Scott Boras claims was after the deadline.'s Jon Heyman believes pulling Hosmer off the field is a way to put pressure on Pedro Alvarez to drop the grievance and sign his deal. While this is a very messy situation, an arbitrator is expected to sort it out next week.

In three games at the rookie level, Eric Hosmer was hitter .364 with 2 RBI and an OBP of .533.

Angels Pursuing Eckstein

According to one AL executive, an unknown team contacted the Blue Jays late last night expressing interest in shortstop David Eckstein. This news put the Angels-Jays trade on hold to see if they can get something better for Eckstein. From what I am hearing, the Angels have compiled a list of low-level pitching prospects from the Jays to choose from. In 74 games this season, Eckstein is hitting .274 with 1 HR, but is a career .285 hitter.

The Dodgers, Rays, and Diamondbacks are believed to be the three other teams pursuing David Eckstein.

Cardinals Moving Carpenter To Bullpen?

In hopes of getting Chris Carpenter back with the team before the season ends, the Cardinals would like to bring him back as a reliever. "It is important for him to pitch before the season ends. He doesn't care what role that is. He just wants to pitch as much as he can before the season ends so that he's comfortable going into spring training," pitching coach Dave Duncan said. Carpenter looked good in his last bullpen session, but they will wait a day or two more to see how his shoulder feels after a couple days rest. In three games this season, Carpenter is 0-1 with a 1.88 ERA, and has only pitched in four games since 2006.

The Cardinals plan is not bring him back as a closer, but as a long reliever, to get the team into the seventh or eight inning for the set up man and closer. One could say that Carpenter's injury has kept the Cardinals from being a contender in the playoffs, and this is possible. However, the Cardinals have failed to go out and get an ace to help the rotation, so the blame is on them. Yes, Adam Wainwright is a great pitcher, but they should have pursued an experienced ace.

Friday, August 29, 2008

News and Notes

  • The Yankees are showing serious interest in pitchers CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett. According to sources, the Yankees plan to make offers to both pitchers, and the first one to accept will be with the Yankees.
  • When the Phillies had their scouts meetings about the Cubs, they expected Scott Eyre to lead the meetings. However, Eyre said he had no information about the Cubs, despite spending the last two and half seasons with them. " I looked in the stands the whole time," he said. They have lost the first two already...
  • Former Indians and Rangers GM John Hart is the leading candidate for the Mariners job. His experience in the field of development and working trades should all but give him the job.
  • Despite acquiring Matt Stairs, the Phillies are still interested in Mike Lamb.

Phillies Acquire Stairs

The Blue Jays traded OF Matt Stairs to the Phillies for a minor leaguer to be named later. The Phillies have been trying for weeks to acquire a bench player, starting with David Ross and then moving to Mark Kotsay, both of whom went to the Red Sox. Stairs is hitting .250 with 11 HR, but was designated for assignment to make room for top prospect Travis Snider. Snider has played at Class A, AA, and AAA this season, and has seen success at all three.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ibanez Leaving Mariners

Mariners outfielder Raul Ibanez has reportedly told friends that he will leave the Mariners this coming off season. I'm sure the Mariners won't mind, considering the Mariners will receive two draft picks in return. While Ibanez is a good player, he is thirty-seven and is probably not worth the two picks. That should bring his price down some, enough for a team looking for help in 2009. It is possible the Braves would make a two to three year offer to Ibanez, hoping he could put the team (along with other additions) back into contention. Jeff Francouer is not living up to his potential and may be traded, so bringing in Ibanez would give them room to make a trade.

The Rockies could trade Matt Holliday this season for a prospect ready to play by late 2009 or 2010 and bring in Ibanez as a stopper until then. Not only would that clear up some cash, but it would solidify a spot for the future. If the Braves were willing to trade Jordon Schafer, that would be a deal that could work.

Braves Pitching Dilemma

The Braves are 15.5 games back in the division, and they need some help to compete with the Marlins, Mets, and Phillies in 2009. While going after a top tier pitcher makes sense, expect the Braves to aggressively pursue the second tier pitchers: Ryan Dempster and Jon Garland. However, they are going to have to decide whether or not to offer deals to Tom Glavine and John Smoltz. Both have informed reporters that they would like to pitch in the future, but where is uncertain. John Smoltz will likely take a big paycut and head to the bullpen, but Glavine is a different story. He may cost more and may slow down even more in a starting role.

If the Braves chose not to sign him, he could be an option for the Nationals.

Pavano to Mets?

Yankees pitcher Carl Pavano has become a forgotten name in houses across America. It was just five years ago that he put up eighteen wins for the Marlins before signing the four year, forty million dollar deal with the Yankees. Over the four seasons with the Yankees, he has gone 6-6 with a 4.97 ERA in twenty appearances. He will be a free agent after this season and the Yankees are hoping to trade him so they get something out the big money they wasted on Pavano. With John Maine of the Mets out for the season, they may be able to swing a last minute deal and land a decent prospect.

McDonald to Angels?

According to the LA Times, the Angels are pursuing a shortstop for the final stretch just in case Erik Aybar gets injured. He has been battling injuries and bringing in a defensive shortstop could pay dividends in the long run. One name that comes up is John McDonald, who is hitting .222 with 1 HR in 66 games. However, McDonald is a solid fielder and GM Tony Reagins is a big believe in defense wins games. I tend to agree with him, but would rather see him go after someone like Ronny Cedeno. While it may cost him more, Cedeno looks like a solid shortstop in the future.

Cordero Staying With Reds

Contrary to reports from the Cincinnati Enquirer that say Francisco Cordero may be heading to the Mets, one National League executive has informed me that Francisco Cordero is not available. "[The Reds] are in rebuilding mode. Why move one of the key pieces to their bullpen when they may be just a year or two away from competing in the Central?" Cordero, who signed a four year deal worth 46 million dollars last off season, is 4-4 on the year with a 3.77 ERA and 25 saves. Having Cordero in the closer role has arguably made the pitchers in front of him a lot better. Both Dave Weathers and Bill Bray struggled last year filling in as the closer and it made the team a lot worse. They were blowing saves left and right and there really wasn't a closer available. Now Weathers has a 3.39 ERA and Bray has a sub-2.60 ERA, mostly because they have a defined role with the team.

While the Mets may be aggressively pursuing a relief pitcher, it won't be Chad Cordero. It is possible Dave Weathers is available, but the Mets may be thinking long term. If they can pry Will Ohman from the Braves, he would make for an excellent pick.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Will The Phillies Resign Burrell?

Phillies outfielder Pat Burrell is having a pretty solid year, hitting .261 with 30 HR, but that doesn't mean the Phillies will throw a big contract at him. They have opened their wallets for several players already, and Burrell, 32, isn't in the Phillies long term plans. While the Phillies have talked with Burell, I doubt they are willing to give him the same deal he signed with the Phillies back in 2003 (5yr/60 million). If Burrell was willing to sign a three year deal worth about 10-11 million dollars, that could be a good deal for the Phillies. Anything higher is a huge risk for a player who has never hit above .265 in the last three years.

There aren't too many solid option on the market that are better than Burell, so it looks like he will be back. Unless they were to splurge on Manny Ramirez, which seems unlikely, would they let Burrell walk. Ruben Amaro Jr. looks like the next Phillies GM, and he is reportedly close with his agent Greg Genske, and Burrell, so he looks to be in the plans for at least 2009.

Red Sox Acquire Kotsay

Early this morning, the Braves traded OF Mark Kotsay to the Red Sox for minor league outfielder Luis Sumoza. Kotsay, who is hitting .289 with 6 HR, will play for his third team in two years. "To be with the Red Sox will be cool," Kotsay said. "I've always said there were a couple of teams I'd like to play for, with Atlanta being one of them. But I'm looking forward to joining the Red Sox and being in the pennant race." The Braves acquire a pretty good prospect in Sumoza, 20, who is hitting .301 with 11 HR in Class A.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

News and Notes: Where Will Rogers Go?

  • The Tigers have placed Kenny Rogers on waivers and hope to trade him to a contender before the September 1st deadline. However, no contender is desperate for starting pitching, so he might be hard to trade. The Mets and Yankees make some sense, but any trade is unlikely.
  • Braves outfielder is drawing interest from the Phillies and Red Sox. The Braves are probably more familiar with the Phillies farm system, so a trade there makes a little more sense. However, don't rule out the Red Sox out of desperation.
  • Blue Jays fans argue whether or not to keep GM J.P. Ricciardi. He deserves the right to finish out his contract and see his smart draft choices develop into major leaguers. They could be the surprise team in 2010, lead by prospects Travis Snider and J.P. Arenciba, both whom drafted by Ricciardi.
  • Giants Beat Writer Andrew Baggarly thinks the Giants should take a chance on Mark Mulder. A one year, incentive base contract could really help the Giants. Don't forget they would reunite Mulder and Zito.
  • The Mets, Brewers, and Cubs are all possibilities for Mike Lamb, who was designated for assignment.

Padres Should Trade For Fuentes

The Rockies placed Brian Fuentes on revocable waivers, and the Dodgers are the team that gets the first chance at him. However, don't be surprised to see the Padres make a play for him. Signing Fuentes gives the Padres a lot of options. Yes, he will cost them a low level prospect or two, but he is only owed one million dollars for the rest of the season and is a free agent this off season. If the Padres were to bring him in, they would have the option to either sign him long term, or let him walk and land two draft picks, as well their number one or two draft pick they will receive in the first round.

Kevin Towers is still very well liked among ownership, but making this move looking to the long term would make the 2008 season look a little better.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Burnett to New York?

The A.J. Burnett sweepstakes have already begun. Teammates, reporters, coaches, even GMs are are all starting to say that Burnett will opt out of his contract and join another team. It makes sense from Burnett's perspective. He is putting up great numbers, going 16-9 with a 4.58 ERA, and will likely reach twenty wins assuming he stays healthy. He could easily land a four or five year deal worth fifty to sixty million dollars. While the Cardinals and Royals are the two teams that he says he would be interested in going to, word out of the Yankees clubhouse is that he may be interested in going there as well.

I assume that he is fall back if the Yankees miss out on CC Sabathia, but they Yankees would be smart to sign Burnett, and then go after a second tier pitcher like Ryan Dempster. Not only would that solidfy their pitching, but it would allow them to develop their younger pitchers some more in the minor leagues and in the bullpen in the MLB. Making Sabathia your ace makes sense, but his weight problem is only going to get bigger as he gets older.

Marlins' Uggla Likely Gone

Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla, who has recently been benched, is up for arbitration after the season and is expected to make a lot. The Marlins, who recently rewarded Hanley Ramirez a big contract, are not interested in signing Uggla to a big deal and will try to deal him. The second base market starts off well, but falls pretty quickly. This would definitely be the year to trade Uggla, who is putting together a pretty solid year.

The Rockies, Brewers, Indians, Diamondbacks, and Dodgers will all be looking for a second baseman, and may be willing to give up a prospect or two to bring him in. Uggla has been struggling since the All-Star break but is hitting .258 with 27 HR in 116 games. The Indians would like to spend money on pitching, so it makes sense they may work a trade to bring in a fielder. Bring in Uggla would give them a fairly big bat in the five hole. With Shoppach coming into form, that could turn into a dangerous lineup with the addition of Uggla.

Tigers Trading Players

The Tigers, who have arguably disappointed everyone in baseball, are looking to open up some payroll by trading Magglio Ordonez and Placido Polanco. Both players have a couple good years left and haven't shown any signs of slowing down. Polanco is hitting .316 with 7 HR while Ordonez is hitting .311 with 15 HR. Both players would land two or three prospects for the Tigers while clearing some cash. With that cash, GM Dave Dombrowski plans to be very aggressive on the market, potentially going after CC Sabathia.

However, I have heard the the Tigers are more interested in going after Francisco Rodriguez and signing a second tier pitcher like Ryan Dempster or Jon Garland. While that would help, they would be smart to go out and sign an ace like Ben Sheets, as well a pitcher like Jon Garland. There pitching is very weak, and they need all the help they can get to compete with the White Sox and Twins.

Twins Acquire Guardado

The Twins, in an attempt to improve their bullpen for the final stretch, have acquired relief pitcher Eddie Guardado from the Rangers in exchange for minor league pitcher Mark Hamburger. Guardado is 3-3 with a 3.65 ERA and 4 SV in 55 games this season with the Rangers. He returns to his first team that he played for from 1993-2003. Guardado was very effective for the Twins and should be effective in the final month of the season. If you are holding on to Guardado in fantasy baseball, you should probably drop him. He will not be closing any more for the Twins.

Hamburger, 21, is 1-2 with a 4.17 ERA and 13 SV in 27 appearances in Single-A Elizabethtown.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fuentes To Be Placed On Waivers?

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Rockies plan to place closer Brian Fuentes on waivers this week. Rosenthal says the Dodgers have waiver priority, but don't be surprised to see them pass on him for salary reasons. Yes, the Dodgers would get two draft picks if they signed him, but they would have to give up two solid prospects for him. That is definitely something the Dodgers do not want to do within their division. It is possible to see the Phillies make the claim to block the Mets from adding him. The Mets would like a closer and the Phillies are only helping their chances if they block him.

Kotsay to Red Sox?

According to Ken Rosenthal, Braves outfielder Mark Kotsay is drawing interest from the Red Sox. The Red Sox may be without J.D. Drew for the rest of the season and bringing in Kotsay would give them a veteran outfielder who is putting together a decent season. While he isn't J.D. Drew, he is hitting .289 with 6 HR, but is a career .313 hitter in the month of September. Tampa Bay is starting to run away with the division, so the sooner the Red Sox make a move, the better chances they have to make the playoffs.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Mailbag: Power Outages, NL Central Showdown, Sleepers...

Q: What is going on with Derrek Lee? He hit over 40 homeruns in 2005 and now he is barely hitting 20. What is that about?

Joesph R., Hanover

ELI: When Derrek Lee broke his wrist, he naturally adjusted his swing to offset some of the minor pain. His swing has become more of a solid all around hitter, aiming for the gaps. At least that was the case in 2007. This season, he has showed good signs of power early on, but is now reaching for pitches and swinging at he wrong pitches. This has lead to a lot of double plays and pop ups. I do not think this can change, so expect Lee to be a 20 homerun hitter for the rest of his career.

Q: What is going on with Rickie Weeks? You said earlier that the Brewers should trade JJ Hardy to open up a spot for Alcides Escobar, why not trade Weeks?

Jonathan, Stevens Point, WI

ELI: I can't say I disagree with that. Weeks has yet to prove to anyone that he can hit, but still has the upside to land the Brewers a solid prospect. The Diamondbacks, Indians, Atheltics, and Dodgers are just four of several teams looking for a second baseman, and all four teams have solid prospects. The Brewers would not only save money, but give their bottom half new life.

Q: The Brewers and Cubs are great teams. What would you say is the one thing the Brewers are missing and the one thing the Cubs are missing?

Brett Sheridan, Mesa, Arizona

ELI: I would say the Brewers are missing a productive bat in their lineup. If they had someone like Kevin Youkilis at third or Garrett Atkins, they would be a solid team. However, I believe pitching wins games so I would say they need a number three pitcher that can win 10-15 games. Yovani Gallardo was that guy for the Brewers but he is out, so I would say it is important for them to sign one of their two aces, along with one other guy, and let Gallardo, Capuano, Parra, and Suppan do the rest.

For the Cubs, the pitching is great. While I would love to see them add a solid number five starter, a homerun hitting outfielder would do them wonders. While Fukudome did a good job early on, he hasn't made the adjustments to succeed. They need someone that will hit at least 30 homeruns, someone who is a threat every at-bat.

Q: Who is the biggest bargain on the free agent market?

James W., Buffalo

ELI: While Rafael Furcal will be expensive, he is injured and won't cost nearly as much as his orginal contract with the Dodgers. You could even up the annual price and give him a one to two year deal. He has huge upside, when healthy.

If you would like to see your name in the Mailbag, email me at

Friday, August 22, 2008

Where Will Ausmus Go?

Long time Astros catcher Brad Ausmus told reporters he will not be back next season, but said he isn't retired. Ausmus, who is hitting .230 with 1 HR in 65 games this season, lives in the San Diego area. However, the Padres have several catchers and do not need an aging catcher who no longer is an offensive threat or a solid defenseman. The Dodgers and Angels are also possiblities, but both teams are supplied with catchers and do not need Ausmus.

He might need to sign a minor league contract and prove himself, or else his career is done.

Sosa Suspended 50 Games

Ex-major league pitcher Jorge Sosa, currently with the Seattle Mariners, has been suspended for fifty games after testing positive under baseball's minor league drug program. Sosa, 31, tested positive for amphetamine, which is considered a performance enhancer at the Triple-A level. This could potentially end Sosa's career in the majors, unless he can prove he can still pitch in the majors in May of 2009.

In 254 major league appearance, Sosa is 40-49 with a 4.67 ERA with the Rays, Braves, Mets, and the Cardinals.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mariners Manager Options

The Mariners currently have interim manager Jim Riggleman running the team, but expect the Mariners to look for a new manager this offseason. Here are a couple of possible candidates for the job:

Joey Cora, White Sox Bench Coach: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen and Cubs manager Lou Piniella both have endorsed Cora as an up and coming manager. He is familiar with how Seattle runs, being with the team in the early 2000s.

John Farrell, Red Sox Pitching Coach: Farrell was the front runner for the Pirates job before he turned it down. However, don't be surprised if he jumps on a job this year. He is very experienced and could help a team in need of some direction on the mound.

Ron Roenickle, Angels Bench Coach: Serving under Mike Scioscia, Roenickle is high on teams list. He would be a good fit for the Mariners because he is familiar with the Mariners and the AL West.

Lee Elia, Mariners Bench Coach: Although the Mariners have struggled, Elia is experienced and will fire up the young Mariners, something that hasn't happened since the Lou Piniella era.

Larry Bowa, Dodgers Third Base Coach: Bowa was once a coach for the Mariners during the Lou Piniella era and is familiar with how the Mariners run. While Bowa may be waiting for the Dodgers job, going to Seattle will allow him to prove himself to everyone that he can manage.

While there are other options, these are the front-runners. Obviously, more candidates will appear when the season is over, but these are the options at this point in time.

Taveras to Nationals?

Nationals outfielder Lastings Milledge has been struggling and it has lead some executives to believe the Nationals will look to other options. If the Nationals were to move Milledge, they could open up the spot and go after speedy outfielder Willy Taveras, who has been made available by the Rockies. Although he is hitting .261, he is a speedy lead off hitter who is having an off year. He is a career .286 who currently has 59 stolen bases, but typically shoots for around 40.

While Taveras is a good choice, the Nationals could sacrifice a prospect in an attempt to land Cubs outfielder Reed Johnson. Johnson has been a stud for the Cubs this season and may become expendable if Felix Pie proves he is ready. While the Cubs may not be willing to trade him for a "nothing prospect," they would be willing to unload him if the Nationals gave them a legitimate prospect.

Dempster wants to stay in Chicago:
Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster, who currently has 14 wins, told reporters he wants to resign with Chicago. However, that probably means the Cubs will have to give him a three or four year deal worth 12 to 14 million dollars annually. Dempster is 31, so a four year deal worth 40-50 million seems likely.

Ross to Boston: The Philadelphia Phillies were informed by the agent of David Ross that he will be going to another team, not the Phillies. That team is believed to be the Red Sox, according to sources.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mets Bolster Bullpen, Sign Reyes

The Mets continue to bolster their bullpen by signing veteran reliever Al Reyes. Reyes, who was released by the Rays last week, is 2-2 with a 4.37 ERA in twenty-six games this season for the Rays. While he is injury prone, he is very effective in late innings and should give the Mets bullpen a much needed boost. The Mets are obviously preparing for the final stretch by adding this pitching depth, something that will help them when the rosters expand September 1st.

In 384 career games, Reyes is 23-16 with a 3.82 ERA and 32 SV.

Will The Padres Bring Back Hoffman?

Padres closer Trevor Hoffman is 1-6 with a 4.34 ERA and 26 SV in forty games this season. While he isn't having a bad year, he definitely has slowed down and might not be capable of being a closer next season. While his change up is still effective, his fastball has slowed down and is not really a go-to pitch anymore. Hoffman will be 41, but has not indicated whether or not he will pitch again.

The Padres do not have a closer waiting in the wings and could probably bring back Hoffman for a reduced price. However, expect the Padres to be very aggressive after a failed season where they missed out on several players including Kosuke Fukudome in the previous off season.

Silva to Mets?

According to the Pioneer Press, Mariners pitcher Carlos Silva is lost without former teammate Johan Santana and does not feel comfortable with the Mariners. While Felix Hernandez is from Venezuela as well, he has been preoccupied by his own struggles. Silva, who was placed on the disabled list for arm fatigue, has won just once in his last 21 starts. He signed a forty-eight million dollar deal in the off season and is just 4-14 with a 6.36 ERA.

While the Mets don't necessarily have room for Silva, they could acquire for next to nothing while the Mariners would take most of his salary. It was a big investment for the Mariners, so I doubt they will give up on him just yet, but if he continues to struggle next season expect something to happen. The Mariners need to dress their offensive problem before they give up on their veteran pitchers. Trading Kenji Johjma and Adrian Beltre should be a priority, while finding a power hitter to shape the lineup around being secondary. The free agent class is a little bit older than last years, but that shouldn't stop the Mariners from being aggressive.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

With Carpenter Out, Cardinals Need An Ace

Chris Carpenter's repeated injuries should signal the end of his season, so he does not damage his arm any more. While the Cardinals have a surprisingly good team this year, adding an ace to the rotation would put them back in playoff consideration. While Chris Carpenter still has potential to come back, I fear that he may have been rushed back in the injuries could keep returning. However, Todd Wellemeyer has emerged as a solid number three starter while Kyle Lohse has turned out to be a great bargain. If they added an ace like CC Sabathia or Ben Sheets to the front of their rotation, they would be in great shape for 2009. Even if they added a second tier pitcher like Jon Garland, or perhaps Oliver Perez, it would make that rotation one of the best in the division.

Besides pitching, they do not have too many upgrades to make. They could go after a corner outfielder, but Schumaker and Ludwick are doing just fine. They would be smart to pursue a second baseman to fill Adam Kennedy's spot, because he has not held his own out there. Adding Mark Ellis to the fold would give them a solid veteran with good second half numbers. Assuming pitching coach Dave Duncan returns, the Cardinals will need just a few upgrades to put them back in the World Series fold again.

Red Sox, Phillies Interested In Ross

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Red Sox and Phillies are showing serious interest in former Reds catcher David Ross. Both teams are envisioning Ross as a back up catcher; however, may give it a week before they sign him so he spends as little time in the minors before the rosters expand September 1st. Ross has only played in 52 games this year, batting .231 with a .381 OBP.

He is known for controlling the game very well behind the plate. It showed early on with Cueto and Volquez. Both teams would benefit from him behind the plate.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Maddux Traded to Dodgers

The San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers have agreed on a deal to send SP Greg Maddux to the Dodgers, ESPN is reporting. More news forthcoming as details emerge. 

Marlins' Gregg Likely Gone?

With Matt Lindstrom of the Marlins doing great, the Marlins will likely let Kevin Gregg walk, who is set to make at least three million dollars next season. Gregg is 6-5 with a 2.68 ERA and 27 SV while Lindstrom, who has a 100 mph fastball, is 1-1 with a 3.19 ERA. The Marlins are 4.5 games out of first and are falling fast, so they would be smart to give Lindstrom more time. Gregg could still be put on waivers, but after seeing the Mets collapse last year, they think anything can happen.

Gregg could return to the Angels if they fail to resign Francisco Rodriguez. Other teams that could turn to Gregg include the Indians, Cardinals, and Padres.

2009 Giants 3B Options?

The Giants tried very hard to land a third baseman in the off season and were not successful, so expect them to be very aggressive this off season. Here are a couple options for them:

Adrian Beltre, Mariners: Adrian Beltre has been struggling mightily for the Mariners and they may look to trade him to clear up some payroll. While Beltre has a limited no-trade clause, it does not block a trade to the Giants.

Casey Blake, Dodgers: Casey Blake has been doing very well for the Dodgers since coming over, but he reportedly prefers to play in front of a smaller venue. Moving up to San Francisco to be the Giants third baseman may appeal to Blake because he would be playing in front of a smaller venue, but would be familiar with the division.

Joe Crede, White Sox: The White Sox will likely let Crede walk with Josh Fields waiting in the wings, so the Giants could finally land their target from the 2008 off season. Crede will probably have to sign for a reduced price because he is oft-injured, but that won't stop too many teams.

Aubrey Huff, Orioles: The Orioles put Huff on waivers and so far he has not been involved in any serious talks. However, he could be a hot commodity come the Winter Meetings when teams start missing out on their first and second choice. The Orioles would be smart to sell high on Huff, who is having a career year.

Maddux to Dodgers?

With Brad Penny on the disabled list, the Dodgers are showing interest in veteran pitcher Greg Maddux. Maddux, who has reportedly cleared waivers, played for the Dodgers in 2005 when he was acquired from the Cubs. Padres GM Kevin Towers has already admitted to wanting to cut some payroll, and could easily do that while landing a solid prospect in a late trade with the desperate Dodgers. In 26 games this season, Maddux is 6-9 with a 3.99 ERA and 80 K. He would probably make six to seven starts for the Dodgers, and that could make a huge difference for the Dodgers, who are currently tied for first place.

Maddux is 53-40 with a 3.37 ERA in 109 games in the month of September, so he could definitely play a key role in their playoff run.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Mets Acquire Ayala

The Nationals traded relief pitcher Luis Ayala to the Mets today for infielder Anderson Hernandez. Ayala, who is 1-8 this season with a 5.77 ERA, requested a trade weeks ago because he needed a change of scenery. This is a great move for the Mets who acquire a pitcher who should be very effective playing for a contender.

Before 2008, Ayala 's career record stood at 26-24 with a 2.46 ERA in 258 career games.

Contract Extension For Dempster?

Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster was not the best closer, but was still making five million dollars annually to do it. Now that he is starting, he has turned into the teams ace compiling a 13-5 record with a 2.92 ERA and 139 K. It is a win-win situation for Ryan Dempster. Not only has he won the hearts of Cubs fans, but he is winning big games in a contract year. Dempster has publically said he loves playing in Chicago and would like to play here are awhile, but the Cubs might not be willing to give him 12-13 million annually.

The Cubs need to evaluate Dempster in September and October to see if his arm will hold up. He did have Tommy John surgery a couple years ago and has been throwing a lot of pitches. If you were to combine Ryan Dempster's innings pitched from 2007 and 2006, it would come up nearly fifteen innings short, and that number is only going to grow. The Cubs will have Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly, and Rich Harden in the first three spots, if they had A.J. Burnett or Ryan Dempster in the fourth spot with Samardzija, Marquis, or another option in the fifth spot. That is an excellent rotation and the Cubs have the money to make that happen.

Nationals Eying Slugger?

The Nationals have assembled a team that lacks a power hitter to build a lineup around and an ace to work off of in the rotation. They have several young, unproven pitchers in the rotation who could be affected long term by their continued struggles all season. By bringing in a second tier pitcher like Jon Garland to lead this rotation would take a lot of pressure off pitchers Jason Bergmann and Colin Balester. However, GM Jim Bowden said he would not spend free agent money on pitching, but rather on hitting. When I spoke with Bowden he told me that spending money on the free agent market will be a last resort.

Rumors have been flying that the Nationals are preparing to open their wallets on a big name free agent. Jim Bowden spent several years with Adam Dunn in Cincinnati and might target him for the Nationals. However, that would be a long term investment to a .247 hitter, something the Nationals shouldn't do. It would be much smarter to target Matt Holliday of the Rockies, who is under contract until 2009 and would give them the power hitter they need. Yes he would cost them nearly 100 million, but he would give them a power hitter and leverage in negotiations with other players. This might not be Jim Bowden's decision this off season, but the Nationals would be smart to make a big time move to help this team in the future.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Indians Targeting Closer?

According to the Columbus Dispatch, the Indians may be clearing cash to target a big name closer, perhaps Francisco Rodriguez. Although this may sound like a great idea to Indians fans, they would be smarter to trade a pair of prospects for someone like Huston Street, and then spend the money on a corner outfielder and maybe a second baseman. I spoke with Indians GM Mark Shapiro and he remains busy looking for ways to upgrade him team.

Don't be surprised if the Indians are big players on the market this off season.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Huff On The Block?

Orioles designated hitter Aubrey Huff cleared revocable waivers today, which means he can be traded to any team until August 31st while still being eligible for the playoff roster. Huff, 31, is hitting .300 with 25 homeruns in 117 games this season. He is a career .286 hitter with 181 homeruns, so he could play a huge factor for any team looking for a boost. Here are a couple teams that would benefit from his services:

Florida Marlins: The Marlins are still holding on in the race for the playoffs being just 2.5 games out. Their hitting is starting to fall apart and bringing in Huff to play 1st and a little outfield would certainly help their chances.

Tampa Bay Rays: Huff, a former Ray, would certainly help the third base problem. Not only is he familiar with the team, but the field as well. The one thing holding this back is that the Rays are in the same division as the Orioles and they might not want to do that.

Minnesota Twins: The Twins are fighting for a spot in the playoffs and could use some offensive help behind Morneau. Huff would fit that role nicely as a switch-hitter. He is very familiar at third base, a spot the Twins hope to fill.

Chicago White Sox: The White Sox have a great team as they push forward to the playoffs, but with Crede out and Swisher under performing, it would make sense to bring in Huff. It would not cost them too much, and he could fill in at third base until Crede returns. Kenny Williams doesn't really pull off these late trades, but I wouldn't put it past him to pull off this one.

Dodgers Claim Belliard

According to the LA Times, the Dodgers have claimed second baseman Ronnie Belliard off waivers from the Nationals. Belliard is hitting .240 with 10 HR and 33 RBI in 77 games this season for the Nationals. It is safe to assume that the Dodgers were not going after Belliard, but they wanted to block the Diamondbacks from landing him because of Hudson's injury.

Belliard is locked up through 2009, but has an easy contract to move. He is making 1.9 million next season, so it is possible that they would move him.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Crow Spurns Nats, Signs With Cats

Ninth overall pick Aaron Crow has signed with the Fort Worth Cats of the American Association. The Cats said Crow will pitch out of the bullpen unless he signs a deal with the Nationals, so do not rule that out just yet. My first reaction was that Crow was gone, but he might be doing this for leverage in negotiations. Crow was 13-0 with a 2.35 ERA for Missouri last season with 127 strikeouts in 107 1/3 innings and is reportedly looking for a 7-8 million dollar signing bonus.

If he does not sign with the Nationals, he can play with the Cats and will be eligible for next years draft.

MLB Rumors In The News!

Check out this article from the Pioneer Press about the site. It talks about the hacking and how the site is doing now. Check it out!

Click here for article.

Washburn to Cardinals?

According to the Seattle Post, Mariners pitcher Jarrod Washburn has been claimed by the Cardinals. The Cardinals are not giving up on the 2008 season and are looking to upgrade their pitching. The Cardinals are 7.5 games out of first, but that could easily change by one series with the Cubs or Brewers. Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan has been very successful when working with struggling pitchers, so bringing in Washburn could turn out to be a plus.

If any deal is going to happen, it has to be done by the weekend or the claim will be dropped.

Matusz, Beckham Close In On Deals

The Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles are closing in on first round draft pick Brian Matusz. Matusz is in Baltimore to take his physical today, and if that goes well, his deal should be finalized by tonight or Friday morning. Matusz is the top pitcher in the draft and is expected to rise fast in the organization. He mixes his hard fastball with a great changeup, and an even better slider.

The Chicago Sun Times is reporting that the White Sox and Gordon Beckham have agreed to a deal that includes a 2.6 million dollar signing bonus. Beckham, the eighth overall pick, is a power hitting shortstop who will report to Class A today. He will likely go to instructional league following the completion of the season at the beginning of next month.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Quick Hits: Lugo, Yankees, Andrus, Ibanez

Quick Hits:
  • According to Peter Gammons, the Red Sox will shop Julio Lugo around in order to open up a spot for Jed Lowrie. However, it is possible they would move Lugo and go after a better shortstop, perhaps Rafael Furcal. Gammons also mentions that they could keep Lugo in a super-utility role.
  • According to Jon Heyman, Hank Steinbrenner has warmed up to Brian Cashman and plans to offer him an extension. Cashman was rumored to be heading to Seattle or Philadelphia following this season.
  • According to Jon Heyman, the Rangers may trade one of their top prospects in order to land a big name starter. If they were able to acquire a number three starter under contract, then go out and make a big splash on the market, they would be in great shape for 2009.
  • According to Ken Rosenthal, the Mariners have placed Jarrod Washburn and Raul Ibanez on waivers and both have been claimed. According to sources, the White Sox did not claim Jarrod Washburn, but the team that did is still unknown. It would not surprise me if the Rays claimed Ibanez, mostly because they need an outfielder.

Draft Update

Kevin Czerwinski of updates us all on the draft and the ten first rounder who have yet to sign. History shows that first rounders that wait till the deadline usually sign at the last minute in order to maximize profit, so I expect most to sign within the next day or two. The deadline is Friday at 11:00 P.M. CT.

After calling around to a couple sources, Brian Matusz and Aaron Crow seem like the least likely of the first rounders to sign. While that could change in an hour, at this point, it looks like they will not be signed. High school star Eric Hosmer has not had serious discussions with his team yet, but he is expected to sign for a little more than Mike Moustakas, the Royals first round pick last year.

Aurilia To Rays?

With Evan Longoria out, the Rays need a solid back up at third to keep them in the running for the playoffs. While Willy Aybar is a solid player, he is not keeping up with Longoria's numbers, and it is hurting the team. The Giants have been looking to dump some players for cash or a prospect and would be more than willing to move Rich Aurilia, 36, who is hitting .277 with 8 HR in 104 games this season.

The Rays currently three games ahead of the Red Sox, but they face the Red Sox six more times before the season is over. The Rays would be smart to take a chance on Aurilia.

Tigers Shopping Ordonez?

Tigers outfielder Magglio Ordonez is having another great year, hitting .318 with 15 HR in 104 games. Although these are great numbers, they definitely are not worth fifteen million dollars, which he would get if he stays healthy and keeps playing how he is playing. The Detroit News breaks down the situation: "If Ordonez has 135 starts or 540 plate appearances (at-bats, walks, hit-by-pitch, etc.) in 2009, his option years for 2010 ($15 million) and 2011 ($15 million) are guaranteed. If he has a combined 270 starts and 1,080 plate appearances during 2008-09, those last two option years kick in. In other words, if Ordonez stays healthy in 2009, he ends up with the seven-year, $105 million contract the Tigers originally agreed upon in February 2005."

While the Tigers have the money to support Ordonez, sources have informed me that they would prefer to cut some payroll to focus on pitching. If they were able to unload Ordonez to maybe the Braves, it would give them two or three solid prospects along with extra cash to spend elsewhere. For the Braves, it would give them a legitimate right fielder and someone they could place behind Chipper Jones in the lineup. It is obvious the Tigers need pitching -- expect them to be big players in the off season.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Owings Is PTBNL In Dunn Trade

According to the Arizona Republic, Diamondbacks pitcher Micah Owings is one of the players to be named later in the Adam Dunn trade. Owings is 6-9 with a 5.93 ERA, but is hitting .288 with 1 HR. The newspaper suggests that he was put on waivers and another team claimed him, and that is why he wasn't included initially. If he were to be pulled back, the Diamondbacks would have to wait until the end of the season before they could trade him.

Owings is a bottom rotation type starter and hasn't shown any major improvements in his two years. I doubt they would move him to hitting, but he won't play any major role for the Reds.

Sheffield Placed On Waivers

According to Jayson Stark, the Tigers placed Gary Sheffield on waivers today. Sheffield is hitting just .219 with 10 HR in 76 games this season. His career is obviously coming to an end, but he still has a little over 14 millon dollars left on his contract.

It is unlikely that anyone would make a play for him. Even if the other team had to pay nothing for him, there are better options out there that would help your team more than he ever could.

Red Sox Acquire Byrd

The Indians have traded pitcher Paul Byrd to the Indians for a player to be named later or cash. Byrd, 37, is 7-10 with a 4.53 ERA, but has won all four of his starts since the All-Star break.

Byrd is the replacement for pitcher Tim Wakefield, who is likely DL bound.

Garcia To Sign With Tigers

According to, Freddy Garcia is set to sign with the Tigers. Garcia has been recovering from shoulder surgery and is finally set to pitch. Although he struggled last year, he won seventeen games the previous year.

Barring a setback, he should be ready to pitch for the team within the next two weeks.

Crawford Out, Bonds In?

According to the St. Petersburg Times, Carl Crawford could be out for the season dealing with his hand injury. He is a big part of this team, and it will hurt as they hit the final stretch. "There's no doubt he's a key part of the ingredients to this team - defensively, offensively, on the bases and everything, just all around," said starter Edwin Jackson, Crawford's closest friend among the Rays. Eric Hinske will take over in left field, but in way will he match up to Crawford's production.

One possible option for the Rays is Barry Bonds, who could match up to Crawford's offensive production. While he won't be great in the field, his numbers at the plate will generate more runs for the team. At this point in the season, Bonds would probably sign for close to the league minimum.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Diamondbacks Acquire Dunn

The Reds have traded Adam Dunn to the Diamondbacks in exchange for Dallas Buck, and two players to be named later. Dunn is hitting .233 with 32 HR and 74 RBI in 144 games this, leading the league in homeruns. The power is definitely there for Dunn, but he really does not hit for average. He is a free agent following this year as well and they will need to pay him at least fifteen million to keep his services. If the Diamondbacks wanted a big name outfielder, I would have recommended Raul Ibanez, mostly because he brings power and average to the plate. Dunn will take over in right field and give the Diamondbacks a solid number four hitter.

Price Coming Up?

According to Bill Chastian of, the Rays have promoted David Price to Triple-A. "Moving him up to Triple-A, we just wanted to see him get involved a little bit. We have several different scenarios that we've kind of created mentally. We'll see how it all plays out. We're prepared to do a couple of different things as we see fit." According to Chastian, "Price went 7-0 with a 1.89 ERA in nine starts at Double-A Montgomery, pitching 57 innings for the Biscuits and walking just 16 while striking out 55. Prior to joining Montgomery, Price went 4-0 with a 1.82 ERA in six starts at Class A Vero Beach." I spoke with Price several months back and he told me that working hard and keeping a positive attitude will keep him progressing.

If he can pitch well in Triple-A, there is little doubt that he won't be with the team at some point in September.

Red Sox Catching Options

The Red Sox are looking for a catcher for the future, knowing that Jason Varitek is not the answer following this season. He is hitting just .219 with 8 HR, and has only played in 96 games this season. Here are a couple options for 2009 and beyond:

Jason Saltalamachhia, Rangers: Salty is still coming into form in the majors but has done a pretty good job despite poor numbers. He wouldn't cost the Red Sox nothing more than low level pitching prospect, perhaps Daniel Bard.

Jeff Clement, Mariners: Clement has been struggling so far this season, but that hasn't stopped the Red Sox from keeping an eye on him. One thing holding a trade back is that the Mariners would rather give up Johjima than Clement.

Ronny Paulino, Pirates: Paulino was a starting catcher for the Pirates last season but struggled and is now in the minors. A change of scenery could help and he would be a lost call. If he fails as a starter, he would make for a decent backup.

There are not any solid option on the market, so they might need to settle for one of these unproven players, or veteran Jason Varitek.

Rangers Looking For Pitching

The Rangers have the worst pitching in the league, compiling a 5.27 ERA so far this season. However, their offense has kept them in a lot of games to come out to a 60-57 record. If they were able to land one or two solid pitchers, perhaps CC Sabathia and a number two or three starter, they would definitely be in contention in the AL West. They have the money to spend, they have just avoided doing so while they waited patiently for their minor leaguers to develop. They would definitely need to open the pocket book for Sabathia, but trading for a pitcher like A.J. Burnett, assuming he doesn't opt out, would be a great move for 2009 and beyond.

Garcia to Tigers?

According to the Detroit Free Press, the Tigers are one of at least five teams pursuing free agent pitcher Freddy Garcia. Garcia is expected to sign this week, but with who is the question. One source informed me that the Yankees are considering him now that Joba Chamberlain is out. Garcia was 17-9 in 2006 with a 4.53 ERA but struggled last year before injuring his shoulder. He is in no way done as a pitcher and could prove to be a great signing if he can be ready by September 1st to pitch every fifth day.

Ellis to Diamondbacks?

According to the SF Chronicle, the Diamondbacks plan to pursue Mark Ellis when he becomes a free agent after this season. With Orlando Hudson out for the season, it is possible they would pursue him now. However, one baseball executive pointed out that the A's already have the Diamondbacks top prospects, so they would not be able to get too much in return. Orlando Hudson is supposedly looking for something between 13-15 million annually, so the Diamondbacks will likely pass on that for someone like Mark Ellis, his total contract will be worth around 15-18 million dollars.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

White Sox Acquire Ramirez

The White Sox acquired pitcher Horacio Ramirez from the Royals in exchange for outfielder Paul Orlando. Moving to the bullpen helped Ramirez, who posted a 2.59 ERA in 24 1/3 innings so far this season. "I think I'm just keeping things simple," said Ramirez, who strolled into the White Sox clubhouse with a Royals duffel bag. "I'm simpler out there. Last year, I pressed too much. I tried too hard. And it came back and got me." Manager Ozzie Guillen has even admitted that the bullpen has been taxed, so adding Ramirez will give them some rest. Playing for a contender might give him another boost, especially now that he gets to play his former team and new rival this week.

Orlando, 22, is hitting .262 with 9 HR in Single-A for the White Sox. He does not project as a starter in the majors, probably not even a reserve player.

Quick Hits: Blake, Hardy, Hudson, Athletics

Quick Hits:
  • Dodgers third baseman Casey Blake is a free agent after this season, but is playing so well he deserves a contract extension. However, the Dodgers have DeWitt and Hu in the wings with Furcal's contract up in the air following this season, so they do not have unlimited spending. Not only that, but Blake is thirty-five and prefers to play in front of a smaller venue. They might need to overpay for his services if they want him back.
  • While there is speculation that the Brewers will trade Prince Fielder, it would make more sense to trade JJ Hardy. The Brewers would be able to keep the powerful tandem of Fielder and Braun together while bringing up Alcides Escobar, a Double-A prospect, who could be ready to take over full time next season. Several teams could make a play for Hardy this coming off season including the Dodgers, Red Sox, Orioles, Indians, and maybe even Yankees.
  • Indians catcher Kelly Shoppach is playing great for the Indians and will likely keep his starting spot for next season. That would mean Victor Martinez needs to move to first. The Indians need a power hitter and could go after someone like Jason Giambi, but would then not have a spot for Shoppach. Going after second baseman Orlando Hudson would give them a productive leadoff hitter, who could be a long term second baseman for the Indians.
  • When the Athletics traded Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin to the Cubs for Sean Gallagher, Matt Murton, Eric Patterson, and Josh Donaldson, it looked like a win-win for both clubs. Gallagher pitched great, Murton was hitting, and Harden was winning games for the Cubs. While the success continues for the Cubs, Gallagher is 1-1 in five games and Murton and Patterson are both in Triple-A. It is possible the A's will trade Huston Street for even more prospects in hopes of building a legitimate contender for 2009.
Source: Ken Rosenthal

Byrd Drawing Interest?

According to Buster Olney, Indians pitcher Paul Byrd is drawing interest from several clubs. Take a look at these stats that Buster Olney picked out: "He's 4-0 with a 1.24 ERA in his last four starts; opponents have a .570 OPS against him in that time; and he hasn't allowed a home run." It would make sense for the Indians to trade him while his value is somewhat high. Not to mention his solid performance in the playoffs last season. He is 7-10 this season with a 4.53 ERA and 56 K and is 37-29 historically with a 4.07 ERA in August and September. If he were to move to a team like the White Sox or Mets, his numbers would probably look even better.

Byrd is a free agent following this season and there have been no talks of a contract extension. The Indians are 13.5 games out of first and if they have the chance to trade for a pair of prospects that would help them in the future, they should do it.