Thursday, July 31, 2008

Holy Smokes

So I guess Manny really is gone. Jon Heyman is reporting that Manny is on his way to the Dodgers in a three team deal that will bring Jason Bay to Boston. More on this as the details are revealed.

UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal is reporting the details of the deal as, "Pirates outfielder Jason Bay is headed to the Red Sox. The Pirates will receive Andy LaRoche and right-hander Bryan Morris from the Dodgers and outfielder Damien Moss and releiver Craig Hansen from the Red Sox. The Red Sox will pay all of the approximately $7 million remaining on Ramirez's contract.

Yanks Acquire RHP Nunez

The Yankees acquired RHP Jhonny Nunez from the Nationals for shortstop Alberto Gonzalez.

Bay to Rays off, Manny Trade Back On?

Holy Cow. Ken Rosenthal is reporting that a Rays source thinks that the only way a Jason Bay trade will get done is if "a miracle happens". This after the deal was thought to be all but done. Rosenthal speculates that this could mean a deal for Manny Ramirez is still in the works.

UPDATE: Finally (maybe?), the Manny Ramirez trade talks appear to be dead. Ken Rosenthal is reporting that no deal will be made and, seeing as how the deadline has officially passed, he may finally be right.

3 Minutes Left

With only 3 minutes left, the trade deadline is nearing its end. Stay tuned for the next hour or two as trades trickle in.

Mariners Back out of Ibanez Deal

The Mariners pulled out of a deal at the last second with the Toronto Blue Jays that would have sent OF Raul Ibanez to the Jays for two major leaguers.

Bay to Rays

A source told that the Pirates will trade OF Jason Bay to the Rays for Reid Brignac and Jeff Niemann.

UPDATE: Multiple sources are saying the deal is not done and there is still some negotiating going on between the two ball clubs.

Manny to Dodgers for Ethier?

According to SI's John Heyman, the Red Sox are talking to the Dodgers now about Manny Ramirez, with the Dodgers offering Andre Ethier.

UPDATE: A source told Jon Heyman that not only are the Dodgers not offering Matt Kemp, but they would prefer to part with prospects instead of OF Andre Ethier. This whole scenario has spun completely out of control.

Bay to Rays again?

Working the phone lines endlessly, Jayson Stark is reporting that the Pirates are talking to the Rays again about potentially dealing Jason Bay for an assortment of prospects. Stay tuned for more rumors as they're coming in by the minute.

Lannan to White Sox?

The Score 670 AM in Chicago is reporting that the White Sox are close to acquiring reliever John Lannan.

UPDATE: According to Nationals beat writer Bill Ladson, the Nationals are discussing Joel Hanrahan, not John Lannan, with the White Sox. As you can see, the rumors are really flying and names are being thrown around with reckless abandon.

Manny Drama Continues

Although multiple sources say otherwise, Peter Gammons is reporting that the 3-way deal between the Red Sox, Marlins, and Pirates is nearly dead. Fox's Ken Rosenthal disagrees and both are usually very well-informed so we'll just have to wait and see what happens.

UPDATE: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that the Pirates have agreed to the prospects they would receive in the Manny Ramirez deal. This was supposed to be a huge obstacle so maybe things aren't dead after all.

UPDATE 2: This is crazy. Ken Rosenthal has joined Peter Gammons and Jayson Stark is saying that the deal is dead. Don't know whether to believe this or not.

Marlins Acquire Rhodes

Peter Gammons is reporting that the Marlins have traded minor leaguer Gaby Hernandez for LHP Arthur Rhodes.

Enjoy the Day, Baseball Fans

It's still early but we can already chomp on the potential Griffey deal with our breakfast. Check back early and often, as we will be on the job all day.

Griffey to White Sox?

With the all-important, "pending player approval", it looks like Ken Griffey Jr. is going to the Chicago White Sox, Ken Rosenthal is reporting bright and early this morning that a deal is near. The White Sox don't have an obvious slot for him but with a little jockeying around, he could play in center field, which he hasn't done since 2006. Moving Nick Swisher to first would reduce Paul Konerko and Jim Thome's playing time. Check back to see if Griffey approves the deal this morning.

UPDATE: Griffey has agreed to the trade according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. The Reds will receive Danny Richar and Nick Masset while paying the remaining $4 million on Griffey's contract.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dunn to Rays?

ESPN's Adam Stark is reporting that with Jason Bay now unavailable, the Rays have turned their attention towards OF Adam Dunn. Stark believes talks won't become serious until the Rays are certain Jason Bay is not an option.

BREAKING NEWS: Manny Dealt to Florida in 3-way Deal

Baseball Prospectus is reporting a three-team deal has been struck, pending Manny Ramirez's approval, that will send Ramirez to the Marlins for cash and a prospect from Boston. Boston gets left fielder Jason Bay and pitcher John Grabow from Pittsburgh. The Pirates will get OF Jeremy Hermida and 2 prospects from the Marlins and one from Boston. Wow, that was complicated. Thoughts?

UPDATE: Hold your horses. Peter Gammons is reporting that the deal is still being negotiated because the Pirates are not satisfied with their return for Jason Bay. This could be in response to an increased offer from the Rays, but that is just speculation on my part. Stay tuned for another segment of the Manny Saga.

Manny Saga Update: Manny to the Marlins?

Multiple sources are reporting that the Red Sox are in serious discussions with the Florida Marlins about a potential Manny Ramirez trade. One would imagine the Red Sox would be paying a considerable amount of salary, and Buster Olney suggests they would likely target one of the Marlins young outfielders as well as a few young pitchers.

Breaing News: Yankees Acquire Ivan Rodriguez

In a surprise move, the Yankees have acquired Tigers catcher Ivan Rodriguez for RHP Kyle Farnsworth.

Cubs Looking at Ibanez's Ken Rosenthal is reporting that there are early talks between the Mariners and the Cubs that would bring LH OF Raul Ibanez to Chicago. While the Cubs have Soriano, Fukodome, Edmonds and Reed Johnson already, they have expressed a need for another left-handed bat. The Chicago Sun-Times reported this morning that Pinella was "hinting" for more help. When asked if he needed anything before the deadline, he answered, "I've said I like my team. If you can improve it, why not?" While the Cubs have been playing good baseball all season, there are areas of concern and if there was ever a year to go for it, this is it. Even if they can win their division, they will have to contend with the Mets and Phillies, who are working hard to upgrade before the deadline. Sun-Times' Chris De Luca suggests the Cubs look at closer George Sherrill while they're at it because of the precarious nature of Woods' health and the deterioration of Bob Howry's performance of late.

Quick Hits: Ramirez, Bay, Dunn, Washburn

-The Pittsburgh Post- Gazette is reporting that the Pirates and Rays are "deep into trade talks" for Jason Bay.
-The Phillies, Dodger and Marlins are said to be talking to the Red Sox about Manny. Frankly, its hard to believe that the Marlins, with their $22 million payroll, would step up for a player with a salary close to their total payroll. The Dodgers are a possibility but its being reported on that Ramirez favors Philadelpiha.
-There appear to be no serious nibbles for Reds OF Adam Dunn. He's only 28 and on track to hit 40 HRs yet there is little talk on the news outlets about him. He does strike out a lot but so do a lot of other power hitters. Could it be the remarks made last week by Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi that Dunn is soft and no good in the clutch??
-The Jarrod Washburn deal between the Yankees and Mariners seemed a lot closer a couple days ago than it does today. The talks appear to have stalled because the Yankees want to include Kei Igawa and the Mariners don't want him.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Breaking News: Teixeira to Angels Official

ESPN's Keith Law is reporting that the Angels have acquired 1b Mark Teixeira from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for Casey Kotchman and Steven Marek.

48 Hours Left

With the trade deadline looming, there are several players available for trade who looked a lot more likely to be moved a week ago than they do today. Lets take a look:
-The Rockies are 6 games back in the weak NL west and have been playing great since the All-Star break. It seemed like they were prepared to let Brian Fuentes and Matt Holliday go in favor of acquiring a few prospects for the future. GM Dan O'Dowd said in the last couple days that it was "unlikely" that Fuentes would go.
-While Manny Ramirez and the Red Sox would be mutually happy to cut ties, it will not be an easy deal to pull off so quickly. He is a very expensive player to move and does not appear to have many suitors. The Dodgers and Mets have shown interest, so far.
-Jarrod Washburn going to the Yankees no longer looks imminent. While the Yankees were willing to take on his $14 million salary if they could throw Kei Igawa in the deal, the Mariners insisted that the Yanks include a prospect. That may be more that the Yankes are willing to pay.
-O's closer George Sherrill may also stay where he is due to an exhorbitant asking price. It was reported that the Cards were interested but they have just decided to put Jason Isringhausen back in the closer role, indicating a cooling of their interest.
-Mets manager Jerry Manuel announced yesterday that Fernando Tatis is his new starting left fielder, signaling the Mariners that they have backed off in their interest in Raul Ibanez.
-Blue Jays AJ Burnett also appears less likely to be traded than he was a week ago because GM Ricciardi says so but also maybe because he has an opt-out clause and a no-trade clause for 15 teams in his contract and no one wants to deal with that.

Forty-eight hours is an eternity going into the trade deadline and anything could still happen. It's not always easy to see through all the smoke being blown by all the GMs.

Cardinals Shopping Lohse

The St. Paul Pioneer Express is reporting the Cardinals may be waving the proverbial white flag in offering Kyle Lohse as trade bait in exchange for prospects. While they are only 4 games out of first place in the NL Central, Lohse will be demanding a big contract for next season. This seems a little premature and a slap in the face to fans to trade the team's best pitcher this season while still in the playoff hunt because they expect that he will command too much money as a free agent. After picking him up off the scrap heap before the season started, giving him away now would negate all the positives that came with that outstanding move. However, if Lohse could command multiple top-tier prospects and a capable starter to finish the regular season, this entire paragraph should be disregarded.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Quick Hits: Cubs, Reds, Red Sox

-The Cubs, feeling that they are in the enviable position of having enough pitching, especially with the impressive showing of young Jeff Samardzija, are offering up LH Scott Eyre.
-The Reds have decided not to trade Bronson Arroyo. Only the Yankees and Rockies expressed any real interest anyway. Apparently, the $24 million owed to him through 2010 was a sticking point. The Reds would have had to eat part of it to make a trade happen.
-The Red Sox are interested in Astros SS Miguel Tejada and have had preliminary discussions.

GM J.P. Ricciardi: Burnett not Going Anywhere

Toronto Blue Jays J.P. Ricciardi left little doubt about a potential AJ Burnett trade. Said Ricciardi, "He's not going anywhere." Burnett is in the middle of a 5-yr, $55 million deal, in which he can opt out after this season. There had been much talk about his departure but he no longer seems available. Thursday's a long way off, though.

Posada Finished for the Season

Yankees Jorge Posada has decided to to call it a season and will have shoulder surgery sooner rather than later. His lengthy recovery puts in question whether or not he will be ready for spring training. Jose Molina has taken over behind the plate and with the acquisition of first baseman Xavier Nady, an injured Posada is less of a necessity.

Are the Rockies Buyers All of a Sudden?

After much speculation that the Rockies were going to trade away talent like Brian Fuentes and Matt Holliday, something is afoot with the front office. GM Dan O'Dowd told that with their play of late (9-1 since the All-Star break) "I would say we are more a buyer than seller right now. The only way we would be if selling left me with just as competitive a club as we have now."

Angels Shopping for Pitching?

There hasn't been much speculation about the Angels making a deal this week unless it was for a big bat, of which there are too few available,but the L.A. Times is reporting this morning that they are looking at all the pitching offerings that are out there. They see Rockies' Brian Fuentes, O's George Sherrill, and Braves' Will Ohman as possibilities to bolster their middle-relief and Huston Street as a possible starter, in the event they need an extra arm in the rotation.

The Challenge of Trading Teixeira

ESPN's Steve Phillips discusses the likelihood of the Braves finding a buyer for Mark Teixeira as being not too high. In the AL, the Red Sox and Angels don't seem inclined to consider him. The Angels don't look like they're in the market this week and Boston has David Ortiz, even if he's not 100%. In the NL, most of the contenders have solid players at first base- Mets' Carlos Delgado, Cubs' Derek Lee, Brewers' Prince Fielder, Cards' Albert Pujols, Phillies' Ryan Howard. The Diamondbacks have Conor Jackson and they also just acquired Tony Clark. This would seem to leave the Braves without a suitor.

Update:'s Jon Heyman says his sources among other team executives are telling him a trade for Teixeira is very likely by week's end. The Diamondbacks are contemplating sending young first baseman Chad Tracy to Atlanta in the exchange. The Angels, Dodgers and Red Sox are the other teams said to be interested.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

UPDATE: Manny Ramirez Will Not Object to Trade

Manny Ramirez has told reporters he will not use his no-trade clause if the Red Sox want to trade him. Ramirez was quoted as saying, ""If the Red Sox are a better team without Manny Ramirez, they should trade me; I will not object..."I don't have any preferences: I could choose a team that offers me the best conditions or one in the chase for the postseason. I don't care where I play, I can even play in Iraq if need be. My job is to play baseball." We will surely here more about this before the trade deadline.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Yanks-Mariners Moving Closer on Washburn Deal

Sports Illustrated Jon Heyman is reporting tonight that a deal may be close sending Jarrod Washburn to the Yankees. The Yankees have agreed to take on Washburn's contract which includes $10.35 million for 2009. The Mariners will receive one minor leaguer in exchange for unloading Washburn's salary. Washburn has indicated a willingness to waive his no-trade clause and move cross country to make the deal happen.

Here We Go Again: Manny to be Dealt?

Prior to today's ballgame against the Yankees, Boston GM Theo Epstein told FOX analyst Tim McCarver that the club would try to trade OF Many Ramirez before the July 31st deadline if he would waive his no-trade clause. If true, this could dramatically shift the balance of power in the American League.

Blake to Dodgers in the Works

A trade sending Indians third basemen to the Dodgers for two minor leaguers is almost completed, is reporting. According to ESPN, "The Indians were believed to be receiving minor league catcher Carlos Santana and right-handed pitcher Jon Meloan. Santana is hitting .323, with 14 homers, for Inland Empire, in the Class A California League. The hard-throwing Meloan is 5-10, with a 4.97 ERA, at Triple-A Las Vegas -- but has piled up 335 strikeouts in only 262 innings in his minor league career." While Blake was mostly being pursued as an outfielder, the Dodgers will likely stick him into their starting lineup at third base, giving them a reliable bat they can count on down the stretch in the tight NL West.

Update: The deal was done Saturday for Blake and cash, in exchange for the two minor leaguers.

Basball Prospectus Division Winner Predictions

Baseball Prospectus has come out with their forecast for the teams most likely to win their divisions. I'll keep their analysis short as space an issue. You can check out their deeper analysis at their website. Here are their 1, 2 picks in each division.
NL West- Diamondbacks, Dodgers
The two teams are so close that their staying healthy and any trade activity this week could flip-flop the prediction.
NL Central-Cubs, Brewers
Again, health will be key for the Cubs. They have weathered Soriano's absence and a two-week stretch without Kerry Wood and are still in first but the Brewers are coming on strong. BP still sees the Cubs as the superior team because of their depth and balanced roster.
NL East-Mets, Phillies
The Mets pitching rotation is as good as any in baseball. They could use a corner outfielder and they are working to do that this week. The Phillies have made it this far with a strong bullpen but they have production holes in their lineup. BP does point out though that they came on very strong last season at the beginning of September.
AL West-Angels, Rangers
The Angels have a strong, pitching rotation and their run production has been steady. Look for action before te trade deadline,as well. The Rangers have good offense but inconsistent pitching.
AL Central-Tigers,White Sox
While the White Sox have exceeded expectation and have been in first place most of the season, BP expects them to fall off in run production and pitching. BP sees the Tigers as being in big need of one more bat in order to squeek past the White Sox but they predict that happening.

Feel free to weigh in on whether you agree or disagree with BP.

Mets Look Beyond Nady for Outfield Help

In the wake of last night's deal sending Pirates Xavier Nady to the Yankees, the Mets, who thought his price tag was too high anyway, are now looking for corner outfield help at Indians' Casy Blake, Seattle's Raul Ibanz and Pirates' Jason Bay, if he is still available after the Nady deal. This report comes from the New York Daily News.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Deal Imminent for Pirates' Nady

Pirates OF Xavier Nady was pulled in the second inning of tonights game and, according to multiple sources, a deal is imminent. With so many teams interested, it's hard to say at this point who the deal is with. For what it's worth, speculates that it could be the Rays seeing as how minor league SS Reid Brignac is also sitting out tonight. Definitely more to come on this tonight.

Update: Foxsports' Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the deal is with the Yankees and includes Damsaso Marte. the Pirates will receive four minor leaguers-Triple A RHP Ross Ohlendorf, Double AA RHP Phil Coke, George Contos and OF Jose Tabata. Rosenthal says a deal for Jarrod Washburn is also near and that the Mariners have asked him to waive his no-trade rights.

Further Update: The original deal has been amended. Triple A right handers Jeff Karstens and Daniel McCutchen replace Phil Coke and George Contos from the original deal.

Quick Hits: Uribe/Cora, Pirates(not the Pittsburgh kind) Washburn

-The Uribe-Cora deal between the White Sox and Red Sox is off. The Boston Globe is reporting that the Red Sox are the ones who backed off but other news sources are saying the White Sox needed "something else" to fall into place for this deal to work.
-To whomever is pirating this website, you have done great harm here. Be gone.
-The Jarrod Washburn talks continue between the Yanks and the Mariners. The Yankees want to include Kei Igawa in the deal and Seattle is hesitating. The Newark Star-Ledger is reporting that the Yankees might be willing to part with Melky Carbrera, Brett Gardner or Justin Christian.
-While very interested in Xavier Nady, the Rays are unwilling to pay the Pirates high price and have turned their attention to the Indians Casey Blake.

Will They be Buyers or Sellers?

-The Tigers, 5.5 games behind division leading White Sox are trying to decide whether they will be buyers or sellers next week. While they sent scouts to look at O's George Sherrill Wednesday night, Dave Dombrowksi would not acknowledge if catcher Pudge Rodriquez might be available, after the Miami Herald reported Marlins interest. He would not say one way or the other which side of the market they planned to be on. He said, " We'll see what happens over the next week".
-The Atlanta Braves, with a 48-53 record and 6.5 games back must also decide in the next few days if they have much of a chance at a run this year or if they should give up some talent and look ahead to next year. There is interest in Mark Teixeira and pitcher Will Ohman. I guess the level of interestin those players and the team's play over this weekend will help management decide which side to be on.

Brewers Not Looking at Sherrill

It has been widely reported that the Brewers were in hot pursuit of O's George Sherrill but GM Doug Melvin refuted that yesterday to the Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal. He said he had not had discussions with the Orioles about him and did not expect to.

Twins Shopping for Third Baseman

The Twins are serious about upgrading at third base and are working at a deal for Seattle's Adrian Beltre. They have also spoken with the Rangers about Hank Blalock and the Indians about Casey Blake.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Quick Hits

-The Cubs finally placed RHP Kerry Wood on the disabled list with a blister on his pitching hand. Wood likely faces either a minor league stint or a few bullpen sessions before he'll be ready to pitch for the big league club.

-In reference to an earlier post, Ken Rosenthal is reporting that if Juan Uribe is dealt to Boston, the White Sox would receive Alex Cora in return.

-The Braves have shown some interest in OF Jose Guillen. This is a little confusing seeing as how Guillen is so similar to current Braves OF Jeff Francoeur

Is Bonds Signing Still a Possibility??

Yankee officials gathered for meetings today to, among other issues, strategize going into the trade deadline next week. When asked if a Bonds deal was possible, Hank Steinbrenner said, "I'll mention it. We cover everything. No stone will be left unturned." There's no point in reading into his cryptic remarks but it sure can't be called a flat-out no-way, no-how.

Good News for Cubs Fans

The Associated Press is reporting today that three potential buyers have made it to the second round of proposals in their quest to buy the team and Wrigley Field. The good news is that Mark Cuban was one of those bidders and John Canning, thought by all the Chicago press to be the front runner because of his close association with Commissioner Bud Selig was not. The other remaining contenders are the Ricketts family, who founded TD Ameritrade and a group led by Sports Acquisition Holding Corp. that is thought to be partnering with another group.


Apparently Roy Halladay is growing tired of mediocrity in Toronto and the front office is quietly surveying teams' interests, Ben Maller of reports. He mentions both the Dodgers and Cardinals as possible suitors. Keep an eye on this rumor as Halladay is one of the most consistent and underrated pitchers in the league, making him more than capable of affecting a division race. With over 5 complete games and only 2 outings less than 6 innings, Halladay is an innings eater with the stuff to dominate in the National League. It would be fitting to see him go to the Cardinals, giving all three contenders a newly acquired top of the rotation starter.

Lo Duca Wants to Catch Again

Even with Jorge Posada trying to postpone shoulder surgery until after the season, he can't go on catching. That must be good news to Paul Lo Duca, who told the Washington Post that he would welcome a trade if it meant he could catch again. He's been playing first base for the Nationals. He's batting .248 in 121 at-bats.

The Market for Sherrill Heats Up

The Baltimore Sun is reporting that the Cards and Brewers are in hot pursuit of George Sherrill. The Phillies, Cubs, Dodgers, Reds, Marlins and Tigers have also scouted him lately but the Orioles are said to be looking for "two,if not three" prospects in return.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What Aren't the Yankees Shopping For?

In taking a last look for the day on any evening news I might have missed, I couldn't help noticing the number of items detailing interest in players that the Yankees supposedly have. For starters, they have talked to the Mariners about LH pitcher Jarrod Washburn. Also, being reported by the New York Post is their ongoing interest in Pirates reliever Damasco Marte and Rockies Brian Fuentes. In addition, they are considering going after Mark Teixeira to play first base and possibly, the Orioles catcher Ramon Hernandez. The New York Daily News reported that during interviews at last week's All-Star game, Hal Steinbrenner told GM Brian Cashman to make whatever deals he deemed necessary, including trading prized prospects. I guess if you cast a wide enough net, you have a better chance of landing something.

Hi-Lo Salary Averages

Not surprisingly, the Yankees lead the majors in average salary paid at $6.7 million. The Twins are on the low end at $2.48 million.

Active American League

Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the White Sox held discussions with the Baltimore Orioles about a deal involving Orlando Cabrera and Brian Roberts, but nothing materialized. The White Sox would have then moved Alexei Ramirez to shortstop. The Orioles have shown since the winter that they are very reluctant to give up Roberts, but one has to wonder how far out of first place they'll have to be before they give up on their veterans while they're still valuable. Rosenthal is also reporting that the A's and Pirates have had discussions about OF Jason Bay but Rosenthal doesn't think a deal will be made. With Bay a free agent in 2009, the A's likely are not willing to give up the prospects it would take to acquire him.

Quick Hits

-Francisco Liriano is dominating in Triple-A right now, winning his 9th straight decision last night while pitching 7 shutout innings and striking out 10. It's only a matter of time before the Twins call him up and it will be difficult for them to keep him out of the rotation.

-The Rockies, according to multiple sources, are scaring teams away with their asking price for reliever Brian Fuentes. It seems invevitable that he gets dealt but to who and for how much remains to be seen.

- The Mariners are still trying to find a taker for SP Erik Bedard. That trade has really come back to hurt them and Bedard's shoulder issues are only making it worse

Biggest Needs for AL Playoff Contenders

-The Red Sox are in pretty good shape, according to Perry. He points a finger at Jason Varitek's underachieving season but thinks the only real need they have is RH middle relief, assuming that Justin Masterson can settle in in the bullpen.
-The Yankees have a long list of players on the DL, with the chance that Matsui and Posada could be gone for the season. They need another bat and will likely be looking at the same players as the Mets, Holliday, Bay, Giles and Dunn.
-The Tampa Bay Rays need a RH left fielder to partner with Carl Crawford, who, with a .235 avg, can't hit lefty pitcher to save his life.
-The White Sox-With one of the worst farm systems in baseball, it's lucky for them, as Perry sees it that that so don't have a lot of holes to fill. They just need for Paul Konerko to start hitting and Jose Contreras to come off the DL in good shape.
-The Minnesota Twins need a third baseman. Perry sees Adrian Beltre as a good fit for them because he bring hitting and fine defense.
-The Angels should be on the hunt for another big bat as their production from their left fielder and their DH has been less than stellar. Third base is also a weak spot offensively.

Biggest Needs for NL Playoff Contenders

Foxsports contributor Dayn Perry took a look at the most pressing needs for playoff contenders with the deadline being a mere eight days away.
- Let's start with the Cubs who came back from the All-Star break with a 4-game lead and after a dismal, offensively ice cold week, now cling to a one game lead over the Brewers. With Carlos Marmol's ERA at 8.83 since June 1st and Kerry Wood ding battle with a blister on his pitching hand that won't seem to heal, Perry sees their greatest need as relief pitching.
-The Brewers have made signifigant improvements by acquiring CC Sabathia and Ray Durham but could use some more middle relief help.
-For the Cardinals, it is also pitching, pitching, pitching. It is pretty impressive that they've been as successful as they have so far, considering the precarious condition of their rotation and their distinction of leading the league in blown saves.
The Mets need a corner outfielder and they need him now. Perry feels they need to go after a big name like Holliday, Bay, Dunn or Giles.
-The Phillies could use more pitching help, as well. Even with the addition of Joe Blanton, they could use another starter or some lefty relief help. Expect them to make a run for Brian Fuentes or Damasco Marte.
-The Marlins catcher situation is not pretty. Their catchers are hitting a combined .226 but the odds of landing a worthwhile catcher at the deadline are not looking too good. Like everybody else on this list, they could another starting pitcher.
-The Diamondbacks need a big bat. To that end, there are the aforementioned Giles and Dunn. They also might want to consider going after Mark Teixeira.
-The Dodgers-what don't they need?? Their ace and closer are both on the DL and their 2B, 3B and CF are all under-performing. Perry suggests Brian Roberts would boost the offense and defense at second base.

Some of these teams will be able to upgrade in the next week and some won't. There just isn't enough talent available to go around.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

We Were Highjacked!!

For those of you who may have missed my post yesterday, my site was highjacked sometime Sunday. I am still trying to determine how this happened and how to reach all my readers but if you are reading this, then you are still with me. My web host has not been particularly helpful in resurrecting my site so I am not able to receive your comments yet. The trade deadline is now only 9 days away and I'm still here, working harder than ever to stay on top of what's happening.

Do not go to my old web It may be gone forever but lives on.

MLB Slaps Cubs with 500K Fine

MLB has fined the Chicago Cubs $500,000 for multiple violations relating to the June draft of new players. The violations include failing to report a signing to the New York offices and putting a player on the field before receiving approval from the NY office. The size of the fine indicates that MLB took these offenses pretty seriously.

Diamondbacks Acquire RH Reliever Jon Rauch

Major League's tallest player in history, 6'11" Jon Rauch was traded to by the Nationals to the Diamondbacks today for 2B Emililo Bonifacio. The Diamondbacks were forced to shore up their bullpen after their three expected pitchers, Qualls, Lyon and Pena did not pitch well and have struggled. Rauch is 24-17 and has a career ERA of 3.63 in six years.

Cards Express Interest in Sherrill

While the Cubs and Brewers have made big moves to improve their pitching, the Cards have stood by, presumably hoping their injured pitchers will return to form. Now, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, they are rethinking that strategy and getting into market by expressing interest in Orioles LH George Sherrill. While several teams are looking at him, another possibility is Texas LH reliever Eddie Guardado.

White Sox Looking for Pitching Help

Like just about everyone else, the White Sox is looking to shore up their pitching. They have been in discussions with more than one team, according to the Chicago Sun-Times and the big decision they must make is whether they're willing to part with minor league 3B Josh Fields, who they project to be their next third baseman. It's one of those 'win now at the expense of later' dilemmas.

Dodgers Looking at Huston Street

-The Dodgers have been showing interest in Oakland reliever Huston Street since Takashi Saito went down with an injury. With the NL West wide open and a very strong farm system, the Dodgers are serious contenders for nearly every big-time player who will be available at the trade deadline.

Randy Wolf to the Astros

ESPN's Buster Olney is reporting that the Padres and Astros are in talks to make a deal for Randy Wolf, in exchange for prospects. Olney points out that the Astros have a dismal farm system and it makes little sense to give up whatever prospects they might value for a pitcher who is sure to go to a higher bidder come fall and the free-agent market.

UPDATE: The deal has been completed with the Astros sending minor league pitcher Chad Reineke

Teixeira Headed to Angels?

The St. Paul Pioneer Press is reporting this morning on a rumor floating around that deal is in the works between the Angels and Atlanta that would send utility player Robb Quinlan and minor leaguer 3B Brandon Wood to Atlanta for 2-month rental Teixeira.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bear With Me

As you can see, I am moving over my archives from my high-jacked old site. If things seem a little disorganized, I apologize. My priority is to stay up on today's news, first and foremost and slowly move over all my old posts.

Quick Hits: What We Missed Today

*Who, among the Pirates is untouchable going into the deadline? It doesn't seem like anyone. While OF Xavier Nady and reliever Damasco Marte are the big names being dangled, their price tags may be too high for most teams to pay. However, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that SS Jack Wilson, OF, Jason Bay and returning pitcher John Grabow are also drawing interest.
*Mets Manager Jerry Manuel said yesterday that he expects the Mets to make a move for a big bat. While Matt Holliday, Xavier Nady and Jason Bay may top their list, they are also lloking at Raul Ibanez and Casey Blake.
*There were more than a dozen scouts at Friday night's game against Tampa Bay, in which AJ Burnett was pitching but GM J.P. Riccardi says he doesn't think there will be a deal for him because of his opt-out clause. He would draw too high a price for a short-term rental to most teams. However, let it be noted that the Yankees had scouts there and they never shy away from overpaying.

Cubs Hoping to Avoid DL for Wood

Will he or won't he is the question of the day for Kerry Wood. It was announced last week that he had been suffering from a blister on this throwing hand for more than a couple weeks but was pitching anyway. It got so bad that he had to stop pitching but even with a week's rest, it has not improved enough for the Cubs to feel his return is imminent. The Chicago papers are reporting that his placement on the DL could come as early as tonight. This happens just as Soriano begins his rehab assignment in Mesa.

UPDATE: New treatment of the blister may keep Wood off the DL after all. We'll know more in the next day or two.

The Brewers Make Another Deal

The Brewers drive to win their division pressed on over the weekend as they acquired second baseman Ray Durham from the Giants for two minor leaguers. The deal was done before Sunday's night's game in which the two teams were to play each other. Durham asked that the deal not be announced until afterwards so he wouldn't have to suit up in his first game as a Brewer against his old team.

We're Back!!!

Well, we had quite a scare this morning when we awoke and saw our site with some rather unsavory advertising and much of the commenting being done in Vietnamese. With a little help from someone far more experienced than I, we were able to get back up and running. With only 10 days until the trade deadline, time is of the essence. Let's see what we missed since this morning.

Quick Hits: What we missed today

*Who, among the Pirates is untouchable going into the deadline? It doesn't seem like anyone. While OF Xavier Nady and reliever Damasco Marte are the big names being dangled, their price tags may be too high for most teams to pay. However, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that SS Jack Wilson, OF, Jason Bay and returning pitcher John Grabow are also drawing interest.
*Mets Manager Jerry Manuel said yesterday that he expects the Mets to make a move for a big bat. While Matt Holliday, Xavier Nady and Jason Bay may top their list, they are also lloking at Raul Ibanez and Casey Blake.
*There were more than a dozen scouts at Friday night's game against Tampa Bay, in which AJ Burnett was pitching but GM J.P. Riccardi says he doesn't think there will be a deal for him because of his opt-out clause. He would draw too high a price for a short-term rental to most teams. However, let it be noted that the Yankees had scouts there and they never shy away from overpaying.

Cubs Hoping to Avoid DL for Wood

Will he or won't he is the question of the day for Kerry Wood. It was announced last week that he had been suffering from a blister on this throwing hand for more than a couple weeks but was pitching anyway. It got so bad that he had to stop pitching but even with a week's rest, it has not improved enough for the Cubs to feel his return is imminent. The Chicago papers are reporting that his placement on the DL could come as early as tonight. This happens just as Soriano begins his rehab assignment in Mesa.

Eli's MLB Rumors Staff

Eli G., CEO/Founder
See About Eli.

Alan O., Editor in Chief
Alan, 42, is a married father of four. The family believes in God, but their cathedral is Tropicana Field. He has been blessed to be able to take his oldest children to Rays games with regularity. They have built many memories together over the course of this miraculous season. He enjoys this site and hopes his contributions will help Eli's MLB Rumors reach the next level.

Will M., League Updates Contributor

Will lives in Ontario, Canada and has been a baseball fan dating back to the early 1990s. He credits Roy Halladay's near no-hitter in 1998 that made him fall in love with baseball. He is a Blue Jays fan at heart, but watches five to seven games from around the league each week.

Stu L., Personality Contributor
Coming Soon!

Nicholas W., League Updates Contributor
Coming Soon!

Barry N., Contributor

Coming Soon!

Patrick D., Contributor
Coming Soon!

2009 MLB Free Agent Predictions

1. Top 50 Free Agents: 1-10
4. Top 50 Free Agents: 31-40
5. Top 50 Free Agents: 41-50


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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Holliday and Fuentes in Package for Phillies?

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports is reporting that a proposed deal for Matt Holliday and Brian Fuentes to go to the Phillies for a package of players, including Of Shane Victorino, LH J.A. Happ, Double A RH Carlos Carrasco and Double A catcher Lou Marsen has been called off. Talks are not expected to resume.

The Closer Market

ESPN's Buster Olney took a look at the market for closers heading into the trade deadline and sees it like this: Fuentes, Sherrill and Street. While Colorado's Brian Fuentes seems like the top pick here, the Rockies are, at the moment, asking for the moon in return. Olney points out that one reason Baltimore's George Sherrill or Oakland's Huston Street might be more attractive is that neither one of them is eligible for free agency until 2010 for Street and 2011 for Sherrill and Fuentes is a free agent this year. While Fuentes and Street have more experience, Sherrill may be most attractive because he's left-handed and can be locked in for longer.

Pirates Unreasonable about Nady and Marte?

Word is circling around the MLB that the Pirates are making unreasonable demands regarding their most prized assets, Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte, as the trade deadline nears. The New York Post cited one front office executive saying the Pirates demands were "exorbitant". With top prospects being held out of most deals not involving star players, the Pirates will be hard pressed to pry away any blue chippers for either Nady or Marte. 

Friday, July 18, 2008

Listen Up Cubs Fans

This is by no means anything definitive but it is interesting. Of the three other NL teams to have ever sent 8 players to the All-Star game, two; the 1943 Cardinals and the 1960 Pirates made it to the World Series, with the Pirates winning it. The other team, the '56 Reds finished the season in third place. Does any of this make you feel more or less confident? Me either.

Quick Hits

-The Phillies and Rockies held talks about a possible deal for OF Matt Holliday but talks have cooled for now.

-Francisco Liriano is apparently very frustrated with the Twins for keeping him in Triple-A. He is considering filing a grievance.

-Long time hurler Hideo Nomo has retired at the age of 39. 

Cashman Says: No Bonds

Despite numerous reports yesterday that the Yankees were in the process of negotiating a deal with Barry Bonds, GM Brian Cashman reiterated his position on the matter saying, " We have had no discussions regarding Barry Bonds." Check out where, this morning they are still standing by the story and citing an unnamed source inside the Yankee organization as their source.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

BREAKING NEWS: Phillies Acquire Blanton

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Phillies have acquired Joe Blanton from the A's for Josh Outman, Adrian Cardenas, and Matt Spencer. "Outman, 23, was 5-4 with one save and a 3.20 ERA in 33 games (5 starts) for Double-A Reading. Cardenas, 20, was hitting .309 in 67 games for Single-A Clearwater. Spencer, 22, was hitting .249 with six home runs and 41 RBIs in 84 games for Clearwater." The A's were considered to be in contention at this point -- but after trading their two best players, I expect them to fall off as the season winds down. Nevertheless, the A's have made some great trades that should help them down the road.

Tony Clark to the Diamondbacks

The Arizona Republic is reporting that a deal between the Diamondbacks and the Padres for Tony Clark is expected to be official later today. In exchange, the Padres will receive a prospect, to be named.

UPDATE: Another first basemen is on the move. The Yankees have agreed to a deal with struggling first basemen Richie Sexson. Sexson is hitting .344 against lefties this year, making him a good complement to Jason Giambi.

Who's Most Likely to be Traded at Deadline?

Anyone who watches our website and others is, undoubtedly seeing the same names being floated as trade bait leading up to the deadline two weeks from today. While the Cubs and Brewers have made big moves, others are holding off, trying to maximize whatever leverage they have. That is true for the buyers and the sellers. Here are the names that keep getting mentioned as most likely to be traded: Mark Teixeira, AJ Burnett, Joe Blanton, Milton Bradley, Matt Holliday, Brian Fuentes, Erik Bedard, Xavier Nady, Raul Ibanez. It will be an interesting two weeks as the positioning and posturing pick up.

Update: Blanton was moved today for 3 minor league prospects. See post above.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Quick Hits

-The Giants have signed 16 year old outfielder Rafael Rodriguez, giving him a 2.55 million dollar signing bonus. This would be the largest ever had the A's not given Michael Inoa over four million earlier this month.

-Indians OF Matt LaPorta and Cardinals OF Colby Rasmus have both been named to the Olympic team.

-The Twins are considering putting Francisco Liriano in the bullpen upon his return to the majors.

Saito Out Until Late August

Dodgers closer Takashi Saito will be sidelined until late August with a sprained elbow ligament in his pitching arm. Saito has 17 saves in 20 chances for the Dodgers and this appears to be a tough blow for them. General Manager Ned Colletti said as much, saying "As far as trading for a closer, it's a lot like trying to acquire a shortstop -- it's a premium position and most teams don't carry an excess". Jonathon Broxton will take over at closer for the time being.

ESPN's Jayson Stark Hands Out 1/2 Season Honors

Check out ESPN contributor Jayson Stark's picks for the best and worst performances of the first half of the season. Look it over and weigh in on your thoughts:
NL MVP- Cards Albert Pujols
Honorable Mention-Utley, Ramirez, Jones, Berkman, Uggla, Holliday
AL MVP- Rangers Ian Kinsler
Honorable Mention-Hamilton, Bradley, ARod, Quentin, Youkilis, Mauer, Drew
Least Valuable NL Player-Dodgers Andruw Jones
Runners-Up-Tulowitzki, F. Sanchez, Francoeur, K. Greene
Least Valuable AL Player- No Longer Mariner Richie Sexson
Runners-Up-E. Renteria, J. Vidro, K. Johijima, R. Cano
NL Cy Young-Giants Tim Lincecum
Runners Up-Volquez, Webb, Sheets, Zambrano, Haren, Lidge
Al Cy Young-Yankees Mariano Rivera
Runners Up-Duchscherer, Lee, R. Halladay, J. Saunders, KRod, J. Danks
NL Rookie-Cubs Geovany Soto
Honorable Mention-Votto, DeWitt, Jurrijens, Parra, Fukodome
AL Rookie-Rays Evan Longoria
Honorable Mention-Ellsbury, D. Murphy, G. Smith, J. Chamberlain, N. Blackburn, J. Johnson, A. Aramirez

Will Cashman Break Down and Hire Bonds?

With both Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui injured and Matsui possibly facing season-ending knee surgery, Brian Cashman is not ruling out the possibility of hiring Barry Bonds. He spoke to reporters before the All-Star game last night and said, in part, "I would say rampant speculation on us involving a player of that magnitude would be extremely premature."

All-Star Marathon

It looked like the National League might actually win one last night but it was not meant to be. After a 15-inning marathon that lasted until almost 2 AM, the AL snatched victory away and won 4-3. The real story of the low-scoring game was the dilemma faced by the managers as they ran out of pitching. Ken Rosenthal already has a plan to avoid this next time. He suggests naming an additional 4 pitchers per team to be used as reserves only in this scenario.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Quick Hits (Pre All-Star Game Edition)

-Tim Lincecum will miss tonight's all-star game after being taken to the hospital and treated for dehydration and flu-like systems. is reporting that both Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui could be out longer than expected after both revealed setbacks in their rehab.

-A Babe Ruth cap was auctioned off for a reported 328 thousand dollars

-Enjoy the game tonight, post your predictions of winner, MVP and the score!

All-Star Break Quick Hits

-The Orioles' George Sherrill may be on the block. Even with an ERA at 4.08 and six blown saves, he's still been impressive enough that the Orioles may try to get the most they can for him before the trade deadline.
-Roy Halladay expressed his frustration to reporters at the All-Star press briefing last night. While he expressed an obligatory desire to stay where he is, he also acknowledged that it's very frustrating to not see improvement within the club from year to year. He went as far as comparing the situation to the movie "Groundhog Day" where things never change.
-Agent Scott Boras is dropping hints about an extension for RH Kyle Lohse but so far, the Cards have made no contact with him on that subject. He's 11-2 with a 3.39 ERA. He signed a one-year deal last winter for $4.25 million.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Breaking News: Josh Hamilton is Really, Really Strong


Update: Rangers Josh Hamilton fell short in the final round of the home run derby after hitting a record 28 in the first round and was beaten by Minnesota's Justin Morneau 5-3.

Quick Hits: Marte, Rauch, Fuentes, Mahay

-Interest in Pirates reliever Damasco Marte is growing by the day. Teams with a professed interest, as of now are the Yankees, Cards, Mets, Rays and Boston.
-The Nationals are shopping closer Jon Rauch, who may be of more interest than others because he is under contract until 2010.
-With Royals LH Ron Mahay and Rockies Brian Fuentes also being offered up as the trade deadline approaches, it will be interesting to see who goes first among all these available relievers and for how much.

Cubs Express Interest in Khalil Greene??

The San Diego Union-Tribune has a report that the Cubs contacted the Padres about shortstop Khalil Greene. After they passed on pursuing Brian Roberts last winter, their plan to go with what they had, that being a combination of Ryan Theriot, Mark DeRosa, Mike Fontenot and Ronny Cedeno seemed like a risky decision. However, it seemed to pan out just fine. Theriot is hitting around .310 and backup SS Ronny Cedeno hitting well in limited at bats. Greene is slumping and his average has fallen to .216.

K-Rod to Test Market? is reporting that Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez intends to file for free agency after this season. Rodriguez is quoted as saying, "If I wait six years, why not wait 2 and half more months?" K-Rod currently leagues the lead in saves with 38 heading into the all-star break, an astonishing number. He is likely to command a huge deal in free agency, but as we wrote earlier this summer, it is up to the market to determine how much a closer is really worth in comparison to a starter. With the amount of money mediocre players have been receiving in free agency, anything seems possible now.

All-Star Lineups

AL Lineup:

1. rf Ichiro Suzuki

2. ss Derek Jeter

3. cf Josh Hamilton

4. 3b Alex Rodriguez

5. lf Manny Ramirez

6. dh Milton Bradley

7. 1b Kevin Youkilis

8. c Joe Mauer

9. 2b Dustin Pedroia

P Cliff Lee


1. ss Hanley Ramirez

2. 2b Chase Utley

3. 1b Lance Berkman

4. dh Albert Pujols

5. 3b Chipper Jones

6. rf Matt Holliday

7. lf Ryan Braun

8. cf Kosuke Fukudome

9. C Geovany Soto

P Ben Sheets

Tigers Willis Giving Up Trademark Leg Lift Delivery

Tigers LH pitcher Dontrelle Willis told reporters over the weekend that he is trying to revamp his pitching delivery. He is working with coaches on it but did not go into detail on what those changes might be. As detailed here last week, he's been plagued with knee issues, has an ERA over 10.00 and has been sent to Lakeland to rehab. An MRI on his knee showed there was no structural damage but some tendinitis. Time will tell whether he can return to his old form with a new delivery.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

LaRussa Asking Front Office for Help

Cardinals GM Tony LaRussa is hoping the front office is not writing off their 2008 playoff chances by keeping their "hands in their pockets" as the trade deadline nears. GM John Mozeliak has stated publicly that he is not interested in giving up future potential starters for a playoff race that seems unlikely, given the competition of the Brewers and Cubs, who have recently made blockbuster deals to improve their pitching.

Teixeira to be Traded?

The Braves continue to slip in the standings and it is possible that the Braves would look to trade him for a pair of prospects and prepare for 2009. The Yankees may be interested, but I see a team looking to win in 2008 to take a chance on him. The Rays could jump in if they don't jump in on Bonds, but that too, appears unlikely.

Clark to Arizona?

This past offseason Tony Clark spurned the Diamondbacks for the Padres. The Padres have struggled mightily and the Diamodbacks are fighting for a playoff spot atop the division. Clark is an experienced pitch hitter and spot starter, so he could help the Diamondbacks for the second half of the season.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Sexson To Yankees?

According to the New York Post, GM Brian Cashman is interested in signing 1B Richie Sexson when he clears waivers next week. Sexson has really struggled over the past couple of years but a change of scenery, especially to a contender, could do him well. Giambi is hitting for power at first, but Betemit is not hitting for the power the Yankees had hoped for. Adding Sexson would give them a right hander hitter to balance out their lineup. If they can sign him for the minimum, it could turn out to be a great deal for the Yankees.

Full-On Blackballing of Bonds

While there has been no formal press conference with the 30 GMs sitting in stone-faced solidarity for the press, it is pretty obvious that Barry Bonds is through in the Major Leagues. His agent, Jeff Borris has said not one team has contacted him about Bonds. Those GM's who have publicly stated their lack of interest, from the Cards, Yankees, Diamondbacks and Phillies, all give the same reason, too much baggage. Hard to feel sorry for the guy but it's hard to believe no one will give in to their competitive needs for power hitting as July winds down.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Ibanez to Mets?

The underachieving Mariners are starting to look to the future and may look to trade Raul Ibanez. They have already released Richie Sexson, who is not drawing much interest, and may shop Jose Vidro along with Adrian Beltre. Ibanez to the Mets makes a lot of sense, mostly because it would not cost the Mets much. The Mariners would still be able to land a decent prospect for him that could help towards their future. Xavier Nady is also drawing interest from the Mets as well.

Burnett Probably Staying Put

A.J. Burnett is drawing a lot of interest as we approach the trade deadline. Burnett can opt out of his contract at the end of the season and will likely do that to get out of Toronto and closer to his family. At the moment, the Phillies make the most sense because they need a pitcher and he would be close to home. However, he is 9-8 with a 5.23 ERA and has 24 million left on his contract. It would be hard for any team to take that on for two months. The Cardinals seem like a team that could take a chance if they were willing to sign him long term, but GM John Mozeliak seems more interested in going after a power hitter.

All-Star Game: American League Domination?

With the exception of the absurd tie in the 2002 All-Star Game, the American League has won the battle of the leagues 10 consecutive years. This statistic is supported by interleague play as well as recent World Series Champions, as 3 out of the last 4 have come from the AL. So far this year, the AL has thoroughly dominated the NL in interleague play, winning an astounding 59 percent of the time. some may argue that the institution of the DH has contributed to the American League's superior lineups, but a lot of the imbalance can be attiributed to luck. Multiple successful drafts by American League teams as well as horrible free agent signings by the National League ( Mike Hampton, meet Barry Zito) have furthered the gap. These disparities appear in other sports as well and tend to correct themselves over time. Just some food for thought in this slow period before the All-Star Break and the trade deadline.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Quick Hits

-The Mariners released 1B Richie Sexson. Sexson has struggled mightily since joining Seattle and will likely try to cling on with a contender as the season progresses.

-Matt Holliday will replace Cubs OF Alfonso Soriano by starting in LF for the NL All-Stars.

-Vernon Wells will miss 4-6 weeks with a hamstring injury

-Evan Longoria and Corey Hart were both voted in to represent their respective clubs in the All Star Game

White Sox Have Fireworks, Fireworks

The White Sox played a wild game on Wednesday night, overcoming a five run deficit to defeat the Kansas City Royals 7-6. Carlos Quentin got the fireworks started with 2 home runs, while Jermaine Dye and Orlando Cabrera created some of their own fireworks in the dugout. During Dye's 8th inning at bat, Cabrera stole 3rd, apparently distracting Dye from his current at bat and leading to them exchanging words in the dugout. Before things could escalate, OF DeWayne Wise stepped in and separated the two. While many will look at this as an ominous sign for the first place team, I think I would rather have my team showing some fire than playing without passion in the thick of a pennant race. The White Sox have arguably the most fiery manager in the league and their players seem to be following suit.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Cards Mulder Leaves Comeback Game with Shoulder Pain

In his first game back after shoulder surgery that sidelined him since September, Mark Mulder left the game after throwing just 16 pitches. He will be evaluated by doctors tomorrow. Mulder has not won a game in 25 months.

Phillies Still Shopping for a Starter

As discussed last week, the Phillies thought they had a shot at CC Sabathia and now that that isn't happening, they are looking elsewhere. With the Cubs grabbing Rich Harden almost on top of the Sabathia deal, that leaves the Phillies considering Mariners LH Erik Bedard and Toronto RH AJ Burnett.

Quick Hits

-The Marlins have stepped up their pursuit of a starting catcher, targeting Yorvit Torrealba after Matt Treanor went down with an injury

-The Twins have had internal discussions about Adrian Beltre, but the talks appear to be in the very early stages

-Yovani Gallardo is hoping to return by the end of the year from knee surgery. This seems a bit optimistic but stranger things have happened

-The Diamondbacks are atleast considering the idea of adding Barry Bonds, with GM Josh Byrnes not flatly denying interest like most teams have

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Cubs Make Deal for Harden

Cubs GM Jim Hendry wasted no time answering the Brewers move for Sabathia the other day. He landed RH starter Rich Harden from the A's. He said the deal was in the works for the last couple of weeks but heated up over the holiday weekend. Harden is only 26 and has an option for '09. He has a 5-3 record with a 2.34 ERA in 13 starts and 92 SO in 77 innings. While his numbers are good and he is young, he also has a tendency to get injured, having gone to the DL six times since '05. The Cubs also got 25-year old reliever Chad Gaudin, 25 who is 5-3 with a 3.59 ERA in 26 appearances. He will be used out of the bullpen but could also start, if necessary. The Cubs gave up starter Sean Gallagher, OF Matt Murton, minor leaguers OF Eric Patterson and catcher Josh Donaldson. The move provides the Cubs with a second (potential) ace at the top of their rotation to pair with Carlos Zambrano, although Harden's health problems will obviously remain a concern. For Oakland, they acquire an assortment of minor leaguers that appear to be ready for the big show. Gallagher has shown flashes of brilliance early this season and Murton has already proved that he can hit for average in the big leagues. Once again, Billy Beane seems to have pulled off a great deal for the future in dealing one of his talented starting pitchers.

Sabathia to Dodgers Nixed by Owner?

The L.A. Daily News is reporting that a potential deal to send C.C. Sabathia to the Dodgers as well as two other players was nixed by Dodgers owner Frank McCourt for financial reasons. McCourt wholeheartedly denies these allegations, saying the players did not match up and that was that. This is an interesting story if true, as the Dodgers pitching staff would receive a huge shot of life from Sabathia as well as seeing how C.C. would have responded playing in a large market like L.A.

Dontrelle Willis Done for the Season?

It looks increasingly more likely that Tigers pitcher Dontrelle Willis could be taking his 10.32 ERA home for the season. He's been at Class A Lakeland since early June trying to regain his control but is now headed home to have his troubled knee looked at. He hasn't been effective at all in his first season as a Tiger since going on the DL with a hyper-extended knee back in April.

Update: The news on Willis' knee is good. Results from an MRI done today reveal tendinitis. Willis was fitted for a brace and given a shot of cortisone, before heading back to Lakeland.

Theo Epstein, Omar Minaya: No Interest in Bonds

After speculation in print that the Red Sox had expressed interest in Barry Bonds,GM Theo Epstein wasted no time shooting down that rumor. He said there was nothing to the speculation. Bonds agent, Jeff Borris released a statement saying there had been no contact from anyone within the Mets organization pertaining to his client, Bonds. Minaya stopped short of saying there was no chance they'd look at Bonds.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Fuentes Being Eyed by Many Teams

Tampa Bay is but one of a half dozen teams looking at Rockies LH reliever Brian Fuentes. They seem to be the most interested at the moment but as we get further into July, keep on eye on the Marlins, Phillies, Cards, Oakland, Boston and the Mets to take a closer look.

Quick Hits

-The Braves will recall Jeff Francoeur tonight after he went 7-13 in Double-A.

-The Cubs will step up their efforts to acquire a starting pitcher after the Brewers recent deal, including targets Rich Harden and Randy Wolf.

-Curt Schilling is still undecided on whether he will play baseball again.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Brewers Close on Deal for Sabathia

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is reporting online within the last hour that a deal for CC Sabathia is so close to being done that prospect Matt Laporta has been scratched from tonight's lineup, to avoid injury on the verge on this deal. Two other minor league prospects are included in the deal. The paper is reporting that Sabathia has already been penciled in for Tuesday's game against the Rockies.

UPDATE: Deal is official, Sabathia is a Brewer. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that the Brewers will be sending OF Matt LaPorta, LHP Zach Jackson, and relief pitcher Rob Bryson.

Red Sox and Cubs Each to Send 7 Players to All-Star Game

The Red Sox and Cubs are the only two teams to send 7 players to the All-Star game. Cubs catcher Geovany Soto is the first rookie catcher ever in the NL and Kosuke Fukodome is the first rookie outfielder since Frank Robinson in 1956. The other NL teams each have two players named to the team. Other Cubs named are Alfonso Soriano, who is soon to come off the DL after a hand injury, Aramis Ramirez and pitchers, Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood. Wood is in rare company, along with Rich Goassage, Dennis Eckersley and John Smoltz to be named to the squad as a starter and a closer.
The Red Sox had four starters voted in by fans: Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez. Added reserves are Jonathan Papelbon, Jason Varitek and J.D. Drew.

Brewers Offer For Sabathia

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is reporting that the Brewers have made an offer for CC Sabathia that includes their number one prospect, Class AA outfielder Matt Laporta. There's no report on who else is in the package. With so many other teams like the Yankees, Cubs, Phillies and Dodgers openly interested, why would GM Mark Shapiro make a deal now?

Expect Padres to be Sellers at Trade Deadline

Padres CEO Sandy Alderson: "If we were to be buyers, it would be hard to choose among catcher, shortstop, outfield, starting pitcher, half the bullpen. There's not a shopping cart big enough." Summing up where they stand as the trade deadline, must be good news for teams looking for help. Expect pitchers Randy Wolf and Greg Maddux to go, among others.

Lidge Contract Extension

A report on said to expect an announcement today that Phillies closer Brad Lidge and the Phillies have agreed to a 3-year, $37.5 million contract extension, with a club option in 2012. Lidge has not blown a save yet in 2008.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

All-Star Starters In?

The New York Post is reporting that they have received word of the starters for the All-Star Game, a report that was scheduled to be released tomorrow night on TBS. For the American League, the Post is reporting that their lineup will look as follows:

C Joe Mauer
1B Kevin Youkilis
2B Dustin Pedroia
SS Derek Jeter
3B Alex Rodriguez
OF Ichiro Suzuki
OF Manny Ramirez
OF Josh Hamilton
DH David Ortiz (replaced by Milton Bradley

Cliff Lee will be the starter for the AL and, apparently, Mariano Riviera is slated to pitch the 9th inning


C Geovany Soto
1B Lance Berkman
2B Chase Utley
SS Hanley Ramirez
3B Chipper Jones
OF Alfonso Soriano
OF Kosuke Fukudome
OF Ken Griffey Jr.

Brandon Webb will be the starter for the National League

More analysis to come...

Are White Sox Shopping Uribe?

After two consecutive starts, one at SS, one at 2B, are the Sox showcasing Juan Uribe in an effort to trade him? Since he lost his starting job to Alexi Ramirez, he has been expendable and the Dodgers and Orioles were said to be interested.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Quick Hits: Mahay, Inoa, Fogg

*The Royals have several suitors interested in lefty reliever Ron Mahay. He is 4-0 with a 2.13 ERA. The Tigers, Yanks, Red Sox, Marlins and Rays are all interested in relief help but the Royals don't seem anxious to deal him. It will take a lot but the above mentioned contenders may be willing to pay up for this kind of valuable help.
*The Reds don't seem to know what to do with or about Josh Fogg. His rehab from back troubles appears complete. In his last three starts, he has thrown at least 100 pitches each time at Class AAA Louisville, including a complete game. When he will be brought back up is anyone's guess.
*As mentioned the other day, Billy Beane went to the Dominican Republic earlier in the week to personally oversee the signing of 16-year old phenom, Michel Inoa. The deal was made for 4.25 million dollars and all parties are, understandably pleased.

Phillies Shopping for a Starter

CC Sabathia must fall asleep with a smile on his face because every day he wakes up and another team has declared an interest in acquiring him. The latest to enter the Sabathia sweepstakes is the Phillies. They've also expressed an interest in Mariners lefthander Erik Bedard, who is 5-4 with a 3.79 ERA. The Phillies have some young talent they would part with for a quality starter.

Toronto Shopping AJ Burnett

The Blue Jays need a shortstop and AJ Burnett seems to be the expendable bait. He is in the third year of a 5-year contract and has the option to opt out after this year. He is off to an 8-7 start with a 4.74 ERA. One player of interest to them appears to be Padres SS Khalil Greene.

Indians Designate Borowski for Assignment

The Indians made what many would call a long overdue by designating closer Joe Borowski for assignment. With the Indians struggling and Borowski sporting an ERA over seven, the move was a no-brainer. While Borowski finished with 45 saves last year, he seemed to always make the game close and finished with an ERA of 5.06. This is definitely a move for the future as the Indians will see what kind of pitchers they have capable of stepping up for the big league club.

Francoeur Heading to Double-A

Jeff Francoeur will be heading to Double-A Mississippi to work on his swing and try to break out of his extensive slump. Francoeur will be working Mississippi manager Phillip Wellman who has helped Francoeur before. Francoeur may even make it there to play in tonights game and will hopefully find his stroke soon.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Is Matt Clement Ready to Return?

After signing a one-year, $1.5 million contract last winter with the Cards, Matt Clement is still trying to return from a two-year hiatus due to extensive shoulder surgery. The Cards are about to decide whether to send him to Class AAA Memphis or put him on waivers and see what happens. If he goes to Memphis and does reasonably well, he could be attractive to any team looking for relief help from a battle-tested veteran.

Twins, Brewers Coming on Strong

After a rough opening month for fans of both the Milwaukee Brewers and Minnesota Twins, each team has come on strong in June to narrow their deficits and become major players in their respective divisions. The Twins recently reeled off a 10 game winning streak triggered by their speedy lineup and improved defensive play. Unfortunately for them, the division leading White Sox have been equally hot and still maintain a 2.5 game lead. In the NL Central, the Brewers, lead by potential all-star Ryan Braun, were scalding hot in June, finishing 18-10 and grinding their way back into the division race with the rival Cubs and Cardinals. They currently trail the Cubs by 4.5 games, but will certainly be in the race as the season progresses and seem poised to make a major acquisition at the July 31st deadline.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Rays Whispers...

The Rays currently have the best record in baseball. The pitching is doing their job and the hitting is coming through at the right times. Maybe it is the year for the Tampa Bay Rays, they certainly have been patient enough. Rumors are spreading across the country that the Rays may break their status quo and make a trade for a big name player. CC Sabathia's name has come as one possible option for the Rays, but would he make a significant difference? Sabathia is 6-8 with a 3.79 ERA so far this season, but he would probably cost the Rays a top prospect or two. He is a free agent at the end of the season though and will probably ask for Johan Santana money. The Rays are in place to invest that kind of money in a player like Sabathia.

The Rays are also interested in pitcher Brian Fuentes. Adding Fuentes would help at the closer spot while Percival is down, but he would also help in the playoffs when Percival returns. He is experienced in the later innings and could be the player in the bullpen that makes all the difference.

Quick Hits: Sabathia, Giles, Cordero, Cardinals

Quick Hits:
  • CC Sabathia is drawing serious interest from the Brewers, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The Brewers need an ace to replace Sheets bringing in Sabathia for the end of the season could give them the push they need. Imagine a team with both Sabathia and Sheets.
  • Brian Giles' time as a Padre could be running out. According to the NY Sun, the Angels and and Dodgers are interested in bringing in the outfielder for the end of the season. Giles is a good second half hitter and should give any team a much needed boost.
  • Chad Cordero is out for the season and the Nationals are now scrambling for a new closer. There are several low risk options they could bite on, but it might be time to find a new closer for the future.
  • The Cardinals are looking to make a big splash and are eying Matt Holliday. It will cost them several prospects, but GM John Mozeliak has adopted a win now mentality that could push them past the Cubs with the addition of Holliday.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Myers Headin' To Triple-A

Phillies pitcher Brett Myers is 3-9 this season with a 5.84 ERA and has been optioned to Triple-A. The Phillies are sending him down to mostly work on his delivery, but it could lead to a trade if he fails to show improvement. "I can't say enough about Brett's willingness to accept this assignment," general manager Pat Gillick said. "He understood and is eager to get back on track again. He is struggling right now, but he is a quality major league pitcher who we are going to need in the second half of the season."

Myers' willingness to go down to Triple-A should motivate him to do well as well as some of the other minor league pitchers down there. Playing with a successful major league pitcher could jump start the team.

Player Journal: Doug Mathis

Making my big league debut was unlike any other experience that I have ever been apart of. It honestly is hard to try to put in to words what it was like to have a big league uniform on and run out of that bullpen and pitch in a Major League game. I wasn't that nervous because it all happened so fast, I didn't have time to think about what was about to happen. I was mainly focused on throwing strikes. The last thing I wanted to do was walk somebody in my debut. I ended up throwing a perfect 10th inning and as I tried to collect myself once I sat down in the dugout we hit a walk-off to win the game. I was so excited that we won the game I didn't realize that I had actually been credited with the win in my debut. It didn't hit me until everyone was congratulating me after we had started making our way to the clubhouse. It was an experience that I will never forget and never really be able to describe it's true feeling. It's just something that I will cherish forever.

Life in the show is definitely the way to live. Obviously the pay is good so that isn't an issue. Big league players get the best treatment possible. We don't touch our luggage, our bags seem to pack themselves, and anything you need is readily available. I understand Crash Davis when he said being in the show was the best two weeks of his life. I stop and laugh sometimes when I'm shagging during batting practice and I pick up a pearl and throw it to a fan. Being a big league ball player is the best job that I could ever imagine having. I mean I get paid to play a game that is in the best setting in the world, and that I would do for free. They don't call it "The Show" for nothing. With all the attention that we get form the media and fans, it truly is a show that many people want to watch night in and night out.

If I had to say what the biggest difference between AAA and the majors is it would have to be the attention to detail that is needed to be successful. Everything up here is under a microscope. You definitely have to know the hitters that you are facing but more importantly you need to know yourself and what is going to make you a successful big leaguer. Yes it is the same game played but it tends to move faster and it is played on a larger scale. Big leaguers have so many tools they can use, that you are forced to take advantage of the resources. An example of that would be watching video daily to see areas you need to improve on and to scout your opponents. You just don't get that in the minors. Everything in the majors is enhanced, it's almost like AAA is still using basic cable and the majors is in high definition all the time.

I'm always going to try to get better at this game because that is how you become successful and stay in the big leagues. There is no time to get comfortable. Areas that I will need to improve in are my overall command of my pitches, my recognition and understanding of hitter's tendencies, and my conditioning are all things in which I will continue to work at each day. It's going to be a learning experience everyday for me. I figure that if I'm not learning, I'm not trying. I feel that if I have improvement in the areas I mentioned and continue to make consistent adjustments I will give myself the best chance possible to succeed.

Doug Mathis is a pitcher for the Rangers. If you would like to ask Doug a question, email me at and the message will be forwarded to him for his next player journal.

Hall Says No to Bonds 756 Ball

The famed and valuable ball hit by Barry Bonds for home run number 756 will not be displayed at the Hall of Fame after talks with the owner of the ball stalled after he refused to donate the ball permanently. "The owner's previous commitment to unconditionally donate the baseball has changed to a loan. As a result, the Hall of Fame will not be able to accept the baseball," the Hall said in a statement. "Should the owner choose to unconditionally donate the ball to the museum at a future date, we would be delighted and of course, accept his offer," it said. One would imagine that an item of such significance would be displayed at all costs, but this is just another signal of the skepticism that awaits players that shined during this questionable time in baseball.

UPDATE: Hall accepts Bonds' ball as a permanent donation after daylong negotiations with fashion designer Marc Ecko, owner of the valuable ball.

Quick Hits: Garcia, Sabathia, Fuentes, Holliday

It was looking like Freddy Garcia might get swooped up by one of the New York teams but now it looks like the Tigers are showing some serious interest in the rehabbing right-hander, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Brewers Manager Doug Melvin is laughing off speculation that his team is the front runner to land CC Sabathia, should the Indians fail to re-sign him. The reason being given is that the Brewers have a lot of young talent to interest the Indians in a trade. While that may be true, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, they are not the only team shopping for his services with something to offer in return.
The list of interested teams gets longer everyday for Rockies LH reliever Brian Fuentes. That list now includes the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, Phillies, Cubs, and Cardinals. The Rocky Mountain News is reporting that the Rockies will make a decision around the All-Star break as to how big a seller they want to be. Matt Holliday's name is also being raised by a number of teams interested in his services.