July 28, 2006


More Trade Rumors

I know, I know, I promised this entry would be on Thursday. But I got my wisdom teeth pulled yesterday, and I was so full of gas/novocain/blood/pain that my writing would have looked like the ramblings of a drunk monkey banging on a keyboard. That's in comparison to my normal entries, which look like the ramblings of a sober monkey banging on a keyboard. Anyways, here are all the latest rumors from around the world of baseball (these date back as far as Sunday, though I've tried to tell you which ones are most recent. And as always, there is no "inside" info, just stuff you learn when you spend your entire day surfing the web.)

First I'll mention that a blockbuster trade was made earlier this morning, as the Brewers sent All-Star OF Carlos Lee (along with OF Nelson Cruz) to the Rangers in exchange for outfielders Kevin Mench and Laynce Nix, reliever Fransisco Cordero, and another prospect. More analysis coming up within this post.

Sources: ESPN.com, mlbtraderumors.com, prosportsdaily.com, SI.com, and cbs.sportsline.com

American League:

Boston - Wily Mo Pena seems to be the big trading chip for the Sox right now. The Indians could be a good fit for Pena, as they will need a power-hitting outfielder if they are to make a run next year. The Tribe also have pitching to give back, though they've been reluctant to part with either Jake Westbrook or Paul Byrd. The Sox have also had interest in Jon Lieber, though I'm not sure he would be a good fit in that park. With the way Corey Lidle pitched last night (8 IP, 0 ER), you have to wonder if the Sox could make a move for him over the next couple days. The Sox have also apparently been in talks for Scott Linebrink of the Padres - this is pure speculation on my part, but maybe there's something there about Linebrink for Mike Lowell? The Pads would have to add something else, I think, but that might happen. Again, I haven't heard any more than the Sox talking about Linebrink, but you've gotta wonder. Also, Buster Olney has said that Theo Epstein is working on a large, multi-team deal - much like the one that sent away Nomar and brought back a World Series ring in 2004. No details on who that would involve, but things will certainly get interesting this weekend.

Yankees - One rumor had the Yanks trading Scott Proctor for Wilson Betemit of the Braves, though I'm not sure why the Yanks would consider that deal - they already have a super-utilityman in Miguel Cairo. Buster Olney mentioned that possibly the Yanks would then send Betemit to the Padres for Scott Linebrink. That all seems moot now that Proctor has become untouchable, thanks to his prowess out of the bullpen recently. The Yankees still need another decent reliever besides Proctor and Rivera, though, and the Pirates have most of the relievers best on the market. Eventually the Pirates' demands will come down, and the Yanks will most likely make a deal for one of them. Another option is the Orioles' LaTroy Hawkins. They're still in the market for a starter - I've heard Kyle Lohse, Miguel Batista, Rodrigo Lopez, Corey Lidle, and Jon Lieber - but a reliever should be their top priority. Also, right now all indications seem to be that if the Phillies will accept a package that does not include top prospect Phillip Hughes, Bobby Abreu will end up in pinstripes by the deadline. If they don't get Abreu, they might ask the Brewers about Kevin Mench - the Rangers had no interest in trading Mench to NY, but the Brewers might have a different view.

Toronto - The Jays have the most interest in Tampa infielder Julio Lugo, but were unwilling to give up two young pitchers, per the D-Rays' demands. They will likely wait until the end of the week, and hope the price comes down by then. Recently acquired reliever Jeremy Accardo has generated a lot of interest, but I doubt the Jays will trade him. Toronto had a lot of interest in Corey Lidle, and that was before Lidle's stellar start last night.

Baltimore - Miguel Tejada is apparently back on the block for the umpteenth time this month. The two most interested teams are the Angels and Astros; however, neither team wants to give up the package of three solid players that the O's are looking for. If Tejada is not dealt before the deadline, look for more talk this winter on where Tejada will go. Another interesting player on the Orioles' roster is Jeff Conine. Conine was dealt from the Orioles to the Marlins in 2003 - you'll remember what happened to the Fish after that. Conine is the sort of role player and clubhouse good guy that many GMs like to target, and right now the most likely landing spots appear to be the Braves, Cardinals, Reds, or Mariners. Reliever LaTroy Hawkins has also generated a lot of interest from teams needing relief help (including the Yankees).

Tampa - The trading chip for Tampa right now is infielder Julio Lugo. Lugo is a free agent at the end of the year, and the D-Rays would like to sign him to an extension before the deadline. However, Lugo is supposedly looking for a contract in the 4-yr, $36-40 million range, and it's unlikely that Tampa will be able to afford that. So they're looking to trade Lugo, and the most interested teams seem to be the Blue Jays, Red Sox, and Mets. The D-Rays were asking for an unreasonable package - two top prospects - earlier in the week, but that may come down by the end of the week.

Detroit - The Tigers remain interested in both Soriano and Tejada, but the asking price for both is a little high right now. The other problem is that both their top pitching prospects, Humberto Sanchez and Jair Jurriens, have had minor injuries over the past week. The injuries are not severe by any means, but other teams could be a little wary of dealing for either one. However, despite the injury, Sanchez is arguably the best prospect avaliable for sellers to get. One source says that the Tigers would move Sanchez in a Soriano deal, and it doesn't look like anybody could top that offer. I also heard Tuesday that the O's asked for Verlander or Bonderman (scroll down) to head a package for Tejada, a ludicrous notion. But another option for the Tigers is a lesser name - David Dellucci. I'm hearing that Dellucci could easily become a Tiger by Monday, and it won't take as much to get him - possibly second-tier pitching prospect Jordan Tata.

ChiSox - Those Soriano rumors we all heard so much about before seem to be dead, as the Sox will not trade either Brandon McCarthy or AAA 3B Josh Fields. It is looking more and more like the Sox will stand pat at the deadline and try to figure out what went wrong with their pitchers in July, but never count out Sox GM Kenny Williams. Buster Olney mentioned yesterday in his blog that the ChiSox are now listening to offers for Freddy Garcia, and they might look to add another reliever before the deadline.

Minnesota - The Twins were considered a frontrunner in the Carlos Lee sweepstakes, but they lost out to the Rangers on him. Lee would have been a great fit in Minnesota - a RH power bat between Mauer and Morneau - but now the Twins have to look elsewhere, possibly to Alfonso Soriano. Minnesota has arguably more prospects than anybody else in baseball, so they are right now apparently the frontrunners in the Soriano Sweepstakes. Pitcher Kyle Lohse has garnered a lot of interest, but with the Twins squarely in the pennant chase and the back of their rotation in shambles, they will probably need to keep him. The Twins were scheduled to call up top pitching prospect Matt Garza to try to catch lightening in a bottle like they did with Liriano, but they cancelled that yesterday.

Cleveland - Cleveland has two of the best starters on the market in Jake Westbrook and Paul Byrd, but they most likely will not trade either unless they are blown away by an offer. Aaron Boone is also on the block, and the Indians are probably hoping the Braves decide to keep Wilson Betemit; this would force the Padres to look to somewhere else and possibly overpay for a 3B, even the mediocre Boone. In other news, it looks like the Broussard trade will open up a spot for Victor Martinez at first base - he's been terrible behind the plate this year, and the Tribe want to move him to another position.

Kansas City - The Royals have made some good rebuilding moves so far this year to make themselves better down the road - unfortunately, a .500 team in the NL West would probably finish with 100 losses in the AL Central next year, as pretty much everybody except maybe Chicago will get better next year.

Anaheim LA Angels - The Angels have been extremely interested in Tejada and Soriano from Day 1. But, at the current asking price, there's no way a deal will be done with the Angels. Right now the Nationals are asking for either Howie Kendrick or Brandon Wood (the Halos' top infield prospects), a pitcher from the group of Jered Weaver, John Lackey, and Ervin Santana (all of whom are crucial to LA's pennant run this year), and another prospect. The Angels are not dealing one of those pitchers, and are reluctant to part with their infielders as well. It seems the Halos will focus more on Tejada - the price might actually be cheaper (probably one of the IFs, a second-tier pitcher like Scot Shields, and probably another prospect), and he's under contract for the next three years. If the Angels do get Tejada, they will most likely move him to third base. The O's made an offer earlier - Tejada for Kendrick, Santana, and Shields - which was rejected, but that price may come down soon. The Angels have also looked at smaller-name bats such as the Rockies' Ryan Shealy or the Pirates' Sean Casey or Craig Wilson to fill the hole at first (left when Dallas McPherson injured his back). If the Halos persue a third baseman (other than Tejada), it would likely be Aramis Ramirez or Chad Tracy. The Angels reportedly offered Kendry Morales for Ramirez, but were turned down by the Cubs.

Oakland - Oakland could have interest in the Pirates' Sean Casey, who was expected to go to the Giants until they acquired Hillenbrand. Billy Beane also still has apparently put Zito back on the block, and is trying hard to trade him. Steve Phillips was adamant yesterday on ESPNRadio that Zito would not be traded, but all the news since then has been contrary to that. If traded, he will almost certainly go to the Mets (though it's still possible he ends up with the White Sox, albeit very unilkely). We still don't know what the asking price for Zito is, nor do we know if the Mets are interested in giving up any of their top young players. But right now it seems like the A's are doing all they can to try to find Zito a new home.

Texas - I've heard from more than a few sources that the Rangers would be very interested in Jake Westbrook of the Indians. However, it doesn't seem like Westbrook will be moved unless the Indians get an offer they can't refuse. The Rangers should also be hunting around the other starters (i.e. Lidle, Rodrigo Lopez, Lieber, Redman, etc.), because their pitching right now is terrible. They have easily the best offense in the division with the addition of Lee (especially if Mark Teixeira ever remembers who he is), but that may not be enough.

Seattle - The M's traded for Cleveland first baseman Ben Broussard yesterday, though many people believe they overpaid in giving up highly touted outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. The M's are on the verge of being in contention, but I don't think it's likely that Seattle makes a run (especially with the Rangers adding Lee).

National League:

NY Mets - The Mets need another starter, but the market is awfully thin. They've talked about Livan Hernandez and Tony Armas Jr of the Nationals, but neither deal looks close to happening. They've inquired about Pittsburgh starter Kip Wells, but the Pirates won't give up anybody for less than the net worth of Bill Gates right now. They've talked about Jon Leiber, but I doubt the Phillies want to trade him or Corey Lidle within the division. They made a run for disappointing Pittsburgh starter Oliver Perez. There was apparently a rumor that they were working on an Aaron Heilman-for-Gil Meche deal, but that wasn't true. They looked at Miguel Batista and Juan Cruz of the D-Backs, but neither of them are going anywhere. Yesterday reports surfaced that they checked out Jason Jennings, B-H Kim and Ray King in Colorado (though King's a reliever). Omar Minaya has been careful not to mention it publicly, but it seems now that Barry Zito is very gettable. Reports differ on what it will take to get Zito. Some people are saying that it will take both young OF Lastings Milledge and Heilman to get Zito, which might be a bit steep for a three-month rental. But other reports (including Buster Olney just minutes ago on SportsCenter) say that just Milledge (and maybe a lesser prospect) might get the deal done, which would be a much more attractive option for the Mets. My prediction - Zito ends up in the Big Apple, with only Milledge going west.

Atlanta - Utilityman Wilson Betemit is suddenly one of the hottest commodities in baseball right now. A likely deal involves sending Betemit to the Padres for some desperately needed relief help, probably Scott Linebrink. Rumors had the Braves shipping Betemit to the Big Apple for the Yankees' Scott Proctor, but that seems unlikely now that Chacon appears to be pitching well. The Yankees might pull the trigger on that deal if they get a Pittsburgh reliever, but I don't see it. It's possible that the Braves keep Betemit, especially with Chipper Jones apparently hurting. If the Braves don't get Linebrink, they may try to deal for Ray King - even with last week's Wickman deal, they still have the worst bullpen of any contender.

Philly - If the Phillies decide to accept anything less than top prospect Phil Hughes from the Yankees, I believe a deal will get done to send Abreu to the Big Apple. But I could just as easily forsee Abreu staying put. The one catch with dealing Abreu is that it can't be made right at the deadline - because Abreu wants his new team to pick up his option for 2008, they would need time to negotiate that contract before getting a deal done. So if nothing has happened by Monday morning, it's likely nothing will happen on the Abreu front. The hotter outfielder right now from Philly is David Dellucci, who has a lot of talent but is right now riding the bench often (behind Abreu and Pat Burrell). Dellucci will likely get dealt before Tuesday, and right now I'm hearing Detroit as the best fit for him. I don't think it will take much to get him either. Starters Jon Lieber and Corey Lidle also could be on the move, maybe to the Yankees, Red Sox, or Twins. I've heard recently that the Jays are also very hot on Lidle. And Buster Olney said today that his prediction would be that Lidle ends up in Arlington, but that is far from a done deal. Tom Gordon was on the block at one point, but the Phillies most likely will not pull the trigger unless they get a closer for next year in return.

Florida - Dontrelle Willis WILL NOT BE TRADED. That's pretty much all that has to go here.

Washington - The Nationals got very lucky with how the Carlos Lee trade ended up. Had Lee been on the market until Monday, teams unwilling to pay the Nats' high price for Soriano could look at Lee instead. But Lee got traded right away, and to a team (Texas) that wasn't really interested in Soriano. So it's back to square one for teams that need a corner OF. Jayson Stark has reported that the frontrunner in the Soriano sweepstakes as of right now is the Twins. But there's been so much smokescreening going on this year, you have to wonder how long that will last. The Astros have been hot on Soriano as well, but nothing will get done on that front unless they relent and decide to move Jason Hirsh and/or Hunter Pence.

St Louis - The Cards are looking for a corner outfielder, but I haven't heard them involved in any big names. A more likely scenario is the Redbirds dealing for a second-tier bat, such as David Dellucci, Luis Gonzalez, or Shawn Green. They were very interested in Carlos Lee, but that ship has sailed.

Cincy - The Reds are surprisingly 4.5 games up in the wild card right now. They may look to add another reliever, but things seem to be pretty quiet on the Cincy front.

Houston - The Astros are very interested in Miguel Tejada, but not at the current price. The package needed to pry Tejada from the O's right now would likely involve SS Adam Everett, pitching prospect Fernando Nieve, and top outfield prospect Hunter Pence. And the Stros right now have no desire whatsoever to give up that much talent for a shortstop whose skills are declining, at least in the field. They countered this afternoon with Everett, Morgan Ensberg, and Nieve; I don't know how interested the O's are in that offer. Today, reports surfaced that the Astros have gone into "full pursuit" of Soriano (see sidebar), though I'm not sure exactly what that means. Getting Soriano would most likely mean giving up a package including top pitching prospect Jason Hirsh, though Keith Law said today that he did not see Hirsh as more than a fourth starter in the big leagues. Houston reportedly had interest in Pirates RP Damaso Marte, but the Pirates right now are apparently asking for a fairly large country in return for each of their relievers. So they're not close at all to getting that deal done. Even with the acquisition of Aubrey Huff, it seems pretty clear right now that Morgan Ensberg is not on the block. That is particularly bad news for the Padres, who desperately need a third baseman. There have been rumors that Brad Lidge could be traded, but I doubt that will happen, as the Astros are looking for bullpen help already. And, just in case you're starting to believe some of the talk-show fodder, there is a 0% chance Roger Clemens gets traded. None. Nada. Zilch.

Milwaukee - The Lee deal was a pretty fair deal for both teams - the Rangers get a big bat to make them the AL West favorites, and the Brewers get some players to help them next year - but don't dismiss the possibility of Mench getting dealt to another team if Milwaukee wants to open up space for Corey Hart. Or the Brewers could deal Hart as part of a bigger deal, though that seems less likely.

Cubbies - Once upon a time, it looked like a foregone conclusion that Greg Maddux would head to LA (Dodgers, not Angels). But those days are over, and now it looks like we have a bidding war for Maddux's services. One thing we do know is that Maddux will not go to the AL. But right now I'm hearing that the Dodgers, Brewers, Padres, Giants, and now the Mets are all interested in Maddux. And the value of adding a 300-game winner on your team may be enough to get someone to bid very high for Maddux. Everything I've heard says that the Cub most likely to be dealt is Todd Walker. But I haven't heard of anybody interested in Walker, except the Mariners (who likely aren't interested anymore after the Broussard deal) and maybe the Rangers.

Pittsburgh - The Pirates have a plethora of relievers that interest many contenders (especially the Yankees and Giants), but their asking price until now has been way too high. It seems less likely now that they trade Sean Casey - the Giants were the most interested team until they got Shea Hillenbrand - but I've been hearing that the A's and Angels are both interested.

San Diego - The Padres' dealt for Scott Williamson of the Cubs last week opened up a few options - they need a third baseman, so setup man Scott Linebrink is now potentially avaliable as trade bait. They have apparently talked to the Astros about including Linebrink in a deal for Morgan Ensberg, but it appears that Ensberg is not on the block. Plan B appears to be Atlanta's Wilson Betemit, and Atlanta needs another reliever as well. My prediction is that, sometime within the next few days, a deal gets done involving Linebrink and Betemit. If the Braves decide to pull Betemit off the block, the Pads could look for another third baseman - possibly Cleveland's Aaron Boone. Of course, the Pads could just keep their deep bullpen, which certainly is not a bad thing to have.

Arizona - The D-Backs will likely try to trade one of their old, overpaid corner outfielders - either Shawn Green or Luis Gonzalez. They would rather deal Green - who has garnered interest from the Cardinals, Yankees, and Mariners - but Green has a no-trade clause to all but three teams, and I don't know if he would waive it. They have recieved offers for Miguel Batista and Juan Cruz, but neither is likely to be traded, especially with the Snakes in contention. But I did hear that the Mets are interested in recently demoted closer Jose Valverde. I guess they think they can right Valverde, and it wouldn't take much to get him. I don't see any interest from anyone else, though the D-Backs might still consider him the closer of their future.

San Fransisco - The Giants are apparently looking at the Pittsburgh relievers - particularly Roberto Hernandez and Salomon Torres - and may make a deal if and when the price comes down.

Colorado - Those Ray King for Julian Tavarez rumors seem dead at this point, as the Rockies don't want to take on Tavarez's contract for next year. King for Rudy Seanez still could happen, though I haven't heard anything about it in the last few days (Tavarez and Seanez both pitch for Boston). The more recent interest in King has come from the Braves and Reds. But the name generating the most interest is young 1B Ryan Shealy, who's blocked by Todd Helton in Colorado but may be able to help another team. Among the interested suitors: The Angels, Red Sox, Pirates, Royals, Orioles, and Blue Jays.

LA Dodgers - My, how the Dodgers have fallen. At the All-Star break, they looked like the favorites to win the division (at least that's what I thought), but now they're seven games back and in last place. It looked like they were going to land Greg Maddux, but the Cubbies asked for young OF Andre Ethier in return, who has been the Dodgers' second-best hitter so far this year. The Dodgers still could land Maddux, but it's looking less likely by the day. The Dodgers did pick up some relief help in Elmer Dessens on Tuesday. Reliever Danys Baez may be on the market, but the Betemit-Baez rumors seem to be far from happening.

I'm just writing to you about the Drunk monkey thing... man that's a great idea. I'm getting my monkey drunk and chaining it to the typewriter. What a gas.
PS, rest of your blog made me kind of sleepy.
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