Cardinals Acquire Branyan

Friday, August 31, 2007

The Cardinals today acquired super utility, power hitting Russell Branyan from the Phillies today for a player to be named later. This season, Branyan has batted .198 with 9 HR and 24 HR but will provide a solid bat off the bench, and a sturdy glove where ever they play him in the field.

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Cubs Acquire Trachsel

The Chicago Cubs have traded Rocky Cherry and Scott Moore to the Baltimore Orioles for Steve Trachsel. Trachsel, who started his career with the Cubs, will be starting a lot this month. "I see him starting," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said Friday. "We wanted to try to augment the pitching. We've got extra games coming. We're in the time of year when you don't want to get caught short. This season, Trachsel is 6-8 with a 4.48 ERA and 45 K. Cherry and Moore were in AAA for the Cubs. Moore, who batted .265 with 19 HR and 69 RBI with AAA Iowa, did make his debut with the Cubs last season. He can play 1B and 3B. Cherry, who got his first big league win with the Cubs, was 2-0 with a 4.59 ERA and 7 K.

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Fantasy: Under the Radar

Thursday, August 30, 2007

As you and your fantasy team make the final push for Fantasy Fame, I am here to give you the 9 players that no one is looking at.

C Jason Kendall (Cubs)
- Since Jason Kendall joined the Cubs, he has been ripping the ball batting .337 with 1 HR and 14 RBI in his last 30 days. He would be a great guy platooning with a struggling catcher like Ronny Paulino or even Jason Varitek.

1B Ross Gload (Royals)
- Gload has been ripping the cover off the ball lately for KC and would be a great pickup if someone goes down. He is batting .338 with 4 HR and 13 RBI in his last thirty days and although some time might be taken away because of Butler, Sweeney, and Shealy, he can play some outfield.

2B Howie Kendrick (Angels)
- Kendrick is returning from injury and is picking up where he left off. He has been batting .304 with 1 HR and 8 RBI and is getting some great pitches batting in front of Guerrero and Anderson.

3B Edwin Encarnacion (Reds)
- Encarnacion has had some off the field problems but has come back and has been very strong collecting 35 hits with 2 HR in the last 30 days. If you do not have a good third baseman he would be a great pickup to replace him.

SS Ryan Theriot (Cubs)
- Theriot has been consistent all season but is not getting much attention because of certain players on the Cubs. However, he steals bases, scores runs, and hits for solid average, all key attributes that will help your team.

OF Nook Logan (Nationals)
- Nook has struggled a little bit this season but is starting to heat up stealing bases, getting on base, and scoring runs. I wouldn't say a necessity, but if you have someone struggling, he would be a solid pickup.

OF Jason Werth (Phillies)
- He has a had a solid year but is making great contact almost every at-bat. Not to many people know about this Phillies outfielder, but a player like this would definitely change some close games.

OF Johnny Damon (Yankees)
- Damon has struggled a lot this year but is starting to heat up again and would be a good pickup to see if his hot streak continues. He will see some playing time in September and knows how to play the big games. He would be a smart, low risk pick up.

SP Brian Bannister (Royals)
- This rookie has really stepped up in the Royals rotation and put up pretty impressive season numbers. However, some leagues have not taken notice of him and he is left on the market. He is 4-1 with a 2.96 ERA in the last thirty days, but has 11 wins this season.

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Cubs Looking For Missing Piece

The Cubs have been looking for another solid veteran for their bench for the past week but have yet to find anything. The unloaded two of their prospects, but nothing big. They traded Buck Coats to the Reds and completed the Craig Monroe trade sending Clay Rapada there. Their aren't two many players available as of right now. Jason Lane, Dmirti Young, Scott Podsednik, and Sammy Sosa are the main bats on the waiver wire, while some veteran 40-man guys in the minor leagues are available too. They could always go after a pitcher too. Odalis Perez, Josh Towers, and Steve Trachsel are the main pitchers on the wire as well. In 2003, they traded for Aramis Ramirez, Randall Simon, and Kenny Lofton. Lofton, who played center field, ignited the Cubs offense and spirit in the clubhouse. Maybe someone like Lane, who has played in the NL Central and is 10-18 lifetime at Wrigley Field could help from the bench. They will call up a bunch of guys September 1st which should take some pressure off some of the veterans, but they are looking for something to put them one step ahead of the Brewers and Cardinals. They are currently a game and a half ahead and it looks like it will come down to the very end.

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AL West: Mariners Continue to Fall

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Mariners jumped out to a 5-0 lead yesterday and if they were to have won that game, would have put them just three games back. Not only that, but it would have given them a lot of momentum getting to the Angels bullpen. Instead, they blow the lead and drop to four back and completely stop their momentum, sending them another loss tonight putting them five back. Assuming the Yankees win tonight, the Mariners will be tied for the wild card lead, and the way the Yankees play in September, it is safe to assume that they will probably take the wild card, maybe even the division, if the Red Sox continue to fall. Vlad Guerrero has been ripping the cover off the ball lately and Jered Weaver seems to have found his pitch. Howie Kendrick is starting to turn into the player he is capable and it seems Scioscia just knows what is working right now. The A's and Rangers are all but out of it and it appears that the division belongs to the Angels, leaving the Mariners to fight for the Wild Card spot. They face Seattle four more times late in the season so you can't count them out yet, but the way the Angels have been playing it is hard not to. And the Mariners have a pretty tough road schedule in September facing the Blue Jays, Yankees, and Tigers to start the month. Can the veteran Mariners step it up to take some pressure off the young guys?

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A-Rod, Lowell May Be Switching Teams

Both Mike Lowell and Alex Rodriguez have the chance to become free agents at the end of the season, and with the Red Sox interest in signing Rodriguez, it would make sense that Lowell would leave and probably sign with the Yankees looking for a cheap, but solid alternate. Rodriguez is batting .305 AVG with 43 HR and 123 RBI and is just 32 with a solid 5-6 years ahead of him. Assuming he opts out, he should be a hot commodity. Lowell, who will be seeking a three to four year deal is having a career year batting .324 AVG with 17 HR and 93 RBI but has been inconsistent over the years. He is just 33, and the Yankees would be smart to sign him because he has hit .622 AVG with 3 HR in his career at Yankee Stadium and is a former Yankee. The Angels will be going hard for A-Rod too so it won't be a surprise if the Red Sox have ongoing negotiations with Mike Lowell and A-Rod in case one falls through. “I’d be lying if I said I never thought about, but I’m not consumed by it,” Lowell said. “I know I’m going to sign somewhere next year. I obviously have my preferences. We’ll see what happens.” Here's a thought though: What if the Red Sox unload Julio Lugo and try Rodriguez at shortstop?

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If Hunter Leaves, Twins Should Trade Johan

It seems contract negotiations with Torii Hunter have turned from nearing an extension to doubtful. And with Hunter putting them off till after the season suggests that he will explore the market desperate for solid talent. Santana, who dominated in his last couple starts said he was frustrated over the Twins trading of Luis Castillo and lack of spending money. He went on to say that if Hunter leaves, he will leave too. So, if Torii leaves for another team you can assume that the Twins will see what they could get for him. They could get a boatload of prospects, and a couple proven players as well. Santana has proved his consistency over the past several years winning 12 or more games since 2003. This season, he is 14-9 with a 2.97 ERA and 198 K and has proven his durability throughout his whole career. This would be great to start rebuilding for the Twins, get some proven pitching, a veteran or two, and clear up some cash to make a splash too. They will also get a first round compensation pick from the Twins they really could start. Matt Garza, Glen Perkins, Kevin Slowley will only get better, and Chris Parmelee is very young and fairly far away, but is showing he has the stuff which could force the Twins to push him a little bit. And don't forget about Fransico Liriano.

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Mariners to Extend Guillen

The Mariners are very close to extending Jose Guillen's contract, according to several Major League Sources. The deal, which has yet to be announced, is expected to be three years, worth 18-22 million dollars. "We've been talking and we've been making very good progress," Guillen said Tuesday. "I really don't want to talk about it, but I'm pretty sure it will be done soon." This season, Guillen is batting .293 with 19 HR and 81 RBIs.

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NL Central: Here Come the Cardinals

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Cubs have held on to the NL Central for about a week now fighting back to beat the Brewers 5-3 to bump the Brewers 2.5 games out of first. Although that doesn't seem like much the Cardinals have taken over second place winning 14 of their last 20. So, 2.5 games back puts them just three loses behind the Cubs; But, the only way to make up solid ground is by both teams losing. Right now the Cardinals are taking on the lost Astros who are getting use to life without Phil Garner. Yet, their schedule isn't too challenging for the next week and a half taking on the Astros, Reds, Pirates, and then they take on the Diamondbacks. A key series for the Cardinals will be the series against the Cubs. They have a make up game a week before the series so that will be big. This next week will be big for the Cubs because they will take on the Astros and then the Dodgers, both at home, but they will really need to fight to hold on to the Central lead. They face the NL Central a lot on the road, but will have two much needed days off towards the end of the season which could take some pressure off them, especially on the road versus the Marlins and closing it out against the Reds.The Brewers are not out yet but will need to prove they want to be here and will get that opportunity facing the last place Pirates and Astros. They will face the NL Central too and then take on the Braves and Padres towards the end. It will be tough, but they do have time to make it back and contend for the spot they have held all season. As of right now, it is still up in the air. The Cardinals and Cubs are riding on a lot of momentum while the Brewers dropped below five hundred for the first time since April. This race will definitely come down to the wire, ending probably in the last week or so. The question to be answered will be: Who has the most consistent pitching?

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Interview with Rocky Cherry

Last week, I was excited to interview Orioles relief pitcher Rocky Cherry, who I have followed personally through minors solely because of his name. But now he is back from injury and seeking redemption proving he can pitch at the Major League Level. He was a really nice guy just a day after his birthday and answered all my questions with a lot of details. Cherry is expected to be one of the September call ups Saturday getting one last chance to showcase himself for the Cubs. I want to thank Matt Kramer for giving me this opportunity to interview one of his clients, it is so much fun and I really appreciate it.

ELI: You pitched back to back games successfully Aug. 18th and 17th, what was working for you during those outings?

ROCKY: You know, I was commanding my fastball pretty well, getting ahead of hitters. And when I threw my slider, which is my out pitch, I will speed their bats up with my fastball and then fool them a little bit with the slider that forces a ground ball or a strikeout.

ELI: What do you think was most improved in your game from the end of high school to when you got drafted at
Oklahoma?

ROCKY: In high school I was still inconsistent. I'd have some games where I'd throw the ball exceptionally well and I'd have games where I wasn't throwing that well. In college, my coach dropped my arm angle down to a three-quarter slot and when that happened, I was able to get a lot of good movement leading to ground balls. And professional scouts, especially Chicago Cubs scouts because balls fly out of Wrigley, like to see a pitcher that can throw a good sinker and I think that was probably the biggest difference.

ELI: In 2005, you had Tommy John Surgery, what do you remember from the game where it happened.


ROCKY: Well, it was in the first inning against the second batter, and my arm was feeling fine. I went back to throw it, right where you are about to whip your arm through the zone, it was like time had stopped, even though it didn't. It seemed like time stopped and I felt a tear in my elbow. I kind of had an out of the body experience like I was looking at arm, but I wasn't looking at my arm. Like I was looking at my arm as it was tearing. It was kind of a weird experience because as soon as I through it, I was like 'Oh man.' The trainers and coaches came running out to ask what was wrong. I tried to throw another pitch and I two hopped it to the plate and I was like 'Oh man.' The funny thing was at the time I was 25, my first year in Double-A, I was like, what am I going to do? Sit out another year and a half, get surgery, I was actually thinking about hanging it up and not pursuing baseball anymore, but I'm glad I didn't.

ELI: After the swelling went down in your elbow, what were the next steps to getting back?

ROCKY: Truly, my surgery went as well as it possibly could. I had the surgery done by Dr. Steven Gryzlo and he did a great job. I remember for about two weeks I couldn't do anything because I had the stitches in. I could move it a little, but it was basically in a cast, one of those Velcro casts. Fortunately, the swelling wasn't that bad, my body acted well to the implant tendon. Also, I came back after nine months, which was exceptionally fast. Everything fell into place, I had one minor setback but it wasn't bad. God really blessed me and gave me a good recovery.

ELI: You worked at Home Depot during the summer of 2005, what was that like? Do a lot of minor leaguers get jobs on the side?

ROCKY: Man that was a great experience, I really enjoyed that. Being around people, helping people. Also, my father has a painting company, so I was familiar with paint and that was where I worked. It was good because when people came in and asked questions, I was able to help them out, tell them shortcuts, little tricks for trade, you know? It was a great experience for me though and I made some money on the side too. But I did it more for me to stay sharp for my fathers company because I know I'll end up working there.

ELI: Do a lot of minor leaguers get jobs on the side?

ROCKY: I think most of your guys will have some income coming in the fall except for your first five round guys, the big money guys. You just can't live off of 1500 dollars a month for five months, just can't do it. A lot of people do lessons because that is a good way to make money. They help out other kids and you get paid well, there are all different kinds of things.

ELI: What was spring training like for you this year? What pitchers, if any, did you work with?

ROCKY: That was my first big league camp and that was pretty exciting for me. I wanted to go in there and just show them that I belong there. That I have good enough stuff to be there and I ended up kind of making a name for myself. This was my first one so I didn't open up too much didn't talk to much, just sort of hung back. Michael Barrett really kind of helped me out, really worked with me a lot. 'What's your best pitch when facing a certain hitter at this count? What would you throw?' He'd have me write them down on a chart. We did a lot of things to help with the mental side of the game. Of course Ryan Dempster was really nice, a joy to be around, and would always make you laugh.

ELI: Can you take me through the night you got called up on? Did you know something was up?

ROCKY: Yeah the day I got called up we were winning a one run [game] in about the ninth inning and I should be getting up to close the game. And he [Manager Buddy Bailey] gave me my signal, which every guy in the ‘pen has a signal and mine is the uppercut, like Rocky Balboa. So he gives me the fist, and then tells me to sit down. And I was like ‘What the world?’ You know I haven’t thrown in a couple days. Someone else got up and started throwing and that’s when I first thought ‘Alright, something is going on.’ So when I got in the locker room, usually the manager will call you in and say ‘Hey Rock you’re going up to the big leagues, you got the call.’ But he didn’t call me in so I was like ‘What in the world is going on?’ So I left and went to the hotel room and I had no idea what was going on. Next thing I knew was I got a call from my pitching coach Mike Harkey and he was like ‘Has Buddy Bailey called you?’ And I was like ‘No. Why?’ And then he was like ‘Oh. Damn. Call me back when he calls you.’ Obviously I knew what was going on and about five minutes later Buddy Bailey calls me up and says [impression of accent] ‘Rock, you’ve been called up to the big leagues.’ That’s how he kind of talks. I kind of expected it, but I still didn’t know how to take it in. It was a good feeling though, words I wanted to hear for a long time.

ELI: What did it mean to you to get called up so early in the season?

ROCKY: It felt like I accomplished something I worked so hard for. And I have had so many set backs and obstacles to overcome. It seems that things hadn’t fallen my way and I feel like my persistence and hard work to make it to this level really paid off. I felt like, in my heart, you know a ‘Yes!” Just wanted to quench my fist and grin my teeth like ‘Yeah baby! You did it, you did it!’ I was overcome with emotion, this was my dream and I finally get to do it. It was kind of indescribable feeling; but it was great to call my parents and my brother.

ELI: Did you get too much sleep that night?

ROCKY: No, by the time I got done calling everybody and finally got into bed where I actually started thinking about it, I just sort of sat back and thought about it and waited until that morning.

ELI: You pitched 2/3 of an inning to get your first win in Pittsburgh. Did you realize you were up for the win after Floyd’s big homerun?

ROCKY: Yeah, but after that happened with the rain, I didn’t know what was going to happen. From the previous year, the rule was that you would revert back to the inning before and that that inning would not have counted. So I wasn’t sure what was going to happen until I arrived at the ballpark the next day to finish up the first game and found out I was up for the win. It was one of the easiest wins I’d ever gotten because I threw two pitches, and got two ground ball outs. I’ll take it though. [Laughs].

ELI: The Iowa Cubs have a lot of solid players, what is the clubhouse chemistry like?

ROCKY: We’ve got a lot of talented players, a lot of 40-man guys and everyone has got a great attitude. No one is bitter about being called up or being sent down and everyone is happy if someone else gets the call, you know? It is better than I expected because I had always heard that Triple-A players can be pretty bitter because they feel like someone is in there way or that they deserve it. But I feel that we have a lot of young players and people appreciate them for being where they are now and I think that is why we have had a pretty good year, despite all the transactions.

ELI: When in the Cubs bullpen, what would you was usually the topic of discussion? Was it mostly baseball?

ROCKY: No, I’d say it is talking about the night before or past players on the other team that they played with. He would do something and someone would be like ‘Oh, I remember this guy in ’99, he’s a good dude.’ Just talking about other players, really normal conversation that you would carry on everyday.

ELI: Who’s the biggest jokester?

ROCKY: Oh Dempster is by far. He is entertaining, always got to toughen up his sleeves, and loves doing Borat impressions. He’s always out there quoting movies; he’s got it going on.

ELI: Of the stadiums you’ve played at, who would you say has the best mound?

ROCKY: Hmm, best mound [pause]. You know, they all seem pretty much the same. I don’t know if they have certain measurements or anything, but they are all really good, the clay is great, the footing is good. They are all great and I’d like to pitch on all of them.

ELI: How about the best bullpen setup?

ROCKY: I kind of like Pittsburgh because you are in center field to watch the game, get to see the pitcher throwing in and out, how the hitters are swinging at different pitches, etc. But the bad part was that I had to walk across the field with my pink backpack, which is for the youngest or least experienced bullpen guy to carry out the gum, seeds, and all that stuff.

ELI: Who is the toughest hitter you’ve faced in your time with the Cubs?

ROCKY: I faced Albert Pujols and likely he lined out to second.

ELI: What was that like seeing him walk up though?

ROCKY: Oh, well it was my second outing and the three batters I had to face were Edmonds, Pujols, and Rolen.

ELI: Oh god.

ROCKY: I know. I was like ‘Whoa.’ But you know how you see him on TV and everything but when I faced him I felt like there was no weakness to exploit. So I just hoped to throw a good pitch that he would hit at somebody.

ELI: If you could pitch to one hitter, in the past or present, who would it be?

ROCKY: I’d like to pitch to Barry Bonds, just to say I faced him. I mean, he is the homerun leader of everybody, [which] would be something to tell your kids. He is the next Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, you know what I mean? That would probably be the one guy I faced.

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Dodgers Interested in Loaiza

The Dodgers are looking to add another starter and will look for a cheap upgrade in A's pitcher Esteban Loaiza, who is set to make 7 million in his final year of his contract next season. The A's don't have the kind of money they would like to spend on other players with Loaiza in their payroll so they could unload him and some of his salary a for a pair of low level prospect of Beane's choice. Loaiza is 1-0 W-L with a 1.84 ERA with 5 K in two games this season. Although he is troubled by injury, he would be a great pickup for the defensive strong Dodgers who provide good run support.

UPDATE: THE DODGERS CLAIMED LOAIZA OFF WAIVERS FROM THE A'S. TERMS OF DEAL WERE NOT DISCLOSED.

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Interview with Jason Grilli

Two weeks ago, I contacted Rockies pitcher Jason Grilli about a potential interview. Not just a week later did he respond to my email and agreed to do the interview. The interview went very smoothly, and it was nice to see how flexible he was leading up to the interview in working with me while my power was down. Grilli and I also have some new features we plan to work on together for the site, which I am very excited about. Grilli is currently in the Tigers bullpen with a 5-3 W-L record and a 5.37 ERA with 49 K. I want to thank him again for doing this interview with me, I really appreciate it.

ELI: How did you feel being drafted by the Yankees? What were your reasons for not signing?

JASON: Growing up in New York and having relatives in Long Island, I was a big Yankee fan. I love New York and was thrilled to be drafted there, but I wanted to go to college and I was nervous about living the life of a professional baseball player at just seventeen. This was in 1994 when the strike happened, so negotiations were sort of up in the air. So I stuck with my education and hoped that I could stay healthy and improve on my game. I felt that I could improve greatly and ultimately get my game to a level where I could be drafted in a higher round than in high school, as well as, make some money after getting some education in as well at Seton Hall University.

ELI: What parts of your game were most improved at Seton Hall?

JASON: My velocity was improved a lot. You know, I was 6'3'' and 160 pounds so once I got some more strength I really had a chance to develop my curveball and changeup. From there, I was getting some attention from scouts who had watched me in high school and with the talent on my team; I was getting attention off of them too. I got to play with Matt Morris who was a junior when I was a freshman. He taught me a lot about what he was going through, and I watched him and what it took so that I could be in the same position my junior year.

ELI: Just two years after being drafted, you were traded in a rather big deal. What were your thoughts on that?

JASON: My initial feelings were upset and shocked. The Giants were the team that drafted me, and being a high pick you get every opportunity, but now I was with a team that I was unfamiliar with and all those 'extras' were taken away. But from the trade I learned that baseball is a business and a lot of things are out of your control. I was excited though about going back to the East Coast because I wasn't really a West Coast guy. And I would also get to see my family a lot more because they are in New York. All in all it was good, because I felt I was in a place of opportunity and live close to my home in Orlando. I also got to make my big league debut with the Marlins against the Atlanta Braves.

ELI: In 2005 you were a free agent, what were the steps in signing with the Tigers? Were any other teams interested?

JASON: Yeah, I was talking with the Tigers, Twins, and Pirates and when it came down to the decision that had to be made, I wrote out a list of all the positives and negatives for each team and checked out their rosters to see where I thought the team was heading, and where or if I could contribute. The reason I chose the Tigers was because their positives strongly outweighed any other teams. I also saw that I could fit in on their roster and contribute.

ELI: You clinched the championship game for the Toledo Mud Hens, do you remember a lot from that game?

JASON: I think what I remember most from that game is that there was a two hour rain delay and how we were sort of all on edge being up 2-0 on the Indianapolis Indians. But we knew we were going to win because we were so pumped up. There were so many winners and great guys on that team too. They just played to win and knew how to do it in style

ELI: What was it like pitching in the WBC? What did you learn from that experience?

JASON: Oh, it was a thrill. It was playing playoff baseball during the spring. You know, Spring Training isn't as intense of atmosphere as the WBC was. Especially being its inaugural season, everyone is so intense and the spotlight is on and every game you put on the line, I learned a lot from it and had the opportunity to play with some other great Italian players throughout the major leagues.

ELI: You grew up around the Tigers seeing your Dad pitch there; do you feel more comfortable pitching there because it is your hometown?

JASON: It is honor to be a Tiger, returning home to where I was born. I wasn't raised here, and I don't remember much of when he pitched, but getting the opportunity to where his number, 49, and be with the Tigers, it is like I'm reliving his career. If I had to compare it to something, I would compare it to playing catch with your old man. I'm carrying on his legacy, and I like to think about it a lot, gives me a sense of pride every time I put on the jersey.

ELI: What was it like watching Verlander's no-hitter, when did you realize he had one?

JASON: Oh, he had dominating stuff and had it the whole game. He needed and had every bit of everything to get it to. Neifi [Perez] turned a great double play and Mags [Ordonez] made a couple great catches out there. I noticed he had it early, but I shook it off because of superstition. You know how it is, you say something and then it happens, and you get blamed for it all. So I kept my mouth shut, but I kept my eye out for it.

ELI: Does the manager usually say something before each game? Is there any sort of meeting before each game?

JASON: No, there really isn't a meeting before the game. Occasionally, [Jim] Leyland will call a meeting if he feels necessary. He'll sometimes chew us out after a game if we deserve it, but I think what you and a lot of people are wondering is what he does to get us going. I think the main reason for our magic is that right from the beginning we bought into everything he had to say. He came in with so much experience, and he was so emotional, you got the feeling that he cared about you. In turn, you cared about him and because we all respected him so much, no one ever wanted to let him down. You know, we're playing with a leader, and everybody knows it.

ELI: How'd you get the nickname Cheese Man?

JASON: [Laughs] I got it from Gene Lemont. My father's nickname was the Big Cheese and Gene gave me Cheese Man. I love the nickname because, again, it is like reliving my father's career.

ELI: Can you tell me a little bit about your business venture, Perfect Pitch Marketing?

JASON: I love to learn about business and studied Marketing in college. I incorporated my love for baseball into the name of my business, Perfect Pitch Marketing. I figured with all my free time, I can also utilize my persistent character to develop some great ideas around a great product and service. I also love to network and meet other successful people in my travels. My business mainly focuses on providing VoIP phone service with video capabilities that is becoming more widely recognized and used today. Yeah it is something I do to distract me from baseball that I have a lot of interest in. It gives people and businesses alike a chance to connect through their Video phone or computer anywhere in the world. You know, you get to see them from long distances. The cost is very low, and the video quality is better than web cams, because there are no glitches or delays. It would great for people who travel constantly or sports athletes who are always traveling. I love it because I see my wife and family often when I am on the road.

ELI: Besides baseball, do you follow any other sports?

JASON: I love college basketball and the NFL. I love Sunday's at home, getting to watch my Giants in High Def. [Laughs]

ELI: What do you think about Michael Vick and everything that is happening with him?

JASON: I think he made a bad choice, and when you are in the spotlight all the time it can be magnified even worse. He is paying some tough consequences, but I hope that he is not judged to harshly by everyone. I am sure he is a great guy, he just made a bad choice and the law is coming down on him. You know, everyone loves drama, especially when it involves celebrities. I just feel bad for him and his family, because he is under a lot of scrutiny right now.

ELI: Which team has the best bullpen setup?

JASON: It has to be Detroit's. We have an indoor facility to get either Air Conditioning or Heat, depending on the weather. And there is a bathroom, refrigerator, and coffee pot to top it off.

ELI: What would you say was your welcome to the major leagues moment?

JASON: This is probably a cookie cutter answer like everyone else’s, but you never forget your first game in the big leagues. It would have to be my first win against the Braves. But I also got my first hit, driving in a run. It was a very cool moment for me, and it is something I'll never forget.

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Phillies After Silva

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Phillies worked hard to acquire some veteran pitching at the trade deadline but failed to acquire all they wanted. They worked hard with the Minnesota Twins to acquire Carlos Silva, but talks went cold days before the deadline. But the Phillies are not trying again to acquire the innings eater, who is currently 10-12 with a 4.10 ERA and 72 K, was also scouted by the Braves at the deadline. Silva is a free agent at the end of this season so trading him may not be the worst thing, especially if they acquire a prospect or proven player in return. Silva began his career with the Phillies and was 8-1 with a 3.82 ERA in 171.1 innings in relief. Silva, now a veteran starter, would benefit in the NL especially as a back of that rotation guy.

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Breaking News: Astros Fire Garner, Purpura

The Astros announced today that they will fire GM Tim Purpura and manager Phil Garner today, replacing them with Interim GM Tal Smith and Manager Cecil Cooper. Garner, who hes been fairly successful with the Astros, finishing second in the NL Central since 2004 even winning a trip to the World Series only to be defeated by the White Sox in 2005. The Astros are 58-73 this season and will probably be in the hunt for a new manager at the end of this season.

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White Sox Making Hunter A Priority

Sunday, August 26, 2007

After hearing that Twins outfielder for the last nine seasons is calling off contract negotiations, the White Sox are making it known that they will go after him. Hunter, 32, is batting .301 with 26 HR and 90 RBI and still has his best years ahead of him. The Twins are expected to offer him a three year deal, worth 45-50 million but it seems more likely that the White Sox, who have money to spend and are looking to make a splash, will offer a five to six year deal, worth 75-85 million dollars. Since 1999 at U.S. Cellular Field, Hunter has batted .472 with 12 HR, 15 doubles, and a triple. This season versus the AL Central at their stadiums he has batted .275 with 4 HR with 14 RBI. The White Sox would be smart to get him no matter what, because he would fit in very nicely with in center shifting Jerry Owens to left and putting some pressure off him in the field. Hunter alone, would make the White Sox a much better team. However, if Hunter signs with the Twins after the season which is still possible, the White Sox will look to sign Aaron Rowand or Kosuke Fukudome.

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Mailbag: What's Next For MLB Rumors

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Q: What is the newest feature to MLB Rumors? What will you try to do this coming off season?

Jake, Wilmette, Illinois

ELI: I will definitely be doing more interviews after the season. I have some big name players already lined up, so I am pretty excited. As for the newest feature, it is not official yet because I haven't talked with some of these guys in awhile but when it is, you will definitely know about it.

Q: Do you ever get time off from this stuff?

Martin, Yuma, Arizona

ELI: The low times in the trades and signings are my time off. But I like doing this, so I try to work on it everyday.

Q: Did you ever get a chance to talk with Michael Barrett about his thoughts on being traded?

Doug, San Diego Padres Town

ELI: Unfortunately, I didn't get to personally talk with him. But from what I heard, he was disappointed by the way he left things, but was looking forward to the opportunity.

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Torre Will Determine Yankees Future

Friday, August 24, 2007

Joe Torre's contract is set to expire this year along with pitchers Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, and catcher Jorge Posada. All of them have long last relationships with Joe Torre and would probably only play for him in New York. Furthermore, Torre leaving probably signals the end of the coaching staff as well and with the interest Posada is getting around the league and Torre out in New York, he would probably leave as well. Rodriguez doesn't know Torre as well as these guys do so he won't factor in as much. Although the Yankees have a lot of young arms and some good young talent in the field, it would be hard to imagine them contending with a young pitching staff and new coaching staff, even if Mantingly stays.

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A's Tuning Roster

With days left until playoff rosters are set, the A's are desperately trying to pull of a trade involving Mike Piazza or Esteban Loazia. It is unclear whether or not anyone is interested, especially at the asking price of the A's, or if any deal can get done on time. Piazza is batting .278 with 5 HR and 33 RBI, but can only DH or play first base now, so only AL teams would be interested. Not only that, but the A's are currently ten games out of first and to trade away some of these veterans for garbage players, would just be a waste right now. I say showcase them for the rest of the season and then actually try and get a little something from a team looking at one of them as a fallback player.

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Dodgers Sign Wells

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Dodgers have signed free agent pitcher David Wells and plan on having him start at Shea Stadium versus the Mets Sunday. Wells, who is 5-8 with a 5.54 ERA and 63 K, will get paid by the Dodgers a pro-rated portion of the minimum salary, while the rest of his will be picked up by the Padres. "This is the right situation, a team on the West Coast that's a playoff contender. He's looking forward to it," Clifton said. "David always likes to be a member of a veteran team that has a chance to make the playoffs."

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Cubs Acquire Monroe

The Chicago Cubs acquired outfielder Craig Monroe from the Tigers for a player to be named later. This season, Monroe is batting .222 with 11 HR and 55 RBI, but Cubs coaches think that he is a great addition to the team. "He's a good athlete, a good outfielder and he's got some pop," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said in announcing the move. "He's a good bat coming off the bench with experience. The teams we're playing here all have left-hand starters in the rotation. He'll be a valuable addition to us, and he gives us more experience." With Soriano joining the team soon, Mornoe will be a backup for all three outfield spots, probably seeing a lot of playing time in September. The Cubs will send down Jake Fox for the following week and then recall him with the September call ups.

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Interview with Nick Derba

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Today, I had the opportunity to interview Cardinals prospect Nick Derba, who was drafted this year in the 30th round of the MLB Draft. He is already off to a fast start as catcher for the Low-A Swing of the Quad Cities batting .317 with 2 HR and 13 RBI. I want to thank Ben Chiswick, the Director of Media Relations for Swing of the Quad Cities for setting this interview up for me, I really appreciate it.


ELI: To be honest, I haven’t heard much of anything about Manhattan College Baseball, what was it like? What skills do you think were improved the most?

NICK: Well, Manhattan University isn’t known for its baseball so we weren’t exactly catered to like other schools. And you’ve got to get by playing baseball everyday and improving in the facilities that we are given to work in. But my coaches really improved my game full circle, my coaches were excellent.

ELI: Were you in contact with any major league club leading into the draft?

NICK: Yeah a couple, but the Cardinals were definitely the most interested. I went to a tryout for the Cardinals and Phillies, took some questionnaires for the Astros and other teams, but the Cardinals kept in touch the most.

ELI: What was it like when you got the call?

NICK: Oh, it was great, overwhelmed by the situation. I was at my girlfriend’s house when it happened. And I got a call from a scout with the Cardinals tell me I got drafted, and man was I excited.

ELI: When you were drafted, did you even consider not playing baseball?

NICK: No, not at all. It is a dream of any kid to play professional ball so when the opportunity presented it self, I was happy and ready to go. It was a no doubter.

ELI: You signed right after the draft, what was it like making the switch from the metal bat to the wooden bat?

NICK: Well, I played up in the Cape Cod league for three summers and they use wooden bats so I was pretty used to them by then. The jump wasn’t too bad it was more getting my swing down and getting comfortable where I was playing.

ELI: When do you usually go over signs with a relief pitcher? After warm up pitches when he comes into the game?

NICK: You know we usually are on the same page I just go out there to reiterate the situation, signs, batter and things like that. The pitchers are usually pretty ready so all I have to do is reiterate what the situation is and stuff like that.

ELI: Your power numbers shot up from junior to senior year, did you notice doing anything different in the off-season to prepare for senior year?

NICK: Yeah, I lifted a lot more and put a lot more work into hitting than any other year. I made sure that I got as much hitting as possible.

ELI: You are represented by Sterling Sports Management, how’d you come into contact with them?

NICK: They actually contacted me and called me. And we talked for awhile and I liked what he was telling me and now they are my acting representation.

ELI: If you could catch for one pitcher in the past or present, who would it be?

NICK: Whitey Ford.

ELI: Did you have a favorite player growing up?

NICK: Craig Biggio. He is such a good player and plays the game with such class from start to finish.

ELI: What would you rather do: Catch a perfect game to win the World Series, or hit a walk off homerun to win the World Series?

NICK: Definitely be a walk-off homerun.

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Rangers Will Go Hard For Rowand

The Rangers top priority this season is getting a quality center fielder. With Rowand, Jones, Hunter, Cameron, and Fukudome on the market, it won't be hard to land one. Jones and Hunter will probably be looking for a five year deal in the fifteen-seventeen million dollar range. Rowand, who is batting .306 with 21 HR and 70 RBI, will likely command a four year deal, around thirteen or fourteen million dollars. That should indicate that the Rangers, who have money to spend, would go after a quality outfielder like Rowand while leaving money to pursue other needs. The Rangers also need a good starting pitcher, just to fortify this rotation some. Curt Schilling would be a great addition because not only is he effective, but he is willing to work with the young pitchers.

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Devil Rays Pitcher Curt Schilling?

Curt Schilling has mentioned that he would be willing to pitch with the Devil Rays if he leaves the Red Sox next season? Is he spinning the pot try to get more money from the Red Sox, or could he actually be serious? “I have a list. Obviously one of the things I will do at the end of the season is sit down and write to those teams on that list, explain my situation, and explain the situation that I want to go into. I’m not going to need anything special.” Schilling, who represents himself, is probably the best pitcher on the market, despite his age. He could end pitching for a contender like the Dodgers, possibly even the Yankees. But Schilling has always been a mentor to younger players, and Tampa Bay is where a lot of young pitchers are at. “The only other option would be a situation like here [Tampa Bay] where you have a tremendous young nucleus of pitchers, young players, a good manager, and good people where my last year could be spent having an impact on guys far beyond my playing days.” Schilling is 7-5 this season with a 4.25 ERA and 79 K. At Tropicana Field, Curt Schilling is 6-4 W-L with a 3.43 ERA. He has only given up 59 hits at Tropicana Field, 10 of them, homeruns. The Devil Rays do have money to spend for a two year deal, but signing him against all the teams in the market for pitching, seems doubtful.

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Mets Acquire Conine

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Mets are on the verge of acquiring 1B/OF Jeff Conine for two Class-A position players. The deal has been worked on for the past couple of days and it is believed that the players going to Cincinnati are Jose Castro and Sean Henry. Conine will fill in for Damian Easely on the roster and Jorge Cantu will fill in for Conine. Conine is batting .265 with 6 HR and 32 RBI in 80 games this season for the Reds.

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Interview Today!

Today, I will be interviewing Cubs pitcher Rocky Cherry for MLB Rumors at 1:00 P.M. CT. You can listen to the interview live by clicking here, or you can call 1-646-478-5102 with your questions.

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Mailbag: Free Agents and Rookies

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Q: Why are teams calling up their prospects so early? Justin Upton is starting for the Diamondbacks and my son is older than him? Same with Cameron Maybin. Is baseball going to get worse with these young kids playing more?

Dave S, Hollywood, Florida

ELI: I think teams are becoming more willing and eager to rush their top prospects to the major league level. Cameron Maybin was tearing it up at AA Erie batting .400 in six games. Teams don't want their players to adjust to worse talent and slow down in making it to the MLB. Justin Upton was the same way in AA Mobile batting .309 with 13 HR. They push them to play against better competition and for now it is paying off. I don't think baseball will get worse, if anything better because you have a lot of raw talent. Time will tell.

Q: The Iowa Cubs are loaded with solid players, where do you see there good players fitting in with the Cubs in the next couple of years?

Jon Parker, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

ELI: The Iowa Cubs do have a lot of MLB ready players that will probably be with the club next season. Geovany Soto will probably sharing time with Jason Kendall if he is brought back. Jake Fox could be on the bench next season as a utility player. The bullpen will probably include Carmen Pigniatello, Rocky Cherry, Clay Rapada, and Sean Gallagher. Felix Pie will be in center field for the Cubs next season and Mike Fontenot will be sharing time at second with Mark DeRosa. However, Micah Hoffpauir, Eric Patterson, and Josh Kroeger are all capable of making the team as well. Great teams are built from the ground up, so this should be an interesting team in a couple years.

Q: Who is the best free agent at each position coming in to this offseason?

Ethan, Highland Park, Illinois

ELI:

C Jorge Posada
1B Kevin Millar (option)
2B Jeff Kent (option)
3B Alex Rodriguez (option)
SS David Eckstein
OF Andruw Jones
OF Torii Hunter
OF Aaron Rowand

SP Curt Schilling
RP Joe Nathan

Q: Where do you think Kosuke Fukudome will end up?

Gary, Nova Scotia

ELI: It is tough to say right now. The White Sox are looking to make a splash and might look at him. The Rangers missed out on Matsuzaka and may try at him. The Padres, Dodgers, and Giants, who have openings in their outfields after this season, may look for a cheap add on in Fukudome. There will be a lot of interest in Fukudome, and he will probably get a lot of money from a desperate team.

Q: Why do you think power numbers are down this year? The leading homerun hitter only has 39 homeruns.

Tony, Queens

ELI: I think the main reason for that is pitching. The pitching is a lot better and teams are pitching around big hitters. Also, teams are getting better scouting reports, and exploiting weaknesses better. And thanks to my most loyal reader Timothy for reminding me, players are not using steroids anymore cutting back a lot.

If you have any questions, email me at mlbrumors@gmail.com


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Miguel Cabrera On The Move?

The Marlins are known for taking chances on inexpensive players and may not be able to afford Miguel Cabrera's asking price when he becomes a free agent. He is making 7.4 million this season and will make more next season. He won't be a free agent until 2009 putting no pressure on Dominguez to develop. The Marlins will have a lot of calls about Cabrera in '08 offering prospects and proven players, so they should consider making a trade. The Red Sox, who are interested in adding a young third baseman to replace Mike Lowell, have success in trading with the Marlins, so a trade there is possible. The Angels, who are looking to add Alex Rodriguez, make look for a cheaper addition in Cabrera. It is possible to even see the Yankees go after him if they lose out on Alex Rodriguez. At this point, any team with a lot of prospects looking for a proven third baseman would be interested. So you can probably rule out the Cubs, Diamondbacks, Cardinals, Brewers, Nationals, Mets, Braves, Mariners, White Sox, Royals, Orioles, Devil Rays, and Blue Jays, who all have good third baseman's or good prospects they are not willing to give up.

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White Sox Extend Dye

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Chicago White Sox have signed outfielder Jermaine Dye to a two year extension, worth 22 million dollars. Dye struggled in the first half of the season but has rebounded and is hitting .245 with 24 HR 62 RBI. Since nearly being traded to the Red Sox on July 31st, Dye is batting .327 with 5 HR and 10 RBI. This Free Agent Class keeps getting worse and worse as the top free agents keep getting resigned. Carlos Zambrano, Carlos Guillen, Mark Buehrle, Jermaine Dye, to name a few. Kosuke Fokudome can now be considered one of the top outfielders on the market, behind Torii Hunter and Andruw Jones.

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Tigers Still After Pirates Wilson

After a month of trying to make a trade, a new twist could indicate that they are even closer. Tigers outfielder Craig Monroe has cleared waivers yesterday giving the Tigers ten days to trade him or release him. Jack Wilson cleared waivers as well which could indicate a trade is in the works. But, the Tigers called up Ramon Santiago, a defensive specialist from AAA Toledo to back up Carlos Guillen. Wilson will probably be suited in a backup role with the Tigers, but would be an addition nonetheless. He is batting .268 with 6 HR and 34 RBI and has a great glove and good speed. Monroe, who is batting .222 with 11 HR and 55 RBI, would help out nicely in the power department for the Pirates. Wilson is set to make 6.5 million in '08 and 7.25 million in '09 with a 8.4 club option. So if any trade were to happen the Pirates would probably have to give cash considerations as well. Wilson is set to make 4.77 million dollars this year, and he is up for arbitration again this season. So if they do a trade that is one for one, it will probably be Craig Monroe to the Pirates for Jack Wilson and cash considerations.

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Pena to Nationals

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Red Sox have traded disgruntled outfield Wily Mo Pena and cash to the Washington Nationals for a player to be named later. Pena was not living up to standards with the Red Sox batting .218 with 5 HR and 17 RBI in 73 games. If you recall my first post about Pena, I speculated that the Nationals would possible be looking to add him. The Nationals take a small risk in picking up Pena, and have to give up very little for him.

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Cubs Extend Zambrano

The Chicago Cubs have signed Carlos Zambrano to a five year deal, worth 91.5 million dollars. The deal has a 19.25 million dollar player option for a sixth year. "I feel happy right now, feel comfortable right now but it's not enough," Zambrano said at news conference. "I have a mission to complete and I have a way to go with my teammates to lead this team. ... It's not enough when you retire and don't have the ring." Most Cubs fans believed that ownership was in limbo and no money could be thrown around, but I guess the Tribune Company put the go ahead on the deal just to get it done. Zambrano is 14-9 this season with a 3.86 ERA and 139 K. Many teams were looking to add Zambrano in the off season but will now have to look to other Free Agents.

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The MLB Rumors Hall of Fame

Now is your chance to pick one of six players who have not only dominated the league this year, but have done it their whole career. At the bottom right of the site, vote for who you think deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. This is just the first of many ways to get you involved on the site. There are many contests coming up that will include jersey's, autographs, and more. Stay tuned.

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Interview with Garrett Jones

Thursday, August 16, 2007

This afternoon, I called up Twins first baseman Garrett Jones and he told me that he had to run out because he just got the call back up to the Twins. But he was nice enough to hold off ten minutes and answer some questions of mine for MLB Rumors. Garrett was doing well in Triple-A batting .280 with 13 HR and 70 RBI and will look to continue his hot streak with the Twins for his third stint with the Twins his rookie season. I want to thank Keith Krieter at Edge Sports International for setting up this interview for me, I really appreciate it.

ELI: Growing up in Illinois, were you a Cubs or Sox fan?

GARRETT: I was a Sox fan. Yeah, I grew up on the south side and was able to watch them growing up.

ELI: Did you have a favorite player?

GARRETT: I like Robin Ventura and Frank Thomas a lot, but I really like Ken Griffey Jr. when he was on the Mariners. I just tried to copy his swing growing up. He was probably my favorite player.

ELI: What was the draft experience like for you? Did you expect the Braves to take you?

GARRETT: The whole experience went by really quick for me. I had committed to Purdue before my senior year and I wasn't expected to go pro out of high school. But I was hitting well my senior year and I was told I could go in a decent round. One of my practices senior year the scout who told me this came up and told me I was taken in the 14th round. I was excited and wanted to sign because I thought I went at a pretty good round and had a good chance of making it.

ELI: Were you eager to sign?

GARRETT: Oh yeah, I wanted to sign. I was taken early enough where I thought I had a good chance to be successful and I thought it would be better then going to college. But if I was taken higher like in the 20s I probably would have thought I was better off at Purdue.

ELI: You spent some time in the Twins system before getting your call up this season, were you ever discouraged?

GARRETT: No, the Twins gave me a fair chance. Once I made it to Double-A I started hitting my stride, my power was good, and they told me what to do and I started doing it. They gave me a fair shot from there, especially with Morneau in front of me. I was just happy with the opportunities that were given to me.

ELI: Do you remember your first at-bats? Can you take me through them?

GARRETT: Yeah, my first at bat I came up and was nervous. I was just trying to focus and make good contact. My second at bat I came up and caught a change up down and away and drove it through the three hole for a single. I was excited because [Paul] Byrd is a veteran he was moving the ball pretty well across the plate.

ELI: Did you get the ball back?

GARRETT: Yeah, they gave me the ball back I got it authenticated and then I gave it to my dad after the game and now it is in my house.

ELI: At home, you hit a big triple off Jered Weaver, what were you thinking off the bat?

GARRETT: I saw right away off the bat, I sort of inside outed it. I was hoping it would get away from Gary Matthews and when it did I knew I had a double easily and I pushed it for three and made it easily.

ELI: What have the Twins been like in your stints with the team?

GARRETT: The Twins fans have been good, doing a lot of cheering. I came up for my first at-bats at home and they gave me a pretty good ovation despite being new. It was nice, the fans were always there and consistently cheering.

ELI: What time do you usually arrive at the stadium for a one o'clock game?

GARRETT: I'll arrive around nine o'clock. They like us to take BP before the game so I'll get there and eat some breakfast and then hit the cages before the game.

ELI: Do you have any pre-game routine you do on your own?

GARRETT: I like to hit off the tee, work on my swing a little bit. But besides that, I just like to relax and prepare mentally for the game. Yeah, nothing superstitious though.

ELI: What is your most cherished piece of sports memorabilia?

GARRETT: I had a four homer game in A-ball once and I kept the bat. It was exciting probably my best game down there so I kept the bat.

ELI: What would you rather see, a walk off homerun to win the World Series, or a no-hitter to win the World Series?

GARRETT: I think the homerun would be more exciting at the time, but a no-hitter would be awesome to see. At the moment, the homerun would be amazing and exciting, but I pitching a no-hitter especially in the World Series is impressive and I would to be a part of something like that.

ELI: If you could bat against any pitcher, past or present, who would it be?

GARRETT: It would have to be Nolan Ryan. The he threw the ball and how hard he threw, I think it would be cool to hit off him. He had such nasty stuff, I think I would choose him.

ELI: Who told you you were getting the call back up?

GARRETT: My [Triple-A] manager called me up, and it is funny because I haven't played great lately. Today, I had the hat trick, struck out three times and the day before that I didn't have a hit. So to get the call up now, it was nice. He just said 'the big club want you up there. They got some guys that are bang up...'

ELI: So when are you leaving?

GARRETT: I'm flying back tomorrow morning.

ELI: Alright, congratulations again.

GARRETT: Thanks a lot, talk to you.

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Boston Saying Goodbye to Pena

The Red Sox will be letting go of Wily Mo Pena in the next day or so and it is not sure where he will be going. This season Pena has struggled batting .218 AVG with 5 HR and 17 RBI, and it is unclear whether or not any teams are interested. The Cubs, who lost Alfonso Soriano could use someone who has not only played at Wrigley before, but has had success there too. The A's, who may look for a cheap addition late could also look to add him. Or maybe even the Nationals who are known for taking troubled youth aboard. Time will tell after he is finally let go either today or tomorrow.

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Twins Trade Ortiz

The Twins traded Ramon Ortiz to the Colorado Rockies for minor leaguer Matt Macri. Ortiz started off strong for the Twins, but fell quickly and wound up in the bullpen with a 4-4 record and a 5.14 ERA in 28 appearances. "The thing is, I don't pitch much here now and this will give me opportunity to pitch more in the game," Ortiz said. "I think that's a good idea. I'm very happy." Ortiz will probably be slotted in the starter role and start as soon as Friday.

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2007 Draft Updates

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

As we approach the last day for teams to sign their draft picks, I'm here to give you team by team updates:

Devil Rays David Price-
Signed.
Kansas City Royals Mike Moustakas- Signed.
Chicago Cubs Josh Vitters- Signed.
Pittsburgh Pirates Daniel Moskos- Signed.
Baltimore Orioles Matt Weiters- Signed.
Washington Nationals Ross Detwiler- Signed.
Milwaukee Brewers Matt LaPorta- Signed.
Colorado Rockies Casey Weathers- Signed.
Arizona Diamondback Jarrod Parker- Signed.
San Francisco Giants Madison Bumgarner/Tim Alderson/Wenell Fairley- Signed.
Seattle Mariners Phillipe Aumont- Signed.
Florida Marlins Matt Dominguez- Signed.
Cleveland Indians Beau Millis- Signed.
Atlanta Braves Jason Heyward-
Signed.
Cincinnati Reds Devin Mesoraco-
Signed.
Toronto Blue Jays Kevin Ahrens/Jon Arencibia- Signed.
Texas Rangers Blake Beavan- Signed.
Texas Rangers Michael Main- Signed.
St. Louis Cardinals Pete Kozma- Signed.
Philadelphia Phillies Joe Savery- Signed.
Los Angeles Dodgers Chris Withrow- Signed.
San Diego Padres Nic Schmidt- Signed.
Chicago White Sox Aaron Poreda- Signed.
Oakland Athletics Donald Simmons- Signed.
Detroit Tigers Rick Porcello- Signed.
Minnesota Twins Ben Revere- Signed.
New York Yankees Andrew Brackman- Signed.

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Is Nomar Done As A Dodger?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Nomar Garciaparra signed a two year deal worth about 18 million dollars last off season that some would argue, he has not lived up to. Not only that, but he did draw some interest this season from teams looking for a somewhat of a utility infielder. And with that interest, you would think the Dodgers would trade him for some proven pitching to make room for Andy LaRoche at third base. LaRoche is expected to be ready next season and Loney is already proving that he can play at this level so they would be able to grow into the league together, like they have through the minors. That kind of chemistry can really help a team in a close division. Also, by letting go of Nomar also gives them room to make a big splash in the off season. Beyond that, Furcal is off the payroll after next season so it is possible to assume prospect Chin-Lung Hu will be called up giving them even more money to improve their pitching. The Dodgers are putting themselves in a spot to be a great, young team with great pitching and solid offense.

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White Sox Eye Khalil Greene?

The White Sox were looking to acquire Khalil Greene at the trade deadline in a trade for Jermaine Dye, but that fell through. Coming into the off season where they will lose Dye, it seems likely that Jon Garland is out. Jon Garland and Brian Anderson for Khalil Greene, Heath Bell, and a minor league prospect would really help the Padres a lot, and would improve the White Sox bullpen, and infield situations. This trade seems pretty even because Greene is a big upgrade in the lineup and the field, and Bell can really help out that bullpen, which is what they need. Yes, the Sox give up Garland, but they do have a rotation backed by youngsters Danks and Masset, who are showing a lot of upside on the mound. But for Greene, who is batting .240 with 19 HR and 66 RBI and Bell who is 5-3 with a 2.27 ERA and 69 Ks already puts more wins in the win column. This could be the trade to make for Kenny Williams this off season to improve him team.


Joe Crede On His Way Out?:
Joe Crede has been sidelined for a couple months now and has given plenty of space for Josh Fields to grow into third base. Many scouts are saying he is the next best thing for the White Sox, and is already putting up decent numbers. In 60 games, he is batting .247 with 12 HR and 39 RBI but has dominated in his last ten games and against lefties this whole season. Crede could be traded for a minor league pitcher or two, possibly to the Pirates, who they are on good trading terms with. But, a lot will determine how Fields finishes the season.

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Mets Eyeing Ivan Rodriguez

The Mets are losing both of their struggling catchers to free agency this off season and would like an upgrade behind the plate. The Tigers have a thirteen million dollars option for Pudge, who turns 36 in November. They were also looking into Jorge Posada, but it is unlikely he will leave the Bronx. "I can't imagine Posada not playing for the Yankees, but that's an interesting one, obviously, because it's the other New York team," said the competing GM, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "I don't know if the Tigers would pick up Pudge's option, though it's tough to imagine the Tigers without him, too." If both catchers are off the market, they could look to Michael Barrett, Brad Ausmus, Jason Kendall, or Jose Molina, probably the second tier for catchers. However, they could always make a trade for players they have tried to acquire before. Like Ramon Hernandez or Bengie Molina. Both are under contract and are having decent years. The cheapest move is to bring in Molina or Hernandez to platoon with Castro, who is putting up great numbers in few at-bats. If you platoon Molina, who is batting .267 with 12 HR and 63 RBI, with Castro, who is batting .282 with 9 HR and 27 RBI, you have a solid platoon behind the plate.

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Jose Contreras Clears Waivers

Monday, August 13, 2007

According to SI.com, White Sox pitcher Jose Contreras has cleared waivers, and is available to any interested team. Although Contreras has pitched well lately, he is 6-14 with a 6.24 ERA. Many teams are interested, just money is the main concern. Contreras is set to make 20 million dollars over the next two season, so if any trade happens, the White Sox would have to pay up too. The Dodgers are looking for a veteran pitcher after refusing to give up prospects for Jon Garland. The Dodgers could possible trade Nomar Garciaparra to make room for Andy LaRoche, that would balance out the salary's and give the teams something beneficial. The Cubs, who have had some trouble pitching as of late could offer up some prospects, but the White Sox would have to take most of the bill for that to happen.

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Interview with Chin-Lung Hu

Today, I had the opportunity to interview one of the Dodgers top prospects Chin-Lung Hu, a shortstop playing for the Las Vegas 51s, the Dodgers Triple-A Affiliate. Last month, Hu was named the MVP of the Futures Game, joining a group of All-Star players who have already won the award. It is possible we see Hu patrolling the left side of the infield some time next season. He has a bright future ahead of him and it is obvious because of his consistency at all the levels. I would like to thank Jim Gemma and everyone in the Las Vegas 51s Front Office for getting this interview set up for me and on such short notice, I really appreciate it.

ELI: What are the major differences in playing here and in Taiwan? Are the fans very different?

CHIN-LUNG: Oh, I feel a lot more comfortable here. The stadiums are a lot nicer; the level of play is better and more competitive. The fans are great here and in Taiwan, but here they are a little crazy. They follow you everywhere. [laughs]

ELI: How does it feel to be a two-time All-Star in the minor leagues?

CHIN-LUNG: It’s an honor to be considered an All-Star and represent my team.

ELI: How does it feel to follow in the footsteps of Alfonso Soriano, Jose Reyes, and Grady Sizemore as the MVP of the futures game?

CHIN-LUNG: It was very exciting to win the award that so many great players have won before me.

ELI: Did it give you a lot of confidence?

CHIN-LUNG: Oh yeah, it gave me a lot of confidence.

ELI: How long have you played baseball? Have you always been a shortstop?

CHIN-LUNG: I’ve played since elementary school. Probably about fifteen years.

ELI: Have you always been a shortstop?

CHIN-LUNG: Yeah, for the most part. I was tried in center field one time but that only lasted a couple of weeks.

ELI: There aren’t a lot of players from Taiwan in the league, how does it feel to represent your country playing for a great team in the Dodgers?

CHIN-LUNG: It is nice and it feels good. Playing here knowing that is fun.

ELI: Do you keep in touch with players from Taiwan around the league. Like Chien-Ming Wang or Hong-Chih Kuo?

CHIN-LUNG: Yeah we talk from time to time back home.

ELI: You where number 8, is there any significance to that number?

CHIN-LUNG: No, it is just the number they gave me here in Triple-A. I like number three though if I got to choose. I like single-digit numbers.

ELI: How does the level of competition change as you move up through the system? What is the biggest difference between High-A and Double-A? AA and AAA?

CHIN-LUNG: In High-A, the pitchers throw hard but they don’t have a lot of control. Now, in Triple-A, the pitchers throw hard and have good control. They also have pitches with a lot of movement.

ELI: What was it like being invited to spring training? Did anyone give you some advice? Who?

CHIN-LUNG: I was very happy and excited. I got to see my favorite players. I got to talk to Nomar [Garciaparra], and he is like a hero of mine. And when I got to talk with them, after it was very exciting. All these guys make so much money, but work so hard, so it makes me feel good. I got a chance to work with Juan Pierre a little bit on hitting, which was very nice and exciting. Nomar [Garciaparra] also gave me some good advice at shortstop.

ELI: Do you have a favorite major league stadium?

CHIN-LUNG: I like them all.

ELI: Which jerseys in the major leagues do you find the most attractive?

CHIN-LUNG: I like the Dodgers the most. They are classic and haven’t changed in awhile.

ELI: Did you have a favorite player growing up?

CHIN-LUNG: I love Ichiro. He has always been my favorite.

ELI: If you could bat against one pitcher, in the past or present, who would it be?

CHIN-LUNG: I think Roger Clemens. He is so good and has been for so long.

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