Holliday and Fuentes in Package for Phillies?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

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

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The Closer Market

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

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Pirates Unreasonable about Nady and Marte?

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

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Listen Up Cubs Fans

Friday, July 18, 2008

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

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Quick Hits

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


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

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

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Cashman Says: No Bonds

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

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BREAKING NEWS: Phillies Acquire Blanton

Thursday, July 17, 2008

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

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Tony Clark to the Diamondbacks

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

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

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Who's Most Likely to be Traded at Deadline?

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

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

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Quick Hits

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

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

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

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

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Saito Out Until Late August

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

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

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

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Will Cashman Break Down and Hire Bonds?

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

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All-Star Marathon

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

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Quick Hits (Pre All-Star Game Edition)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

-Tim Lincecum will miss tonight's all-star game after being taken to the hospital and treated for dehydration and flu-like systems.

-Espn.com is reporting that both Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui could be out longer than expected after both revealed setbacks in their rehab.

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

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

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All-Star Break Quick Hits

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

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Breaking News: Josh Hamilton is Really, Really Strong

Monday, July 14, 2008

Wow.

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

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Quick Hits: Marte, Rauch, Fuentes, Mahay

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

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Cubs Express Interest in Khalil Greene??

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

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K-Rod to Test Market?

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

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All-Star Lineups

AL Lineup:

1. rf Ichiro Suzuki

2. ss Derek Jeter

3. cf Josh Hamilton

4. 3b Alex Rodriguez

5. lf Manny Ramirez

6. dh Milton Bradley

7. 1b Kevin Youkilis

8. c Joe Mauer

9. 2b Dustin Pedroia

P Cliff Lee


NL

1. ss Hanley Ramirez

2. 2b Chase Utley

3. 1b Lance Berkman

4. dh Albert Pujols

5. 3b Chipper Jones

6. rf Matt Holliday

7. lf Ryan Braun

8. cf Kosuke Fukudome

9. C Geovany Soto

P Ben Sheets

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Tigers Willis Giving Up Trademark Leg Lift Delivery

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

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LaRussa Asking Front Office for Help

Sunday, July 13, 2008

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

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Teixeira to be Traded?

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

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Clark to Arizona?

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

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Sexson To Yankees?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

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

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Full-On Blackballing of Bonds

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

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Ibanez to Mets?

Friday, July 11, 2008

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

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Burnett Probably Staying Put

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

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All-Star Game: American League Domination?

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

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Quick Hits

Thursday, July 10, 2008

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

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

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

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

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White Sox Have Fireworks, Fireworks

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

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Cards Mulder Leaves Comeback Game with Shoulder Pain

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

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

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Phillies Still Shopping for a Starter

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

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Quick Hits

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

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

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

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

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Cubs Make Deal for Harden

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

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

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Sabathia to Dodgers Nixed by Owner?

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

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Dontrelle Willis Done for the Season?

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

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

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Theo Epstein, Omar Minaya: No Interest in Bonds

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

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Fuentes Being Eyed by Many Teams

Monday, July 7, 2008

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

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Quick Hits

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

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

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

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Brewers Close on Deal for Sabathia

Sunday, July 6, 2008

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


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

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

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

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Brewers Offer For Sabathia

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

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Expect Padres to be Sellers at Trade Deadline

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

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Lidge Contract Extension

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

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All-Star Starters In?

Saturday, July 5, 2008

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

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

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

NL

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

Brandon Webb will be the starter for the National League

More analysis to come...

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Are White Sox Shopping Uribe?

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

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Quick Hits: Mahay, Inoa, Fogg

Friday, July 4, 2008

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

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Phillies Shopping for a Starter

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

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Toronto Shopping AJ Burnett

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

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Indians Designate Borowski for Assignment

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

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Francoeur Heading to Double-A

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

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Is Matt Clement Ready to Return?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

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

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Twins, Brewers Coming on Strong

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

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Rays Whispers...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

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

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

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Quick Hits: Sabathia, Giles, Cordero, Cardinals

Quick Hits:

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

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Myers Headin' To Triple-A

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

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

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

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Player Journal: Doug Mathis

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

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

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

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

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

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Hall Says No to Bonds 756 Ball

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

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

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Quick Hits: Garcia, Sabathia, Fuentes, Holliday

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

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AOL Sports Lists Cheapest Great Team

Monday, June 30, 2008

AOL Sports came up with a list of players, all making six-figure salaries that would rival any team at the moment. Imagine this line-up.

Phillies Pitcher Cole Hamels-$500,000- won 15 games and struck out 177 in 183 innings

Red Sox Reliever Jon Papelbon, relief pitcher- $775,000-72 career saves and 1.62 ERA.

Catcher Brian McCann-$800,000-hit .333 in '06 and has 47 career HRs. Only 24 years old

Brewers 1B Prince Fielder-$670,000-youngest player to ever hit 50 HRs

Angels 2B Howie Kendrick-$400,000- has hit .306 over parts of 2 ML seasons


Nationals 3B Ryan Zimmerman- $500,000-has driven in 200 runs over last two seasons

Marlins SS Hanley Ramirez-$439,000- fell one homer short of being third player in history to hit 30 HRs and stealing 50 bases


Astros RF Hunter Pence-$396,000-hit .322 with 17 HRs in 107 games

Diamondbacks CF Chris Young-$400,000-fell 3 stolen bases short of being first rookie to ever post a 30-30 season

Brewers LF Ryan Braun-$455,000-2007 Rookie of the Year hit 34 HRs and drove in 97 runs in 113 games

Can't help but make you scratch your head at some of the salaries for established players not playing at even close to the level of some of these young players. Let's see where these guys are after their next contract negotiation.

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A's Nearing Signing of 16-year old Dominican Phenom

A's GM Billy Beane is expected to arrive in the Dominican Republic before Wednesday to oversee the signing of Michel Inoa, the 6'7" teenage pitcher, according to Baseball America. He is ineligible to sign until Wednesday so Beane will waste no time getting a deal done.

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Yanks and Mets Interested in Freddy Garcia

A couple of East Coast newspapers are speculating on Mets and Yankee interest in Freddy Garcia, who is nearing the end of his recovery from shoulder surgery. Agent Adam Greenberg said Garcia should be ready to throw for scouts by the third week in July and Garcia is said to have fans within both those organizations.

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White Sox Return the Favor

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The White Sox gave the Cubs a taste of their own medicine and pulled off an impressive 3 game sweep of their Chicago counterparts this weekend, complete with stellar starting pitching, power throughout the lineup, and a lights out bullpen. Like the Sox the previous weekend, the Cubs simply could not get anything going all weekend. It appears that injuries, as well as tougher competition courtesy of the American League, has driven the Cubs to their first mini-slump of the season entering a 4 game series in San Francisco. The only good news from this weekend may be the improving health of stars Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Zambrano. Soriano is apparently healing very well and may return sooner than expected. Zambrano completed a bullpen session this evening and is slated to start next friday versus division rival St. Louis. All in all, this weekend series between two first place teams supported the statistical evidence that showed that regardless of the personnel or the year, these teams will always be very evenly matched.

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Heyman: 19 Players To Be Traded?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Jon Heyman of SI.com has 19 players that will likely be traded:

1. CC Sabathia, Indians

2. Rich Harden, Athletics

3. Erik Bedard, Mariners

4. A.J. Burnett, Blue Jays

5. Randy Wolf, Padres

6. Livan Hernandez, Twins

7. Greg Maddux, Padres

8. Kevin Millwood, Rangers

9. Joe Blanton, A's

10. Jarrod Washburn, Mariners

11. Bronson Arroyo, Reds

12. Huston Street, A's

13. Kevin Gregg, Marlins

14. George Sherill, Orioles

15. Damasco Marte, Pirates

16. Brian Fuentes, Rockies

17. Joe Borowski, Indians

18. Chad Bradford, Orioles

19. Jamie Walker, Orioles

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Reds To Trade Bailey?

Once top prospect Homer Bailey is back in the minors after posting an 0-3 record for the Reds with an 8.76 ERA. His fastball is reportedly looking like a batting practice ball and his curveball is inconsistent. The Reds have built up their pitching where they do not need to experiment with Bailey anymore, but could wait till his trade value is high to trade him. Several teams with above average prospects could package a good deal for the Reds. Better yet, they could package Bailey with Adam Dunn and land a plethora of prospects and maybe one solid player at the MLB level. Bailey is getting older, so the time is now if they are going to trade him.

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Should The Braves Sign Bonds?

According to Sabernomics.com, the Braves should sign outfielder Barry Bonds. Replacing Gregor Blanco or Brandon Jones with Bonds would make the outfield and lineup so much better. Yes the press is an issue, but several players have said that Bonds is a good guy in the clubhouse. The biggest problem of course is Hank Aaron and the homerun issue. Would the fans embrace Bonds as he helps the Braves move closer to the playoffs or will they push him away and turn against the team? Bonds will probably not get picked up this season. But if he were, the Mariners and Braves make the most sense.

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Bedard to Giants?

Giants ace Barry Zito is turning into the worst signing in history, and the Giants are going to try and find a new ace. Erik Bedard is available and under contract so he would be a somewhat cheap upgrade for the Giants. Bedard is 4-4 this season with a 3.97 ERA in thirteen games, but would probably help the struggling Giants. The Giants are expected to make a big move at this trade deadline in hopes of building their team for the future. Adding someone like Bedard would help the Giants improve their young and unproven pitching staff.

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Call it a Slow News Day

With the trade deadline a little over a month away, it's kind of like the quiet before the storm. The half-way mark in the season is this this week and everybody kind of knows where they stand. Either they're expecting to make a run for it based on a good first half, they stink and its a "rebuilding" year or they are around .500 and the season could go either way. GMs have a good idea what they need and the positioning and posturing is about to begin in earnest. Take, for example all this Sabathia talk. Do the Indians want to keep him for the compensation they will ultimately receive when he leaves or try to get something for him now? The list is long and growing longer by the day of teams said to be interested- Red Sox, Yanks, Cubs, Dodgers, Brewers, Giants. What about A's Rich Harden, who struck out 11 in 8 innings two nights ago? Can he stay healthy? That's a big question for any interested team. The point is, it's a long way to July 31st and there will be a lot of names and deals floated over the newswires between now and then. I'll try to stay on top of it and filter out the stuff that just seems like talk.

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Will Teixeira Stay or Go?

Depending on how the next month goes for the Braves, Atlanta has some thinking to do about Mark Teixeira. If they can make a run for the playoffs, he will be needed and then they can go the arbitration route in the fall, but if they fade, then they might be able to deal him for something of value.

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MLB Ump Suspended for One Game

Friday, June 27, 2008

MLB Umpire Brian Runge was suspended for one game after bumping Mets manager Jerry Manuel during a game last week. Carlos Beltran and Manuel were both fined for their involvement. While the umpire is supposed to be treated with respect and has the last word in any dispute, that doesn't entitle him to respond in a physical manner with anyone else on the field. Does anyone disagree out there?

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Pinella to Replace Randolph at All-Star Game

Cubs manager Lou Pinella has been asked to replace Willie Randoph on the NL coaching staff at next month's All-Star game. When originally overlooked, he said he was fine with that because it meant he could go home to Florida for a few days for some relaxation but he said he is equally glad to be Randolph's replacement because it will be his last chance to go to Yankee Stadium.

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Astros Put Chacon on Waivers

The Astros wasted no time dumping Shawn Chacon yesterday, one day after his altercation with GM Ed Wade. He has until Monday to be picked up by another team. If he is not, the Astros have said they will terminate his contract for cause, which will lead to a confrontation with the players' association over the $983,607 remainder of his contract.

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Indians to Try One More Time to Sign Sabathia

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Several different news outlets are reporting that the Indians are going to try one last time to sign CC Sabathia. He has said that he won't talk about a contract during the season. Negotiations ended in February, Sabathia turned down a 4yr deal, somewhere in the high 60's, low 70's million dollar range. The Indians are not a team likely to cut loose with Johan Santana kind of coin so this may go nowhere unless they raise their offer considerably. There are a number of teams said to be interested in him, notably the Angels and the Cubs.

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No Independent League for Bonds

I mentioned Barry Bonds the other day, in reference to his resistance to playing anywhere but the majors. His agent, Jeff Borris has gone on record as saying Bonds is not interested in the Independent League. He feels his '07 play justifies his desire to return to the majors. As of now, all 30 major league teams have taken a pass. Does anyone think that could change between now and when division races begin in earnest?

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K-Rod Asking For Too Much?

With arguably the best closer in the game living up to his reputation, one would figure the Angels would already be working on a deal to lock up Francisco Rodriguez long term. Not so fast. There is talk to K-Rod could be asking for a four year deal upwards of 60 million. While it is not unusual for a top-flight starter to make 15 million dollars, paying that much for a closer is nearly unheard of. This begs the question, how much is too much for a reliever? Obviously having a great closer is important, but if your closer is taking up 1/8 or more of your teams' payroll, that money may be better spent somewhere else.

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Quick Hits: Orioles, Chacon, Bonds, Mariners

Quick Hits:

  • The Orioles could become a playoff contender with the addition of Mark Teixeira. He would help lead the youth movement in Baltimore with a plethora of pitchers in Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman, along with promising young catcher Matt Wieters. It would be costly, but they have payroll room and could take the hit.
  • Shawn Chacon was suspended indefinitely for grabbing GM Ed Wade by the neck earlier this week. It is likely he will be released or trading in the next month. A team like the Rays should pounce on the opportunity to have a long relief pitcher who can make a start on their team.
  • Barry Bonds is not interested in playing anywhere but the major leagues. It is possible he will get a job next off season, but playing in the independent leagues gives him a chance to stay in playing shape.
  • The Mariners continue to shop their players and have called several teams about making a trade. Erik Bedard is the most talked about player, but don't be surprised to hear Raul Ibanez, Adrian Beltre, and Richie Sexson in trades coming up.

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Chulk to Phillies?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Giants pitcher Vinny Chulk has ten days to be traded by the Giants and the Phillies have emerged as a possible taker. The bullpen has been taxed and a change of scenery might help the struggling pitcher. He is 0-3 so far this season, but has not been pitching that bad. Chulk had nothing bad to say about the Giants but welcomes a trade anywhere. He would make for a solid, low-risk pick up.

**2,000th Post**

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Three Peas in a Pod

The end of this season could mean the end for two potential Hall of Fame pitchers and a third, who has enjoyed a long career. Curt Schilling, John Smoltz and John Lieber are all publicly contemplating the inevitable in the last few days. Time marches on for us all but there must be a special melancholy reserved for professional athletes. They have all been playing their sports for as long as they can remember. As children, they must have been stars from an early age and now, at 40+ years of age, they must think about life after baseball.

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Brewers Sheets Headed for Free Agency

After GM Doug Melvin took a pass on trying to sign Ben Sheets to an extension in the off-season, he will now find himself in a potential bidding war if he wants to keep him. If the second half of the season goes anything like the first, he will be paying up. Sheets has let it be known that he will test the waters of free agency and who can blame him. He's 9-1 with a .259 era after 15 starts. Melvin wanted to wait and see if Sheets could stay healthy after a series of injuries in the last few seasons (he hasn't pitched 200 innings since '03)and now it will cost him to keep him.

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Derek Jeter headed to First Base??

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Could Jeter's days as a shortstop be numbered? Voted Most Over-rated Player by Sports Illustrated last week, Jeter's numbers have been down from year's past. His .279 batting average is not commensurate with his distinction as the highest paid shortstop in the game. While this may seem far fetched, if there was any team in the league that could compensate for Jeter's lack of power as a first basemen it would be they Yankees. This is not to say this move should be made immediately, but as Jeter's defense grows worse it would be wise to keep his leadership and presence on the team. Jeter has shown time and again what a great athlete he is so a transition to first wouldn't seem to be too difficult. Just some more food for thought. Also, I apologize for the lack of posts lately. I've had some personal things I've had to deal with the past few days and will be back to posting regularly.

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Quick Hits

Monday, June 23, 2008

Mark Ellis to Reds to shore up second base or possibly shortstop, where Alex Gonzalez is just average.

Are the Rays interested in Randy Wolf for some pitching help?

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Monday Morning Musings

The Chicago Cubs must be using their day off to savor sweeping their cross-town rivals, the White Sox. In the meantime, it's hard not to notice what Pinella has been doing with their outfield. While Soriano sits out at least another week with a broken hand, Pinella has been using an impressive rotation of young outfielders in a possible showcase situation, in the event Hendry decides to go ahead and pursue C.C. Sabathia or Erik Bedard or another top-draw pitcher. Pinella has gotten good work from Eric Patterson, Micah Hoffpauir and Matt Murton. With Jim Edmonds and Reed Johnson also playing, it wouldn't be a surprise if they were willing to part with some of that young talent to upgrade the pitching rotation.

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All-Star Game Nears

Sunday, June 22, 2008

With not a lot of news this weekend, I am looking forward to the All-Star Game which is less than a month away. I would like to hear what you the readers think will be the lineups for the respective teams. You can include a full roster for each team or just who you think will end up winning the fan-apointed starting positions. Chime in with your thoughts.

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Harang, Sheets Available?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that Reds' ace Aaron Harang may be available as the trade deadline approaches, although it would take multiple top prospects to pry him away. All of the teams interested in C.C. Sabathia and Erik Bedard figure to keep their ears open regarding Harang. In other news, the Philadelphia Daily News is reporting that a Phils special assistant has been in Milwaukee the past few days, giving him a chance to take a look at Ben Sheets. Sheets is in interesting player as the deadline nears as he is very injury prone but can be a devastatingly good pitcher when he stays healthy. With the Brewers hot right now and only 5 games out of first place, I don't see them dealing him unless they received an overwhelming offer.

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Schilling out for Season, Career in Jeopardy

Friday, June 20, 2008

Curt Schilling will undergo season-ending and possibly career ending surgery on Monday following a failed rehab attempt. Schilling was quoted as saying, "My season is over and there is a pretty decent chance I have thrown my last pitch forever," on WEEI radio in Boston. This is sad news for baseball fans everywhere as one of the top pitchers of this generation may be done forever. Hopefully the surgery goes smoothly and Schilling can make an easy and fast recovery.

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Blue Jays Fire Gibbons

Buster Olney is reporting that the Blue Jays have fired manager John Gibbons, the third managerial change in the majors this week. Cito Gaston, manager during the Blue Jays world series run in the early 1990's will take over as manager. Coaches Marty Pevey, Ernie Whitt and Gary Denbo were also relieved of their duties. The Blue Jays were only 4 games under .500, but were 10.5 games out of first place entering this weekend. First base coach Dwayne Murphy, third base coach Nick Leyva and hitting coach Gene Tenace will join Gaston on the Blue Jays staff.

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Quick Hits

Quick Hits:

  • The Cubs are worried that Zambrano could be out for the season and will look for improvements. Word is they are looking at Livan Hernandez or Randy Wolf, but don't be surprised if they make a move on Erik Bedard.
  • The Rockies are not happy with Yorvit Torrealba's performance at the plate and are looking to trade him. He is good at calling games, but Ianetta is decent and is hitting much better than him.
  • A's assistant GM Dave Forst might finally get his chance to be a GM. The Mariners job is open, but it is in the same division as the A's. He would be smart to wait for a better job to open up, maybe in the NL East.

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M's Fire McClaren

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Just days after their general manager was fired, the Mariners continued to clean house by firing manager John McClaren. Bench caoch Jim Riggleman will be the interim manager for the remainder of the season. McClaren was 68-88 as manager for Seattle over two seasons, but entered this season with playoff aspirations before their dismal start. Riggleman managed the Cubs for five seasons, leading them to a playoff berth in 1998. The M's are young enough where they don't need to blow up the team but expect changes as the season progresses and trade deadline nears.

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Cubs Fans Holding Their Breath

Many Cubs fans had a sleepless night last night as they await the results of today's MRI on Ace Carlos Zambrano's sore shoulder. He left last night's game in the 7th inning and ultimately took the loss. He has been 2-2 in his last five starts after starting the season 6-1. It was about a month ago he complained of a sore neck that radiated into his shoulder but felt it wasn't serious. The Cubs are in good shape at the moment, leading their division by 3 1/2 games over the Cards but they can't afford to lose Zambrano. If the news is bad, look for Hendry to get on the horn in a hurry. More on those possibilities later.

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Another Thought on Injuries

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

It was announced today that Tiger Woods not only won the U.S. Open this weekend but played with season-ending injuries-a torn ligament in his left knee and a double stress fracture in the same leg. I can't help but recall my musings of just a few days ago on the "fragile" nature of some MLB players. They sit out games for strains, sprains and other "sore-ness" that boggles the mind when compared to guys like Wood. What does this say about the culture of baseball? These guys, many of whom make obscene amounts of money whether they take the field or not seem to have no shame when it comes to sitting out a game or two or more with non-specific ailments and injuries. Woods' fortitude and determination are awe-inspiring.

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Quick Hits: Mariners, Reds, Cubs, Yankees

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

  • The Mariners have a new front office and may consider trading Erik Bedard. Nothing will happen for about a month, but they may consider shaking up the staff real soon. That could start with releasing Richie Sexson or Jose Vidro by the end of the month.
  • The Reds may consider trading Bronson Arroyo and Ryan Freel at the deadline for prospects. They are behind a little in the division, but building for 2009 could help. They need pitching more than anything.
  • The Cubs are showing signs of interest in pitcher Erik Bedard. They need a pitcher for the final months, and he would be a good addition. A cheaper addition would be Livan Hernandez of the Twins.
  • The Yankees would like to add a pitcher after they saw there young pitcher fail in the rotation. Derek Lowe is a good option because of his experience in the AL East.

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Breaking News: Mets Fire Randolph

The Mets fired manager Willie Randolph as well as pitching coach Rick Peterson. Bench coach Jerry Manuel will take over as the interim manager. There was speculation of this move for weeks but it came at a very odd time. After just completing a homestand and heading out west, you would expect that if this decision was going to be made it would be with him at home. Instead, they let him go out to California and fired him at 12:15 AM? Very puzzling and, in my opinion, somewhat unprofessional of the Mets front office. If the Mets don't improve going forward, you can expect to hear rumblings that Omar Minaya may be next.

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Wang Out 6 Weeks, Maybe More

Monday, June 16, 2008

Yankees ace Chien-Ming Wang is out atleast 6 weeks with a partially torn tendon and sprained foot after running the bases in Houston last night. This is a tough blow for an already thin Yankees rotation and will only fuel speculation that the team will make a serious run at C.C. Sabathia.

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Mariners Fire Bavasi

The Seattle Mariners, owners of the leagues worst record, have fired GM Bill Bavasi after his 5th season as the teams general manager. The Mariners were expected to compete for a playoff spot this year but got off to a poor start and have not been able to rebound. Vice president/associate general manager Lee Pelekoudas will take over for the remainder of the season. With talent such as Felix Hernandez, Adrian Beltre, and recently acquired Erik Bedard, They Mariners certainly had high expectations heading in, trading their top prospect Adam Jones as well as George Sherrill for a chance to compete now with Bedard. Bedard has struggled and has already been whispered in trade rumors, a frequent reminder of what appears to be a poor trade. The M's still have plenty of talent so it remains to be seen whether they will be big time sellers at the trade deadline or sit pretty with their talent and prepare for next season.

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Trade Winds Beginning to Blow

With six weeks to go before the trade deadline, there seems to be a lot of talk already of available players. After losing 2 out of 3 at home to the Chicago Cubs, Toronto Jays AJ Burnett was expressing openness to a potential trade. he said "...to have the opportunity to go to a place where baseball is breakfast, lunch and dinner, that would be awesome." Could he have been talking about the Cubs, who would certainly like to add some reliable depth to their rotation?

Speaking of the Cubs, scouts were at the Giants game over the weekend looking at switch-hitting Randy Winn to shore things up with Soriano out for at least another month.

Is Griffey open to a trade to the Devil Rays? Supposedly, he is, according to "friends".

In other trade talk, the Astros and Pirates are making virtually everyone available as the deadline apporaches. They both need major overhauls and are not in denial on that front.

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Yadier Molina Injured

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Another Cardinal, starting catcher and defensive ace Yadier Molina was run over on a play at the plate and taken off the field on a stretcher, complaining of neck and back pain. Molina was taken to the hospital but assured fellow injured Card Albert Pujols that he would be okay. Molina was diagnosed with a mild concussion and it appears he will be able to avoid a trip to the DL as long as no issues arise in the next few days. The collision did not appear to be malicious and one would hope that no retaliation follows in the next meeting between the Phillies and Cardinals.

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Instant Replay Coming in August?

Is instant replay really coming to Major League Baseball? Top executives in the MLB operations offices, namely Rob Manfried, executive vice president of labor relations and Jimmie Lee Solomon, vice president in charge of baseball operations would like to see it instituted by mid-August. Not so fast, so says sources in Selig's office and John Hirschbeck, head of the World Umpires Association. This debate does not seem likely to be settled in a mere 6-8 weeks. Where do you stand on this issue, readers? Not just should it happen but should it happen in the middle of a season??

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Quick Hits: Phillies, Burnett, Cano, Hicks

Friday, June 13, 2008

Quick Hits:

  • The Phillies are looking to add a pitcher and are currently looking at Padres pitcher Greg Maddux and Mariners pitcher Erik Bedard. Both pitchers are going to be hot topics at the trade deadline, so a trade involving one is expected.
  • Blue Jays pitcher A.J. Burnett can opt out of his contract after this season which could lead to the Blue Jays trading him at the deadline. Several teams are looking for a pitcher, and the Blue Jays would be smart to cash in.
  • With Robinson Cano struggling, the Yankees might trade Cano to the Indians in a deal involving CC Sabathia. If I am the Indians, I do this trade in a heart beat, but we'll see what happens.
  • Twins first round pick Aaron Hicks is set to sign with the Twins and will head to Low-A to begin his professional career. This is a good move by Hicks who starts playing immediately.

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All eyes on C.C.

Executives around the league will have their eyes on the Cleveland Indians the next few weeks, and more specifically on star pitcher C.C. Sabathia. With the Indians struggling to find a groove and Sabathia a soon-to-be free agent, the Indians may look at trading their ace as the deadline approaches. Sabathia figures to return serious talent were he to be dealt, as young, lefty aces don't grow on trees. The Yankees, Cubs, and Mets all figure to be interested at the deadline, with the Yankees seemingly hoping for a "redo" on what appears to be a mistake on passing on Johan Santana over the winter.

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Update on Soriano

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The word on Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano is worse than originally thought. He is expected to miss the next six weeks with a fracture in his left hand. This will be his third trip to the DL in his less than 1 1/2 seasons with the team.

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Interview with Dae-Eun Rhee

About a week ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Cubs pitching prospect Dae-Eun Rhee. Rhee is in his first full season with the Cubs, and is off to a great start. Getting an interview done was the hard part, considering he does not speak English. But thanks to Nathan and Mr. Sung of the Cubs, we got the interview done just in time. I wish him the best of luck and hope the Cubs can make it to the playoffs behind manager Ryne Sandberg.

ELI: When did you first start playing baseball in South Korea?

DAE-EUN: I started playing when I was eleven but I was in the infield. When I was thirteen I switched to pitcher.

ELI: How popular is baseball in South Korea?

DAE-EUN: It is the most popular sport in Korea.

ELI: Is there a player playing in the Major leagues that you try to model your game off of?

DAE-EUN: Chan Ho Park.

ELI: Any particular reason?

DAE-EUN: Because he is the most successful pitcher in the major leagues from Korea.

ELI: Has it been a dream of yours to come to the United States to play baseball?

DAE-EUN: Yes, of course. Since I was a kid.

ELI: Can you take me through the process of how you were signed by the Cubs? Had you heard of them before?

DAE-EUN: It happened in April of 2007 when I met with a scout from the Cubs. We stayed in touch through the signing date and then I signed.

ELI: Baseball is somewhat a universal language, do you have trouble communicating with your catcher on the mound or in the clubhouse?

DAE-EUN: It really was not much of a problem. Yeah, no problem.

ELI: What is Ryne Sandberg like in the clubhouse?

DAE-EUN: He is a great manager. He trusts his players and he lets them play -- just go out and play.

ELI: You are off to a good start so far, what has been working for you thus far?

DAE-EUN: I have been able to keep my strikes in the bottom part of the strike zone. I have always been good with my command, and it is showing so far.

ELI: What would you say is your strongest pitch?

DAE-EUN: My change-up.

ELI: You had a minor injury early in the season, what was the recovery process like for you?

DAE-EUN: It really was not bad. I was off the mound for about ten days and then I started throwing from flat ground again. It was not serious at all. It was my first time in the rotation so I think my arm was a little tired. But I am okay now.

ELI: Aside from baseball, what have you enjoyed most about the U.S.?

DAE-EUN: I have really enjoyed hanging with some of my teammates. But I also enjoy video games.

ELI: Your mechanics are very good, is that something you have worked on for a long time?

DAE-EUN: I have worked on it since I was young. It was more than just going out and throwing, it was about doing it properly.

ELI: Have you set any goals for yourself this season?

DAE-EUN: I hope to just complete the season without further injury.

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Soriano Going Back on DL

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Speaking of injuries (see post below),Chicago Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano is going back on the DL after what's being called a "minimal fracture of a bone in his wrist) which occurred during the early innings of tonight's game.

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Injury Central

Is it just me or do you find it hard to believe how many of these supposedly highly-tuned athletes are continually getting hurt and doing time on the DL list or worse, facing surgeries? This week's list includesTroy Tulowitzki-torn quadrucep tendon, Rafael Furcal-back, Jake Peavy- elbow,Tom Glavine- elbow,Albert Pujols-calf, Putz- elbow and John Smoltz, who may be looking at the end of his career after more damage to his labrum. History tells us that the greats of days past, as recently as the 60's, 70's and even into the 80's were not missing so many games because of 'pulled' this and 'strained' that. What are they doing in the off-season and spring training that is not allowing them to be in god enough shape to avoid these kinds of problems? Take a guy like Greg Maddox or even Carlos Zambrano, one near the beginning of his career and one near the end. What are they doing that these other guys aren't to keep themselves in good health?

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Danks' Family Leaves Boras

White Sox pitcher John Danks as well as his brother Jordan, a 5th round draft pick of White Sox, have fired Boras as their agent and signed with Jeff Berry. Berry has experience with the White Sox as he represented and negotiated Mark Buehrle's contract. While the Danks' have neither confirmed or denied the story, The Chicago Sun Times speculates that the move was a result of Boras' high demands for Jordan Danks in last weeks draft, scaring teams away on the first day. While Boras is still the premier agent in baseball, we've seen a recent backlash the last few years with teams and players simply choosing other options rather than dealing with Boras' lucrative demands.

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Pujols Strains Calf

Albert Pujols suffered what could be a serious injury to his calf in last night's win against the Cincinnati Reds. Pujols reaggravated a strain suffered last Thursday and will is now likely facing a lengthy visit to the disabled list. This is a tough blow for the Cardinals who lean heavily on the talented first basemen. Whether or not this will lead to further roster moves will hinge on the severity of Pujols injury.

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Astros To Sign Ponson?

Although Sidney Ponson has had off the field problems, he would make a great addition for the Astros. The Astros pitching has been holding its own as of late, but they certainly can't last the whole season. Adding Ponson, who is 4-1 with a 3.88 ERA, would give them a solid back of the rotation starter with experience in the National League. The hitting is strong and will continue to hit, byt they need pitching to come through in August and September. Oswalt and Backe will hopefully be consistent for the Astros all season, but adding Ponson for the rest of the season should help them somewhat.

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Tigers Option Struggling Willis

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Tigers have optioned struggling pitcher Dontrelle Willis to Single-A Lakeland. Willis has walked 21 batters in 11 1/3 innings so far this season, and gave up eight earned runs in his last start. "Our objective is to get Dontrelle back to being Dontrelle," Tigers president, CEO and general manager Dave Dombrowski said. "We don't want to put a time frame on this. We want to get it right. The arm strength is still there, on occasion. The breaking ball is still there. But we want to get him back to being comfortable throwing strikes." It is too bad for the Tigers because they gave him a three year deal worth 29 million dollars before the season.

For Willis, I think he will develop and make adjustments, but he might need to refine his windup. Otherwise, it will be a rough three years for the Tigers.

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Tigers To Trade Ordonez?

With the Tigers ten games out of first, GM Dave Dombrowski might be forced to trade one of his top players to open up some of the payroll. Magglio Ordonez's name has come up as of late because of his big contract and fast start. It wouldn't make sense for the Tigers to keep him on their payroll after opening up the bank on pitchers Jeremy Bonderman, Nate Robertson, Dontrelle Willis, and hitters Miguel Cabrera and Carlos Guillen. With the Tigers ten games out of first, they could trade Ordonez for prospects and start rebuilding their minor league system. If the Blue Jays hang in the race for the playoffs, they could potentially be a good fit for him.

Meche not coming to Cubs?: According to internet rumors, Gil Meche was reportedly drawing interest from the Cubs. However, Meche laughed off the rumors and Royals executives are denying it.

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The Race For 600: Ken Griffey Jr. Homerun Facts

Ken Griffey Jr. is one of the top hitters in the history of the game, but he has become a personal favorite to many baseball fans through his hard work, style, and respect for the game. Here is a run down of twenty interesting homerun facts:

20. Ken Griffey Jr.'s first homerun came off the White Sox pitcher Eric King.

19. His sixth career homerun happened to be an inside the park homerun.

19. His first multi-homerun game came May 30th, 1989, and he had all the teams RBIs (3).

18. Griffey has hit 398 homeruns versus right handers and 201 versus left handers.

17. When he is first pitch swinging, Griffey has hit 109 homeruns.

16. In 1990, Griffey hit two homeruns off Nolan Ryan in the same month (on separate occasions) to give his team the lead.

15. Griffey has had 0 leadoff homeruns, but has hit one homerun batting leadoff.

14. He has four game ending homeruns.

13. He has 207 go ahead homeruns.

12. He has hit more homeruns in the first inning that any other inning in his career (104).

11. In 1997, he had eight multi homerun games. One of which was a three homerun game where he hit two off of Roger Clemens and one off of Mike Timlin.

10. David Wells has given up more homeruns to Griffey than anyone else with eight. Second on that list is Roger Clemens with six.

9. Griffey has hit 64 homeruns at the Great American Ballpark.

8. If you were to include Griffey's homerun in the movie, Little Big League, he would have 600 homeruns.

7. In eleven All-Star appearances, Griffey is hitting .440 with 1 HR.

6. Griffey has hit 398 homeruns wearing the number 24, 138 wearing the number 30, 56 wearing the number 3, and 1 wearing the number 42.

5. Griffey has hit 38 homeruns against the Twins, the most among teams he has faced.

4. Griffey has hit 308 homeruns to straight away right field.

3. Four of his six homeruns this season have been when the game was tied.

2. Ken Griffey Sr. and Ken Griffey Jr. have hit a combined 751 homeruns.

1. Ken Griffey Jr. is now the sixth member of the 600 homerun club.

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Teenage Cuban Phenom Defects to U.S

Teenage Dayan Viciedo left Cuba by boat on May 20th with his family and is now safely in Miami, already represented by a Puerto Rican lawyer. It is likely to be only a matter of time before his services are sought by any number of teams. His reputation and potential has preceded him.

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Is Viagra the new drug of choice?

There are stories all over the web the last couple days about the increasing use of Viagra being used by players to enhance their endurance on the field. This is so tempting to expand on but I'll leave it at that.

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Lee Elia named new hitting coach for Mariners

No baseball fans of a certain age will ever forget Lee Elia's tirade against Chicago Cubs fans when he was their manager back in the late 70's. He will forever be remembered for calling them worthless, unemployed, beer-addled bums. While he's not well known to today's fans, he remained active in baseball and was just named the new hitting coach for the Seattle Mariners. He replaces Jeff Pentland who has not been able to get the team out of the basement in on-base percentage and next to last in batting average. In other Mariners' news, the Blue Jays denied having interest in Seattle's newly acquired left hander Erik Bedard. Bedard certainly has not lived up to expectations in Seattle and could be on his way out after only half a season.

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Griffey Hits 600

Monday, June 9, 2008

Congratulations to Ken Griffey Jr. on hitting his 600th home run. Griffey hit a 2 run blast in the first inning off Mark Hendrickson, a historic shot that hopefully will not highlight Hendrickson's career. With the milestone behind them now, the Reds can shop Griffey and hope to continue their rebuilding process by bringing in some more youth. It remains to be seen who will be in the market for Griffey but it would be wise to assume that he will be one of the hottest names available come the July 31st deadline.

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Quick Hits: Lofton, Roberts, Bedard, Viciedo

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Quick Hits:

  • Kenny Lofton is starting to pick up more interest on the market. The White Sox are somewhat interested, but will likely test some of their minor leaguers out first. Jerry Owens is fast and an above average fielder, so he could make for a good addition with the Sox.
  • The Brian Roberts talks are back and Ken Rosenthal suggests a move to the Brewers for Rickie Weeks would be good. It would give the Brewers the leadoff man they need, and it would give the Orioles a young, hard hitting second baseman.
  • The Mariners might consider trading Bedard at the deadline if he expresses no desire to come back with the club. He has had some trouble adjusting to catcher Kenji Johjima, who recently signed a three year deal.
  • Cuban star Dayan Viciedo is in Miami and might work out for a couple of baseball teams over the next month. He can be signed after July 1st, and it would be interesting to see who reaches out and signs him.

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Bonderman Out For Season

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Tigers pitcher Jeremy Bonderman will miss the rest of the season with a blood clot in his right shoulder. This is a big blow for the Tigers who lose another player to the disabled list. The Tigers do not have a pitcher in Triple-A that can step up and pitch for the Tigers, so they might need to explore a trade. I doubt they go and make a big splash because they really are not in contention, and the pitchers available would probably not make a big difference.

David Wells would make for a good, short term replacement. He would sign for close to the league minimum and could give you ten or so wins. Another option is Randy Wolf, who is pitching very well for the Padres. Jason Marquis is available with the Cubs, and he is an option as well. All three options are good short term, but probably would not be good options long term. So far this season, Bonderman is 3-4 with a 4.29 ERA.

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Dodgers Acquire Berroa

The Dodgers traded minor leaguer Juan Rivera to the Royals for former rookie of the year Angel Berroa. The Royals are picking up all of his 4.75 million dollar salary, and the 500,000 buyout for next season. In Triple-A, Berroa is hitting .290 with 10 HR, so it is possible he could help them in a utility role. Chin-Lung Hu will stay with a team, but his role will be reduced. This is a great move for the Dodgers acquiring Berroa, 30, who brings speed and a good glove to the Dodgers. This will allow them to send down Hu to play everyday when Furcal comes back. A solid pick up for the Dodgers.

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Red Sox Won't Bring In Replacement

Friday, June 6, 2008

Rumors have surfaced that the Red Sox might look to bring in a free agent to replace David Ortiz. Among the names that have surfaced, Kenny Lofton and Barry Bonds stick out as the top two. However, the Red Sox have Chris Carter and Brandon Moss platooning in the role and they are doing a fine job. There is no need to bring in a new face and disrupt the chemistry of a first place team.

It doesn't look like Bonds will ever play in the major leagues again. Besides from being a distraction in the clubhouse, no one wants to pay 15 million dollars for a .270 hitter who might hit 25 homeruns. As for Lofton, he might get a job this season. He would have been smart to take the Rays offer before the season starter. The Cubs don't need him now with Jim Edmonds heating up. The Mariners or Padres could take a chance on him, but he might be done as well.

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The Morning Word: 2008 MLB Draft Recap

In last year’s MLB draft, we saw several teams shy away from top talent because of cost. The Pirates did it with Matt Wieters, and they are regretting it right now. For the 2008 draft this hasn’t been the case. Teams are going right after the talent and will probably pay the big bucks to get them playing in the minors this year. Let’s break down the first round.


1. Tampa Bay Rays, SS Tim Beckham. The Rays decided to fill a need at short, passing on catcher Buster Posey. Beckham is the most athletic player in the draft and has a lot of upside. He won’t have any trouble adjusting to the fielding side of things, but he’ll have to adjust to the lifestyle and hitting. He has a great attitude and should be able to handle the game’s mental aspect.

2. Pittsburgh Pirates, 3B Pedro Alvarez. The Pirates’ line-up has been missing a power hitter, and Alvarez should help them soon. Although he may move to first base at some point down the road, he will play a big role in the Pirates’ push for the playoffs over the next several seasons.

3. Kansas City Royals, 1B Eric Hosmer. He will probably hit for the most power out of anyone in the draft. He has great raw power and pretty good hands at first base. The Royals are going to have to pay up for him, or else he is off to college. High schoolers usually take longer to develop, and he will probably need an extra year or so, but he will do some damage for the Royals soon.

4. Baltimore Orioles, P Brian Matusz. The best pitcher in the draft is going to a team loaded with young pitching. He has four above average pitches and mixes his pitches well. He is comfortable throwing his pitches in any count, and that makes him a candidate to lead a rotation very soon. His change-up, curveball, slider and fastball are mixed together very well, keeping the batter guessing.

5. San Francisco Giants, C Buster Posey. Posey nearly went number one to the Rays but was passed on for Tim Beckham. The Giants really got a great player with an advanced approach at the plate. He needs more experience, but he should rise fast and make for an impact with the Giants soon.

6. Florida Marlins, C Kyle Skipworth. The Marlins took the best catcher in the draft, in my opinion. Not only does he swing a good bat that should develop further with more experience, but he is great behind the plate. He shifts well and has a good arm and natural knowledge of the game. He hits for mostly average now but should find his power when he grows into his body more.

7. Cincinnati Reds, 1B Yonder Alonso. Alonso’s swing is the closest to major league ready of any in the draft. 1B is the only spot for him, but that’s currently filled by stud rookie Joey Votto. Signability is an issue – he is reportedly asking for $8M. I worry he’ll struggle against lefties, but he should move fairly quickly through the minors.

8. Chicago White Sox, SS Gordon Beckham. This is a great pick for the White Sox. He is a baseball player. He has the natural ability and the look in his eye that he can play. Beckham will likely improve his power and hit for a good average. He has power to all fields and is pretty familiar with the wood bats, so we could see him in Double-A sometime next season. He has tremendous talent and will be a superstar in a couple years.

9. Washington Nationals, P Aaron Crow. Crow has the best fastball in the draft, and he mixes it well with his slider. I talked with GM Jim Bowden who told me that he prefers to improve his pitching through the draft and trades. He and last year’s pick, Ross Detwiler, will likely be working together very soon. Crow has a lunge similar to Tim Lincecum, and that might need to be refined in the minors.

10. Houston Astros, C Jason Castro. This is a surprise. The Astros banked on JR Towles, and he has failed so far. Their minor league system is pretty weak with no real bright spots, so bringing in Castro as the future is a safe bet. Although Koby Clemens is doing well, if he makes it to the MLB they will find a way to work him in. His defense is the main reason he was taken so high, but he probably won’t hit for much of an average.

11. Texas Rangers, 1B Justin Smoak. They couldn’t pass on him. He is a switch hitting first baseman who has drawn comparisons to Mark Teixeira – a former Ranger. He has great power and should hit for a good average. He has gold glove potential and should rise fast. The Rangers were interested in taking a pitcher, but they couldn’t pass on Smoak. Smoak should hit at least 25 home runs in the majors, and probably more playing in Texas. He will play a key role in their rebuilding process.

12. Oakland Athletics, 2B Jemile Weeks. Weeks has a very good swing that will help out the A’s at the top of the order. He is the typical second baseman who should stay there long term. He has good speed and should make the plays at the plate and on the field that will help the team win.

13. St. Louis Cardinals, 3B Brett Wallace. The Cardinals are all over his bat. Wallace has great plate discipline and hits for tremendous power. He will likely move to first base, unless he slims down some. I am a little surprised by the pick because his future is definitely at first, where Albert Pujols plays. This could be a steal for the Cardinals because Wallace is such a good hitter versus lefties.

14. Minnesota Twins, OF Aaron Hicks. I talked with a Twins executive who told me directly that they were sold on Hicks. They want to let him develop in the minors, grow into his body, and find his spot in the outfield. He will hit for a good average and hold his own in the outfield. I think he’ll take some time to develop, but the Twins have developed several high school players successfully (Joe Mauer), so Hicks is in good hands.

15. Los Angeles Dodgers, 3B Ethan Martin. I’m a little surprised to see him go this early, but I am happy to see he will be a third baseman. He has a great swing that is balanced and should hit for power sometime down the road. He has drawn comparisons to power hitter Matt Williams, but I don’t seeing him reaching Matt Williams’ level.

16. Milwaukee Brewers, IF Brett Lawrie. The Brewers are ecstatic to land Lawrie. He is young, yet already experienced with wooden bats, and very versatile. He has drawn comparisons to Craig Biggio for his approach and ability to hit both righties and lefties. The one thing the Brewers will have to decide on is where he will play.

17. Toronto Blue Jays, 1B David Cooper. Cooper has gone under the radar having been behind Alonso and Smoak, but he also has great power. He is not very good defensively, so he might be a DH, but his bat is all there. He has great discipline and a balanced swing. He will likely hit around .270 or .280 with 20-25 home runs.

18. New York Mets, OF Ike Davis. Davis is a lefty with a smooth swing. He is athletic with above average speed. He projects as a decent outfielder, but he is athletic and has good instincts.

19. Chicago Cubs, P Andrew Cashner. Cashner has the hardest fastball in the draft and will likely stay as a closer down the road. He needs to work on his command, but he should be up soon helping the Cubs bullpen.

20. Seattle Mariners, P Josh Fields. I’m a little surprised by this move. The Mariners are in last place and you would have liked to see them take a starter or position player. Nonetheless, Fields is a flame throwing closer considered to be the top closer at the college level. He can throw his pitches all over the strike zone and will probably see time in the MLB next season. He is a Boras client though.

21. Detroit Tigers, P Ryan Perry. The Tigers continue to take power arms, and Perry is a good pick. He’ll likely settle in with a 94-95 mph fastball, with a hard slider to compliment it. His future is likely as a reliever, but he could make the move to starter. His delivery is similar to Chan Ho Park, but faster, and it will likely need to be refined. His fastball is fast enough that college kids aren’t catching up to it, but once professionals realize that he’s not deceptive, they will be all over him. Nonetheless, this is a good pick for the Tigers.

22. New York Mets, SS Reese Havens. Havens is a good baseball player with great instincts. His future is not at shortstop, and he will likely be moved because of poor range. He could be their second baseman or catcher of the future. One thing that has come up is his ability to read pitches, which should lead to him hitting for a decent average. He doesn’t hit for much power, but he could probably put together 10-15 home runs.

23. San Diego Padres, 1B Allan Dykstra. Dykstra probably would have been a top 10 pick last season, but being behind Smoak, Alonso and Cooper leaves him towards the end of the first round. Still, he has good power and can take the ball the other way. His true test will come at whether he can hit inside pitches at the professional level – he’s struggled at that so far.

24. Philadelphia Phillies, SS Anthony Hewitt. For awhile, I thought this kid was Vanderbilt bound. He put together a good spring, and I thought he would be passed on. He has great tools for a high school shortstop and should hit for more power down the road. I think going to Vanderbilt is best for him so he can play at a more competitive level, but he might go straight to the minors with the Phillies.

25. Colorado Rockies, P Christian Friedrich. This is a great pickup for the Rockies who land the second best lefty in the draft. Friedrich is consistent and has good, hard stuff. He projects as a middle of the rotation guy.

26. Arizona Diamondbacks, P Daniel Schlereth. Although he is wild, he projects as a lefty setup guy coming in to face the lefties. His fastball touches 95, and he has a strong curveball that is usually his strikeout pitch. He has been compared to J.C. Romero.

27. Minnesota Twins, P Carlos Gutierrez. His windup is similar to Dave Bush — slow, but then he lunges for you. His two-seamer is hard with a lot of movement, but he needs to work on it so it bites the outside corner. He has a lot of upside, but he needs to work on his command.

28. New York Yankees, P Gerrit Cole. He has top five potential in the draft, but signability issues caused him to drop. The Yankees will likely be able to keep him from going to college. He throws a hard fastball with an excellent changeup; he even mixes in an above average slider. This guy has the intangibles; he just needs some time to develop his windup.

29. Cleveland Indians, SS Lonnie Chisenhall. Chisenhall has one of the best approaches at the plate, but disciplinary problems off the field dropped him some. He is a line drive hitter and his fielding might move him to second or third. He has the potential to be an above average corner infielder or outfielder, but nothing more than that.

30. Boston Red Sox, SS Casey Kelly. Signability issues pushed Kelly out of the top 15. He is one of the most athletic players in the draft, having played both baseball and football. If the Red Sox are serious about him, they will have to pay big money, or else he is going to Tennessee to be their quarterback and starting shortstop. I think he would be smart to go to college to develop his swing some, but we’ll see.

Other Notable pick:

48. Pittsburgh Pirates, P Tanner Scheppers. Scheppers was in the top ten before he injured his shoulder, shutting him down for at least a year. He has a plus fastball and good slider, so he should rise fast once he is healthy. The mental part of his game is solid, and he’s a true professional. Taking him here just shows how serious the Pirates are about rebuilding.

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Giles to Boston?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Brian Giles could be a fit in Boston in the DH spot if David Ortiz is out for an extended amount of time. The Padres will likely hold some sort of fire sale at the deadline, hoping that it will restock their system and prepare them for 2009 and beyond. Giles is having a pretty good year for the Padres batting .299 with 3 HR in 58 games. He is in for another .300 year with 15-20 homeruns, numbers that would help a team in a playoff race. He still has a good arm in the outfield, so I wouldn't rule out several teams making a play for him in the playoff hunt.

The Braves are a potential option. Diaz is expected to miss about two months, so it would make sense for the Braves to bring in a replacement for this season. Giles has 9 million dollar club option for 2009, so a team that trades for him could potentially buy him out. The Mets are also a possibility if options like Xavier Nady or Jason Bay fall through. Omar Minaya and Kevin Towers are familiar with each other when it comes to trades, so something could be worked out there. Other options include the Rays and Twins.

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MLB Draft: Yonder Alonso

Alonso is one of the best hitters in the draft coming out of college this year. He already looks like a major league hitter with a good idea of the strike zone. Although he has an open stance, he has a compact swing which should only improve with more experience. His defense is adequate, but he isn't fast enough to move to the outfield despite a strong arm. His future might be as a DH if he really struggles, but his hitting is expected to outweigh the fielding. He is taking the ball to the opposite fielding mostly, so he needs to learn to pull the ball. Once he does that, the sky is his ceiling.

What to expect: His power will come, but it might take a year to settle into wood bats full time. He has the potential to hit 30 homeruns annually with a high average. He doesn't fit the typical 'power hitting lefty' who strikes out a lot -- he has great patience.

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MLB Draft: Brian Matusz

Matusz is the best lefty pitcher in the draft, despite his slow start this season. His fastball has solid downward movement, which is nice to see coming out of college. Unlike other lefties in previous drafts, Matusz's windup is compact, meaning he keeps the ball centered and does not fall too far off the mound when he throws. That allows for good movement on his pitches, which should be key as he progresses through the minors. His curveball is a strikeout pitch, and it is similar to Ben Sheets'. His change up is better against lefties, but it works for righties too. All four of his pitches are average, but there is room for improvement.

What to expect: At most, he will be number one or two starter. However, if his pitches don't improve, he might be a three or four starter. He is comfortable with all four of his pitches which should keep him out of the bullpen in the majors, but it is unclear if he will make it as a front of the line starter.

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