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.


The Closer Market

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


Pirates Unreasonable about Nady and Marte?

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


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.


Quick Hits

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

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

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


Cashman Says: No Bonds

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


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.


Tony Clark to the Diamondbacks

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

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


Who's Most Likely to be Traded at Deadline?

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

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


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.


Saito Out Until Late August

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


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

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


Will Cashman Break Down and Hire Bonds?

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


All-Star Marathon

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


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!


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.


Breaking News: Josh Hamilton is Really, Really Strong

Monday, July 14, 2008


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


Quick Hits: Marte, Rauch, Fuentes, Mahay

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


Cubs Express Interest in Khalil Greene??

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


K-Rod to Test Market?

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.


All-Star Lineups

AL Lineup:

1. rf Ichiro Suzuki

2. ss Derek Jeter

3. cf Josh Hamilton

4. 3b Alex Rodriguez

5. lf Manny Ramirez

6. dh Milton Bradley

7. 1b Kevin Youkilis

8. c Joe Mauer

9. 2b Dustin Pedroia

P Cliff Lee


1. ss Hanley Ramirez

2. 2b Chase Utley

3. 1b Lance Berkman

4. dh Albert Pujols

5. 3b Chipper Jones

6. rf Matt Holliday

7. lf Ryan Braun

8. cf Kosuke Fukudome

9. C Geovany Soto

P Ben Sheets


Tigers Willis Giving Up Trademark Leg Lift Delivery

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


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.


Teixeira to be Traded?

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


Clark to Arizona?

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


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.


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.


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.


Burnett Probably Staying Put

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


All-Star Game: American League Domination?

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


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


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.


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.


Phillies Still Shopping for a Starter

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


Quick Hits

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

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

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

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


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.


Sabathia to Dodgers Nixed by Owner?

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


Dontrelle Willis Done for the Season?

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

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


Theo Epstein, Omar Minaya: No Interest in Bonds

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


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.


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.


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.


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

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


Brewers Offer For Sabathia

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


Expect Padres to be Sellers at Trade Deadline

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


Lidge Contract Extension

A report on 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.


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


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

Brandon Webb will be the starter for the National League

More analysis to come...


Are White Sox Shopping Uribe?

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


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.


Phillies Shopping for a Starter

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


Toronto Shopping AJ Burnett

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


Indians Designate Borowski for Assignment

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


Francoeur Heading to Double-A

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Hall Says No to Bonds 756 Ball

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

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


Quick Hits: Garcia, Sabathia, Fuentes, Holliday

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