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July 26, 2005

Will's Mill

Cranking out the Rumors

by Will Carroll

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Posted Tuesday, July 26, 5:50 p.m.: The annual "Manny Ramirez demands trade" rumors are starting up early. Our friends at Boston.com have already debunked the deal. Sure, Ramirez is frustrated with the smothering media coverage in Beantown, but don't expect the Red Sox to trade their best hitting player for anything less than a blockbuster.

A source that jokingly refers to himself as "Lemony" thinks that Brian Giles could be on his way out in San Diego now that Phil Nevin has dug in his heels. Giles is a free agent next year, has expressed some frustration with the long fences at PETCO, and has a brother in Atlanta.

Posted Tuesday, July 26, 2:10 p.m.: The Mets have been reluctant to give up two of their best prospects to get Alfonso Soriano, knowing they'll need to fill some gaps in the off-season. That knowledge let the Reds stick their nose into a possible deal. According to two sources with knowledge of the discussions, the Reds would send Sean Casey and his contract to the Mets along with Soriano. The Rangers would then give the Reds one or two B level prospects such as Juan Dominguez or John Hudgins.

In a game of parity, it's often tough to figure out who's a buyer and who's a seller. The Pirates are clearly a seller. There's a good bit of action on Matt Lawton, Kip Wells, Mark Redman, and Jose Mesa. Lawton would likely be the first to go. He nearly went to the Cubs last week, but the demands were too high and the Cubs went to Jody Gerut instead. Wells and Redman are in demand due to the dearth of available pitching while Mesa remains a closer for those still distracted by the shiny coin of the baseball world.

Posted Tuesday, July 26, 12:31 p.m.: Sometimes rumors amount to little more than wishcasting. When John Perotto tossed up that the Pirates wanted Jeremy Hermida, the Marlins best prospect (and BP's #35) in return for Mark Redman, it was either wishcasting or a sign that Dave Littlefield might need to be drug tested. Sources on both sides have confirmed that Hermida was discussed in the deal. Looks like Mark Redman will end up a Buc ... or maybe a Yankee?

Posted Tuesday, July 26, 2005, 10:28 a.m.: Jamey Newberg breaks down the rumor mill on Alfonso Soriano nicely. The Rangers are still giving a lot of 'no comment' responses, but the current consensus is that they're asking for Lastings Milledge, Yusmeiro Petit, and would love to get Mike Cameron into the deal somehow. This trade will percolate a while before any real action. The Twins are also inquiring about Soriano as they get ready to move on from the Bret Boone experiment.

The Marlins have--for now--decided not to trade A.J. Burnett. They had a return in mind when they started dealing him, some combination of prospects in return and contracts taken, that they have not been able to match up. The return is pretty well known, so the right offer could heat this back up in a hurry.

With Burnett off the market, the Red Sox will turn back to the Twins, likely giving them Bill Mueller and Kevin Millar in return for J.C. Romero and Joe Mays. Kevin Youkilis' name came up in the deal, but Mueller's ability to play second tipped things in his favor.

Jeff Weaver would demand an extension if he's traded, but that might not dissuade the Orioles.

The Nationals asked the Rays about Danys Baez and Julio Lugo. The Rays currently don't think that they match up well with the Nationals for a deal.

Posted Tuesday, July 26, 7:09 a.m.: Phil Nevin unexpectedly exercised his no-trade clause, killing the deal between the Pads and O's. Nevin's biggest concern was "family," which is valid if true. The Pads don't have another deal in place for Nevin and some believe that Nevin would veto any trade. The O's are going to go to Plan B, whatever that is.

The White Sox appear to be out of the running for A.J. Burnett after refusing to include Jose Contreras in the deal with Brandon McCarthy and Damaso Marte. The Marlins want to either stay in the race or offload salaries, meaning they're caught in the middle on many deals. The White Sox will now focus on the bullpen and have made initial inquiries about Eddie Guardado.

Something's cooking in Atlanta. John Schuerholz always plays things close to the vest, but multiple sources indicate that Schuerholz is looking for something specific to complete a deal. I'll let you know when I figure out what that is.

Posted Monday, July 25, 3:11 p.m.: Sometimes, rumor and injury go hand in hand. Kaz Matsui looks to be done for the season, heating up two possible deals. The Mets have reportedly asked about Jeff Kent, while media reports have them asking about Alfonso Soriano. Neither deal seems likely, though knowing that there's a newly opened need might make the Mets a bit more open to giving up more.

The Nats could have a whole new left side if Vinny Castilla is forced to the DL. Barry Larkin figures to suit up soon, taking over for the abysmal Cristian Guzman, who could be dealt if Jim Bowden can convince MLB to eat some of the contract--or rather, let the eventual owner (Stan Kasten) eat some of it. First round pick Ryan Zimmerman would come up to replace Castilla, just two months after his selection. He's a defensive whiz and the team would expect little from his bat.

Posted Monday, July 25, 2:41 p.m.: The Devil Rays have been close. They almost got Sidney Ponson, but Ponson stopped the deal by letting the O's front office know that he'd be willing to use his limited no-trade clause. (Is there any player that doesn't have Tampa on their no-trade list?) They almost moved Danys Baez, then the demands got a little high for both Arizona and the Mets. Will they be able to work any deal before the deadline? Aubrey Huff is suddenly involved in a lot of conversations.

When did the Astros become buyers? Several teams have been getting calls from the 713. With prospects that could help the Rangers or Reds, the Astros figure to be in on the biggest names.

Bernie Miklasz says that the Cardinals could be in on Melvin Mora. The Cardinals don't have much in the way of prospect depth, but he could fit in both gaps that the Cards have, at third while Rolen heals and in the OF in place of Reggie Sanders. No one seems sure what the Orioles would want back. Larry Walker's likely to head to the DL, so the deal might get hot quick.

Posted Monday, July 25, 1:55 p.m.: Sources in San Diego indicate that Phil Nevin might be an Oriole by Monday afternoon. Published reports indicate that Nevin spoke with Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli and former teammate Chris Gomez during the negotiating window that was opened over the weekend. The difference maker, however, was "certain concessions" made to Nevin by the Orioles, which could be money, perks or even a commitment to try and trade him again.

A.J. Burnett to the Sox? Both varieties, Red and White, made their "final pitches" according to Florida sources. Nothing's final until the deadline, so expect this to be revisited. The Red Sox offered Bronson Arroyo and Anibel Sanchez while the White Sox offered Damaso Marte and Brandon McCarthy. There's a third team in the mix, believed to be the Rangers.

The Yankees think they can get Gil Meche and Randy Winn from the Mariners for some prospects. Neither is a difference maker, but the moves the Yankees appear to be looking at are all of the "small tweak" variety. A Winn acquisition would push the Yankees away from Eric Byrnes, leaving the Cardinals as his only suitor. The Rockies are ready to trade Byrnes, but neither Cards nor Yankees have the prospects that the Rox want.

Expect Joe Kennedy to be packaged for a right-handed bat in a pitching-thin market.

A couple of AL teams, including the Angels, have asked about Mike Piazza. The Mets aren't sellers yet, but Piazza is in his walk year and would be a logical choice to go if the Mets folded the tent. Sources on both sides indicate that the Mets are asking for premium prospects, something the current version of Piazza may not be able to bring back in a deal.

Posted Sunday, July 24, 10:34 p.m.: What's got Curt Schilling bugged? Schilling is vocal in telling the Red Sox--and anyone else who will listen--that he should be back in the starting rotation. The Red Sox are considering a couple deals, including one that would move Bronson Arroyo to the Marlins for A.J. Burnett. Schilling still sees himself as one of the elite pitchers and doesn't like the idea that Burnett would be brought in to take that role, according to team sources. The signing of Craig Hansen has Schilling thinking he could move out of the bullpen.

Posted Sunday, July 24, 9:36 p.m.: Is Mark Bellhorn on the trading block? One NL executive says that Bellhorn has been offered as part of two deals that Theo Epstein and the Red Sox have in play. Bellhorn is currently injured, and a Sunday Boston Globe report states that he may have lost his job to Tony Graffanino in the short term and to Dustin Pedroia in the long term.

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