July 29, 2005
Friday, July 29, 7:55 p.m. ET: Jamey Newberg reports that the Rangers have dealt Chan Ho Park to the Padres for Phil Nevin. Nevin does not hold no-trade rights to Texas, though Park does have some sort of no-trade provision in his contract. Park was pulled from his start in Toronto.
Friday, July 29, 7:25 p.m. ET: Boston talk radio...OK, should I stop right there? No, I like those guys so I'll let everyone know that they're talking about one of the most complex deals I've heard. Not only would Manny Ramirez move, but the Devil Rays are (again) involved. Specifics are tough to come by with these kinds of rumors, but the buzz is that Ramirez ends up in Queens, the Sox get Mike Cameron and Aubrey Huff, and the Devil Rays end up with the collective minor league systems of both clubs. Suffice it to say that the Powerball ticket I have in my pocket is more likely to happen, but you can't win if you don't play.
I've typed "Alfonso Soriano" so many times in the last week that I'm beginning to do it out of habit. The Rangers apparently have decided to hang on to their second baseman, willing to deal only if they get what one source calls "a Colon package." That's nothing like a colostomy bag; it's a reference to the three solid prospects (Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore, and the guy everyone thought was the big name, Brandon Phillips) that Cleveland got in 2002 for Bartolo Colon.
While Huff's name has been linked to multiple teams, the loss of Frank Thomas might raise the price Kenny Williams is willing to pay to join the sweepstakes. Knocks on Huff's defense wouldn't matter in the DH slot.
The Indians are quietly seeing what's out there for Bob Wickman, Kevin Millwood, and Coco Crisp. There are several teams in the AL East that could make a play for those players by Sunday. The Blue Jays also have some quality players who could be moved, like Frank Catalanotto and Miguel Batista. No one, it seems, is willing to look in the Ken Phelps All-Stars bin for help.
Friday, July 29, 6:55 p.m. ET: Walt Jocketty has made a career of making the right sort of moves at the deadline. He's been helped by the St. Louis mystique, bringing players like Mark McGwire, Will Clark, and most recently Larry Walker in when other teams couldn't make it happen. The Cards are again working on some interesting deals as we head into the deadline. The most likely scenario is still that nothing happens. If something does break, Eric Byrnes and Matt Lawton remain possibilities if they can put together the right package, something that would likely necessitate a third team. Way out on the fringes of possibility is a deal for Adam Dunn, something that would tip the balance of power quite literally. The Cards don't have much to offer in terms of prospects, especially with the Rockies apparently eschewing pitching.
Baltimore has gotten active again, working on several deals. The closest is Lawton for Larry Bigbie, a move that helps Pittsburgh save some salary, though Dave Littlefield is going to push several teams to the deadline in an effort to get the best deal. Baltimore is looking for almost any deal that might improve a sliding team.
The Devil Rays continue to insist on premium prospects, wanting quality over quantity. If you go below #5 on Baseball America's per-team list, Chuck LaMar and his team seem to lose interest, says several sources. The Braves might be showcasing Kyle Davies this weekend, and there's definitely a good relationship between John Schuerholz and LaMar.
Watch the language teams use closely. One report I read stated that two teams hadn't spoken. E-mail's a pretty cool invention.
Friday, July 29, 1:40 p.m. ET: Friend of BP Bruce Miles has a couple interesting notes in his latest column at the Arlington Daily Herald. He says the Cubs aren't talking with the Angels about Corey Patterson and that the Cubs' interest in the Soriano deal might not be focused on Soriano at all. The Rangers and Mets could get the Cubs involved another way, moving Cliff Floyd to Chicago in return for a couple of their pitching prospects (Sergio Mitre? Todd Wellemeyer?) moving to Texas. My best New York source doesn't like this deal--"It leaves a hole in the outfield for the Mets"--so we'll keep listening.
The A's have all but stopped looking for deals, though you're free to ask Billy Beane what he's up to when he stops by to chat at BP in just a bit. His former co-conspirator Paul DePodesta is rumored to be working on a couple deals. Below .500 yet still in the race, the Dodgers are looking for a bat to replace the injured J.D. Drew. Jim Tracy has been all but begging for a trade not unlike last year's Steve Finley deal. If you see a 2004 Steve Finley out there on the market, drop Paul a line. They'll see what Dioner Navarro can do in the next couple weeks, followed by Jonathan Broxton, the latest in their line of raw, hard-throwing relievers.
The White Sox are still after Billy Wagner, sweetening their offer to include embattled third baseman Joe Crede, in addition to Brandon McCarthy and Damaso Marte. Is Wagner the equivalent (or better) of A.J. Burnett? VORP doesn't think so. Wagner comes in at 17.6 while Burnett is five runs better at 22.6. Still, it's not a bad deal, assuming Ed Wade and Kenny Williams are using the trade analyzer in Team Tracker.
Friday, July 29, 9:40 a.m. ET: Billy Wagner is travelling with an extra suitcase on the road. That's how sure he is that he'll be heading out of Philly by Sunday. It will take a better offer than is out there now, something the Boston Red Sox may make. Bronson Arroyo (15.7 VORP) isn't the pitcher that A.J. Burnett (22.6) is, so they'll need to add things like Kelly Shoppach and Kevin Youkilis to the mix to convince Ed Wade. Sources tell us that very few players on the Red Sox are untouchable, up to and including Manny Ramirez. About the only flat "no" teams hear are on Hanley Ramirez and Dustin Pedroia.
The Cardinals are quietly lining things up to make a push for Aubrey Huff this weekend. Knowing that their minor league system is, as Dayn Perry puts it, "Mary-Kate thin," they've lined up a couple trading partners with more in an effort to tempt former scouting director Chuck LaMar. The market has really dried up for Huff in the face of the Rays' demands, though calls are still coming in on Danys Baez.
As the Soriano Turns: The Rangers have let the Mets know that Adrian Gonzalez is available, meaning that the Mets would possibly have one less need this off-season, allowing them to give up a little bit more. The Mets know they'll have to fill the first base and catcher slots this winter, which was how the Sean Casey talk got started. Gonzalez is stuck behind Mark Teixeira and David Dellucci in Texas. Dellucci is a name several teams, including the Cardinals, would love to add to their roster.
Sidney Ponson was injured and may not be able to pitch for a couple games, lowering his trade value...or did it? One team official says that Ponson is one of few players who might sneak through waivers and move in August. "No one wants to get hit with this year's version of Randy Myers," I'm told. Big contracts attached to underperforming players are going to be interesting August topics in the mill.
Who's getting busy late? The Blue Jays, Astros, Dodgers and Indians.
Friday, July 29, 12:40 a.m. ET: The Alfonso Soriano rumors took a new turn as Bruce Levine of ESPN 1000 in Chicago says that a deal bringing Soriano to the Cubs is close. Levine also said that the Cubs would move Soriano to left field. Sources on both sides of this deal deny any discussions.
The Yankees completed their deal for Shawn Chacon, giving up two minor leaguers (Ramon Ramirez and Eduardo Sierra) for the Colorado swingman. Sources who have spoken with the Yankees regarding their current activity feel that the Yankees will make another deal within the next 24 hours, again in hopes of shoring up their pitching staff. The imminent surgery on Kevin Brown ratchets up the need even further.
The Pirates are still hard at work. Their latest move looks to be moving Jose Mesa and Daryle Ward to the Mets or Phillies in return for a package of mid-level prospects and major leaguers. The Pirates are moving to the next generation of players and showing Ward the door would clear the path for Brad Eldred. Despite his listed dimensions, Eldred is not WWE-sized; he reminds me of Derrek Lee in some ways.