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July 22, 2007

The Mill

Firing It Up

by Will Carroll and John Perrotto

  • What pitching is available? I've talked to sources with every team, and while they all have a bit of a different answer, it's easy to triangulate on widely-acknowledged solutions. The Royals have Octavio Dotel on the market and are willing to talk about others, but GM Dayton Moore is an unmotivated seller. The Rangers are more reluctant to deal Eric Gagne with Aki Otsuka on the DL, making a Gagne deal one that might happen late, if at all. The Giants are willing to move Matt Morris, but there are no takers yet; one source said he's worth nothing outside of his current home park. The White Sox would listen to offers on Jose Contreras, if there was anyone out there interested. So far, there's not. Jon Garland is not available, and Javier Vazquez would need a bigger offer than anyone's willing to make to pry him loose. The Reds have a couple pitchers they would deal, and would listen to offers for Bronson Arroyo, but Wayne Krivsky's prices have been more Neiman Marcus than Wal-Mart. That's it, that's the list. This is a seller's market.
  • No, Dontrelle Willis, Ervin Santana, and Zach Duke are not on the list.
  • One interesting phenomenon this season seems to be the "early buyer." Teams that think they'll be good in 2008 seem to be willing to hit the trade market rather than risking what some anticipate will be a thin free agent class that will be priced at last year's premium price tags. Teams like Tampa Bay, Kansas City, and even the Nationals could fit in here.
  • Several teams mention that the Cubs seem to be hanging around the periphery of most talks, trying to figure out ways to make the deals they want without taking on any money. One possibility that I heard was moving Jacque Jones and a prospect for Jeff Conine.
  • Hat tip to Ken Rosenthal for talking about how good a fit that Adam Dunn would be for the Twins. The recent re-start of talks on an extension for Johan Santana might fit into this. Would Santana be willing to defer some money, Ichiro Suzuki-style, to free up some payroll room this season? The Twins would still need to put together a package that makes sense, but there's enough pitching depth to figure it out.
  • Watch reports on Jarrod Saltalamacchia closely--he's the hole card for the Braves. By publicly (and privately) letting teams know that he's not on the block, they're hoping that the starter or slugger that they're looking for either drops in value, or that they put Salty back on the table at the last second and make a deal. It's a smart play.
  • Jack Wilson is on his way out in Pittsburgh and quickly, but where will he land? There's not a great fit for him anywhere, making him a likely late mover. Dave Littlefield has set himself up poorly on this one. Teams are treating Wilson as if he's been DFA'd, and are offering little if anything.
  • Someone tried to plant a story about an Alex Rodriguez deal on me, but I'm not buying into it. For entertainment purposes only, the rumor was Rodriguez to the Dodgers for Wilson Betemit, James Loney, and the rights to the Rangers cash (which I think would have to be part of any A-Rod deal, but I could be wrong).
  • If there's a team to watch, it's the Padres. They have an improved crop of prospects, several needs, and they're smack dab in the middle of a tight division race. Kevin Towers is never one to do what everyone expects, but I'd be surprised if we get to the deadline without the Pads doing something to help themselves.
  • --Will Carroll

    ---

    3:35 p.m. ET Update

  • Talk persists around baseball that the Pirates are willing to part with right-hander Ian Snell if they can land a power hitter in the deal. Two reported targets are the Braves' Jarrod Saltalamacchia and the Dodgers' Matt Kemp, though the Dodgers would prefer to deal Andre Ethier.
  • Detroit had two scouts watching the Astros-Pirates series that ends today. The Tigers are in need of bullpen help, and were paying particular attention to Houston's Chad Qualls, Dan Wheeler, and Brad Lidge and Pittsburgh's Salomon Torres, Damaso Marte, and Shawn Chacon.
  • --John Perrotto

    ---

    8:20 p.m. ET Update

  • Jose Molina is now a Yankee, but does this mean that the chatter about Jorge Posada being available is true? Two sources give divergent information. One says that this move is about shoring up a team that feels it's still within range, while the other says that Molina is a credible plan B if Posada is traded. Neither thinks any deal is imminent and that the Yankees will wait to the last second to make any deal, buy or sell.
  • The Tigers and Nationals are rumored to be talking about a deal that would send Chad Cordero to the Tigers in return for pitching prospects. Don't believe it. If anything, the Tigers appear to be more interested in middle relievers as insurance against a setback for Joel Zumaya or Fernando Rodney--more on them in tomorrow's UTK.
  • Stupid rumor of the day--Roy Oswalt to anywhere. It's not happening.
  • I've heard about two deals that were close, but that then fell through when the sides refused to compromise. There's been a lot of this, and I've thought that in this last week, the prices would rise or fall depending on need and the mood of the market. I'm wrong so far; GMs are really sticking to their price, and the relative scarcity of available impact talent isn't changing things for buyers or sellers.
  • --Will Carroll

    John Perrotto is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
    Click here to see John's other articles. You can contact John by clicking here

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