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July 24, 2007

The Mill

Tuesday Talk

by Will Carroll and Christina Kahrl

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  • The Angels are being pushed by the Mariners, and that's pushing Bill Stoneman. Stoneman has stood pat for a couple seasons, losing some trade value on his top prospects in the meantime. That seems to be making it harder for him to make a deal now that he finally seems ready to do so. The Angels are looking for an "impact bat," and so far haven't been able to find anyone to match up with. One player that seems truly off the table in talks is Nick Adenhart, but Adenhart and Brandon Wood seem are the names that other teams seem most interested in getting back.
  • The Reds seem less and less likely to make a big move. Every deal for Adam Dunn has been scuttled early by Dunn's option being voided by a deal and by Wayne Krivsky's asking price. One wild scenario that's been thrown out there is a deal with the Yankees, where Dunn could fill in for Jason Giambi and the Reds would get back Shelley Duncan and Jeff Karstens, plus one more prospect. That doesn't seem like the right kind of return, so I'm discounting the rumor, though it does add some credence to another rumor--that of Walt Jocketty to Cincinnati. I'll let you connect the dots.
  • Everyone seems to be trying to come up with a Dontrelle Willis rumor, but there's nothing happening on that front. It's not just Willis-the Marlins seem to be standing still, as they recognize that they aren't going to contend this season, but aren't willing to give up anything either. With both Willis and Miguel Cabrera about to get very expensive, one of the pair could be dealt this offseason, but neither seems likely to move before the deadline.
  • Are the Nats really looking to be buyers at the deadline, or is Jim Bowden just obsessed with Wily Mo Pena? Pena is clearly available from the Red Sox, and would be an upgrade, but I don't know what the Nats have to offer back. The Nats have been mentioned as suitors for Adam Dunn, Eric Gagne, and even Omar Vizquel. Does any of that make sense? No, not really, unless you buy into the idea that Mike Rizzo's draft prowess is in play here. By grabbing soon-to-be free agents and the picks gained by letting them walk away, the Nats could gain a load of picks in this scenario.
  • A source with knowledge of the discussions said that Dave Littlefield of the Pirates thought he could get Troy Glaus for Jack Wilson. When J.P. Ricciardi countered by asking for Tom Gorzelanny, the discussion ended. While Wilson is being shopped hard, there's been almost no interest, even from a team like the Mets, a contender that now has a hole up the middle.
  • Julio Franco does not make Jarod Saltalamacchia more available.
  • One consistently good source tells me that he thinks the Dodgers are "close" on a deal. Most think that the Dodgers have the inside track on Octavio Dotel, but that's not as close as the deal this source thinks is about to happen. "I don't know names or even positions, so take that for what it's worth, but the guys I talk to over there [in the L.A. front office] know that when Ned [Colletti] shuts them out, it's close," he says.
  • Why would the Phillies be interested in Kenny Lofton? Because everyone they're talking to in other deals is asking for Shane Victorino in return. If the Phils have to deal Victorino, they think Lofton would be a good enough fill in to keep them in the NL East race.
  • The A's have DFA'd Bobby Kielty, and a subsequent trade should happen. Why not wait? Kielty has some useful skills, and while Boston would love to get him, they might not have the best offer on the table. Boston's been distracted by trying to deal Wily Mo Pena (see above) and figuring how to get six or seven good pitchers into the rotation.
  • At this time of year, sometimes nothing means something. Players that seem like solid trade targets often end up in a vacuum with no mentions of a move. Sometimes that means that the team has locked on to one suitor and that they've compartmentalized the deal, something necessary to get some deals done in this day and age where there are tons of writers looking for the scoop. There's at least one of these types of deals happening now, with a big-name pitcher, I think.
  • -Will Carroll

    ---

    Christina Kahrl: Sifting through these rumors, I don't know what's more remarkable, David Littlefield's disconnect from relative value, or from his franchise's real needs. What possible value would Glaus bring to the Pirates, beyond a Mike Piazza-style 1998 double-flip? And how could Littlefield really believe he could convince Glaus to accept a trade to Pittsburgh, given the full no-trade in Glaus' contract that came with his accepting being dealt to the Blue Jays? The happier spin on these tea leaves might be how this indicates that the Pirates might be willing to take on salary, except that they're not even 18 months removed from giving Wilson his $20.2 million contract extension. Given that Wilson has limited no-trade rights, there's also working out the details on whether or not he can block a deal to Canada, and whether it might take added cash in any deal to the Jays to get him to waive that (if necessary).

    The point on the declining value of certain Angels prospects is extremely pointed and well-taken--it seems pretty clear that Erick Aybar and Ervin Santana simply aren't going to command all that much as bargaining chips, where they might have last year brought the Angels Miguel Tejada. Similarly, Wood's flagging performance up in Utah hasn't been especially helpful, either to a big league lineup that could have made opportunities for him if he'd started off in the PCL with a hot April, or to Stoneman as he tries to go shopping. The only fallback he has to really threaten walking away from a deal for a needed outfield bat would be the eventual return of Juan Rivera, which would be a lot more plausible if Rivera's going to be at full speed at some point down the stretch. An extra lefty bat with the arm for right field would still go a long way to helping shore up a couple of weak points.

    Anyone else on the edge of their seats waiting to see which version of Krivsky shows up on the other end of the cell phone on the cusp of consummation of any of the Dunn deals? Or if Terry Ryan finally pulls the trigger on something, anything, that might finally leverage the Twins into something more than just another "we're just happy to be (almost) here" season?

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

    Related Content:  Deal,  Trade To Dodgers

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