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July 31, 2007

The Mill

The Day

by Baseball Prospectus

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  • Jim Hendry denies that he's made Felix Pie available, and states that he hasn't talked to Jon Daniels. He's not lying, but once you grasp the mechanics of how a trade is actually made, you'll realize that what Hendry says is not mutually exclusive from the reports that Pie was discussed. It's not just Hendry, Daniels, or any GM that's making calls. It's also a club's scouts, assistants, and even some owners get involved. In the course of those discussions, players get named and then discussed among everybody in the other organization. Teams try to read the other, like poker players. The Indians' DiamondView system is reported to actually have a system for collecting this type of information, with their staff supposedly recording mentions of players year round to try to divine who might be mentioned and who might actually be available. I can assure you that Pie was discussed by at least two teams that thought he might be included in a later offer-offers that never materialized.
  • If Adam Dunn ends up with the Nationals, it will have to be through the offices of a third team. The Nats have had discussions with the Mets, Red Sox, and Tigers over the past few days, usually about their available relievers, but some sources believe that Dunn could be the ultimate goal. Multiple reports have Dunn has been telling people that he would love to be reunited with his close friend Austin Kearns, and would consider extending his deal if traded to Washington.
  • A couple of days ago, Octavio Dotel was thought to be one of the top available relievers. Now, he's going to be dealt in a secondary deal made for Kyle Davies, a guy that the Braves coaching staff had lost faith in. How did Dotel's value drop--or did it? The Indians had their offer on the table (thought to be Ben Francisco), and the Tigers never seemed to jump in. The Dodgers haven't been able to do much of anything because of arguments about who's untouchable and who isn't withinin that organization. Royals GM Dayton Moore knows Kyle Davies from his days in the Braves organization, and that familiarity plus Davies' upside made this deal happen.
  • Are the Dodgers really so "injury ravaged", as one report put it, that they have to trade for a starter? Yes, Jason Schmidt and Randy Wolf are out, and yes, Derek Lowe and Brad Penny have recent injuries that raise some concern. But "ravaged" seems a bit strong for a team that seemingly planned for this kind of depth. Remember that Brad Penny was on the market this spring since the team was worried about his stamina and stockpiled guys like Mark Hendrickson and Brett Tomko to back things up. With Chad Billingsley, D.J. Houlton, and Eric Stults all there, I'm not sure that giving up the prospects it will take to get even a fifth starter in this thin market is going to bring them much better than what they have on hand. The reports that Joe Blanton is being discussed are interesting, since he'd be instantly the best starter available, meaning that the Dodgers will have to bid high to make sure other teams aren't knocking down Billy Beane's door.
  • Trusted sources tell me that the Mobile Bears have been instructed to have Justin Upton "ready to go." Since Upton is untouchable as Eliot Ness, I have to believe that Upton is on the verge of a callup. The Diamondbacks are likely to get as much production out of Upton as they are from anyone they could reasonably acquire, including Jermaine Dye. I'll leave it to Kevin to tell you why Upton's this special, but he is. One other factor that may play into this is that manager Brett Butler, who the organization says was a phenomenal influence on Upton, is unlikely to return to the team this season after suffering a mild stroke.
  • One unusual piece of the Eric Gagne story is his partial no-trade clause. While he can't turn down a deal to either New York team, he can stop a deal to the Red Sox. Despite that, numerous reports have the Red Sox in the bidding. If true-and I can't get someone to confirm or deny this report-then are the Red Sox serious about getting Gagne, or merely trying to make it painful for the Yankees to acquire him? Anytime you have three big-revenue ballclubs teams even considering a bidding war, it makes the rush up to the deadline pretty entertaining.
  • Yes, Clayton Kershaw was pulled early, but it was a bit of planned rest for the Dodgers prospect. If you think of it as a modified tandem, you wouldn't be too far off, but it was more a way for the Loons to skip his turn without modifying their rotation. It was fun to read the emails as people fired in about it, and to hear the calls afterwards once this tidbit made it out to the people in the game.
  • The Mark Teixeira deal has made some twist and turns, with one final one that may affect the Rangers for years. There was no more confusing part of the deal than Matt Harrison. Reports came out that he'd been shut down, which were initially refuted by Braves sources before subsequently admitting that, yes, Harrison had been shut down, but as a precaution. The Rangers ended up getting a bit more in the deal due to the increased perception of risk, and even some other names on a list just in case Harrison doesn't pass Dr. Keith Meister's check of his records. Any pitching prospect is going to be risky, and one with a history of shoulder problems, no matter how minor, is a source of special worry, but given that his place in this trade is essentially as gravy on top of Jarrod Saltalamacchia, it's not a bad risk to take.
  • Here's one interesting quote from Sunday night. A team official said "draft picks matter. The Rangers made one good pick and got four years of production out of Teixeira, and flipped that into five and half years of Saltalamacchia, plus whatever they get from the other guys. All that out of one pick and the smarts not to be cheap in the draft."
  • If you're really thinking ahead, one GM said he thought he'd be dealing with almost entirely the same group of people in Nashville. "I don't see any openings coming in the GM ranks. Seattle's winning, the Chicago [Cubs] sale isn't going to go through quickly, [so] I don't think Hendry's going anywhere regardless. The St. Louis situation is interesting, maybe Cincinnati." What about Pittsburgh? "No, I think Dave [Littlefield] stays too."
  • And I do not have a naturally bubbly good nature. [Ed. note: Except when you forget to say what you're powered by on a particular day.]
  • -Will Carroll

    ---

  • Even after agreeing to trade Mark Teixeira to Atlanta on Monday, Texas still holds the most popular chip as the deadline approaches in closer Eric Gagne. Boston, Milwaukee, and both New York teams are still very interested in Gagne, though he block a deal to the Red Sox as part of the no-trade clause in his contract. Meanwhile, Rangers GM Jon Daniels is working on two fronts as the deadline nears. He is trying to solict the best offer for Gagne while also working on signing to him to a one-year contract that would carry through next season.
  • The Mets feel the urgency to make a big move after the Braves landed Teixeira, a move they worry shifts the balance of power towards Atlanta in the NL East. Thus, in addition to Gagne, the Mets are also talking to the A's about right-hander Joe Blanton, the Nationals about relievers Chad Cordero and Jon Rauch, and the White Sox about right fielder Jermaine Dye. Though Mets GM Omar Minaya does not want to trade young outfielder Lastings Milledge, he may have to part with the prospect in order to make a big deal. Boston also continues to pursue Dye, though the Red Sox refuse to part with any of their top-level prospects in what would be a two-month rental.
  • -John Perrotto

    ---

    Christina Kahrl : I don't think we need to get overly worked up over whether or not Octavio Dotel's stock has fallen or risen-keep your eye on the player, not the stage. He's the sixth-best Royals reliever this season, and more of an ex-famous person than the guy who handed Billy Wagner leads. For the Royals, this was a well-excecuted single-season rental for a player whose 2008 option (effectively mutual, since his team can nix his exercising his player option) they should have had zero interest in exercising. The timing would be impeccable, as Dotel's only just about to start getting into his appearances bonuses, which might bring him another million dollars or so this season. Four or five years of Davies under control, and what that could be worth, represents an excellent pay-off, but not to rip on the Braves, it was also a price they could afford to pay, given the amount of young pitching coming up in their system, and their obvious frustration with Davies.

    In the meantime, I'm still just waiting for the Salty swap to become official, so that I can turn my attention to it.

    ---

    Update @ 1:40 p.m. ET

  • The Wilson Betemit for Scott Proctor deal is just the first for the Yankees, if everything breaks according to plan. The Yankees have two deals in the works, one that would jettison Kyle Farnsworth to one of a couple of destinations, and another that would reportedly bring Eric Gagne to the Bronx. Gagne comes with a high cost-rumored names include Alan Horne and Kevin Whelan-and Jon Daniels doesn't seem to be excited by any of the offers.
  • The idea of the Nats buying instead of selling is still in play, though Jim Bowden doesn't seem to be getting any of the guys he wants. Adam Dunn seems to be going nowhere fast with no realistic late offers, and Wily Mo Pena isn't enough of a mancrush object for Bowden to give up Chad Cordero.
  • The Pirates seem to be holding a last-minute fire sale. Several relievers (notably Damaso Marte, Salomon Torres, and Shawn Chacon), Jack Wilson, and Chris Duffy have all been offered around over the last day-with no takers.
  • The Devil Rays are taking calls on Al Reyes, but don't want to deal him' they'd really have to be bowled over. Dan Wheeler's not for sale. Perhaps surprisingly, there's lots of interest in Elijah Dukes, but only at near-giveaway prices. Perhaps just as surprisingly, there's been almost no discussion of Jonny Gomes.
  • This is usually the wild-and-crazy stage, but it's surprisingly calm, making me think that there's nothing bubbling under the surface. Don't be surprised if we have minor deals only, and not very many of those by the non-waiver deadline.
  • -Will Carroll

    ---

    Update @ 3:10 p.m. ET

  • A source indicates that the Red Sox have traded Kason Gabbard, David Murphy, and Engel Beltre to the Rangers for Eric Gagne. Gagne has not yet approved the deal, which is required. One source said that he believed that, if necessary, Jonathon Papelbon would move to a setup role to help complete the deal.
  • The Braves have made a late push for Bronson Arroyo, including Yunel Escobar in the previous offer of Jo-Jo Reyes. The Reds will make a decision quickly and the Braves are said to have "two Plan Bs." Wouldn't that be a Plan C?
  • The Padres appear close to a deal with the Astros for both Mark Loretta and Mike Lamb; no word on what Houston would receive.
  • -Will Carroll

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