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July 28, 2008

The Mill

Monday/Tuesday Overnight, Updated at 2:00 a.m. ET

by Will Carroll and John Perrotto

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The rumor mill is decidedly quiet today. Some will call it the calm before the storm, but to me, it's "committee day." It happens every year, and is the time when everyone gets together (actually or virtually) and sorts out what they think they still need to do. The big, bold deals have for the most part been made, and now harsh reality sets in and the fine work of running a team comes into play. If you can't get the one big piece, can you get the one useful piece? Was there really a Plan B, a Plan C, or a plan at all?

  • The Rockies are on a roll and they've all but shut down the phones as far as taking calls on Matt Holliday and Brian Fuentes. They were never that serious about dealing them, not in the sense that they were definitely going to be moved. Instead, they were just shopped, eBay-style, with a high reserve that everyone balked at. The team is very willing to move some lesser players, like Yorvit Torrealba, for pitching, but there's not much market out there. Those looking for catching are waiting on the waiver wire to start when bigger names, such as Ivan Rodriguez, could be in play.
  • Speaking of the waiver-trade possibilities, a lot of teams expect someone to get Randy Myers. Not the real Randy Myers—and where is he now?—but the same kind of "oh crap" move that happened to the Padres back in the day. There's going to be some big names and big contracts out there, and given the reluctance of teams to block those big names and take the risk, it will be interesting to see how this one plays out.
  • Although Manny Ramirez is in play, he won't give up his 10-and-5 rights to block a deal without assurances that the team won't exercise his options. The Red Sox won't give him that guarantee. The Phillies certainly discussed Ramirez, as did the Angels, but neither seems to have made an offer. The Red Sox would love to find the right deal and get rid of a headache, but they won't do it unless the team gets better. Remember that some salary flexibility should be included in that value equation, especially considering that the trade market is going to be much stronger than the free-agent market when we get to Las Vegas and the Winter Meetings in December.
  • Rumors on Mark Teixeira and a few other Braves keep bubbling up. Rumors of their buying on big names (including a Mark Bowman report on a nixed deal for Jason Bay) are as notable as the discussion of their selling Teixeira, Mike Gonzalez, and Will Ohman. The Angels continue to be the strongest contender for Teixeira.
  • Speaking of Plan B, with Brian Fuentes more or less off the market and Damaso Marte in pinstripes, teams are now looking deeper for relievers, and considering guys like Ohman, Arthur Rhodes, Jack Taschner, and Dan Wheeler. Plan B hitters seem to include Adrian Beltre, Marlon Byrd, Matt Murton (again), and Jeff Kent. Kent's name began popping up in rumors over the weekend; no one, including the Dodgers, seem to have much idea where the Kent stuff came from, and no one I spoke with seemed interested or even knew what the price might be.
  • The most aggressive team right now? The Chicago White Sox, who seem frustrated by the lack of movement and are focused on adding relief help right now. The least aggressive is the Twins, who drew this shocker from an AL exec: "They could blow up the market by tossing one of their good young starters on the market, but they lost their cojones when Delmon Young had a bad first half."
  • There is still not a single team that will admit to the slightest interest in Adam Dunn. Did Ricciardi's discussion of his desire hurt Dunn, or was the decision already made that Dunn isn't a difference-maker for any team? Even Jim Bowden hasn't inquired. Actually the only Redleg getting real interest right now is David Weathers, though Bronson Arroyo could be moved if someone was desperate enough.
Will Carroll, 4:20 p.m. ET.

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The day may have seemed like a bust, but there's finally some movement tonight. Whether ridiculous rumors like the nixed Bay deal or the Beltre-to-Rays rumblings, there was a lot of smoke but no fire. However the games got started on the field, it heated up off the field.

  • On the front burner as far as rumors are concerned after a slight Manny Ramirez detour, the Braves seem to have made up their minds to sell. Mark Teixeira is the big name, with six teams in and two solid offers in and one more likely on the way, and he should be moved by tomorrow, though the more teams get in, the more complex it will get with bidding. The D'backs are in, but the Braves will have to take Chad Tracy (coming off of knee surgery) and one more B-level prospect instead of Conor Jackson. The Angels continue to hold their prospects dear and may not even make a solid offer. The third team is unconfirmed, though I heard that the Orioles inquired and the the Dodgers did as well.
  • ESPN is reporting discussions between the Red Sox and Astros, but if Miguel Tejada is available, doesn't that make the Astros sellers? Just a few days ago they were not, and no one that I've spoken with understands the shift. The Red Sox could easily make this one happen if they wanted to, but the Dodgers and White Sox (also looking for shortstop help) have to wonder where this one came from, beyond asking whether or not they can jump in.
  • The Marlins continue to try and do something to help themselves. They've made inquiries about catchers (including Yorvit Torrealba) and relievers (including Brian Fuentes), and it seems that the two teams that came into the league together might have a fit... except that the Rockies don't seem to want to deal. That's leaving the Marlins scrambling for a non-Torrealba Plan B, which could involve Ramon Hernandez, Gerald Laird, or Ronnie Paulino, who's in Bradenton rehabbing and would come cheap.
  • The Mets, Rays, and Phillies seem to be very quiet. One trusted source feels that they're all just hoping someone pops up or falls to them, but are resigned to using internal options. The Mets and Rays also seem more open to taking on salary using a waiver deal.

Will Carroll, 10:40 p.m. ET.

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  • The entire focus in Boston is on Manny Ramriez, and whether or not the Red Sox will trade the mercurial left fielder before Thursday’s deadline. However, the Red Sox feel the most pressing matter is getting another left-handed reliever for the stretch run. While they would love to land Brian Fuentes from the Rockies, that doesn’t seem likely. Thus, the Red Sox are setting their sights on the RoyalsRon Mahay (among others). Another possibility is the PiratesJohn Grabow, particularly after the Red Sox failed to land Damaso Marte before he was traded with outfielder Xavier Nady by Pittsburgh to the Yankees over the weekend.
  • The Rockies now say they are not going to be sellers at the deadline, particularly since they feel they have a legitimate chance to come back and win a weak National League West. It is highly doubtful they will trade Fuentes unless they are blown away by an offer, while left fielder Matt Holliday is staying put. The Rockies would like to add a fifth-starter type to flesh out a rotation that had to settle for adding Valerio De Los Santos on Monday night; De Los Santos has not pitched in the major leagues since 2005. The Rockies also feel Kip Wells is not a viable internal option after he was tagged for eight runs in a third of an inning by the Dodgers last week after he came off of the disabled list. One likely alternative is Josh Fogg, who spent the previous two seasons with the Rockies before they did not re-sign him as a free agent over the winter, but now seems a good bet to return since the Reds are willing to deal him.
  • As Will Carroll mentioned earlier, the Marlins are desperately looking for catching help, and are considering a variety of backstops. However, the catcher they covet most is the Reds’ David Ross because of his reputation as an outstanding game-caller while also showing occasional pop at the plate.

John Perrotto, 2:00 a.m. ET.

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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