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Posted Tuesday, July 26, 5:50 p.m.: The annual “Manny Ramirez demands trade” rumors are starting up early. Our friends at Boston.com have already debunked the deal. Sure, Ramirez is frustrated with the smothering media coverage in Beantown, but don’t expect the Red Sox to trade their best hitting player for anything less than a blockbuster.

A source that jokingly refers to himself as “Lemony” thinks that Brian Giles could be on his way out in San Diego now that Phil Nevin has dug in his heels. Giles is a free agent next year, has expressed some frustration with the long fences at PETCO, and has a brother in Atlanta.

Posted Tuesday, July 26, 2:10 p.m.: The Mets have been reluctant to give up two of their best prospects
to get Alfonso Soriano, knowing they’ll need to fill some gaps in the
off-season. That knowledge let the Reds stick their nose into a
possible deal. According to two sources with knowledge of the
discussions, the Reds would send Sean Casey and his contract to the
Mets along with Soriano. The Rangers would then give the Reds one or
two B level prospects such as Juan Dominguez or John Hudgins.

In a game of parity, it’s often tough to figure out who’s a buyer and
who’s a seller. The Pirates are clearly a seller. There’s a good bit
of action on Matt Lawton, Kip Wells, Mark Redman, and Jose Mesa.
Lawton would likely be the first to go. He nearly went to the Cubs
last week, but the demands were too high and the Cubs went to Jody
Gerut
instead. Wells and Redman are in demand due to the dearth of
available pitching while Mesa remains a closer for those still
distracted by the shiny coin of the baseball world.

Posted Tuesday, July 26, 12:31 p.m.: Sometimes rumors amount to little more than wishcasting. When John Perotto tossed up that the Pirates wanted Jeremy Hermida, the Marlins best
prospect (and BP’s #35) in return for Mark Redman, it was either
wishcasting or a sign that Dave Littlefield might need to be drug
tested. Sources on both sides have confirmed that Hermida was
discussed in the deal. Looks like Mark Redman will end up a Buc …
or maybe a Yankee?

Posted Tuesday, July 26, 2005, 10:28 a.m.: Jamey Newberg breaks down the rumor mill on Alfonso Soriano nicely.
The Rangers are still giving a lot of ‘no comment’ responses, but the
current consensus is that they’re asking for Lastings Milledge,
Yusmeiro Petit, and would love to get Mike Cameron into the deal
somehow. This trade will percolate a while before any real action.
The Twins are also inquiring about Soriano as they get ready to move
on from the Bret Boone experiment.

The Marlins have–for now–decided not to trade A.J. Burnett. They
had a return in mind when they started dealing him, some combination
of prospects in return and contracts taken, that they have not been
able to match up. The return is pretty well known, so the right offer
could heat this back up in a hurry.

With Burnett off the market, the Red Sox will turn back to the Twins,
likely giving them Bill Mueller and Kevin Millar in return for J.C.
Romero
and Joe Mays. Kevin Youkilis‘ name came up in the deal, but
Mueller’s ability to play second tipped things in his favor.

Jeff Weaver would demand an extension if he’s traded, but that might
not dissuade the Orioles.

The Nationals asked the Rays about Danys Baez and Julio Lugo. The
Rays currently don’t think that they match up well with the Nationals
for a deal.

Posted Tuesday, July 26, 7:09 a.m.: Phil Nevin unexpectedly exercised his no-trade clause, killing the
deal between the Pads and O’s. Nevin’s biggest concern was “family,”
which is valid if true. The Pads don’t have another deal in place for
Nevin and some believe that Nevin would veto any trade. The O’s are
going to go to Plan B, whatever that is.

The White Sox appear to be out of the running for A.J. Burnett after
refusing to include Jose Contreras in the deal with Brandon McCarthy
and Damaso Marte. The Marlins want to either stay in the race or
offload salaries, meaning they’re caught in the middle on many deals.
The White Sox will now focus on the bullpen and have made initial
inquiries about Eddie Guardado.

Something’s cooking in Atlanta. John Schuerholz always plays things
close to the vest, but multiple sources indicate that Schuerholz is
looking for something specific to complete a deal. I’ll let you know when
I figure out what that is.

Posted Monday, July 25, 3:11 p.m.: Sometimes, rumor and injury go hand in hand. Kaz Matsui looks to be
done for the season, heating up two possible deals. The Mets have
reportedly asked about Jeff Kent, while media reports have them
asking about Alfonso Soriano. Neither deal seems likely, though
knowing that there’s a newly opened need might make the Mets a bit
more open to giving up more.

The Nats could have a whole new left side if Vinny Castilla is forced
to the DL. Barry Larkin figures to suit up soon, taking over for the
abysmal Cristian Guzman, who could be dealt if Jim Bowden can
convince MLB to eat some of the contract–or rather, let the
eventual owner (Stan Kasten) eat some of it. First round pick Ryan
Zimmerman
would come up to replace Castilla, just two months after
his selection. He’s a defensive whiz and the team would expect little
from his bat.

Posted Monday, July 25, 2:41 p.m.: The Devil Rays have been close. They almost got Sidney Ponson, but Ponson stopped the deal by letting the O’s front office know that
he’d be willing to use his limited no-trade clause. (Is there any
player that doesn’t have Tampa on their no-trade list?) They almost
moved Danys Baez, then the demands got a little high for both Arizona
and the Mets. Will they be able to work any deal before the deadline?
Aubrey Huff is suddenly involved in a lot of conversations.

When did the Astros become buyers? Several teams have been getting
calls from the 713. With prospects that could help the Rangers or
Reds, the Astros figure to be in on the biggest names.

Bernie Miklasz says that the Cardinals could be in on Melvin Mora.
The Cardinals don’t have much in the way of prospect depth, but he
could fit in both gaps that the Cards have, at third while Rolen
heals and in the OF in place of Reggie Sanders. No one seems sure
what the Orioles would want back. Larry Walker‘s likely to head to
the DL, so the deal might get hot quick.

Posted Monday, July 25, 1:55 p.m.: Sources in San Diego indicate that Phil Nevin might be an Oriole by
Monday afternoon. Published reports indicate that Nevin spoke with
Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli and former teammate Chris Gomez during the negotiating
window that was opened over the weekend. The difference maker, however,
was “certain concessions” made to Nevin by the Orioles, which could
be money, perks or even a commitment to try and trade him again.

A.J. Burnett to the Sox? Both varieties, Red and White, made their
“final pitches” according to Florida sources. Nothing’s final until
the deadline, so expect this to be revisited. The Red Sox offered
Bronson Arroyo and Anibel Sanchez while the White Sox offered Damaso
Marte
and Brandon McCarthy. There’s a third team in the mix, believed
to be the Rangers.

The Yankees think they can get Gil Meche and Randy Winn from the
Mariners for some prospects. Neither is a difference maker, but the
moves the Yankees appear to be looking at are all of the “small tweak”
variety. A Winn acquisition would push the Yankees away from Eric
Byrnes
, leaving the Cardinals as his only suitor. The Rockies are
ready to trade Byrnes, but neither Cards nor Yankees have the
prospects that the Rox want.

Expect Joe Kennedy to be packaged for a right-handed bat in a
pitching-thin market.

A couple of AL teams, including the Angels, have asked about Mike
Piazza
. The Mets aren’t sellers yet, but Piazza is in his walk year and would be a logical choice to go if the Mets folded the tent.
Sources on both sides indicate that the Mets are asking for premium
prospects, something the current version of Piazza may not be able to bring back in a deal.

Posted Sunday, July 24, 10:34 p.m.: What’s got Curt Schilling bugged? Schilling is vocal in telling the
Red Sox–and anyone else who will listen–that he should be back in the
starting rotation. The Red Sox are considering a couple deals,
including one that would move Bronson Arroyo to the Marlins for A.J.
Burnett
. Schilling still sees himself as one of the elite
pitchers and doesn’t like the idea that Burnett would be brought in
to take that role, according to team sources. The signing of Craig
Hansen
has Schilling thinking he could move out of the bullpen.

Posted Sunday, July 24, 9:36 p.m.: Is Mark Bellhorn on the trading block? One NL executive says that
Bellhorn has been offered as part of two deals that Theo Epstein and
the Red Sox have in play. Bellhorn is currently injured, and a Sunday
Boston Globe report states that he may have lost his job to Tony
Graffanino
in the short term and to Dustin Pedroia in the long term.

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