Texas first baseman Mark Teixeira remains the most intriguing player who could be moved before the deadline, and Atlanta continues to look like the frontrunner. The Braves are reportedly willing to offer a package of right-hander Kyle Davies, rookie catcher/first baseman Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and infield prospect Elvis Andrus.
The Dodgers are also very much in the running, and could likely entice the Rangers to make a deal if they would include pitching prospect Clayton Kershaw in a package with first baseman James Loney and outfielder Andre Ethier in exchange for Teixeiera and reliever Joaquin Benoit.
The Angels‘ chances of landing Teixeira have diminished now that they need right-hander Ervin Santana to come back up from Salt Lake to take the rotation spot of Bartolo Colon; Colon is likely to miss the rest of the season with his elbow injury. There had been talk of Santana leading an Angels’ package that would also include first baseman Casey Kotchman, and outfield prospect Terry Evans. The Angels have now turned their attention to Chicago White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko, who they nearly signed as a free agent after the 2005 season. They and the Dodgers have also asked about Toronto’s third baseman, Troy Glaus.
The Yankees would love to acquire Teixeira, but their refusal to part with one of their top two pitching prospects, either Philip Hughes or Joba Chamberlain, has dashed any hopes of pulling off that deal. Instead, look for the Yankees to possibly add a veteran reliever, as they are interested in Texas’ Eric Gagne, Kansas City’s Octavio Dotel, Pittsburgh’s Salomon Torres, and anybody from a Houston trio of Brad Lidge, Dan Wheeler, and Chad Qualls. The Yankees might also add a bat for the bench, and are eyeing Cincinnati first baseman/outfielder Jeff Conine and Tampa Bay infielder Ty Wigginton.
The Yankees apparently will have to take a number and get in line if they want to acquire Wigginton as the Cubs, Dodgers, Twins, and Red Sox all have interest as well. Tampa Bay is reportedly willing to move troubled outfielder Elijah Dukes and displaced infielder Jorge Cantu in trades for pitching prospects.
The Red Sox are pushing hard to acquire a right-handed bat. Beyond Wigginton and Dye, they have also inquired about Teixeira, Dodgers third base prospect Andy LaRoche, and outfielder Bobby Kielty, who was designated for assignment by Oakland earlier this week. Boston is offering around outfielder Wily Mo Pena as their primary trade bait, but teams are more scared off by his lack of production than intrigued by his power potential.
Kansas City’s Dayton Moore has been rebuffed so far in his efforts to acquire a young major league hitter for Dotel; the Dodgers would not part with infielder Tony Abreu, and the Indians wouldn’t give up outfielder Franklin Gutierrez.
Florida has decided not to deal left-hander Dontrelle Willis now because his trade value has been driven down by his recent struggles. Instead, the Marlins are hoping Willis finishes up this season strong, and will look to trade him in the offseason.
The Phillies continue to heavily scout Qualls, Wheeler, and Lidge. The Astros need a center fielder and could be enticed by a Phillies offer that includes speedy Michael Bourn, a Houston native.
Mets General Manager Omar Minaya is confident that his team can win the National League East as currently constructed, but it still looking to improve the roster. The Mets have some interest in White Sox right fielder Jermaine Dye because of the injury concerns involving Moises Alou and Carlos Beltran. Since the Red Sox, Padres, and Dodgers are all also eyeing Dye, things could get interesting. The Mets also wouldn’t mind adding another starting pitcher, and are looking at a pair of right-handers-the White Sox’ Jose Contreras, and Livan Hernandez. The Diamondbacks have no plans to re-sign Hernandez as a free agent after this season, but are also loath to trade him while still in contention.
Another problem for Minaya is that Mets second baseman Jose Valentin could be lost for the season after breaking his leg last week. They wouldn’t mind finding a replacement at the right price, and the White Sox’ Tadahito Iguchi tops their wish list, followed by the Astros’ Mark Loretta and the Royals‘ Mark Grudzielanek.
The Reds have decided not to trade center fielder Ken Griffey Jr., while no team has been willing to meet their high asking price for left fielder Adam Dunn.
Seattle feels it needs another starting pitcher to make the playoffs, and is targeting the White Sox’ Jon Garland and Houston’s Jason Jennings. One player the Mariners won’t give up, though, is outfield prospect Adam Jones.
If St. Louis decided to give up the ghost on defending its World Series title between now and Tuesday, then a few veteran relievers would become available, notably Jason Isringhausen, but also Troy Percival and Russ Springer.
Kevin Goldstein: My first reaction to the Linebrink deal was “overrated reliever for overrated prospect.” Let’s not discount Joe Thatcher, who looks every bit like a solid big league bullpen arm; Steve Garrison is a marginal left-hander. The big name in this deal is still Will Inman. Every time I look at Inman’s numbers, or talk to a scout about him, the name that always pops into my head is Yusmeiro Petit. They’re very similar in many ways–they’re both undersized, they’ve both put up some crazy numbers in the lower levels, and they’ve both never received any kind of big time love from scouts because of their average stuff. Both are strikethrowers with a bit of deception in their delivery, and both hit a wall at some point in the minor league career, with Petit bombing out at Triple-A, and Inman finding his first struggles as a pro in Double-A. After nearly a lost year in 2006, Petit has rebounded from his struggles, made some adjustments, and looked pretty good this year, and now the Padres will have to hold out that same belief in Inman. It’s really not fair to say that scouts hate Inman; they certainly don’t, but there’s just a significant gap between his numbers and the projection, and many still peg him as a solid No. 4 type starter, and last we looked, those were worth in the neighborhood of $8-10 million a year. One more thought: the left-handed version of this type of pitcher is Atlanta’s Chuck James.
It looks as if Cleveland is finishing up a deal. One source tells me it’s done while another is saying it’s “very close.” I don’t have details, though speculation is focused on their adding a reliever, perhaps Octavio Dotel. The Indians emerged as the leader for Dotel after the Dodgers pulled back–not just on Dotel, but it sounds as if the Dodgers have decided that they’re going to tweak their roster with small trades at best, while preferring to hold on to their top prospects. Surprisingly, it seems that Chin-Lung Hu is still on the “available” list.
Reports that Reggie Sanders was having his house packed up by FedEx remain perhaps my favorite laughable rumor. That one goes on the all-time list. Go ahead, call FedEx and ask them to pack up your house, and see the reaction.
Jason Isringhausen? As likely to be traded as Dontrelle Willis, or to make it more plain, not. No one–no one–is ever completely undealable, but Izzy does have a no-trade clause.
It’s amazing just how much value in prospective trades the Angels have lost in the last year. An offer of Ervin Santana would have been jumped at just a couple months ago. Casey Kotchmann has helped himself by hitting, but there are a lot of teams that would have taken the risk that it was mono holding him back last year. I had a scout tell me that Brandon Wood was “Adam Dunn, but smaller,” and I think he meant it as an insult.
I listened when a scout talked to me about a Wily Mo Pena for Andy LaRoche deal, but more and more people I’ve talked to have flat-out laughed at that deal, but more because of what it represents. Prospects like LaRoche are so highly valued, not just for their talent but for their easy affordability, that they become nearly impossible to deal.
The Indians were reported to be close to a deal this morning, but we finally know who it’s for. The Cleveland Plain-Dealer is reporting that Kenny Lofton has been traded to the Indians for minor league catcher Max Ramirez and a PTBNL; there’s cash involved as well. One source says this does not preclude any other deals, and that another move is going to be necessary to fit Lofton onto the roster, potentially involving Trot Nixon. One interesting tidbit is that this discussion between the Indians and Rangers didn’t start with Lofton–the Tribe was quietly in on Mark Teixeira.
I go to pick up a friend at the airport and pow, a trade. Tadahito Iguchi had long been rumored to be available, and the only cost to the Phillies for getting him was the pitching coach’s son. Not a bad deal, though I’ll be honest and admit I know nothing about Dubee beyond his parentage. Iguchi’s acquisition, I’m told, means nothing regarding the injury to Chase Utley; Iguchi will be a bench player once Utley returns from his broken hand, but the team felt they needed a better fill-in to stay in the race. The Phillies are not standing pat, and are still on the lookout for second-tier pitching help, such as Kyle Lohse. With Lohse, I’ve heard a lot of people call him “next year’s Gil Meche,” which I don’t get.
The Padres made an offer on Iguchi, but apparently it wasn’t enough. They’re refocusing on Ty Wigginton and Mark Loretta. Wigginton is also on the radar of… just about everyone. Second basemen are in demand, though one name–Luis Castillo–is not supply.
My first information was incorrect–there’s no PTBNL in the Lofton trade.
Adam Dunn to the Cubs? No. The Reds are very reluctant to deal him within the division, and the Cubs know that it’s a tough sell to take on any salary at this stage. The one interesting twist is that the Cubs are trying to get Dunn to flip him, according to one source; I don’t buy into that. The rumored names just don’t make sense, though I do think that the Nats could look for a third party to help facilitate a deal.
It’s looking more and more like Mark Teixeira is going to stay a Ranger. At least two teams are now out of the running (though this can always change) and the Indians offer ended up getting smaller and smaller, until we ended up with the Lofton deal. The Braves have allegedly made their last best final offer of three prospects for Teixeira, and sources say that the Rangers are held up over either adding one more prospect or upgrading the pitcher.
The Mariners were close to a deal earlier today, but the team pulled out at the last second after ownership got involved. I haven’t been able to get confirmation from either side about this course of events, though it seems that the M’s are willing to take on some salary in order to get the pitcher they want.