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  • While Tigers fans are talking comeback, the Tigers themselves have about a week to decide if that’s actually going to happen. There are rumblings from outside the organization that the Tigers are starting to make calls about some of their players to determine what their value might be if they decide to deal. Ivan Rodriguez would immediately become the best catcher available, while Fernando Rodney would bring a price that is likely below Damaso Marte and Brian Fuentes due to his injury risk.
  • The Braves shot down Mike Gonzalez to the Rangers in return for one of their outfielders, a trade that one solid source told me was a possibility. Mark Bowman of MLB.com was told it would take Josh Hamilton to pry Gonzalez loose, which isn’t happening. I doubled back and seem to be getting several versions of the same story, so it looks like while the Braves liked some of the Rangers’ outfielders, neither team was willing to discuss what the other really wanted.
  • The Reds have been linked with Huston Street, though no one seems to understand the fit. The A’s have been linked with Jason Bay, though no one seems to understand that fit. There are two lessons here-first, watch out for the old “I haven’t talked to X” routine. There are times that the last two people to discuss a deal are the GMs. That’s why we have guys with titles like “Assistant General Manager” and “Director of Pro Scouting.” Secondly, I’m hearing that the A’s willingness to talk trade, along with their involvement as a third team to facilitate deals that are held up due to mismatches on price, leads to them being talked about by others more than they’re actually talking. There’s actually much more substance to rumors of the White Sox going after Justin Duchscherer, a fit that makes much more sense, especially if the A’s can extract Josh Fields and Aaron Poreda for the All-Star swingman.
  • A.J. Burnett has been heavily scouted during his last two starts, but there’s really not much demand. The Phillies were thought to be the strongest suitor, even after acquiring Joe Blanton, but they’re now focused on bringing in a reliever. I’m told that if they can’t do that, or if the price comes down on Burnett, Pat Gillick would jump back in aggressively, although for now, it looks like Burnett’s going to stay a Jay. I say “for now” because there are mixed opinions on whether Burnett could clear waivers in August.
  • The demands from the Rockies in exchange for Matt Holliday were extremely high, but understandable. It’s less understandable why Dan O’Dowd is standing on huge demands for Brian Fuentes. In talks with five teams, he asked for the team’s top pitching prospect in almost every case, although it’s debatable whether or not Ian Kennedy is still a top prospect. One team official thinks that “[Damaso] Marte is going to have to move first, maybe one of the other guys like [David] Weathers or [Cla] Meredith, before the Rockies drop their price.”
  • There are conflicting reports on whether the Yankees are actively shopping for backstops. With Jorge Posada hoping to come back but not able to catch, the team is not only going to need help for Jose Molina, they’ll likely need a stronger backup for 2009-2011. While the Yankees had internal discussions about their options, it doesn’t appear that anything is imminent unless they can get something done cheaply, and for a player under control for 2009. That could mean Miguel Olivo or Yorvit Torrealba.
  • The Mariners have been in a holding pattern since throwing Richie Sexson overboard, making many wonder why they can’t get some deal done. With Erik Bedard sidelined by shoulder problems, the next most desirable player they have is Raul Ibanez. Several teams have inquired about his services, but all have been told that either Jose Vidro needs to be included with Ibanez in any deal, or that the teams will have to upgrade their offers to include premium prospects, especially pitchers. Ibanez is still a likely move, but teams have back-burnered him in hopes that they can get similar production for less prospect cost.
  • Two teams have told me that the White Sox have become very aggressive in the last 48 hours. Ken Rosenthal reported on a possible Brian Roberts deal, while others have talked about their desire to flip Orlando Cabrera. The Sox haven’t made Josh Fields an untouchable in discussions, surprising many, since Joe Crede is hurting and a free agent after the season. Discussions between the Red and White Sox (Soxes? Soxii?) regarding Cabrera and Juan Uribe didn’t get much of anywhere. The White Sox do have a lot of relievers that would interest other teams if they were made available.
  • One big factor in this year’s trade talks is next year’s free agent class. Apart from Mark Teixeira, there are no elite-level hitters, and there’s very little in the way of pitching either, though there are at least a few top level options there. Most teams don’t think there will be any quick fixes on the horizon, and are therefore looking hard at whether their internal options are better than what could be had in trade.
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