July 2006

D’Rays Come Up Big With Joel Guzman

Given his insistence on playing shortstop after this season, it seems apparent that Julio Lugo truly is a rental player for the Dodgers.  Lugo will certainly add more to the 2006 Dodgers than Joel Guzman could have, so the move is somewhat defensible for Ned Colletti.  Still, the Devil Rays won big by getting the 21 year-old.

Tampa Bay surrenders two months of Lugo for six years of young Guzman.  Entering the 2005 season, Guzman was a 20 year-old shortstop compared to Alfonso Soriano by Baseball Prospectus.  He ranked 7th overall on their top 50 prospects list.  Even then he was a little big for the middle infield.

Before the ’06 season the Dodgers decided to move Guzman to left field.  He still managed to garner the 14th ranking on BP’s Top 50 list.  After surprisingly contending for a job with the Dodgers out of spring training, the team wisely decided to give him some seasoning at Triple A.  He was doing an OK job in Las Vegas when Jeff Kent injured his wrist in June.  Grady Little decided to bat the kid cleanup in his first start for L.A. 

With Kent and Chad Billingsley pushing for his roster spot, Guzman was sent back to Triple A a few weeks later.  Cashman Field in Las Vegas inflates offense significantly, but Guzman has only slugged .443 there this season.  His plate discipline is definitely a work in progress.  The Devil Rays can afford to give him some time in Triple A to get comfortable in his position (not sure where he’ll play, but one article indicates first base).

The D-Rays now find themselves even more loaded with premium young talent (though Guzman may fit right in with the attitude problems prevalent on the Triple A Durham club).  What’s more, the team should have the third overall pick in next June’s draft if the current standings hold up.

Yuliesky Gourriel Defection Rumor Untrue

Remember how we thought Cuban superstar Yuliesky Gourriel had defected?  Not so, according to a couple of sources.

Prensa Latina indicates that Gourriel returned to Cuba on Thursday.  And the Westchester Journal News calls the rumor "untrue" (scroll down).  Thanks to RotoWire for the tip.  Looks like one of the most intriguing free agents is not available, after all.

Viva El Birdos: Cardinals Acquire Jorge Sosa

You might have a hard time getting over there, as SB Nation’s servers have been overwhelmed.  But the Cardinals blog Viva El Birdos reports that the Cards have acquired pitcher Jorge Sosa for Triple A reliever Rich Scalamandre.

Sosa’s progression this year was as follows.  First, he signed a $2.2MM deal with the Braves in January after posting a very flukey 2.55 ERA in 134 innings.  Then Sosa pitched for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic as a reliever in March.  The Braves decided to begin the season with Sosa as their #4 starter and John Thomson in the pen.  By late June, Sosa was moved to the bullpen due to his poor pitching.  After mercifully removing him from the rotation, Bobby Cox decided to make Sosa the closer.  By the middle of the month Sosa lost his job to Ken Ray; he was demoted yesterday. 

Scalamandre, 25, was promoted to Triple A on June 21st and has been OK in 19 innings.

Alfonso Soriano Stays Put

In the most surprising non-trade of the afternoon, the Nationals have retained Alfonso Soriano.  Will the two sides be able to hammer out a long-term contract extension, or will the Nats just have to take a couple of draft picks for their left fielder?

It’ll be interesting to hear how the team spins this one.  Right now it’s hard to see how this was the right choice.

Report: Affeldt, Bautista Dealt For Shealy

Reportedly, a Royals TV affiliate in Kansas City is saying that Jeremy Affeldt has gone through the clubhouse to say goodbyes.  Word from MLB Radio is that Affeldt was sent to Colorado along with Denny Bautista for Ryan Shealy and Scott Dohmann.

This one’s been in the works for a while now, dating back to July 19th.

Julio Lugo Traded To Dodgers

Word comes via ESPN that the Dodgers have acquired Julio Lugo for Joel Guzman and Sergio Pedroza.

I definitely didn’t see this one coming.  Jeff Kent should begin swinging a bat right around now after hitting the DL with an oblique strain on July 18th.  The Lugo acquisition gives the Dodgers excellent depth in their infield.  Former second base fill-ins Willy Aybar and Cesar Izturis have been sent out in other, solid deals.  Once Kent is 100% and ready to play Wilson Betemit becomes an excellent bench player for the rest of the year.  He’d still remain the second baseman of the future.

MetsBlog: Perez and Bell Traded For Linebrink

MetsBlog confirms Scott Miller’s earlier scenario: the Mets have sent Oliver Perez and Heath Bell to San Diego for Scott Linebrink.

UPDATE: Seems that all outlets are backing off this deal; it had been reported everywhere.  Reportedly, Omar Minaya recently appeared on SportsNet New York and said rumors of the Linebrink deal are not true.

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Dodgers Acquire Greg Maddux

Ken Rosenthal tells us that the Dodgers have acquired Greg Maddux.  Will be interesting to see who the Cubs end up with.

UPDATE: CBS Sportsline indicates that the Cubs received Cesar Izturis in return. The Chicago Tribune’s Dave van Dyck has a different take, but ESPN has confirmed the Izturis part. 

Stark: Yanks After Craig Wilson, Salomon Torres

According to Jayson Stark:

"The Yankees are making a last minute run at Craig Wilson and are also talking to Pittsburgh about Salomon Torres."

UPDATE: ESPN reports that Shawn Chacon goes to Pittsburgh for Wilson.

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Carroll On Twins’ Last Minute Soriano Discussions

Via Will Carroll:

"The Twins are in rapid-fire discussions with the Nationals regarding Alfonso Soriano. The offers center around pitching, with Matt Garza and Scott Baker the keys. The Twins offered Jason Kubel in the deal in lieu of Garza, but were rebuffed. I’m told that the Twins have informed Torii Hunter that he’s being offered around; his option, if declined, would help "pay for" Soriano."

We should know within minutes what Jim Bowden ultimately settles for with Soriano.  My guess is that the Twins would rather stand pat than part with Garza.  I think Kubel and Baker would be a decent, Major League ready bounty for the impending free agent.