July 2011

Epstein On Bedard, Harden, Fields, Buchholz

Red Sox GM Theo Epstein acquired Mike Aviles, Erik Bedard and Josh Fields in trades this weekend. He joined reporters on a conference call to discuss those moves and other issues pertaining to his first-place team this evening. Here are the details:

  • The Red Sox like the way Bedard's stuff looks this year. He "really started to look like one of the best left-handers in the league again," Epstein said.
  • Though Bedard was rusty in his lone start since returning from the disabled list, the Red Sox maintained interest in him since he seems healthy and has pitched in the AL East. Plus, he met Boston's biggest need – rotation help.
  • The Bedard deal came together at the last minute, since the Red Sox had to acquire Trayvon Robinson from the Dodgers before completing the deal with the Mariners.
  • As for the bullpen, Epstein says the Red Sox can get by without adding outside help. "We feel we have some depth, not only in the big leagues, but in Triple-A," he said.
  • Epstein declined to speak about discussions for Rich Harden, but says he has no hard feelings. It appeared last night that Boston was going to acquire Harden.
  • The Red Sox like Fields' "big arm" despite his command issues.
  • Though Epstein didn't discuss Clay Buchholz's injury in detail, he acknowledged concern over the right-hander's health.

NL West Trades

Here are the trades that went down in the NL West in July..






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Pirates Designate Michael Crotta For Assignment

The Pirates announced that they designated Michael Crotta for assignment to create 40-man roster space for newly-acquired outfielder Ryan Ludwick. The 2006 draft pick made his MLB debut in April, but hasn't pitched in the Majors since May.

Crotta, 26, appeared in 15 games for the Pirates this year, posting a 9.28 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 in 10 2/3 innings. He appeared in 12 minor league games for the Pirates' top two affiliates and has spent considerable time on the disabled list with right elbow inflammation.

NL Central Trades

The month of July proved to be a busy one for the NL Central..







The Pirates and Orioles announced tonight that the Pirates acquired Derrek Lee from Baltimore for minor league first baseman Aaron Baker.

NL East Trades

Here are the trades that took place in the NL East this month..






The Trade Deadline At CloserNews.com

In conjunction with the popular Twitter feed @closernews, CloserNews.com had its firm launch in July, which proved to be both an exciting and extremely busy time. Because of the wealth of high-profile relievers who were candidates to be dealt before today's 3 pm CT non-waiver trade deadline, there was no shortage of material to cover, regardless of which deals ultimately came to fruition. Chasing saves, after all, sometimes demands hitting the waiver wire in anticipation of a bullpen shakeup, so it can be a chess match of considering all the speculative moves in advance.

Here's a look back at the month that was at CloserNews.com — the deals that were done, some that weren't, and the closer-related fantasy fallout.

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Indians Designate Mitch Talbot For Assignment

The Indians activated Mitch Talbot from the 15-day disabled list and designated him for assignment, the team announced. The right-hander had been on the disabled list with a lower back strain since July 9th. The move creates 40-man roster space for the newly-acquired Ubaldo Jimenez and the Indians will make a corresponding 25-man move in the coming days.

Talbot, 27, posted a 6.33 ERA with 5.4 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 58 1/3 innings for the Indians before hitting the disabled list. He pitched 159 1/3 innings of 4.41 ERA ball last year after the Indians acquired him from Tampa Bay for Kelly Shoppach in December of 2009.

Red Sox Acquire Erik Bedard In Three-Team Deal


Southpaw Erik Bedard hasn't pitched into August since 2007, but the Red Sox are hoping he can bolster their rotation for the rest of the season.  The Sox acquired Bedard from Seattle today in a complicated trade:

Bedard, 32, has a 3.45 ERA, 8.6 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 1.08 HR/9, and 41.7% groundball rate in 91 1/3 innings this year.  That's his highest innings total since '07, as he endured multiple shoulder surgeries.  With Daisuke Matsuzaka out for the season, Clay Buchholz battling back problems, and Jon Lester missing time this month with a strained shoulder muscle, the Sox will take whatever they can get from Bedard.  Bedard recently returned from a month-long layoff due to a knee sprain.  He's owed only $324K in additional base salary, but can make millions more in incentives.

In Robinson, the Mariners came away with the best prospect in the deal.  The 23-year-old outfielder is hitting .293/.375/.563 at Triple-A.  Baseball America ranked him tenth among Dodgers prospects heading into the season, saying he's "loaded with athleticism" and "could have four average or better tools."  Chiang, signed by the Red Sox out of Taiwan in 2006, has a breakout .338/.399/.647 line at Double-A.  The Mariners added two quality outfield prospects without giving up much.

The Ms did have to surrender Josh Fields, their first-round draft pick from 2008.  The 25-year-old has experienced control problems in the high minors.  Baseball America ranked him 24th among Mariners prospects prior to the season, writing, "he could be a useful middle reliever if he can tighten up his control."

Federowicz, a 23-year-old Double-A catcher, must have been the key to the deal for the Dodgers.  He's a well-regarded defensive backstop, but has a .275/.337/.397 line at Double-A.  Overall Dodgers' involvement is a bit of a head-scratcher, but we'll see if prospect experts agree.

Rodriguez, 22, has a 5.19 ERA with 13.4 K/9 and 4.9 BB/9 in 59 innings of relief at Class A this year.  In parts of four professional seasons, he has a 3.31 ERA with 10.8 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9.  Fife, 24, has spent the past two seasons in the rotation of Boston's Double-A affiliate at Portland.  He has a 3.66 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 103 1/3 innings this year.

Jon Heyman, Gordon Edes, and Jon Heyman broke the story with ESPN.com's Buster Olney reporting the specifics of the trade. Photo courtesy Icon SMI.

Pirates Acquire Ryan Ludwick

The Pirates added another veteran bat today, acquiring right fielder Ryan Ludwick from the Padres for cash or a player to be named later.  The player to be named will come from a list of three minor league players, MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch reports (on Twitter).

Ludwick, a right-handed hitter, could at least fill the role the Pirates envisioned when they signed Matt Diaz in the offseason.  The 33-year-old is hitting .238/.301/.373 and has $2.2MM left on his contract.  The Bucs added veteran first baseman Derrek Lee yesterday to an offense that ranks 12th in the NL with 3.82 runs scored per game.

Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports broke the story.

Nationals, Twins Not Close On Span Trade

2:46pm: The teams are not close on a Span trade, tweets Jon Paul Morosi.

12:29pm: The Twins don't currently believe this deal can get done, tweets Yahoo's Tim Brown.  The Nationals so far will not include Storen, tweets Scott Miller.

9:43am: ESPN's Tim Kurkjian tweets that the chances of a Storen/Span deal are less than 50/50.  The Nationals are still in the mix for B.J. Upton.

7:59am: Nationals closer Drew Storen is in the Denard Span trade with the Twins, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, but the hangup is over the other players in the deal.  Yesterday we heard names such as Roger Bernadina and Stephen Lombardozzi of the Nationals.