July 2012

Enter The DraftStreet Trade Deadline Freeroll

Pick one player from each of eight tiers and you've got a shot at part of the $400 prize pool in DraftStreet's latest MLBTR freeroll!  You've got nothing to lose by signing up and making your picks, as this game has no entry fee.  You'll be competing based on the stats your eight players accumulate in games on Tuesday, July 31st – trade deadline day.

I've chosen an all-offense strategy, with huge power coming from bats like Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, and Michael Morse, plus plenty of speed from Mike Trout, Ian Kinsler, and Jacoby Ellsbury.  Check out the scoring categories in the rules section.  A screenshot of my roster:


Take five minutes to make your picks for Tuesday's games, and you've got a shot at the $400 prize pool!  Please note that this post is a paid advertisement by DraftStreet.

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D’Backs Designate Lyle Overbay For Assignment

TUESDAY, 12:47am: The Orioles have some interest in Overbay, reports Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com (on Twitter).

MONDAY, 11:12pm: The Reds and Diamondbacks are discussing a trade that would send Overbay to Cincinnati, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter).

5:54pm: The Diamondbacks announced that they designated first baseman Lyle Overbay for assignment. The move creates roster space for newly-acquired infielder Chris Johnson.

Overbay, 35, posted a .292/.367/.448 batting line in 110 plate appearances this year. Manager Kirk Gibson made sure to limit Overbay's exposure to left-handed pitching (95 plate appearances vs. RHP, 15 plate appearances vs. LHP), using him as a part-time complement to Paul Goldschmidt. Overbay, who's signed to a one-year, $1MM contract, has a .271/.354/.439 batting line in 12 MLB seasons.

Dodgers Acquire Brandon League

The Mariners have traded Brandon League to the Dodgers for prospects Leon Landry and Logan Bawcom, the team announced. Earlier today we heard that a number of contenders had interest in Seattle's former closer as they looked to bolster their bullpens.

League, 29, is owed approximately $1.8MM for the rest of the season before becoming a free agent this winter. He's pitched to a 3.63 ERA with 5.4 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 44 2/3 innings this year, plus his usual sky-high ground ball rate is down to just 46.9%. The Dodgers have lost Matt Guerrier and Todd Coffey to injury this season, so League will add some late-inning depth.

Landry, 22, is hitting .328/.358/.559 with eight homers and 15 triples in 376 plate appearances for Los Angeles' High Class-A affiliate this season while spending most of his time in center field. Bawcom, a 23-year-old right-hander, owns a 2.03 ERA with 11.1 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 in 48 2/3 relief innings split between Single-A and Double-A this year. Neither player ranked among the team's top 30 prospects in Baseball America's Prospect Handbook before the season.

Blue Jays, Mariners Swap Thames For Delabar

The Mariners have acquired outfielder Eric Thames from the Blue Jays for reliever Steve Delabar, the team announced. Just yesterday we learned that Seattle was looking to acquire young, cost-controlled hitters.

Thames, 25, hit .243/.288/.365 in 160 big league plate appearances and .335/.412/.536 in 228 Triple-A plate appearances this season. The left-handed swinger has played primarily left field in the show. The 29-year-old Delabar is a hard-throwing right-handed reliever with a 3.92 ERA and 10.9 K/9 with 3.1 BB/9 in 43 2/3 career innings with Seattle. Both players are under team control through 2017.

Quick Hits: Indians, Lee, Phillies, Pirates

Links from around MLB, on the eve of the non-waiver trade deadline…

Latest On Victorino, Pence, Pierre

Earlier today, Yahoo's Jeff Passan wrote that the Phillies haven't shopped center fielder Shane Victorino nearly as aggressively as right fielder Hunter Pence, even though Victorino will be eligible for free agency after the season and Pence is under team control for 2013.  The latest on the Phillies' outfielders:

  • The Dodgers and Reds seem to be the last two Victorino suitors remaining, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick tweets.
  • The Giants are discussing Pence, but not Victorino, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).
  • The Reds still want a leadoff hitter and Victorino has been their top target, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports. The Reds don't like the Phillies' asking price for Victorino, and their interest in Pierre seems to have been exaggerated, Knobler writes.
  • The Dodgers are more likely to acquire Victorino, but they're also in on Pence, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
  • The Reds appear to be zeroing in on Pierre, writes ESPN's Jayson Stark.  He says the Dodgers look like the frontrunner on Victorino, while teams that have checked in on Pence believe the Phillies will wait until the offseason.
  • The Phillies' asking price on Victorino is outrageous, an executive of one team tells Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
  • The Orioles have interest in Victorino, Pence, and Juan Pierre, tweets Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, who notes Pierre is the best fit cost-wise.  The Reds have quietly evaluated Pierre as a possible target since June, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney, and USA Today's Bob Nightengale says the Reds' coaching staff loves him.    
  • The Pirates did not seem alive on Victorino as of late last night, tweeted Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  The Giants, Reds, and Dodgers have been named as other potential suitors for the 31-year-old.  Victorino is hitting .261/.324/.401 in 431 plate appearances this year.
  • The Phillies have pushed Pence but want a big return, tweets Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com.  Salisbury says most interest is on Victorino and starter Joe Blanton.

Blue Jays, Pirates Swap Snider, Lincoln

The Blue Jays and Pirates have agreed to swap outfielder Travis Snider for right-hander Brad Lincoln, the teams announced. Both players were selected in the first half of the first round of the 2006 amateur draft.

Snider, now 24, has spent considerable time in the Major Leagues since debuting as a 20-year-old in 2008. However, he has battled injuries and the Blue Jays have optioned him to the minor leagues for extended periods, so his career high in games is 82 (reached in 2010). The left-handed hitter has a career batting line of .247/.305/.429. He has a .235/.270/.559 line in 37 plate appearances this year, including three homers against left-handed pitching.

Snider is on track for arbitration eligibility following the 2013 season. He's under team control through 2016. He joins a left field mix that currently includes Starling Marte, Drew Sutton and Alex Presley.

Lincoln has developed into a dependable late inning reliever for the Pirates, though that's not necessarily what they had in mind when they selected him fourth overall six years ago. He has a 2.73 ERA with 9.1 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 and a 37% ground ball rate in 59 1/3 innings for Pittsburgh this year. The 27-year-old has also started at least five games in three consecutive seasons. His average fastball checks in at 93.2 mph.

Lincoln could be arbitration eligible as a super two following the 2013 season, but he'll remain under team control though 2017. He'll join a Blue Jays bullpen that doesn't have many sure things other than Casey Janssen going forward.

Braves Acquire Reed Johnson, Paul Maholm

The Cubs have traded left-hander Paul Maholm, outfielder Reed Johnson and cash considerations to the Braves in a four-player trade that provides Atlanta with reinforcements for the season's final two months and bolsters Chicago's minor league system. The Cubs obtain right-handers Jaye Chapman and Arodys Vizcaino in the trade, which the teams have announced. 

Paul Maholm - Cubs (PW)

Maholm has a 3.74 ERA with 6.1 K/9, 2.5 BB/9 and a 49.9% ground ball rate in 120 1/3 innings for the Cubs this year. The 30-year-old has never thrown particularly hard; his average fastball checks in at 87.6 mph this year, according to FanGraphs. He earns a $4.75MM salary in 2012 and his contract includes a $6.5MM club option for 2013. The Royals and Pirates appeared to have interest in Maholm earlier this month.

Johnson, 35, has a .307/.361/.452 batting line in 180 plate appearances this year. The right-handed hitter has played all three outfield positions for the Cubs and owns a career .313/.370/.469 line against left-handed pitching. He's signed to a one-year, $1.15MM contract and will hit free agency after the season. Four teams made offers for Johnson today, including the Pirates and Tigers, according to Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com.

Vizcaino, who entered the 2012 season ranked by Baseball America as the 40th-best prospect in MLB, had Tommy John surgery this spring. The 21-year-old posted a 3.06 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 97 innings for three Braves affiliates as he made his way through Atlanta's minor league system in 2011. The right-hander reached the Major Leagues last year, posting a 4.67 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 4.7 BB/9 in 17 relief appearances.

Chapman, a 25-year-old right-hander, has a 3.52 ERA with 10.1 K/9 and 4.9 BB/9 in 53 2/3 innings of relief for Atlanta's Triple-A team so far in 2012. The Braves selected him in the 16th round of the 2005 draft.

Maholm joins a Braves rotation that includes Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson, Mike Minor, Ben Sheets and, as of tomorrow, Kris Medlen. The Braves nearly traded for Ryan Dempster this month, but the sides don't appear to have obtained the right-hander's permission. 

Geovany Soto has been traded to the Rangers in a separate move.

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com first reported that Johnson had been traded (on Twitter). Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports first reported Maholm's role in the trade and first reported that the Braves were the other team involved (Twitter link). ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick first reported that the Cubs were getting two minor league pitchers, including Chapman. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that the Cubs were getting Vizcaino. Photo courtesy of US Presswire.

Reds, Blue Jays, Rangers Eyeing Matt Garza

The Cubs agreed to two significant deals today, and they might not be done yet. They sent Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson to Atlanta in one trade and dealt Geovany Soto to Texas in another. Meanwhile, Matt Garza continues drawing interest despite a fluid buildup in his triceps that will keep him from pitching until after the trade deadline passes. Here are the latest rumors surrounding the right-hander…

  • The Reds are talking to the Cubs about Garza, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. A team such as the Reds could complete a deal if it determines the injury is relatively minor.
  • The Cubs have tried to trade Garza to the Reds, but it's doubtful the sides will complete a deal, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
  • The Blue Jays remain interested in Garza despite his current condition, Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star reports.
  • There's a "very high chance" Garza gets traded, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports (Twitter links). The Blue Jays have been bearing down on him. The Cubs are still trying to move Garza, Stark writes.
  • The Rangers and Blue Jays are interested, Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com reports.
  • The Cubs are fielding calls on Garza and working on a Ryan Dempster deal, David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com reports (on Twitter).

Josh Beckett Rumors: Monday

Despite a report of the Red Sox shopping righty Josh Beckett to the Rangers and Braves, there was a clear vibe from reporters this morning that a trade is unlikely.  Beckett can veto any trade given his 10-and-5 rights, and he's owed $37MM through 2014.  The latest on the 32-year-old Texan…

  • The Red Sox won't trade Beckett before the deadline, Gordon Edes tweets.
  • The Rangers haven't ruled out the possibility of trading for Beckett, according to Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com.  Yet a rival GM estimates that there's just a 2% chance of a deal being completed. "Too much money involved, and Beckett isn't pitching that well," the GM told Edes.
  • Beckett will not be traded to the Rangers, reports WEEI's Rob Bradford.
  • Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com has a different take on the Beckett situation.  He says the Red Sox are willing to listen but not aggressively seeking to move him, and it is the Rangers, Braves, and Dodgers who called to inquire on Beckett.  McAdam says the Sox won't assume much of the $37MM owed to Beckett, and the chances of a deal are less than 50-50.
  • Asked by Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe whether reports of him trying to move Beckett were accurate, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said no.
  • The Braves are not a viable landing spot for Beckett right now, reports WEEI's Rob Bradford.  Bradford says the Braves are not in position to assume Beckett's financial obligation, even if the Red Sox pick up a significant portion.  MLB.com's Mark Bowman says the Braves are not a likely fit for Beckett, but Atlanta would be more interested in Jon Lester.  The Red Sox are saying no, flatly, regarding calls about Lester, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.
  • Rangers people aren't too excited about the Beckett speculation, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
  • There is a sense that Beckett might waive his 10-and-5 rights for certain teams, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, but clubs are concerned about his attitude and performance.  In comments made to Bradford a couple days ago, Beckett said he prefers to stay, "But if people don’t want you, you don’t want to be there. Obviously I have some things where it would be very difficult for them to trade me if I didn’t want to be traded. But you have to think realistically. If you’re not wanted somewhere, why stay there? Know what I mean? It kind of makes it a little more difficult. But [GM Ben Cherington] assured me during spring training that he wants me here, so as far as I’m concerned, it’s just made-up fodder."
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says there is no longer a required 24-hour waiting period for 10-and-5 players to approve a trade, so trade talk for players like Beckett and Ryan Dempster can go right down to the wire.