If you are looking for a unique way to occupy your evening, be sure to follow (or re-read) the Dodgers' Twitter feed as unparalleled announcer Vin Scully chats about his incredible memories and observations on today's game. (A sample: Scully says he had to be on his feet watching for foul balls at old Briggs Stadium -- better known as Tiger Stadium -- because "the booth was so close to home you could hear the hitter grunt.") Also worth reading are the following links looking ahead to the coming trade deadline period:
- The market for closers could focus on Glen Perkins and Steve Cishek if Jonathan Papelbon and Rafael Betancourt are unavailable, tweets MLB Network analyst Peter Gammons. Teams like the Tigers and Red Sox are potentially on the hunt for late-inning help, but Gammons says to expect a high price on Perkins and Cishek.
- Alex Speier of WEEI.com took a look at Boston's closer situation today. GM Ben Cherington did not rule out the possibility of dealing for late-inning help, but also said that the club had internal options.
- Buyers should not expect Papelbon to be available, Gammons further tweets. He cites an unnamed GM as saying that the Phillies are unlikely to deal their closer or star pitcher Cliff Lee given "their pending TV deal."
- Potential buyers include the Giants, Orioles, Padres, Diamondbacks, and Reds, according to Baseball Prospectus. While the O's may join the Giants on the market for starting pitching, BP's Bret Sayre says the club should also be in on a second baseman to address its glaring issues there. Likewise, Cincinnati's shopping list is relatively clear: an outfielder to replace the injured Ryan Ludwick and Chris Heisey. BP further suggests that the Padres have many areas that could warrant an upgrade, while the Dbacks ought to look to add a "star" to compliment the emerging Paul Goldschmidt.
- While the Nationals were quiet at last year's deadline, ultimately acquiring backstop Kurt Suzuki in a post-deadline deal, MLB.com's Bill Ladson suggests that the team could be more active this season. Getting the injured Wilson Ramos and Bryce Harper back is the first order of business, but the Nats could look to add a veteran right-handed bench bat given the struggles of the demoted Tyler Moore. Ladson also wonders whether Washington could look to pick up a fifth starter to replace the inconsistent Dan Haren. But with Haren's salary and track record, Ladson says, the team is unlikely at this point to make such a move. (It is worth noting, too, that the Nats still have Chris Young working at Triple-A on an incentive-laden deal, though Young has struggled to a 7.88 ERA in seven starts.)
- Although the Rangers have struggled at the plate, ESPN.com's Richard Durrett says the team's first order of business should be to shop for starters at the deadline. With the young back of the rotation still looking for consistency, and Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison still major injury question marks, Durrett says the club could look at high-end arms like Cliff Lee. Durrett's colleague Todd Wills, on the other hand, writes (same link) that Texas should focus on finding a left fielder. He suggests that Andre Ethier, Josh Willingham, and Carlos Quentin are viable possibilities. With Leonys Martin and Craig Gentry failing to nail down their roles and Nelson Cruz still potentially a suspension target, says Wills, outfield depth could the the key down the stretch.
- The Padres' recent hot streak has made the team a bubble buyer, writes Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Sanders suggests that starting pitching is the most likely target, as GM Josh Byrnes has said. He says that arms like Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle are potentially available could be a nice fit in the NL West's larger ballparks. Alternatively, if the Pads turn into sellers, the team may be able to find takers for pitchers Eric Stults, Jason Marquis, Edinson Volquez, and Huston Street.
- Other bubble teams include the Dodgers, Giants, and Indians, writes ESPN.com's Jim Bowden (Insider subscription required). Still in contention and with solid enough cores to remain there, Bowden says these clubs are in "reload" mode and gives an in-depth analysis of their trade deadline approach. Los Angeles could use improvements on the left side of the infield and back of the bullpen, and might also look to add rotation or pen depth. San Francisco, meanwhile, could (as noted above) look for rotation help or shop for an outfielder given Angel Pagan's injury. For Cleveland, Bowden says that the team should look to add "at least two more quality arms" while not selling away the team's future. Be sure to check out the link for further analysis and potential trade scenarios.