Craig Breslow Rumors

Pirates Mulling Breslow, Willingham

2:29pm: The Pirates and A's aren't discussing a package deal involving Willingham at this point, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter). The two clubs have discussed relief pitching.

12:18pm: The Pirates are mulling a possible trade with the Athletics for lefty Craig Breslow and outfielder Josh Willingham, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.  Biertempfel believes Garrett Jones would probably be part of the package going to Oakland in such a deal.

The Pirates have a need for left-handed relief, while Willingham would serve as a useful right-handed bat in right field.  The 32-year-old is hitting .244/.321/.434 on the season, but must prove he's past an Achilles injury.

The Pirates are enjoying increased financial flexiblity due to improved attendance, president Frank Coonelly told ESPN's Buster Olney.  Coonelly also mentioned that he envisions GM Neal Huntington remaining at the helm "for a long time."


West Notes: Pentland, Bell, Breslow, Bedard

The latest on a few AL and NL West clubs…

  • The Dodgers fired hitting coach Jeff Pentland and named Dave Hansen interim coach through season's end, the team announced on Twitter.  Not that it's entirely Pentland's fault, but the Dodgers are 15th in the NL with 3.63 runs scored per game.
  • Padres closer Heath Bell appeared on ESPN's Doug Gottlieb show yesterday.  He thinks his top three suitors are the Rangers, Phillies, and Cardinals, and believes he'd probably close only for the Cards.  SI's Jon Heyman says the Padres have considered taking draft picks for Bell after the season or re-signing him if they don't get what they want this month.  Heyman lists the Phillies, Reds, Rangers, Cardinals, Pirates, Angels, (and the White Sox and Yankees to a lesser degree) as suitors.  By the way, check out our Bell archive over at CloserNews for fantasy advice.
  • Athletics lefty Craig Breslow interests the Brewers, writes Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  Morosi expects many A's to be dealt this month, and notes that the Rangers, Orioles, Giants, Pirates, Blue Jays, Brewers and Reds scouted Tuesday's game in Detroit.
  • Trade candidate Erik Bedard will likely have his return delayed until after the Mariners' series with Boston at Fenway this weekend, reports Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times.  He might have one start to display his health prior to the July deadline.
  • Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik told SI's Jon Heyman he hasn't heard nor has he asked about his situation.  Zduriencik's contract is up after this season.
  • Dodgers GM Ned Colletti explained to Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times that "it's not that cut and dry" to label his club buyers or sellers.  Though the team has no chance in 2011, Colletti may be willing to acquire players who are controlled beyond this year.

Bay Area Notes: Ellis, Breslow, Fuentes, Whiteside

Here's the latest on the A's and the Giants, including some trade rumors between the two clubs themselves…

  • "The Giants are not pursuing" A's second baseman Mark Ellis, reports Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.  (Twitter links).  The Giants at least checked in on Ellis but have cooled their pursuit for a variety of reasons, including Ellis' salary, his poor performance this season, Oakland's trade demands and the presence of Bill Hall, Emmanuel Burriss and Freddy Sanchez (who could still return from the DL) on the roster.   
  • Rival scouts have been watching Brian Fuentes and Craig Breslow, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.  Of the two southpaws, the Athletics would be more apt to move Fuentes since he has around $7.6MM remaining on his contract through 2012, whereas Breslow still has two more arbitration years left.  Fuentes also stirred up controversy earlier this season when he criticized then-manager Bob Geren.  These two pitchers and Jerry Blevins made MLBTR's Tim Dierkes' recent list of potentially-available left-handers.
  • Eli Whiteside has been ignoring the rumors about the Giants' catching search, reports Chris Haft and Adam Berry for MLB.com.  The incumbent starter has been hitting well lately, which Whiteside attributes to getting regular playing time.
  • Another internal option for the Giants: Triple-A catcher Hector SanchezSchulman reports that Barry Zito was very complimentary about Sanchez's game-calling abilities during Zito's recent rehab stint at Fresno.  Sanchez, 21, has a .299/.327/.495 line in 226 plate appearances this season, though just 42 of them have been at the Triple-A level.


A’s, Breslow Avoid Arbitration

The A's avoided arbitration with Craig Breslow and agreed to a one-year, $1.4MM deal, according to MLB.com's Jane Lee (Twitter link). The A's had filed at $1.55MM and Breslow has countered with $1.15MM, so the lefty's new deal is worth slightly more than the $1.35MM midpoint.

Breslow, 30, logged 74 2/3 innings for the A's last year, posting a 3.01 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9. The five-year veteran generally induces more fly balls than ground balls; last year his fly ball rate (55.8%) nearly doubled his ground ball rate (29.6%).

Breslow majored in molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale before the Brewers took him in the 26th round of the 2002 draft.

As MLBTR's Arb Tracker shows, all of Oakland's arbitration eligible players are now under contract for 2011.


Arbitration Figures: Tuesday

Today is the deadline for players and teams to submit arbitration figures. Let's keep track of those figures here, with the latest updates on top. You can track all of the players that avoided arbitration today here.

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Red Sox Have Explored Trades For Many Relievers

FRIDAY, 1:03am: Theo Epstein has discussed multiple possible trades with former Red Sox assistant GM and current Padres GM Jed Hoyer, according to Peter Abraham and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The Globe duo believes Boston could have interest in a reliever like Joe Thatcher, and, given the team's excess of outfielders when Jacoby Ellsbury returns, they may match up with San Diego.

THURSDAY, 12:59pm: Though they're on his no-trade list, the Red Sox asked the Brewers about Trevor Hoffman, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX SportsRosenthal adds that the Brewers are not inclined to move Hoffman.  Meanwhile they're getting calls on Carlos Villanueva and Todd Coffey.

12:05pm: The Red Sox are leaving no rock unturned in their search for relief help.  They've explored Rafael Perez, Will Ohman, Mike Gonzalez, Matt Capps, Michael Wuertz, Craig Breslow, Sean Marshall, Kerry Wood, David Aardsma, and Kyle Farnsworth, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.  Cafardo says Scott Downs looks unlikely unless the Blue Jays back down from their top prospect requests.  On a related note, SI's Jon Heyman tweets that the Jays asked the Mets for outfield prospect Kirk Nieuwenhuis and one other player for Downs and were denied. 

Marshall is the interesting name here.  The 27-year-old lefty has had a dominant year in relief, posting a 1.71 ERA, 10.4 K/9, and 2.9 BB/9 in 52.6 innings with one home run allowed.  He's been especially strong against lefties.  Marshall is under team control through 2012 and would presumably be very difficult to pry loose from the Cubs.  Gonzalez is another surprising name, since he's spent most of the season on the shelf with a shoulder injury and is still owed good money.

Cafardo adds that the Red Sox have been shopping reliever Ramon Ramirez, and offers the opinion that a National League team might want to take a look at him.  Ramirez has a 4.57 ERA, 6.5 K/9, and 3.3 BB/9 in 41.3 innings with six home runs allowed and is a potential non-tender candidate after the season.


Stark On Phillies, Indians, Ross, Athletics

Today's rumblings from ESPN's Jayson Stark

  • Shane Victorino's oblique injury yesterday appears to close the door on a Jayson Werth trade.  MLB.com's Todd Zolecki seems to agree, but unlike Stark he feels that the Phils "remain a top contender" for Roy Oswalt.  More on Oswalt here.
  • Stark writes of indications the Phillies have turned to starters such as Jake Westbrook and Fausto Carmona and relief options like Octavio Dotel. Jon Heyman of SI.com notes that the Indians are talking trades with the Phils (Twitter link).
  • Speaking of the Indians, Stark senses they do want to move money off the books.
  • The Marlins have told teams they could deal Cody Ross in August if they fall out of contention, but they'd have to match up only with the team that wins the claim.
  • The Braves maintain strong interest in Josh Willingham, though there's a good chance they stand pat.  Willingham is just one of many Nationals veterans generating interest, GM Mike Rizzo told ESPN 980.
  • Athletics assistant GM David Forst told Stark "it would have to be an over-the-top deal for us to even consider it" in regard to trading relievers such as Michael Wuertz, Craig Breslow, and Brad Ziegler.

Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers Interested In Breslow

The Yankees, Red Sox and Tigers are interested in A's reliever Craig Breslow, according to Yahoo's Jeff Passan (Twitter link). The lefty, 30 in August, has a 3.02 ERA in 44.2 innings so far in 2010. He has typically been effective against lefties and righties, but this year, righties are having a harder time against him, oddly enough. Breslow has posted 9.4 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 this season so it's no surprise that teams are interested.

Breslow's salary ($425K) and controllability (he isn't scheduled to hit free agency until after 2013) contribute to his appeal. The lefty's Yale degree doesn't add to his trade value, but it distinguishes him from most ballplayers this side of Doug Glanville and Ross Ohlendorf. Breslow majored in molecular biophysics and biochemistry before the Brewers took him in the 26th round of the 2002 draft.


Contenders Scouting The Athletics

The Athletics' record stands at exactly .500 after 92 games, but they sit seven games back of the molten hot Rangers in the AL West. GM Billy Beane said he didn't anticipate being that active before the non-waiver trade deadline, but that hasn't stopped contending teams from checking out his roster for potential fits. 

Susan Slusser of The San Francisco Chronicle brings us the latest and greatest from the East Bay…

  • Ben Sheets is a potential target for both the Phillies and Twins, though the A's have no desire to move the righthander. He is still owed $4.3MM for the remainder of this season, and he is currently on pace to earn the full $2MM worth of incentives in his contract, which are based on innings pitched. $6.3MM total is pricey for a guy with a 6.66 ERA away from his home park.
  • Slusser says that Vin Mazzaro's emergence (3.50 ERA in 64.1 innings) could make Sheets expendable, ditto healthy returns by Brett Anderson and Dallas Braden.
  • Detroit scouted reliever Michael Wuertz this weekend, which is not the first time they've done so this season. They also have their eye on Craig Breslow. Slusser says Oakland might not want to sell low on Wuertz, who's gone from a 2.63 ERA and 11.67 K/9 last year to 5.30 and 6.75 this year, respectively.  

Chad Gaudin Agrees To Sign With A’s

Pitcher Chad Gaudin has reached agreement with the A's on a deal worth $700K.  The righty turned 27 years old on Wednesday and was cut loose by the Yankees on Thursday. 

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the agreement and Jon Heyman of SI.com followed up with the contract details (via Twitter).

After starting 25 games last season for the Padres and Yankees, it is likely that Gaudin will be slotted into Oakland's bullpen.  Several Athletics relievers have been bitten by the injury bug, including Michael Wuertz, Andrew Bailey, and Craig Breslow.