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With the calendar ready to turn to the final month of the regular season, there are still 15 teams in contention for a playoff spot. From the surprises (Athletics, Pirates, Orioles) to the big spenders (Dodgers, Angels, Tigers), the addition of a second Wild Card to each league has take the race for the playoffs to another level. Let's take a moment to catch up on the latest stories and news making headlines from around baseball…
- It took him awhile, but FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal finally understands why the Dodgers' trade with the Red Sox actually makes sense for Los Angeles. The addition of Adrian Gonzalez to man first base gives the Dodgers the game's biggest Mexican-American star as well as an upgrade both offensively and defensively. Even though Los Angeles paid a large sum for its package of stars, Rosenthal suggests the team wouldn't have had many desirable options to pursue this offseason.
- Another star player appears to be done in Boston – at least for this season – write Evan Drellich and Austin Laymance of MLB.com. Slugger David Ortiz, enjoying a strong season at the plate, may find himself on the disabled list come Monday as he continues to struggle with his right Achilles tendon. "We're talking about it, because I just can't really play like this," Ortiz said. "I don't want to be thinking about my foot while I'm facing the opposition, which is what happened to me after I hit that double [on Friday]."
- Prospect Dylan Bundy can't help but wonder what it would be like if the Orioles call up the right-hander to join the big league club in Baltimore this September, writes Steve Melewski of MASNSports.com. The 19-year-old isn't afraid of the bright lights of the big city as he doesn't think there's much of a difference between playing at Double-A and facing Derek Jeter amidst a playoff race. "Not any pressure at all, it's just the same game. Little bit better hitters. Someone told me the other day, it's the same distance between the rubber and home plate no matter where you are. Just little bit bigger stands, little bit better hitters in the box. More media, but it's all the same."
The Orioles announced last night that they will promote 20-year-old infield prospect Manny Machado to the Major Leagues. It seems likely that Machado, the third overall pick of the 2010 draft, will play third base in Baltimore. Here are the latest Orioles-related links…
- One rival general manager questioned the Orioles' decision to promote Machado, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. "Just because he's better than Wilson Betemit doesn't mean it's the right move for the kid,'' the GM said. The GM acknowledged that Machado is “really good, one of the top ten prospects in MLB.”
- Orioles manager Buck Showalter recently made it sound like Machado was headed to the Instructional League this September, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes (Twitterlinks).
- Sherman suggests the Orioles could call on top prospect Dylan Bundy this September and use him out of the bullpen. Bundy, 19, was just promoted to Double-A after posting a 1.92 ERA with 11.0 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 84 1/3 innings at Class A.
- ESPN.com’s Buster Olney points out that the Orioles have had to juggle their roster all season long. Executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette told Olney the Orioles have been “piecing it together” and relying on manager Buck Showalter to get the most out of the roster. Showalter said it helps that the Orioles are a professional, blue collar group “They really like each other. And they like to win," he said.
Here's the latest from ESPN's Jayson Stark…
- One official who spoke with the Marlins brass estimates that the odds Josh Johnson remains with Miami are "95 percent." The Red Sox, Angels, Rangers, White Sox, Blue Jays, and Royals have all checked in.
- Carlos Lee, Ricky Nolasco, Heath Bell, and Gaby Sanchez are all very available. Other than Johnson, Giancarlo Stanton will be the toughest player to pry away from the Fish.
- The Phillies have talked about trading Cliff Lee following the Cole Hamels extension and they haven't discouraged other teams from inquiring, but their game plan right now is to keep their trio of aces intact.
- Shane Victorino and Joe Blanton are good bets to be dealt and the Phillies will listen on Hunter Pence. They want multiple young big leaguers to plug holes at third base, in the outfield, and in the bullpen in return.
- The Dodgers are in on a number of starting pitchers, including Nolasco, Blanton, Kevin Millwood, and Jason Vargas in addition to Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza. They've also checked in on outfield and first base help, including Victorino and Justin Morneau.
- Clubs have not been assured by the Cubs that Garza will make another start before the trade deadline due to his triceps issue. He's more likely to be dealt in the offseason.
- In the wake of acquiring Wandy Rodriguez, the Pirates are sending signals that they could trade away a starter like Jeff Karstens or Kevin Correia.
- The Twins' asking prices for Morneau ("pricey"), Denard Span ("more pricey"), and Josh Willingham ("it made me laugh") are high. Minnesota insists they will listen on anyone and Stark says Morneau is the bat they're most likely to move. Francisco Liriano is "nearly 100 percent" likely to be traded.
- The Orioles continue to look for pitching, someone they consider a number three starter or better. Garza and Vargas have their eye but Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado are off the table. They've gotten hits on Jake Arrieta but won't move him unless they get a similar young arm with several years of team control remaining in return.
- The Brewers will trade Randy Wolf "for nothing if you take the money," according to one official.
- The Rays have "got a big market" for Wade Davis.
Full Story | 47 Comments | Categories: Baltimore Orioles | Boston Red Sox | Carlos Lee | Chicago Cubs | Chicago White Sox | Cliff Lee | Denard Span | Dylan Bundy | Francisco Liriano | Gaby Sanchez | Giancarlo Stanton | Heath Bell | Hunter Pence | Jake Arrieta | Jason Vargas | Jeff Karstens | Joe Blanton | Josh Johnson | Josh Willingham | Justin Morneau | Kansas City Royals | Kevin Correia | Kevin Millwood | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Los Angeles Dodgers | Manny Machado | Matt Garza | Miami Marlins | Milwaukee Brewers | Minnesota Twins | Philadelphia Phillies | Pittsburgh Pirates | Randy Wolf | Ricky Nolasco | Ryan Dempster | Seattle Mariners | Shane Victorino | Tampa Bay Rays | Texas Rangers | Toronto Blue Jays | Wade Davis
- Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria may soon be faced with the question about selling at the deadline, something he wanted to avoid in the first year of the club's new ballpark. The best thing they could do to improve their farm system likely involves trading guys like Anibal Sanchez, Omar Infante, and the newly acquired Carlos Lee.
- White Sox GM Kenny Williams always thinks big and it would not be surprising to see him get in on pitcher such as Zack Greinke. The problem is that his farm system doesn't have much to offer and they don't want to give up pieces off the big league roster while contending.
- The best guess right now has the Padres keeping Carlos Quentin and trading Chase Headley. Rosenthal says it's simple supply-and-demand; as many as ten teams have shown interest in the third baseman Headley. The team isn't sure they can get more for Quentin in a trade than they would by letting him walk as a free agent and recouping draft picks after the season.
- The Orioles are clearly buyers. They're willing to trade any prospect not named Dylan Bundy or Manny Machado, but they probably don't have enough to get Greinke. They do have interest in lesser arms like Joe Blanton and Jason Vargas, as well as leadoff man Juan Pierre.
- The Brewers could pit the Rangers and Angels against each other in the Greinke sweepstakes. Texas is unwilling to trade Mike Olt, Jurickson Profar, or Martin Perez for a rental, which could create an opening for the Halos if they're willing to deal Major League talent.
- The Phillies do not intend to trade Cliff Lee to create payroll room for Cole Hamels. If they do keep Hamels long-term, they could have $140MM tied up in just eight players going into next season.
Full Story | 89 Comments | Categories: Anibal Sanchez | Baltimore Orioles | Carlos Lee | Carlos Quentin | Chase Headley | Chicago White Sox | Cliff Lee | Cole Hamels | Dylan Bundy | Jason Vargas | Joe Blanton | Juan Pierre | Jurickson Profar | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Manny Machado | Martin Perez | Miami Marlins | Mike Olt | Milwaukee Brewers | Omar Infante | Philadelphia Phillies | San Diego Padres | Seattle Mariners | Texas Rangers | Zack Greinke
It was on this day in 1997 that Roger Clemens struck out 16 Red Sox batters to lead the Blue Jays to a 3-1 win at Fenway Park. It was Clemens' first appearance in Boston since he signed a free agent contract with Toronto the previous winter, and there were some definite hard feelings — Clemens punctuated several of his strikeouts with glances up towards the Fenway luxury boxes and then-Sox GM Dan Duquette.
Here's the latest from around the AL East…
- Speaking of Duquette, the current Orioles executive VP tells Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun that he is looking for a hitter with on-base skills to bat first or second in the Orioles' lineup. Connolly speculates that Shane Victorino could fit that bill though the O's would have to outbid several other teams if the Phillies made Victorino available.
- Duquette didn't completely rule out dealing a major prospect like Manny Machado or Dylan Bundy, but such a deal is very unlikely. "They can be really good major leaguers for a really long time,” Duquette said. “That’s the way I look at it. I don’t know that we want to send them to another ballclub for two months or 10 starts of a pitcher. I don’t think that’s the kind of trade we’d want to make. But we want to advance our team in the pennant race.” (Quotes courtesy of Connolly's Twitter feed).
- Evan Longoria's recovery timeline will "influence" what the Rays will do at the trade deadline, Andrew Friedman told reporters, including Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune (Twitter link). Longoria is expected back in August though the third baseman has already experienced one setback during his recovery from a torn hamstring.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos told reporters (including Sportsnet's Shi Davidi) that with Edwin Encarnacion's extension settled, the team can now focus on acquiring pitching. Anthopoulos also said he "didn't have any intention of trading" Encarnacion, though ESPN's Jayson Stark reported earlier today that the Jays were checking on trade interest in Encarnacion just last week.
- The Yankees have wrapped up negotiations with first-round draft pick Ty Hensley and are waiting to hear if the right-hander will accept their offer before tomorrow's draft signing deadline, reports Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger.
- The Red Sox are almost obligated to be active at the trade deadline, says ESPN's Tim Kurkjian during a radio appearance on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show. (WEEI.com's Morley Quatroche has a partial transcript.) “I think they’re going to have to be buyers because they’re the Red Sox,” Kurkjian said. “And they can’t give up on a season….The Red Sox have to go out and get somebody. They have to go out and get another starting pitcher, whether it’s Ryan Dempster or Zack Greinke. It’s going to take an enormous amount to do it.” Kurkjian also discusses such topics as Carl Crawford's injury, Bobby Valentine's managerial style and the mood in the Sox clubhouse.
- For most Boston-related material, here's a collection of Red Sox notes from earlier today, plus news about trade interest in the team's backup outfielders.
Midway through this year's 162-game schedule, all five American League East teams have winning records. The Yankees have the best winning percentage in baseball and the Orioles, Rays, Red Sox and Blue Jays have all won more games than they've lost. Here are the latest AL East links…
- Executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette estimates that the Orioles have had trade talks with "probably over half the teams," Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com reports. Duquette says he'd like to improve his team's rotation if possible. "We need to find a solution to our starting pitching," he said.
- Top prospects Manny Machado and Dylan Bundy are probably off-bounds in trade talks. “They look to be long-term solutions to help the Orioles," Duquette said.
- Dominican prospect Wendel Rijo agreed to sign with the Red Sox for $625K, Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportesLosAngeles.com reports (on Twitter).
- The Yankees signed fifth round selection Robert Refsnyder for $206K, Jim Callis of Baseball America reports (on Twitter). The right fielder has a good bat and a good arm, Callis adds.
- The Blue Jays announced that they signed 18th rounder Alonzo Gonzalez, 26th rounder Nathan Desouza and 37th rounder Daniel Devonshire.
Arizona general manager Kevin Towers says he’s been impressed by Mike Trout and Bryce Harper from an offensive and defensive standpoint, ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark reports. "They can beat you on the basepaths. They impact the game defensively,” Towers said. “They can beat you with key hits or the long ball. They're both very special." Here are Stark’s latest rumors from around MLB…
- One American League executive says the Cubs are basing their asking price for Matt Garza on last summer’s Ubaldo Jimenez deal. This means it’ll take two controllable, young players with upside to pry the right-hander away from Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein.
- Other teams say the Orioles are involved in the Garza talks. However, Manny Machado and Dylan Bundy aren’t going to be available in summer trade talks with any club.
- The Braves are looking for "an impact starting pitcher" and they’ve scouted trade candidate Jason Vargas extensively
- The Angels are desperate to add a really good bullpen piece and would dangle Peter Bourjos in the right deal, according to rival teams.
- One executive doesn’t expect Luke Gregerson of the Padres to become available, though there would be heavy demand if San Diego were willing to listen.
- Another executive suggests the Red Sox could trade Kelly Shoppach and call Ryan Lavarnway up from the minor leagues.
- The Twins continue to tell teams they expect to hold onto Josh Willingham.
- The Marlins are telling rival teams they haven’t discussed becoming sellers this summer. The Phillies also seem to want to add, not subtract. The Phils are considering a long list of relievers and have asked the Padres about Chase Headley.
- The Diamondbacks have “window-shopped” for bullpen depth, Stark writes. Towers says he prefers his current team, now 38-37, to the one that won the NL West a year ago.
- Stark also reported on the Blue Jays' approach to the trade deadline and you can read the details here.
Full Story | 93 Comments | Categories: Arizona Diamondbacks | Atlanta Braves | Baltimore Orioles | Boston Red Sox | Chase Headley | Chicago Cubs | Dylan Bundy | Jason Vargas | Josh Willingham | Kelly Shoppach | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Luke Gregerson | Manny Machado | Matt Garza | Miami Marlins | Minnesota Twins | Peter Bourjos | Philadelphia Phillies | San Diego Padres | Seattle Mariners
Here are some links from around the league as Wednesday turns into Thursday…
- Scott Boras told reporters (including WEEI.com's Rob Bradford) that a "couple of teams" have inquired about J.D. Drew during the season. "I've got no indication from him a desire to return," said Boras of the outfielder, who has been at home. "But then again I haven't addressed the issue with him, if he's done anything formally."
- Steve Melewski of MASNSports.com reports (on Twitter) that clubs keep asking the Orioles for top prospects Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado in trade talks. Needless to say, those two are as close to untouchable as it gets.
- The Blue Jays promoted Andrew Tinnish to assistant GM, reports Bob Elliott of The Toronto Sun (on Twitter). Tinnish had been the team's amateur scouting director.
Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield and Jorge Posada have been fixtures in the AL East for the past 15 years, but they've all retired this offseason. Here are some links for Friday, starting with even more retirement talk…
- David Ortiz says he wants to keep playing for at least a couple more years, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. "As long as I feel good and I can swing the bat well I want to keep on playing," the 36-year-old said.
- Manager Joe Maddon told Newsday's Ken Davidoff that he believes the Rays can establish the standard for winning with a small payroll. Executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said the club isn't taking success for granted, even after three playoff berths in four seasons. “It's more about pushing forward and being driven by future success," he said.
- Jim Callis of Baseball America told Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com that the muscular frame of Orioles prospect Dylan Bundy isn't cause for concern. Callis said Bundy has a loose and fluid delivery despite his bulk.
- Callis also suggested infield prospects Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop should both play shortstop in 2012 so the Orioles know whether they can handle the position long-term.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos joined Greg Brady & Jim Lang on Sportsnet 590 the FAN and said Kyle Drabek is opening up some eyes and starting to make strides. The 24-year-old right-hander walked 55 in 78 2/3 innings last year.
- Anthopoulos said the trade market is quiet now, though he expects out-of-options players to become available toward the end of the month.
The Orioles have signed third overall pick Dylan Bundy, according to MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli (on Twitter). BBI Sports Group represents the right-hander. Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun hears (on Twitter) that Bundy got a big league deal and Jim Callis of Baseball America hears that it's worth $6.225MM (Twitter link). Ghiroli adds on Twitter that Bundy gets a $4MM bonus. Tim Dierkes explained Major League deals for draft picks earlier today.
In his senior season at Owasso High School, Bundy had an 11-0 record with a 0.20 ERA and 158 strikeouts and five walks in 71 innings. The 18-year-old also hit 11 homers en route to being named the Gatorade National Player of the Year. The Orioles signed his older brother, Bobby Bundy, after selecting him in the eighth round of the 2008 draft.
You can keep track of which top picks have signed with MLBTR's list.