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Here's the latest from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal in this new Hot Corner video…
- Of the NL Central contenders, Rosenthal thinks the Reds will be the most active before the trade deadline. They can deal one of their top prospects (Zack Cozart, Yonder Alonso, Devin Mesoraco) for help, or perhaps promote one or more of those youngsters. The Reds also have Aroldis Chapman and Homer Bailey's returns on the horizon.
- The Cardinals will rely on reinforcements in the form of injured players returning from the DL, and while the Brewers are looking for "a hard-throwing reliever," Rosenthal doesn't think Milwaukee will be able to make any major trades since the farm system is thin after the Zack Greinke deal last winter.
- The bright side of Derek Jeter's injury is that it gives the Yankees a look at Eduardo Nunez, their possible shortstop of the future. Rosenthal also notes that Nunez could be a potential trade chip.
- In regards to the rumored realignment plan, Rosenthal says concerns about interleague games being played throughout the year would be addressed by having the majority of AL vs. NL matchups take place towards the middle of the season, as per tradition. Rosenthal, for his part, is a big supporter of realignment since it will create a more fair playing field in regards to scheduling and the divisional setup.
- In another video clip, Rosenthal argues that the Marlins shouldn't be quick to fire manager Edwin Rodriguez even though the team is struggling. The injuries to Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson have hampered the team, though as Rosenthal notes, even with this excuse for Florida's slump, it's hard to predict Jeffrey Loria's actions.
In his Insider-only ESPN.com blog, Buster Olney writes that the Mets have internally discussed the possibility of simply releasing Luis Castillo. The team has repeatedly tried to free up some money by trading the second baseman, but has yet to find a taker. Olney indicates that it's possible the Mets could drop both Castillo and Oliver Perez before Opening Day. Here are this morning's other New York-related notes:
- The Mets were one of the teams pursuing Randy Choate before the southpaw signed with the Marlins, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff. Davidoff says the Mets made Choate a one-year offer worth about $1.4MM, but the veteran lefty accepted more years and more guaranteed money from Florida. If the Mets still intend to add a Pedro Feliciano replacement, Davidoff continues, it'll probably be someone on a minor-league deal, since the market is thinning.
- Brian Cashman told Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News that he felt the asking price for Matt Garza was too high to seriously pursue a trade with the Rays. "We never got off the dime, but strong impressions were that it would be something that would cost us more because we are in the division, kind of like Roy Halladay," said the Yankees GM.
- Considering Andrew Friedman's comments about using the money saved in the Garza deal to sign other players, Chad Jennings of the Journal News wonders if the Rays' targets could overlap with the Yankees'.
- The Royals have told interested clubs that Joakim Soria will not be traded, a stance which Bill Madden of the New York Daily News finds puzzling. Madden suggests the Yankees were willing to part with Jesus Montero and Eduardo Nunez for Soria.
- In his blog entry linked above, Olney disagrees with Madden's argument that the Royals need to trade Soria. According to Olney, Soria's contract is so team-friendly it makes it nearly impossible for the Royals to get equal value from the Yankees or anyone else at the moment.
Links for Halloween Sunday, as we prepare to take in our last October baseball game of 2010….
- SI.com's Jon Heyman says (via Twitter) the early feeling is that Francisco Rodriguez will be back with the Mets this year. There has been speculation that they would try to trade the closer following his late-season arrest, but that would have proven difficult with his contract.
- John Gibbons has informed the Mets that he's not a candidate for their managerial opening, tweets Bob Klapisch of The Bergen Record. The former Blue Jays' manager is happy with his role as Kansas City's bench coach.
- The Mets are still trying to lure J.P. Ricciardi to their new front office, reports ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin.
- Steve Melewski of MASNSports.com notes that it doesn't appear as if the Orioles have made much of an attempt to keep Koji Uehara. Uehara finished 2010 as the team's closer, but he is scheduled to be a free agent in the not-too-distant future.
- Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun recaps the Orioles' coaching situation, and tells us that if Don Wakamatsu doesn't land a managerial job, he'll likely be Buck Showalter's bench coach. Showalter would like the coaching staff to be finalized by mid-week.
- Dave Eiland, who was fired as the Yankees' pitching coach last week, told Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger that a reported falling out between he and Joe Girardi was "totally, absolutely false," and "ridiculous."
- How potential free agents have been performing, and continue to perform, in the postseason will have an impact on the Giants' offseason decisions, Brian Sabean tells Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. Aubrey Huff, Juan Uribe, and Pat Burrell are a few Giants who are facing possible free agency.
- Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer reminds Phillies fans that if Jayson Werth signs elsewhere, it wouldn't be the first time the club has lost a star outfielder to free agency. As Brookover notes, things turned out pretty well for the Phils in 2007, when Aaron Rowand signed with the Giants after having a career year in Philadelphia.
- In a piece for the Detroit Free Press, Josh Huebner explains why signing Carl Crawford should be the Tigers' number one priority this winter.
- Derek Jeter will likely still be playing shortstop in New York in 2011, but as Bill Madden of the New York Daily News writes, the Yankees view Eduardo Nunez as Jeter's eventual successor.
Cliff Lee and Cody Ross lead Jon Heyman’s list of players who have stepped up this postseason. Lee’s performance will only help his free agent stock and Heyman guesses the bidding for the left-hander will start at $120MM and go up from there. Here are the rest of Heyman’s rumors, which you can find in full at SI.com:
- The Yankees plan to bring Joe Girardi back and give him a raise. Team executives like Girardi, whose contract expires after the season.
- The Braves have expressed interest in Eduardo Nunez, a shortstop prospect in the Yankees system.
- Sandy Alderson, a candidate for the Mets GM job, is team owner Fred Wilpon's first choice. Heyman and Joel Sherman reported earlier in the week that Alderson is the favorite for the position.
- The Rangers like Adrian Beltre, but don’t have room for him since they have Michael Young at third base.
The Yankees have some interest in Ty Wigginton, according to Ed Price of AOL FanHouse. Price suggests the Yankees would be interested in the 32-year-old as a part-time player, rather than as an everyday starter.
In 299 plate appearances for the Orioles this season, Wigginton has hit .258/.342/.465, and his versatility has provided the O's even more value. In addition to logging significant time at first and second base, he has started a handful of games at third base. Though Wigginton hasn't spent any time in the outfield this season, he has shown in the past that he can play there if needed, recording 30 games in left field for the Astros in 2008.
For their part, the Orioles are reportedly looking for a young shortstop in exchange for Wigginton. If they were to discuss a trade with the Yankees, the first name the O's would bring up might be Eduardo Nunez, who Baseball America ranked 14th among Yankees prospects heading into 2010. The 23-year-old shortstop is in the midst of a breakout year (.313/.358/.416) for the Yanks' Triple-A affiliate, making it somewhat unlikely that New York would move him to rent Wigginton. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports doesn't think any team will part with a promising young shortstop for Wigginton, calling Baltimore's demand a "self-defeating stance."
Wigginton is earning $3.5MM in 2010, the final season of a two-year pact with the O's. According to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun, Wigginton recently left agent Dan Lozano and hired the Levinson Brothers, presumably in anticipation of his upcoming free agency.
2:58pm: An official tells Marc Carig of the Star Ledger that the Yankees have yet to discuss trading for players at the deadline, including Lee.
THURSDAY, 2:07pm: ESPN.com's Buster Olney hears (via Twitter) that the Mariners and Yankees have had "zero" discussions about Lee. That doesn't mean that they won't discuss the lefty in the future, but we now know that talks have not begun. Olney reminds us (via Twitter) that the Yankees have passed on the chance to trade for top pitchers before.
WEDNESDAY, 5:49pm: A rival executive tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that, despite the Yankees' effective rotation, he expects the team to be "undeterred in their pursuit of Lee on the trade market." According to Rosenthal's sources, the Phillies discussed Lee with the Yankees last winter prior to trading the left-hander to the Mariners. The Yankees had been willing to include Montero in a package for Lee, but that was before both the Vazquez trade and the emergence of Hughes.
3:56pm: A Yankees official told Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News that the team has no urgency to do anything with their rotation, which isn't necessarily at odds with King's report below. In other words, the Mariners might like the Yankees to get involved on Lee, but so far they're not.
More interesting is the team official's suggestion that only three players have been made available across baseball so far, and Lee is not among them.
8:03am: The Mariners are preparing for the Yankees to pursue ace lefty Cliff Lee, reports George A. King III of the New York Post. King says the Mariners have already scouted the Yankees' Low A and Double A clubs and aim to watch their Triple A squad soon. King spoke to a "person familiar with Seattle's thought process" who believes Jack Zduriencik will seek Triple A shortstop Eduardo Nunez as well as one of the Yankees' minor league catchers. King suggests that the Yankees would need assurances that they could sign Lee to an extension if they're required to surrender Austin Romine or Jesus Montero.
King believes renting Lee would hold appeal to the Yankees despite their strong rotation. The Yanks' boast a front five of C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes, and Javier Vazquez, and it's not clear who they'd bump for Lee. The most likely candidate, Vazquez, has a 2.73 ERA in 33 innings since returning from a break on May 12th. Trading Vazquez to clear a spot for Lee seems convoluted to me.
With Nick Johnson potentially out for the season, an offensive addition would be more fitting. To that end, King says the Yankees have scouts following the Astros in case Lance Berkman becomes available. Berkman is still owed $11.2MM heading into today's action, however.