John Grabow Rumors

Stark On Deadline Deals's Jayson Stark says this year's deadline will be different than others, since more players will clear waivers, allowing teams to deal until the end of August. Matt Holliday, Jarrod Washburn and Jack Wilson are all "likely to zip through waivers" next month. Here are the rest of Stark's rumors:

  • The Phillies are as motivated as ever to acquire Roy Halladay. Their goal is to win the World Series, not make the playoffs.
  • The Phils don't want to trade Kyle Drabek or J.A. Happ, but one GM believes they should include Drabek if one of the two has to go.
  • The Phillies may have to decide which outfielder to include in a deal: Michael Taylor or Dominic Brown. One scout says there's "nothing not to like" about Taylor.  
  • Acquiring Cliff Lee would take a "four-for-one, Halladay-esque Package."
  • The Dodgers, Angels, Phillies, Rays and Brewers are scouting Lee. 
  • Both the Blue Jays and Indians want top young arms for their aces, but the Indians aren't demanding big-league ready prospects, as long as they get a high-upside group.
  • Expect Lee to be traded close to the deadline, if he's moved at all, because the Halladay saga will need resolution first.
  • The Orioles have two prices for George Sherrill. Teams willing to take on his salary have to give up a premium prospect and another prospect, but if the O's have to pay Sherrill, they want a premium prospect and two other players.
  • Danys Baez's value has plummeted recently.
  • The Braves, unsure of how much Tim Hudson can contribute, are leaning heavily towards keeping Javier Vazquez.
  • Adding a reliever is now the Dodgers' top priority.    
  • The Phillies have some interest in Ryan Spilborghs, Scott Hairston and Ryan Raburn.
  • The Reds would like to deal some of their expensive pitchers.
  • July 31st is also the deadline for Japanese teams to acquire foreign players for the rest of their season, so if Scott Boras is going to send Stephen Strasburg overseas, this will have to be the week.
  • The Cubs are looking at left-handed relievers, including Sherrill, John Grabow and Joe Beimel. 

Edes On Lee, Feliciano, Pirates

Yahoo's Gordon Edes says the Phillies and Dodgers are interested in Cliff Lee, but the Indians aren't anxious to move him. Not only would it mean trading Cy Young Award winners in back-to-back years, it would diminish the team's chances at contending next season. Here are the rest of Edes' rumors:

  • The Dodgers would have interest in Pedro Feliciano if the Mets become sellers.
  • The Brewers scouted Brad Penny over the weekend, but a trade seems unlikely now that Tim Wakefield's on the DL.  
  • At least one NL executive believes the Pirates are ready to move almost anyone. Zach Duke, Paul Maholm, Matt Capps, John Grabow, Freddy Sanchez, Adam LaRoche and Jack Wilson could all be targets.
  • It looks like the Reds would listen to offers for Francisco Cordero. However, he has no-trade protection and an big contract. 
  • The Red Sox had a scout watch Nick Johnson this weekend.

Pirates Talk Extensions With Sanchez & Wilson

It looked like the Pirates might trade Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson away this month, but Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the team wants to keep its double play combination together for years. The Pirates approached Sanchez and Wilson, who are close friends, about extending their current deals.

It appears unlikely that one of the two would sign an extension without the other. The timeline for the deals is short, since the Pirates will need time to shop the pair if they don't extend them.

Both players sound excited about deals that would keep them in Pittsburgh for years. Wilson's current contract guarantees him $7.4MM this season, and the Pirates have the option of paying him more next year or buying him out for $600k. Wilson, 31, said he's open to taking a paycut.

Sanchez will likely see his $8MM option vest next year, but he's open to restructuring it.

GM Neal Huntington says he's not looking to trade all his players, but is "more open" to dealing impending free agents. He doesn't mention John Grabow and Adam LaRoche by name, but both are set to become free agents after the season. The Pirates are discussing Ian Snell with other teams.

Trade Candidates: Relievers

Just about every team could improve its bullpen and some clubs, like the Marlins and Rockies, are working aggressively to add relievers. Here are some of the names to consider, ordered from highest 2009 salary to lowest.

  • Kerry Wood – He's been a disappointment in Cleveland, and the Indians owe him about $15MM before the end of next year, and possibly more in 2011.
  • Rafael Soriano – Could the Braves get creative and deal Soriano ($6.1MM) or Mike Gonzalez ( $3.5MM), who will also become a free agent this winter.
  • Danys Baez – At $5.5MM, he's an expensive option, but he could help a contender.
  • LaTroy Hawkins – He's been effective in 38 appearances for the Astros, who are still in contention and may hold onto Hawkins ($3.5MM) and fellow reliever Jose Valverde ($8MM).
  • Rafael Betancourt – He's still nowhere near as effective as he was in 2007, but Betancourt's pitched well enough this year; he'll make $3.35MM this season.  
  • Russ Springer – He's been hittable, but he can still strike major leaguers out. He makes $3.3MM this year.
  • George Sherrill – Affordable and effective, Sherrill ($2.75MM) is under team control through 2011.  
  • Chad Qualls – The D'Backs already traded Tony Pena, so they may be reluctant to part with Qualls, who makes $2.5MM this season.
  • John Grabow – Makes $2.3MM this year, before hitting free agency this winter. He's pitching well, but his control's been off this season.  
  • Matt Capps – Like Grabow, he makes $2.3MM this year, but Capps will likely hit free agency after 2012.
  • Juan Cruz – Still tough to hit, but not as effective as last year, Cruz makes $2.25MM this year and more in 2010.  
  • Joe Beimel – The 32-year-old lefty makes $2MM this year. He's pitched well, but not quite as well as his 3.57 ERA suggests.
  • Takashi Saito – A relative bargain at $1.5MM plus incentives, especially when you consider the affordable team option for next year.
  • Heath Bell – At an affordable $1.3MM, the All-Star closer would be appealing to many clubs, especially since he's under team control through 2011.
  • Cla Meredith – By far the cheapest option on this list at just $431k, he's had three respectable seasons in a row since his breakout 2006 campaign.  

The Twins, Angels, Rangers, Phillies, Rockies and Dodgers are among the teams that could make deals to improve their respective ‘pens.

Giants, Pirates Discussed Sanchez, LaRoche

From Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

The Pirates and San Francisco have had trade talks regarding second baseman Freddy Sanchez and, to a lesser extent, first baseman Adam LaRoche, each of whom can be a free agent after this season.  The Giants have had a scout following Sanchez, a source confirmed yesterday, and their interest in LaRoche goes back several months. Their preference at first base, though, is for a right-handed bat.

Sanchez sports a .316/.355/.477 line, a huge improvement on the .224/.280/.276 aggregate performance from Giants second basemen (primarily the demoted Emmanuel Burriss, though Juan Uribe has snagged recent starts).  The Giants have a 1.5 game lead for the Wild Card, but their .705 team OPS ranks second-to-last in the NL.  Sanchez's contractual situation will be a factor in the trade talks; an $8.5MM option for 2010 appears likely to vest.  Charlie Manuel's All-Star selections will affect Sanchez's contract – if Sanchez makes the team the option vests with 600 plate appearances rather than 635.  It figures to be between Sanchez and Zach Duke for the Bucs' representative.

Kovacevic adds that the Pirates have discussed Jack Wilson, John Grabow, and Matt Capps with teams, noting that those talks "vary in their intensity."  In another article, Kovacevic digs deeper into the Grabow/Wilson/Sanchez situations.  He believes the Pirates will seek shortstops and left-handed relievers in trades.  I'm guessing the Pirates would find Jonathan Sanchez desirable (he's currently serving as the second lefty in the Giants' pen).

Odds & Ends: Grabow, Yankees, Orioles

One more roundup of links for the night…

  • George. A. King III of The New York Post mentions that the Pirates had two scouts watch the Yankees earlier this week, possibly in advance of a deal involving lefty reliever John Grabow.
  • He mentions that the Dodgers and Rockies had scouts on hand as well. The Yanks have already expressed interest in Huston Street earlier this season.
  • King also says that the Yanks refuse to talk about prospects Austin Jackson and Austin Romine in trade talks according to other organizations.
  • Peter Schmuck of The Baltimore Sun recaps the first half of the Orioles' season and says they're building towards something, he's just not quite sure what. He does however praise the performance of young players like Nolan Reimold.
  • On the day of his tragic and untimely death, let's not forget that Steve McNair was quite the baseball player as well, getting selected by the Mariners in the 35th round of the 1991 Draft. (hat tip: Jesse Spector of The NY Daily News)

Twins Interested In Pirates Players

11:52am: Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Pirates and Twins are not discussing Sanchez.

9:11am: Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Twins are interested in a trio of Pirates: Freddy Sanchez, Matt Capps and John Grabow. Twins GM Bill Smith did not discuss specifics, but he confirmed that he's open to making deals.

"We still need to make this club better, whether that comes from the minor leagues or outside the organization," Smith said. "We're still looking to do that."

As Morosi says, the Pirates have already been aggressive sellers, dealing Nate McLouth and Eric Hinske. And the sale isn't about to end according to one of Morosi's sources who says the Pirates "are talking to everyone."

The Twins, who have been reluctant to take on salary, would have to get creative or change their stance to add Sanchez, who makes $6.1MM this year and will likely make $8MM in 2010. Grabow, a free agent after the season, would likely be easier to acquire than Capps, who's under team control through 2012.

Pirates Open To More Deals?

Ed Price at reports that the Pirates might be open to dealing more of their players. He cites "an official of an AL team" as saying that the Bucs have been "considering deals for [John] Grabow and closer Matt Capps."

Price writes that the Pirates are not simply attempting to dump salary; they will want power pitching prospects in return. He cites a "person familiar with the Pirates' thinking" who says that other teams would have to give up more for Capps, whose contract runs through 2011.

Grabow is a left-handed reliever who had his best season last year. He is currently sporting a 3.75 ERA with 32 K's in 36 innings. Capps, the Pirates' closer, is only 25 years old and has a 3.25 career ERA, though he has pitched to a less-impressive 4.72 ERA this year with 18 saves.

For those interested in the Pirates' overall strategy, this transcript of a chat with president Frank Coonelly is worth a read. There seems to be some unrest brewing among Pirates fans who, in the words of Coonelly, are asking, "When is now?"

Pirates Rumors: Snell, LaRoche, Grabow

John Perrotto of provides more detail on the Ian Snell rumors and adds a couple new ones in his latest article:

  • The Rockies could have interest in Snell and the Pirates would be looking to get a "decent prospect" in return, despite Snell's tendency to blame others and his poor start to the season.
  • Colorado "figures to make a play for him."  
  • The Giants have interest in Adam LaRoche
  • The Angels are interested in John Grabow, now that they can't count on Scot Shields or Jose Arredondo.

Odds And Ends: Oswalt, Pirates, Glavine

More links for Thursday afternoon as we wait for Randy Johnson to take his first crack at the 300-win plateau …