Jorge Cantu Rumors

Rangers Pursuing Cantu, Eyeing Derrek Lee

5:06pm: The Marlins are not close to sending Cantu to the Rangers, according to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald (Twitter link). The Rockies have stepped up their bid for Cantu and the Giants are still involved.

4:21pm: The Rangers are interested in Cantu, but are "evaluating a number of bats," a source tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link).

3:55pm: The Rangers are "closing in" on a deal for Cantu, a source tells Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com.

3:30pm: The Rangers have asked about Cantu more than other clubs have, but they don't necessarily have an edge over the Giants or Rockies, according to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post (via Twitter).

7:44am: The Rangers are known to be seeking a right-handed hitting first baseman, perhaps a platoon partner for Chris DavisUSA Today's Bob Nightengale tweets that they are "in deep conversations" with the Marlins for Jorge Cantu, and "taking a close look" at the Cubs' Derrek Lee.  They'd also like to add another starting pitcher and a lefty reliever.

Lee is the new name in the mix for the Rangers, though he and Cantu are used to being regulars.  Neither player has hit like a regular first baseman this year – Cantu is at .260/.309/.412, and Lee stands at .251/.338/.391.  Their contracts are significant – Cantu has $2.28MM remaining and Lee has $4.95MM.  The Rangers have also been linked to players such as Ty Wigginton, Mike Lowell, and Wes Helms.

Nightengale's contention that the Rangers would like to add another starter is surprising.  Four days ago, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports suggested on Twitter that a pitching surplus could make Rich Harden or Scott Feldman trade bait.


Marlins Confused About Deadline Direction

The Marlins are confused about their next step, according to one source of Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  The team's strong play of late puts them in a gray area – 6.5 games back in the wild card, but trailing six teams.  The Mets, Red Sox, Athletics, and Angels are in similar spots.  With the Dan Haren acquisition, the Angels wisely made a move that can help them now and in the future.

Rosenthal notes that the Marlins could trade Jorge Cantu without hurting their chances in 2010, if Logan Morrison's Triple A success carries over.  ESPN's Jayson Stark tweets that the Marlins aren't in sell mode, but they're still shopping Cantu to the Rangers, Rockies, and Giants.  Stark's colleague Gordon Edes talked to one big league source who believes a Cantu deal will get done with the Rangers, assuming the commissioner's office signs off on the financials. 

On the other hand, now might be the best time to cash in on Cody Ross if the Marlins wave the white flag.  The Fish could opt to trade Ross in the offseason before the December non-tender deadline, as they did with Jeremy Hermida last year.


Rangers After Cantu, Wigginton

SUNDAY, 9:04pm: The Rangers are in "ongoing conversations" with the Marlins regarding Cantu, tweets Rosenthal.  He adds that the Marlins are also talking to the Rockies and Giants about the infielder, while Texas remains interested in Wigginton.

2:56pm: Ken Rosenthal tweets that the Rangers are also very interested in Ty Wigginton. Texas sent three scouts to watch Wigginton on Friday night when the Orioles faced off against the Twins.

Like Cantu, Wigginton is a free agent after the season. He's earning $3.5MM in 2010, and has $1.35MM of that left coming to him. Wigginton's lower price tag, versatility, and superior production may make him a more attractive option than Cantu. His OPS checks in at .771 compared to Cantu's .721.

SATURDAY: The Rangers are making a strong push for Marlins infielder Jorge Cantu as the deadline approaches, writes T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com.  Texas is in search of a right-handed hitting backup first baseman and the 28-year-old is high on the team's list.

Cantu is set to earn $2MM over the final two months of the season, a price the Rangers can't afford.  However, the judge presiding over the club's bankruptcy case told the Rangers earlier this week that he has the power to have MLB extend their line of credit, which would make it possible for them to add payroll.

In recent weeks other teams have been said to have interest in Cantu, including the Giants, Rockies, and Angels.



Marlins Unlikely To Move Uggla, Ross

Although they've been the subject of frequent trade rumors this year, Dan Uggla and Cody Ross may remain in Florida past July 31st, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal says while the Marlins have not ruled out trading Uggla and Ross, it looks unlikely that the pair will be dealt.

According to Rosenthal, Leo Nunez and Ricky Nolasco appear unavailable, though Jorge Cantu could be on the move this week. In another tweet, Rosenthal confirms the Rangers are making an aggressive play for Cantu, but notes that the Marlins are unconvinced Logan Morrison could adequately replace Cantu's production.

Uggla and Ross will each enter their final year of arbitration in 2011, while Cantu becomes a free agent after this season. Nolasco and Nunez each have two more arbitration seasons, and are under team control through 2012.


Odds & Ends: Hart, Angels, Blue Jays, Mariners

Some links for Saturday as Roy Oswalt prepares to make what might be the final start of his Astros' career…


Giants Interested In Bautista, Hart, DeJesus

The Giants are interested in MLB home run leader Jose Bautista, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (via Twitter). ESPN.com's Buster Olney reported today that the Blue Jays are asking for elite young players in exchange for Bautista, but the Giants must be getting used to such demands, since they're eyeing other top hitters.

The Giants remain interested in Corey Hart and David DeJesus, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Adam Dunn and Jorge Cantu are also on the team's radar.

Cantu has drawn interest from the Rangers and Angels; the Nationals are reluctant to trade Dunn; the Brewers want Jonathan Sanchez or Madison Bumgarner for Hart; and the Royals have a steep asking price for DeJesus but teams are still interested. None of those bats will come cheap and the Giants know that better than anyone. They're presumably willing to give up talent to improve an offensive attack that ranks ninth in the NL.

The Braves, Padres, White Sox, Rays and Rangers are among the teams that could also be bidding for hitters, so the price could remain high until the July 31st deadline.


Angels Discussed Cantu, LaRoche

Jorge Cantu and Adam LaRoche are among the names the Angels have discussed, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  Those veteran rentals could help the Halos at first base, but changing leagues is said to be a big factor for the Angels.  Alberto Callaspo wouldn't be making the change; Rosenthal says the Royals infielder is on the Angels' short list.  Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles first reported that target yesterday afternoon.

Regarding the first base situation, the Angels are said to prefer a rental player since Kendry Morales will be back next year.  Aside from Cantu and LaRoche, the market features Lance Berkman, Derrek Lee, Xavier NadyLyle Overbay, and others.  Despite the name value, keep in mind that many of these first basemen are having lackluster seasons. 


Red Sox Inquired On Leo Nunez, Cody Ross

The Red Sox inquired about Marlins players Leo Nunez and Cody Ross, reports Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.  Spencer adds that the Rangers asked about Jorge Cantu.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported Saturday that the Yankees are talking to the Marlins as well.  Rosenthal speculated that Nunez and Ross would make sense for the Yanks.  Brian Cashman's actual level of interest in the pair is unknown, but perhaps the AL East foes are targeting the same players.  Nunez is in the midst of his best season, with a 2.87 ERA, 9.3 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, and 50.5% groundball rate.  About $837K remains on his contract, and he's under team control through 2012 as an arbitration-eligible player.

Ross' power has taken a dip, as his line stands at .279/.331/.409.  ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted that the Marlins' asking price is "very, very high, despite the fact that some teams view him as a non-tender candidate."  Ross is earning $4.45MM this year after beating the Marlins in arbitration in February.  He's under team control for next year, but as Olney suggests, the Marlins might be unwilling to give him that final arbitration raise.  The Braves are known to have interest in Ross, while Tom Krasovic of AOL FanHouse reports today that the Padres are not a fit.

Cantu would be a two-month rental, as he's a free agent after the season.  Surely the Marlins would like to clear some of his remaining $2.5MM.  Despite a .258/.309/.416 line, Cantu has 52 RBIs.  Aside from the Rangers, the Rockies are known to have an eye on him.  Both teams might prefer a cheaper player like Ty Wigginton, however.


Rockies Looking To Add Before Deadline

The Rockies are seeking to upgrade their bullpen, starting rotation, and corner infield situation, sources tell Troy E. Renck of The Denver Post.

Colorado seems to be fond of Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla, but as we learned earlier today, the Marlins don't seem inclined to deal the two-time All-Star.  Further putting the kibosh on the possibility of him ending up in Colorado, Tracy Ringolsby of Inside The Rockies says (via Twitter) that the club hasn't been in pursuit of Uggla since last winter.

The club likes Uggla's teammate, Jorge Cantu, and they're keeping an eye on Baltimore's Ty Wigginton.  The Rockies could make a move for a rental prior to the trade deadline and make a bigger splash heading into the August 31st waiver deadline.

Meanwhile, the Rockies are looking for relief help.  The club has interest in Toronto's Kevin Gregg and Pittsburgh's Octavio Dotel.  However, it will be difficult for Colorado to land either player.  Gregg's friendly contract option this offseason gives his club the option of picking him up for $4.5MM in 2011 or keeping him through 2012 for $8.75MM.  Renck feels that Dotel could be hard to pry away from the Pirates as he is their only closer, but keep in mind that Evan Meek has been one of the game's best relievers (1.05 ERA, 8.5 K/9, 2.5 BB/9) in a set-up capacity and could probably fill the role despite his lack of experience.  Still, Renck feels Colorado will look for a rebound candidate instead.

The Rockies would like to upgrade their rotation, but they're not going to overspend for a "fourth-starter type".  Houston ace Roy Oswalt won't waive his no trade clause to come to Colorado, but Arizona's Dan Haren could be a possibility.  However, Haren's price could be too high for the club.


Odds & Ends: Marlins, Wigginton, Rockies, Wood

It was on this day in 1905 that Shirley Povich, one of the great sportswriters of all time, was born in Bar Harbor, Maine.  Povich, who passed away in 1998, would've been 105 today and no doubt still would've been keeping an eye on Stephen Strasburg for the Washington Post.

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