- A Dodgers-Victorino trade is looking very likely, tweets Heyman. ESPN's Jayson Stark tweets that the Dodgers are close to acquiring Victorino for Lindblom and a second player. Another sign a deal is imminent: outfielder Domonic Brown was scratched from today's Triple-A game and will be joining the Phillies in Washington, D.C., tweets Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
- The Dodgers are in serious talks for Victorino, reports Heyman. The Phillies have been asking for relievers.
- The Reds and Phillies have ceased talks on Victorino and Juan Pierre, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, putting the Dodgers in a good position for Victorino.
- Potential Phillies target Josh Lindblom became more expendable for the Dodgers after the team acquired Brandon League from the Mariners, wrote Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports early this morning. Lindblom, 25, has a 3.02 ERA, 8.1 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 1.70 HR/9, and 38% groundball rate in 47 2/3 relief innings this year, so he's had some issues with the longball.
Earlier today, Yahoo's Jeff Passan wrote that the Phillies haven't shopped center fielder Shane Victorino nearly as aggressively as right fielder Hunter Pence, even though Victorino will be eligible for free agency after the season and Pence is under team control for 2013. The latest on the Phillies' outfielders:
- The Dodgers and Reds seem to be the last two Victorino suitors remaining, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick tweets.
- The Giants are discussing Pence, but not Victorino, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).
- The Reds still want a leadoff hitter and Victorino has been their top target, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports. The Reds don't like the Phillies' asking price for Victorino, and their interest in Pierre seems to have been exaggerated, Knobler writes.
- The Dodgers are more likely to acquire Victorino, but they're also in on Pence, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
- The Reds appear to be zeroing in on Pierre, writes ESPN's Jayson Stark. He says the Dodgers look like the frontrunner on Victorino, while teams that have checked in on Pence believe the Phillies will wait until the offseason.
- The Phillies' asking price on Victorino is outrageous, an executive of one team tells Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
- The Orioles have interest in Victorino, Pence, and Juan Pierre, tweets Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, who notes Pierre is the best fit cost-wise. The Reds have quietly evaluated Pierre as a possible target since June, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney, and USA Today's Bob Nightengale says the Reds' coaching staff loves him.
- The Pirates did not seem alive on Victorino as of late last night, tweeted Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Giants, Reds, and Dodgers have been named as other potential suitors for the 31-year-old. Victorino is hitting .261/.324/.401 in 431 plate appearances this year.
- The Phillies have pushed Pence but want a big return, tweets Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. Salisbury says most interest is on Victorino and starter Joe Blanton.
The Phillies entered this weekend needing to perform well in a critical series against the division rival Braves. Instead, they were swept and now appear to be in the position to sell off several pieces. ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Phillies could be baseball's "most active sellers" in the next two days, and that they've laid the groundwork for several trades. Olney's colleague Jayson Stark hears from several teams that the Phillies could make 2-3 trades prior to Tuesday's deadline, though they've yet to officially declare themselves sellers (Twitter link).
CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury agrees that selling is likely, and runs down several of the possibilities for the Phillies in the coming days. Salisbury writes that Shane Victorino is the "most likely" Phillie to be dealt, and lists the Giants, Pirates, Reds and Dodgers as possible destinations for Victorino. Interest in Victorino was said to be "heating up" as recently as yesterday.
The Reds have also inquired on Juan Pierre, and both the Orioles and Cardinals are potential destinations for Joe Blanton according to Salisbury. He also says that Hunter Pence could be moved if GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is blown away by an offer, and speculates that Ty Wigginton would fit on several teams looking for bench help.
Salisbury reiterates that the Phillies are likely to keep Cliff Lee for the time being, although he could be shopped this offseason in an attempt to fill multiple holes.
Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison could miss the rest of the season, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports (on Twitter). Miami placed Morrison on the 15-day disabled list with right knee inflammation earlier today. Here are some more NL East links…
- The Phillies may start a partial sale after two consecutive losses to the Braves, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Shane Victorino, Juan Pierre and Joe Blanton could be moved.
- There's interest in Scott Hairston, but the Mets may value him more than his potential suitors do, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes (on Twitter). The Mets see the value of finishing strong and Hairston could help them over the course of the season's final two months.
- Teams are expressing zero interest in left-hander Tim Byrdak, a Mets person tells Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (Twitter link). The 38-year-old has a 4.76 ERA with 9.8 K/9 and 5.7 BB/9 in an NL-leading 53 appearances this year.
- The Mets haven't been impressed by offers for Daniel Murphy, Martino reports (on Twitter). "We're not trading Murphy for a reliever," a Mets person told Martino.
The results of Josh Johnson’s start against the Padres and Roy Halladay’s start against the Braves could have major consequences for the trade market, ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark writes. More than a dozen scouts are on hand to watch Johnson pitch in Miami today, while Halladay is attempting to prevent the Braves from sweeping the Phillies out of town and, possibly, out of the playoff mix. Here are the details from Stark:
- MLB executives are wary of Johnson’s past shoulder troubles, his career-high ERA and his diminishing fastball velocity, but no other available starter has his kind of stuff. The Marlins continue to look for a “dream package” for Johnson and they’re prepared to keep him if no club meets their asking price, Stark reports.
- The Rangers seem especially cautious about Johnson, but they have people watching his start today. The Marlins told the Rangers they aren’t interested in discussing a trade unless Mike Olt is involved, yet the Rangers haven’t been willing to make Olt available.
- As of last night, the Phillies were telling clubs they haven’t decided how they’ll approach the deadline. They’ve likely done enough talking to trade Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton, Juan Pierre and Ty Wigginton in short order if necessary, Stark writes.
- The Phillies continue dangling Hunter Pence, but seem intent on waiting until the offseason to start serious trade discussions.
- Philadelphia could keep its trade chips for now and make moves in August, when players have to be placed on waivers to be dealt.
In today's Insider-only blog post, ESPN's Buster Olney says the Rays have a tough decision to make about trading James Shields. Clubs interested in acquiring him have to figure out how to value him – as an ace who finished third in the Cy Young voting last year, or as an innings-eater with a 4.52 ERA like this year. Similar questions are being asked about Josh Johnson of the Marlins. Here are the rest of Olney's rumors…
- Rival executives don't believe the Angels gave up any blue-chippers for Zack Greinke and that they have a good chance to retain him beyond this season.
- Olney believes the Reds and Phillies could match up well in a trade. Cincinnati is seeking a leadoff-type hitter type and Philadelphia has Shane Victorino or Juan Pierre to offer.
- The Orioles and Phillies are two teams to watch in the race for Chase Headley. Both clubs are seeking long-term third base solutions.
- Other clubs have called the Diamondbacks about Stephen Drew, but those teams now sense that Arizona will keep its shortstop according to Olney (on Twitter).
It was on this day in 1961 that commissioner Ford Frick suggested that "a distinctive mark" would be placed on a new home run record if a player eclipsed Babe Ruth's then-record of 60 homers in more than 154 games (the length of Ruth's season in 1927). Though no such notation ever used in any sort of official record, it was still popularly believed that Frick and Major League Baseball had asterisked Roger Maris' 61-homer season.
Here's the latest from Yankee Stadium…
- The Yankees don't have interest in Juan Pierre or Rick Ankiel, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter links). The Bombers' search for outfield help will intensify with the news that Brett Gardner will undergo arthroscopic elbow surgery, though Gardner's agent Joe Bick says Gardner still hopes to return this season, reports Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger.
- Wandy Rodriguez is "not even on [the Yankees'] radar," a source tells Marc Carig (Twitter link). The Yankees reportedly had scouts on hand to watch Rodriguez pitch on Wednesday.
- The Yankees have released right-hander Nelson Figueroa, according to Donnie Collins of the Scranton Times-Tribune (passed on by Mike Axisa of the River Ave Blues blog). Figueroa, 38, signed a minor league deal with New York in April and had a 3.96 ERA in 17 Triple-A games, nine of them starts.
- Darnell McDonald has cleared waivers and been assigned to Triple-A, reports Collins. The Yankees designated McDonald for assignment on Tuesday to create roster space for C.C. Sabathia's return from the disabled list.
- 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.
The Reds are among the teams showing interest in Juan Pierre, reports ESPN's Buster Olney (on Twitter). The Phillies have not yet indicated a willingness to sell, but that won't stop clubs from calling.
Pierre, 34, is hitting a solid .317/.355/.387 with 20 steals in 23 chances while taking over Philadelphia's left field job on an everyday basis. Cincinnati is said to be seeking a leadoff hitter type, and Pierre certainly fits the bill.
We already looked at some Phillies items in today's edition of NL East Notes, but here are a few more news bits from the five-time defending NL East champions…
- The Phillies are having a hard time finding infield depth since their payroll is "close to tapped out," tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, but the club is still looking.
- Cole Hamels told reporters (including Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer) that nothing will change in his extension talks with the Phillies once the season begins, though Hamels did say, "My only understanding is if you sign anybody before opening day, you have to deal with the luxury tax…I understand that's where the Phillies are." This is actually no longer the case under the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement but Gelb thinks Hamels bringing up this "unprompted detail" is an "interesting" hint. Hamels' agent, John Boggs, also represents Adrian Gonzalez, whose extension with the Red Sox was announced last April but allegedly finalized months earlier so Boston could avoid paying an extra luxury tax penalty.
- The Phillies announced the purchase of Juan Pierre's contract, so the veteran outfielder will now earn a guaranteed $800K salary in 2012, plus potentially more with incentives. Pierre will serve as a backup outfielder and pinch-runner, though he could see some starting time given the Phillies' unsettled left field situation.
- With Pierre filling that extra outfield role, Scott Podsednik told Matt Gelb that his chances of making the club are "not looking too good." When asked if he would accept an assignment to the minors, Podsednik said it "depends on the situation." As Gelb notes, Podsednik's minor league contract with the Phillies didn't have an opt-out clause, so Podsednik essentially would have to either accept the assignment or retire. GM Ruben Amaro Jr., however, said Pierre's roster spot didn't necessarily mean Podsednik also wouldn't make the team.