Mark Loretta Rumors


Rosenthal's Latest: DeWitt, Murton, Vargas, Hatteberg, Pena, Baek, Piazza

Ken Rosenthal has his latest column up at FoxSports.com. As usual he is not shy about stirring up rumors. Let's take a look at what the rumor-guru has to say:

  • Rosenthal notes that the Dodgers will go with Blake DeWitt at third base who has never played a game above AA. This comes after the Dodgers failed to acquire either the Astros' Mark Loretta, who was unavailable and the Royals' Esteban German, who was too expensive. The Royals were asking for the Dodgers' third best prospect, shortstop Chin-Lung Hu.
  • He indicates that the Padres and the Rays are pursuing Matt Murton but the Cubs are holding out for a top pitching prospect in return, knowing Murton will be a starter on another club. Rosenthal quotes one GM as saying that the price "is way too high as of now". As many as five teams have shown interest in Murton.
  • The Mets are among a dozen teams that have inquired about Brewers pitcher Claudio Vargas, who will not be in the rotation to begin the season. [Update: Sorry about this one. I had forgotten that the Brewers released Vargas earlier this week]
  • The Reds have put Ryan Freel on the market, but more teams appear to be interested in Scott Hatteberg. However, Rosenthal indicates that it is unlikely for the Red to trade Hatteberg even if Joey Votto is named the starter.
  • The Tigers, Reds and Orioles all tried to acquire backup catcher Brayan Pena from the Braves, but the Braves do not appear interested in letting him go
  • Rosenthal says that Pat Gillick's history in Seattle may have played a part in the Phillies inability to land M's reliever Cha Seung Baek, who is out of options but made the roster as a reliever.
  • Finally, Rosenthal notes that Mike Piazza is still working out with hopes of landing a gig at some point in '08. Rosenthal thinks that Piazza may have to come to the realization soon that his career may be over.

Cork Gaines writes for Rays Index and can be reached here.



Dodgers Scrambling for Infield Help

With veteran infielders Nomar Garciaparra and Jeff Kent both likely to miss opening day, the Dodgers are scrambling to find themselves some backups. Ken Rosenthal says that since the Astros are unlikely to trade Mark Loretta while Kaz Matsui is out,  L.A. is considering Ron Belliard of the Nationals and Esteban German of the Royals. Another possibility, Morgan Ensberg, seems unlikely, as the Yankees added him to their 40-man roster yesterday. Joe Crede of the White Sox and Brandon Inge of the Tigers are both probably too expensive.

This could impact roster decisions Los Angeles will make on Monday, when they decide whether they can afford to carry twelve pitchers with so much uncertainty around their infield.

Ned Colletti, meanwhile, says he expects Monday to mark an uptick in trade chatter---but also that he's content, for now, to fill his third base hole from within. It's worth noting that  Ensberg's spot on the opening day roster is still not guaranteed, and that Matsui is expected to return in two to three weeks, perhaps freeing up Loretta. 

Sarah Green writes for the Boston Metro and UmpBump.com. She can be reached here.



Astros Rumors: Patterson, Loretta

If 30-year old righty John Patterson clears waivers today, Ed Wade will give him a call. Patterson hails from Orange, Texas and was released by the Nationals on Thursday.  You can read about Patterson's injury-packed history here.

In other Astros news, Wade is not likely to deal infielder Mark Loretta, despite alleged interest from the Dodgers. The Dodgers want Loretta to sub for perennially injured 3B Nomar Garciaparra, who will not be ready to go by opening day. However, there may be wishful thinking going on in Los Angeles, as the Astros are also coping with an unpleasant injury to their new second baseman, Kaz Matsui.

Wade doesn't like to discuss trade rumors, but told the Houston Chronicle that he "expects" Loretta to be with the Astros on opening day.

Sarah Green writes for the Boston Metro and UmpBump.com. She can be reached here.



Rosenthal's Latest: Loretta, Ensberg, Lopez, Ring

Ken Rosenthal has some Spring Training odds and ends this morning.

  • Rosenthal adds Mark Loretta as a possible third base acquisition for the Dodgers.  Given their desire for a relatively affordable guy who can also handle second, Rosenthal has linked them to Ron Belliard and Esteban German previously.  Loretta shouldn't be too hard to pry away from the Astros.  Though he can't play second, Morgan Ensberg could be an option if the Yankees let him leave.
  • The Nats are shopping Felipe Lopez, who's said he wouldn't be content on the bench.  Rosenthal says the Nationals have their eye on awful shortstop Angel Berroa as a possible replacement, which is strange on multiple levels.  Not only is Berroa not a Major Leaguer at this point, but the Nats plan to use Cristian Guzman at short.
  • Royce Ring is said to be "perhaps the most available of the Braves' out of options relievers."  Who needs a lefty?



Nationals' Surpluses Could Lead To Trades

Nationals GM Jim Bowden signed veterans Dmitri Young and Ron Belliard to curious two-year extensions last year.  He's now faced with a logjam at two infield positions.

Ben Goessling of the Washington Times describes the first base battle between Young and Nick Johnson, who get along well.  Johnson has more trade value, given his age.  Neither player is a lock for 150 games though.  Johnson is injury-prone, but his perennial .400 OBPs are appealing.  He and Young are both signed through '09; Young has a vesting option for '10.  The Yankees or Mets could be in the market for Johnson if their current options don't work out.  Either team could then add Mark Teixeira after the season, creating another surplus.

The Nats have handed the starting shortstop job to Cristian Guzman, creating a battle for second base between Belliard and Felipe Lopez. Lopez responded with a "hell no" regarding a bench role.  Hell no to your .659 OPS and lousy defense, Felipe!  Belliard is more open to a part-time role, though he's been outplaying Lopez.  Lopez may be the one to trade, given his impending free agencyBarry Svrluga notes that the Orioles have been scouting the Nationals this spring, perhaps with the idea of acquiring Belliard or Lopez if they trade Brian Roberts to the Cubs.  The O's are also interested in Mark Loretta and Juan Uribe for that reason.



Odds and Ends: Jerome Williams, Linden, Lo Duca

Below you'll find the day's random rumors and links.



Odds and Ends: Loretta, German, Belliard, Baldelli

  • An update to the Ken Rosenthal article discussed earlier suggests that either Esteban German or Ron Belliard would be better, cheaper alternatives for the Dodgers than Joe Crede or Brandon Inge. It would take less to get Belliard or German, they're paid less, and either of them could back up Jeff Kent, 40, at second base in addition to playing third. Both players are "attracting the Dodgers' interest" according to Rosenthal.
  • The Baltimore Sun is now reporting that the Orioles have an interest in Mark Loretta. Hopefully this is a sign that the Brian Roberts-to-Chicago saga will soon mercifully come to a conclusion. Loretta apparently isn't slated for regular duty in a Houston infield that now features Miguel Tejada, Kaz Matsui and Ty Wigginton, which is why he might be in play. The Astros sent a scout to watch the O's on Sunday.
  • Rocco Baldelli spoke with Joe McDonald of the Providence Journal about his myriad health problems, and dispelled some of the more creative speculation about him. He didn't, however, address the big decision on his future that the Rays will be forced to make in the coming weeks. As discussed here a couple of days ago, and again in Sunday's St. Petersburg Times, the decision on whether the team will pick up Baldelli's 2009 option has to be made by April 1st. The Times suggests the Rays will pass, meaning a $4MM buyout.

Posted by Andrew Stoeten of Drunk Jays Fans.



Astros Win Loretta Case

Arbiters ruled in favor of the Astros over Mark Loretta today, saving the team $2.15MM.  I guess the 20% pay cut thing doesn't apply here.  With the Jose Valverde savings, that makes $3.65MM for Houston.  That's probably right around what Shawn Chacon will get

Three hearings remain undecided; the players will probably snag at least one victory in the cases of Ryan Howard, Oliver Perez, and Francisco RodriguezKeith Law explains again why the Phils paying Howard more than they have to does not make sense.

Historically teams have won 57.7% of cases.  So we might've expected the teams to be 3-2 instead of 5-0 this year but it's not exactly a huge upset.



Astros Win Loretta Case

Arbiters ruled in favor of the Astros over Mark Loretta today, saving the team $2.15MM.  I guess the 20% pay cut thing doesn't apply here.  With the Jose Valverde savings, that makes $3.65MM for Houston.  That's probably right around what Shawn Chacon will get

Three hearings remain undecided; the players will probably snag at least one victory in the cases of Ryan Howard, Oliver Perez, and Francisco RodriguezKeith Law explains again why the Phils paying Howard more than they have to does not make sense.

Historically teams have won 57.7% of cases.  So we might've expected the teams to be 3-2 instead of 5-0 this year but it's not exactly a huge upset.



Astros Beat Jose Valverde In Arbitration Case

Another reliever bites the dust; Jose Valverde will receive $4.7MM rather than the $6.2MM he was after.  That $1.5MM could go toward another starter, as could another $2.15MM saved in the event the Astros beat Mark Loretta (I think they will).  Of course, the list of remaining free agent starters ain't pretty.  It shouldn't be on February 15th.

Valverde is under the Astros' control through the 2009 season.  If he has another 40 save season, he can probably vault past $10MM for '09.









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