Matt LaPorta Rumors
Continuing with Tim's new tradition, here's my take on some of the top rumors of the week from June 29 - July 6:
- The C.C. Sabathia sweepstakes is nearing an end, with the Brewers' Matt LaPorta package being the frontrunner. We'll let everyone know the full story as soon as possible.
- The Phillies extended Brad Lidge to a three-year contract. Lidge looks like his old self - great deal for Philadelphia. Looks like this means Brett Myers will remain in the rotation if he can get back on track.
- We heard a lot about the Rays' growing interest for Colorado closer Brian Fuentes. They could be preparing an offer. Troy Percival has been good, but injury prone, and you almost hate to move Dan Wheeler from the eighth inning where he's been so good all year.
- The shortstop market is hot, as the Dodgers, Orioles, and Jays would all like to upgrade. The Dodgers are interested in Jack Wilson, while the Orioles are looking at David Eckstein and possibly Juan Uribe or Felipe Lopez. The Jays could look to move A.J. Burnett and his contract for an upgrade there as well. Interesting that Toronto wants an upgrade over Eckstein, while Baltimore looks at him as an upgrade...
- The Indians finally cut Joe Borowski loose, designating him for assignment. Was this too little too late? They tried to sneak Craig Breslow through waivers earlier this year. I'm guessing they'd rather have the 1.42 ERA he's posted this season than Borowski's 7.56, but the Twins are enjoying Breslow's benefits.
- Could the Angels add Matt Holliday? Seems unlikely with the stockpile of large contracts they already have in their outfield if you ask me.
- The A's signed Michel Inoa for $4.25MM on Thursday.
- The Padres will be sellers this July. The onslaught of injuries have made this a frustrating season for San Diego. If you'd been able to see Adrian Gonzalez's monster numbers through July 1 before the season started, who would've believed this team wasn't contending? Wow.
- For those who are interested, Tim looked at this past years' offseason moves and compiled an All-Star lineup of free agent hitters signed prior to the 2008 season. That'd be a heck of a team to try to beat right now...
- Olney says the Brewers restructured their offer today. That offer is believed to include Matt LaPorta plus lesser prospects. Haudricourt suspects those prospects might be Taylor Green and Lorenzo Cain. Haudricourt says the Indians have the Brewers' offer in hand and Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin is waiting to hear back. Olney says the Brewers are looking at some Plan B starters in case they don't win the Sabathia sweepstakes.
- Olney also has the Rays, Dodgers, and Phillies in the Sabathia talks. Those teams all have their issues. The Rays may not have the motivation, the Dodgers are being vague about who's available, and the Phillies' best talent is at the lower levels.
Brewers GM Doug Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwakee Journal Sentinel the team is in pursuit of C.C. Sabathia and has an offer on the table.
Haudricourt thinks the Brewers' offer includes top prospect Matt LaPorta, minor-league third baseman Taylor Green and probably another prospect, perhaps outfielder Lorenzo Cain, but Melvin would not specify which players are included in the offer.
Cleveland GM Mark Shapiro doesn't plan to overhaul his team before the trade deadline or in the off season but, according to Melvin, he's listening to offers from other teams for Sabathia.
"Cleveland is in control of this, not us," said Melvin, who wouldn't reveal the names of players he has on the table. "They told us they're talking to other clubs, too. You never know how these things are going to work out.
"I've talked to Cleveland. We've discussed players. They're trying to make the best deal they can. At least we've got players they're willing to discuss. But I don't anticipate anything happening in the next couple of days."
Alejandro A. Leal writes for UmpBump.com. Rumors? Comments? Email me alexo05 (at) umpbump (dot) com.
According to Ken Rosenthal, the Dodgers have jumped into the fray for C.C. Sabathia. They don't have a Matt LaPorta-caliber prospect, but they could make a substantial three-player offer. The Dodgers, being a big market club, could try to sign Sabathia before he hits free agency.
Rosenthal says the Dodgers are simultaneously pursuing Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson. He might require some of the same prospects, so L.A. probably can't get both Wilson and Sabathia. Since Wilson is signed for '09, such an acquisition might allow the Dodgers to let Rafael Furcal walk as a free agent. Based on Ned Colletti's comments to MLB.com, he seems willing to let some talent go to get a regular shortstop.
On the Brewers-Sabathia front - LaPorta is in play, but if he's included Alcides Escobar is out. The Brewers do not plan on offering up J.J. Hardy (Tom Haudricourt agrees). Rosenthal talked to some baseball people who believe Sabathia will be traded before his Tuesday start.
10:45am: Haudricourt explains why he thinks the Brewers could and would acquire Sabathia. Haudricourt wonders if the Crew will make a knockout offer right now rather than be forced to wait until the deadline. It could be a difference of four extra starts.
The Brewers would not, however, offer both LaPorta and Escobar.
FRIDAY, 8:17am: Most people assumed the Brewers would not part with last year's 7th overall pick, left fielder Matt LaPorta. However, Ken Rosenthal reports that the Brewers' offer for Sabathia does include LaPorta and may include shortstop Alcides Escobar as well. The feeling is that the Brewers would be reluctant to include both players, but maybe the Indians could chip in another player.
LaPorta is the big, centerpiece type name I imagine the Indians crave...if the Brewers are willing to trade him they're the clear frontrunners. Brewers beat writer Tom Haudricourt has his doubts that both LaPorta and Escobar would be offered.
THURSDAY, 8:14pm: Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has a new post up with some buzz around the Brewers' possible pursuit of C.C. Sabathia.
Haudricourt confirmed with GM Doug Melvin that the Brewers had a scout watching Sabathia last night. Haudricourt adds that the Indians reportedly scouted Brewers prospect Taylor Green as well as their stacked Double A team.
This info gels with something Buster Olney wrote this morning:
Heard this from rival talent evaluators: The Indians have dispatched scouts to watch the minor leaguers of teams that might be interested in Sabathia, and those talent evaluators expect the Indians to begin presenting proposals to other teams for the left-hander very soon, perhaps at the beginning of next week.