Ray Durham Rumors

Melvin On Second Base Situation

Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel talked to Brewers GM Doug Melvin about the team's second base situation.  Rickie Weeks is out for the season with wrist surgery, but Melvin is not interested in the three free agent second basemen: Ray Durham, Mark Grudzielanek, and Damion Easley.  Durham's agent called Melvin, saying his client would need a while to get ready.  Melvin decided not to pursue Durham, who played for the Brewers last year.  Easley's agent also reached out to no avail, according to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy.

There have been no trade talks, either.  Instead, the Brewers will mix and match with internal options at second base and go back to Weeks next year.

The Remaining Free Agents: Who’s Left?

With little more than a week remaining before the regular season begins let's check the list of unsigned free agents..

  • Pedro Martinez is the biggest name out there.  The Dodgers don't like  his asking price of $5MM and Omar Minaya says Pedro's not coming back to the Mets.
  • Orlando HernandezMark Mulder and Will Ohman are still on the market.
  • And don't forget about Paul Byrd and Ben Sheets, who could return midseason.  
  • Richie SexsonMark Grudzielanek and Ray Durham are some of the more interesting free agent infielders 
  • Dave Roberts and Jim Edmonds could offer outfield depth, but haven't attracted a lot of reported interest. 
  • Luis Gonzalez is on the market too. Could he return to the Marlins? He could return to the D'Backs if he retires as a player.

Durham Turns Down Offer From Nationals

According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, free agent second baseman Ray Durham turned down a minor league offer from the Nationals potentially worth $850K plus incentives.  Durham would require more than that, and is 50-50 on retirement.  The offer from Washington was Durham’s first of the offseason.

A note from Crasnick regarding the Cardinals:

The Cardinals, who expressed interest in Durham earlier this winter, released second baseman Adam Kennedy on Monday. But early indications are that St. Louis plans to fill the void from within. If general manager John Mozeliak does pursue a free agent, Orlando Hudson would probably rank ahead of Durham on the priority list.

Durham, 37, authored a strong .380 OBP in 426 plate appearances last year.

Durham Without Offers, Could Retire

According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, Ray Durham hasn’t received a single offer this offseason and he’s considering retirement. Durham says there’s a 50-50 chance he’ll retire, but he’d like to play in 2009.

The Cardinals phoned to see if Durham would consider backing up Adam Kennedy, but other teams haven’t expressed interest.

Durham, 37, had a .380 OBP last year with the Giants. Check out the article for comments by Durham about his experience in this year’s unusual market.

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Perrotto’s Latest: Top 20 Remaining Free Agents

John Perrotto’s latest Every Given Sunday column at Baseball Prospectus takes a look at the top 20 remaining free agents (sorted by WARP3 – Wins Above Replacement Player) and offers destination predictions and top suitors (or lack thereof in some cases) for each one. For those without a BP subscription, here’s a quick summary:

  • Manny Ramirez – Dodgers
  • Orlando Cabrera – Athletics
  • Derek Lowe – Braves/Mets/Cubs
  • Adam Dunn – Nationals
  • Bobby Abreu – Reds
  • Ben Sheets – Rangers
  • Orlando Hudson – Nationals
  • Andy Pettitte – Astros (at less than $10MM)
  • Jason Varitek – Red Sox (at less than $10MM)
  • Ty Wigginton – Astros
  • Ivan Rodriguez – Not much of a market, may have to take a minor-league deal with an invite to Spring Training if he’s not signed soon. Could he end up involuntarily retired, a la Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Mike Piazza?
  • Kevin Millar – Orioles
  • Mark Grudzielanek – Padres
  • Braden Looper – Brewers
  • Garret Anderson, Eric Hinske, Ray Durham, Jim Edmonds, Paul Byrd, Odalis Perez – All of them (with the exception of Byrd, who may retire) are drawing little to no interest and may be without a club on Opening Day.

Week In Review: 7/20 – 7/26

This one will be a bit lengthy, which can be expected as the deadline approaches. Here’s a review of some of the major moves and rumors of the last week:

  • The Yankees acquired Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte from the Pirates for OF Jose Tabata, RHP Ross Ohlendorf, RHP Dan McCutchen and RHP Jeff Karstens . I agree with Tim that Ian Kennedy would’ve been a better centerpiece, but Tabata is pretty highly-touted himself. Kennedy would have made a more immediate impact, while Tabata is only 19 years old.
  • The Dodgers acquired Casey Blake for minor league RHP Jon Meloan and C Carlos Santana. The Dodgers get a nice boost to their lineup without giving up too much, although Santana’s putting together a very impressive season in Class-A ball.
  • The Nationals sent Jon Rauch to the Diamondbacks in exchange for minor league 2B Emilio Bonifacio. Rauch adds to a strong bullpen for Arizona, while Bonaficio could become a very solid leadoff hitter in the future for Washington. They may have been able to get more for Rauch, but I personally like the move, regardless.
  • The Brewers acquired Ray Durham from the Giants for minor leaguers Darren Ford and Steve Hammond. Rickie Weeks has been a disappointment to an otherwise red-hot club. Can Durham provide a bit more stability? The power’s gone, but he can still get on base.
  • The Astros acquired Randy Wolf from the Padres for minor league pitcher Chad Reineke. This one confuses me a little bit; with all due respect, did the Astros forget they were 12.5 games out? I don’t see the logic in buying on a pitcher.
  • The Cardinals traded Anthony Reyes to the Indians for minor league pitcher Luis Perdoma. I don’t get this one either. I feel like the Cardinals could have gotten more, despite Reyes’ struggles in the past. The Indians could make this one look like a steal, in my opinion.
  • The Yankees are in deep discussion with the Mariners about acquiring Jarrod Washburn. Tim cites Buster Olney and Ken Rosenthal in saying that the Mariners want a top prospect in addition to the salary dump, but the Yankees are only offering a marginal prospect. Can’t say I blame them. A top prospect for an mediocre pitchers who’s due an additional $14MM? Sounds like Seattle’s getting greedy…
  • A new, and surprising name surfaced in trade talks: Manny Ramirez. Manny has said he would waive his no-trade clause, and based on interviews, has basically said that 2008 will be his last season in Boston. I can’t see Boston trading their (arguably) best hitter in the middle of a pennant race, however. I’d bet on him finishing out the season.
  • Speaking of corner outfielders, the Mets need one, and they know it. Having missed out on Nady and Blake, they will likely zero in on Raul Ibanez. Ibanez makes great sense for them, and the Mariners would obviously like to rebuild. I expect this one to get done.
  • There was a report that Roy Halladay came out and told the Blue Jays that he is unhappy in Toronto, which has provoked the Jays to explore their potential options. Halladay’s price would have to be astronomical, I’d think. He’s signed through 2010 and pitching like it’s 2003 all over again. Personal speculation: I think Halladay to the Cardinals with a Colby Rasums centerpiece would make sense.
  • Crisitan Guzman signed a two-year, $16MM contract extension. Guzman has revived his career after surgery following an awful 2005. I like the signing for the Nats.
  • Jorge Posada could be out for the season. The Yankees are looking for catchers. In addition to the names mentioned there, they could take a shot at signing Johnny Estrada, who was DFA’ed by Washington this week. Estrada was terrible in Washington, but has put up solid offensive numbers for a catcher throughout his career.
  • Brian Fuentes, Huston Street, and George Sherrill are all still potential trade pieces. Fuentes is the most likely to go, I’d say, although the Rockies are asking for quite a bit.
  • Tim updated the left-handed reliever and left field markets.

Ray Durham Trade Reactions

Yesterday, the Giants traded second baseman Ray Durham to the Brewers for minor leaguers Darren Ford and Steve Hammond.  They were ranked 21st and 27th among Brewers prospects heading into the season, according to Baseball America.  Today let’s look at reactions to the trade.

Ray Durham To Brewers

1:33PM Keith Law says the Giants got prospects Darren Ford and Steve Hammond in exchange for two months of Durham.

Buster Olney’s reporting the Brewers have acquired Ray Durham.  It’s not yet known what they received in return, although according to the Milwaukee Sentinel, OF prospect Darren Ford was removed from his class-A Brevard County starting lineup yesterday "with indications he is being traded."  MLBTR covered movement on this yesterday.

Durham, a switch hitter, brings his bat to the Brewers bench and could take over Rickie Weeks‘ spot on the depth chart if Weeks continues to struggle in the second half.

Heyman’s Latest: Street, Durham, Holliday

SI.com’s Jon Heyman just posted a new column.

  • The Brewers and White Sox inquired on A’s closer Huston Street.  However, A’s GM Billy Beane said "there is nothing going on" in regards to Street.  The Sox were linked to both Street and Jon Rauch today, so Kenny Williams is clearly monitoring the relief market.
  • Heyman says the Rays have not discussed Street with the A’s, and the Dodgers "aren’t believed to be heavily involved."
  • Heyman is on board with the recent rumors about Ray Durham and Jack Taschner possibly heading to Milwaukee.
  • Heyman also confirms Ken Rosenthal’s report of the Phillies’ interest in Matt Holliday.  He agrees that these talks have cooled, but notes a good relationship between GMs Dan O’Dowd and Pat Gillick.  Gillick and O’Dowd have matched up for three deals, two occuring while Gillick worked for the Mariners.
  • The Dodgers continue to consider shortstop a priority.  Heyman wonders if Cristian Guzman would be a fit, especially if extension talks sour.  Jack Wilson and David Eckstein are other possibilities.

Brewers Working On Durham Deal?

11:23pm: The San Francisco Chronicle’s Henry Schulman comments on the rumor, noting the convenient timing of Durham’s bout with the flu. 

As was Haudricourt, Schulman is skeptical about a separate Rickie Weeks-to-San Francisco rumor floating about.  But both beat writers acknowledged the rumor, so someone’s putting it out there.

9:31pm: An update from Haudricourt.  He believes the Brewers are working on a smaller deal for Jack Taschner or Ray Durham, rather than Street.

Haudricourt says the Brewers scouted Street but the scouts were not impressed.  He’s not coming to Milwaukee.

7:21pm: Brewers beat writer Tom Haudricourt thinks Oakland closer Huston Street is Milwaukee-bound. He says the word on the street is outfielder Darren Ford, 22, is the price. Ford was pulled from Brevard County’s lineup before its game against Clearwater. Says Haudricourt:

The fact that Ford was pulled from the lineup makes me believe something could be up. He has no injury that I know of.

Baseball America did not list Ford among the Brewers’ top 10 prospects before this season, but he was named the organization’s fastest baserunner and best defensive outfielder. So far this year in the Florida State League, Ford is hitting .232 with a .321 OBP and a .307 SLG. He’s got 44 steals in 87 games.

Coley Ward writes for Umpbump.com. You can reach him here.