Scott Linebrink Rumors


Rosenthal's Latest: Lohse, Hunter, Contreras

The latest trade and signing rumors from Ken Rosenthal:

  • Rosenthal believes Alex Rodriguez's ability to play shortstop could increase the number of suitors.  Take a look at the free agents - there may not be a single viable option at short this winter.  Still, the number of suitors for Rodriguez is severely limited by his massive contract requirement.  Not too many clubs aside from the Yankees and Red Sox can get in on $240MM over eight years or whatever.  The lack of available, reasonably priced shortstops could compel the Braves and Orioles to aggressively shop Edgar Renteria and Miguel Tejada.
  • As a 29 year-old free agent starter with decent stuff, Scott Boras could sell Kyle Lohse as the next Gil Meche this winter.  Meche's work in the season's first three months would only aid the wishcasting.  I put up a little Lohse history here, writing that his deal will likely fall somewhere between Jason Marquis and Meche.  Other free agent starters who will be under 30 for the 2008 season: Carlos Zambrano, Jason Jennings, Joe Kennedy, and Byung-Hyun Kim.
  • Rosenthal believes the Rangers will bid on Torii Hunter this winter unless they acquire a proven center fielder this summer.  He mentions that Jon Daniels set his sights on Shane Victorino but the Phils would rather trade Michael Bourn.  Unless the Rangers get a proven guy they will still go after Hunter.
  • The Mariners scouted Jose Contreras and Matt Morris recently, but both were lousy.  I still think Jennings could sneak in there as the best available starter, but he too hasn't pitched well in July.  Definitely seems like the Mariners will snag some kind of starter.
  • Rosenthal disputes Evan Grant's report of the Brewers and Indians showing interest in Kenny Lofton.  The Brewers are getting Bill Hall back soon and the Indians have some outfielders on the road to recovery as well.  Perfect, this frees him up for the Cubs!
  • Rosenthal mentions the same teams I did for Kevin Millar, but sees an August deal as a possibility.  Waiting until August doesn't seem to make sense for the Orioles, as things get trickier then.
  • The Padres could trade Scott Linebrink in order to make payroll room for a starter.  Or they could just sign Brian Lawrence.  I discussed some other options for the Friars here.




Linebrink Long Shot For Phillies

What's the deal with Scott Linebrink?  Is he in line for a contract extension, or is he a top trading chip for the Padres?  MLBTradeRumors helps you sort it out.  A history of rumormongering:

  • 7/31/06: Gordon Edes writes of a three team deal where the Red Sox would've gotten Linebrink and Julio Lugo while giving up Mike Lowell and prospects.  This was a wild day though...even Alfonso Soriano to Boston surfaced at one point.
  • 1/26/07:  Buster Olney first brings up the possible Aaron Rowand for Linebrink deal.
  • 2/24/07: Tom Krasovic mentions past and present interested parties in the Phillies, Red Sox, and Mets.  He quotes Kevin Towers, who indicated that since a trade hadn't happened yet it probably wouldn't.
  • 4/21/07: Ken Rosenthal says the contract extension talks are on hold, as the Padres may consider Liney their best trading chip.
  • 4/23/07: Rosenthal says the Phils and Padres may revisit the Rowand/Linebrink idea, and that Linebrink is probably available.
  • 4/25/07: Todd Zolecki calls a Linebrink trade "remote at best," as he expects a contract extension.

The Padres are currently 6th of 16 in OBP (.335) and 6th in slugging (.420).  Their left field platoon has resulted in a .257/.402/.471 line so far in 70 ABs, with Jose Cruz Jr. providing the power.  San Diego's pen has been nasty (1.98 ERA) while their starting rotation has fallen short of expectations early on (4.85 ERA).  Clay Hensley and David Wells have been knocked around.




Padres, Phillies Could Revisit Linebrink Talks

Ken Rosenthal was a guest on 610 WIP's morning show and reiterated that Scott Linebrink was now probably available for a trade.  While Rosenthal said a few days ago that Kevin Towers would like to find the Padres center fielder of the future, this morning he said that the Pods are interested in a left fielder that can hit a bit.  In addition, he mentioned that the Phillies and Padres may revisit the Aaron Rowand/Linebrink talks of the early spring.

The Phillies outfield corps has several redundancies at this point.  Pat Burrell provides power in left, but Michael Bourn, Shane Victorino and Aaron Rowand are all light-hitting center fielders.  If the Padres are interested in a centerfielder for the future and would prefer to do it on the cheap, perhaps the Phillies are should be willing to part with Bourn or Victorino instead of Rowand.

At this point, with Matt Smith floundering, a big need for the Phillies is a left-handed reliever.  But still, Linebrink would look awfully nice in red pinstripes.

Tom Goyne is the author of Balls, Sticks, & Stuff, a Phillies-centric site, and maintains the Phloggers' Pheeds page, a source for the latest commentary from around the "phlogosphere".




No Deal For Zambrano?

Just saw Ken Rosenthal on TV, and he had his usual collection of inside information.

Rosenthal says that contract talks with the Cubs' Carlos Zambrano are "about a week away from being tabled."  All along we've been hearing how he'd likely remain a Cub, even with the impending sale of the team.  Zambrano's only had one good start in four tries this year; perhaps the Cubs want to see that ace again before committing.  It seems silly that such a huge contract could be affected by four starts, but you never know.  If Zambrano reaches the open market, the Cubs will likely be outbid.

Rosenthal also mentioned that instead of extending setup man Scott Linebrink's contract, he might become their best trading chip.  They could look to upgrade at third base or left field, or even try to acquire their center fielder of the future.  Most folks feel that Kevin Towers would find a way to replace him on the cheap.

UPDATE: There is now an accompanying article for these rumors.




Linebrink Trade Possibility Lingers

Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune provides his take on the Padres' best trade bait, 30 year-old setup man Scott Linebrink.  Krasovic points out a Kevin Towers pre-spring quote that makes a deal sound unlikely.  Still, if some other relievers prove worthy, it could happen.

If the Padres were to acquire a second center fielder in Aaron Rowand, they'd use him or Mike Cameron in right field and shift the aging Brian Giles to left.  It could make for a fine outfield defense, much like when Cameron played right for the Mets in '05.  Krasovic mentions that Cameron's agent is currently in discussions about a contract extension, as he's set to enter free agency after the season.

The Red Sox and Phillies may try to trade for Linebrink, and the Mets were close to a deal for him last year.  He was also almost sent to Atlanta for Wilson Betemit last year, but doesn't need to worry about that possibility anymore.




Does This Paper Have Editors?

Paul Hagen of the Philadelphia Daily News continues to run wild with misinformation regarding the Phillies' offer of Aaron Rowand for Scott Linebrink.  I've been watching this one from the start; it's just strange.  Hagen insists on belittling this particular Buster Olney rumor and Internet reporting in general; he already took a shot on February 1st.

Today, he leads with these unflattering remarks:

"Rumors are cheap and plentiful during the offseason. Anybody with a vivid imagination and access to a computer can launch a blind item that will circle the globe in seconds and circulate for weeks.  At first glance, then, the Internet whisper that the Phillies had offered centerfielder Aaron Rowand to the Padres for righthanded setup reliever Scott Linebrink seemed far-fetched."

To which Olney responded today:

"To clarify, it was not an Internet rumor, ever. It was written, originally, as something that was discussed between the two teams."

When is Hagen going to print a correction?  I think he owes Olney an apology, though Buster is handling it with class.




More On Rowand/Linebrink

Internet rumor, eh?  If there's one term I'd like to retire, it's "Internet rumor."  It discredits the many legitimate Internet-based sources and generalizes the entire medium.  Many rumors broke via the Internet this year (blogs included).  In fact, most of them came via the Internet, courtsey of Ken Rosenthal.  I've seen a lot of garbage in print, but don't refer to them all as "newspaper rumors." 

In this case, Paul Hagen doubts the legitimacy of a Buster Olney rumor that first appeared in Olney's blog on January 26th.  Olney reported that the Padres and Phillies were kicking around an Aaron Rowand for a reliever trade. 

Anyway, Hagen creates a newspaper rumor, speculating that the Phils might entertain trading Rowand because they think they can acquire an outfielder for Jon Lieber.  He also speculates that the Phils would send both Lieber and Rowand to San Diego for Mike Cameron or Terrmel Sledge.  Now that's one that "appears to make little sense."




More On Rowand/Linebrink

Internet rumor, eh?  If there's one term I'd like to retire, it's "Internet rumor."  It discredits the many legitimate Internet-based sources and generalizes the entire medium.  Many rumors broke via the Internet this year (blogs included).  In fact, most of them came via the Internet, courtsey of Ken Rosenthal.  I've seen a lot of garbage in print, but don't refer to them all as "newspaper rumors." 

In this case, Paul Hagen doubts the legitimacy of a Buster Olney rumor that first appeared in Olney's blog on January 26th.  Olney reported that the Padres and Phillies were kicking around an Aaron Rowand for a reliever trade. 

Anyway, Hagen creates a newspaper rumor, speculating that the Phils might entertain trading Rowand because they think they can acquire an outfielder for Jon Lieber.  He also speculates that the Phils would send both Lieber and Rowand to San Diego for Mike Cameron or Terrmel Sledge.  Now that's one that "appears to make little sense."




Linebrink/Rowand Trade On Hold

Buster Olney mentioned a possible trade of Aaron Rowand to the Padres for a reliever back on January 26th.  Turns out the targeted reliever for the Phils was indeed Scott Linebrink.  However, any such deal is on hold until springtime.  Kevin Towers would like to see how Terrmel Sledge looks in left and how the loss of Linebrink would affect San Diego's bullpen.

I say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.  I think a Sledge/Cruz platoon could outhit Rowand for a lesser cost.  And is the difference in defense in left field that crucial?  David Wells and Chris Young typically don't go six innings; I'd rather retain one of the league's better eighth-inning guys.   




Red Sox Trade Rumors

It's tough to get anything out of Boston these days; Theo Epstein has plugged all of his leaks.  Let's see what we can piece together though.


According to Sean McAdams of The Providence Journal:

"Friends of the Rocket insist he's sorry that he chose the Astros over the Red Sox."  McAdams mentions that Clemens would love a trade to Boston if it could be done without infuriating the Houston fanbase.  Also, a source of mine tells me that the Mets have inquired about Clemens.

Then there's the possible three-way trade with the Rockies and Padres.  The Padres would get Mike Lowell, the Red Sox would get Ryan Shealy and a starter, and who knows what the Rockies would get. 

Don't get that rumor confused with the other three-team scenario from Gordon Edes of the Boston Globe.  In that case, the Red Sox get Julio Lugo and Scott Linebrink, the Padres get Mike Lowell, and the D-Rays get prospects.      

Plus, Jayson Stark mentioned last night that the Red Sox are "making a late run at Alfonso Soriano."  He doesn't have much more than that, but it can't be dismissed.  Stark has also connected Boston to Jason Schmidt and Brad Lidge.










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