Tag:trade deadline
Posted on: July 20, 2011 1:35 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 1:54 pm

Trade Deadline Primer: AL East

By Eye On Baseball team

We're just about a week and a half to Major League Baseball's trade deadline, and the serious wheeling and dealing has yet to begin. As we continue our series of primers, we arrive in one of baseball's best divisions: The AL East. We know two teams are going to be buyers just as they are every single season. Let's check out all five, with the big news being the availability of a pitcher who just made his first All-Star Game.

MLB Trade Deadline
Boston Red Sox
Status: Buyers
Needs: Starting pitching, possibly an outfielder.
Notes: The Boston Globe reports: "The Sox have inquired and discussed everyone from Ubaldo Jimenez, Felix Hernandez, Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, Jeff Francoeur, Jeff Baker, Michael Cuddyer, Ty Wigginton, Hiroki Kuroda, Ted Lilly, Jeremy Guthrie, Ryan Ludwick, Josh Willingham, Conor Jackson, Ryan Spilborghs, Mike Adams, and others."

OK, so, that's a lot. But notice they've only "inquired and discussed." That doesn't mean anything serious. And then we're presented with WEEI.com's report that the Red Sox are not "aggressively" pursuing anyone. That would contradict a report that the Red Sox were aggressive in trying to land Beltran. The biggest area of need would appear to be starting pitching, due to some injuries and underperformance, but it sounds like the Red Sox may only make minor moves and count on Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz returning to health as being enough to improve the club. If they stumble into a big losing streak here in the next few days, things might change, but the Red Sox are currently in playoff position by seven games. There's just no reason to do anything drastic, especially with Lester coming back soon and Buchholz eventually.

New York Yankees
Status: Buyers
Needs: Starting pitching
Notes: There was a brief rumor involving Beltran, but that was shot down pretty quickly by Bob Klapisch. Basically, the overwhelming majority of Yankees rumors thus far have been them staying after Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez. Catching prospect Jesus Montero's name has been thrown around, but Jon Heyman of SI.com tweeted that the Rockies wouldn't take any deal with Montero as the centerpiece. They'd reportedly be interested in the young slugger, just not with him being the best player coming back. So, yes, the Rockies are asking for a lot. The Yankees will have to decide how important it is to land Jimenez and move from there. If it becomes increasingly obvious that won't happen, the Yankees may move down to the Kuroda/Lilly range.

Tampa Bay Rays
Status: Ready to deal
Needs: Offensive punch, bullpen help.
Players available: B.J. Upton, James Shields
Notes: According to Buster Olney of ESPN.com, the Rays have put "everything on the table." That includes All-Star pitcher Shields, who may now become the focus -- instead of Jimenez -- of all the teams wanting a top-line starting pitcher. Olney notes the Reds are interested in Shields, and they certainly have the farm system to give the Rays something of value back. There are plenty of other teams in need of starting pitching, such as the Tigers, Rangers, Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Indians. Shields could become the hot name in trade rumors here in the next few days. As for Upton, Desmond Jennings is in the minors ready to step in as the center fielder and Upton is becoming increasingly more frustrating and expensive -- yet he has loads of talent. This might finally be the year he's dealt, with the Phillies, Braves and Nationals being reasonable destinations. Meanwhile, if the Rays can find a way to get hot here in the next few series, they'll likely look to bolster their lineup with a cheap bat. It wouldn't be surprising to see the Rays trade Upton and also try to play for this season, making them both a buyer and a seller. If they do fall several more games out of the race, more players like Johnny Damon and Casey Kotchman could also become available.

Toronto Blue Jays
Status: Mostly holding
Players available: Jon Rauch, Octavio Dotel, Frank Francisco, Jason Frasor, Shawn Camp
Possible matches: Cardinals, Pirates, Diamondbacks, Braves, Phillies
Notes: Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos recently told MLB.com that if he had to guess, he'd guess that they don't make any moves. But if you look at those five relief pitchers mentioned above, those are all free agents at the end of the season. Anthopoulos never said he wouldn't listen to any potential offers, so he's likely to be fielding calls from contending teams in need of bullpen help. The guess here is a couple of those five players get traded for unexciting prospects. So not much excitement to see here as the Jays gear for an AL East run in the near future.

Baltimore Orioles
Status: Sellers
Players available: Jeremy Guthrie
Possible matches: Reds, Cardinals, Tigers, Diamondbacks
Notes: The only name that has really surfaced in legitimate trade rumors is Guthrie, and you can pretty well expect him to be gone before we turn the calendar to August. Take J.J. Hardy off the table, as he's now signed a three-year extension. Vladimir Guerrero and Derrek Lee are veteran bats, each on a one-year contract, so it's possible they'll come up in talks (of course, Guerrero's injury doesn't help). It's possible things are quiet here, which is weird with a team so far out of the race.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 19, 2011 11:24 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 5:34 pm

Indians on hunt for outfielders, pitching

LudwickBy Evan Brunell

Both Jim Bowden of ESPN and Jon Heyman of SI.com report that the Indians are chasing either Ryan Ludwick or Josh Willingham to add to the club's offense.

While two separate reports give some credence to the rumor, don't forget that both people could be drawing from the same source. Regardless, it's no surprise to see Cleveland nosing about for a right-handed outfield bat, given the struggles of Grady Sizemore to stay on the field and Shin-Soo Choo's broken thumb keeping him out until late August. Add in DH Travis Hafner's brittle body, and despite ranking 10th in baseball in runs scored, you can see how offense is a question mark for the Indians.

Ludwick has seen his offense depressed since being traded to the Padres midway through the 2010 season but has drawn trade interest from quite a few teams and could be a nice complementary piece. Willingham has had his own offensive dropoff since joining Oakland before the season but has been hot in July after an injury and slump dragged down his numbers in June. He's a safer bet than Ludwick to produce, but he also costs more and would come with a higher price tag. Carlos Beltran has also come up as a possible target, although it's unlikely Beltran would waive his no-trade clause to go to Cleveland -- plus the Indians wouldn't want to surrender a top prospect.

More important to Cleveland is shoring up the pitching as CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler reports. One name to note here is Aaron Harang, as Heyman reported Cleveland's interest on Tuesday. The right-hander is having a bounceback season with the Padres, but pitching in Petco Park is a big reason why. His 3.19 ERA will command a higher price than he's truly worth, while another of Cleveland's targets, Hiroki Kuroda, may not pan out because he has a no-trade clause and wants to stay on the West Coast. As a result, the Dodgers' trade market for Kuroda is quite thin.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed. Also, check out Danny Knobler's trade deadline news and rumors.

Posted on: July 19, 2011 8:26 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 5:34 pm

Report: Giants, Red Sox hard after Beltran


By Evan Brunell

The top suitors for right fielder Carlos Beltran are the Phillies and Red Sox, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports.

Both Philadelphia and Boston are hunting for a right-handed hitter to balance lefty-heavy lineups; Beltran is a switch-hitter, but that only works to his advantage. Both clubs also have two youngsters (Josh Reddick in Boston and Domonic Brown in Philly) getting playing time, but their ability to play full-time down the stretch and produce is unclear. The Mets' Beltran would certainly answer those questions as the 34-year-old is having a resurgent season with a NL-leading 28 doubles and 14 homers, checking in with a .287/.381/.512 line in 381 plate appearances.

There are other teams also in on Beltran -- the Braves, Giants, Indians and Tigers have also been connected -- and not only is demand so high that Beltran may be moved earlier than July 31, but the Mets may not need to pay all of his salary. Previously, it was reported that New York was willing to eat all of the money on Beltran's $18.5 million contract in order to receive a top prospect back in trade. Now, Rosenthal says the bidding is so high that covering the entire deal may not be necessary. Any way for the Mets to save money on the $6 million or so remaining on his deal at the deadline will be a boon to the Mets, who already cleared out part of their financial issues by dealing closer Francisco Rodriguez to the Brewers.

Both the Phillies and Red Sox don't have much financial flexibility as they are bumping up against the luxury tax cap of $178 million. Cot's Contracts has the Sox at $163.8 million and the Phillies at $165.9 million, but these figures are incomplete. Philadelphia, for its part, is telling other teams they can only take on up to $2 million in any deal. Beltran would be the cherry on top for these clubs, as he would give the Phillies a strong offense to go with a suffocating rotation while the Red Sox would make an already filthy lineup that much filthier to hide the chinks in the rotation.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed. Also, check out Danny Knobler's trade deadline news and rumors.

Posted on: July 19, 2011 6:52 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 5:34 pm

Giants acquire Keppinger; Astros call for Altuve


By Evan Brunell

The Giants acquired middle infielder Jeff Keppinger in an attempt to shore up the infield, which has been a point of contention for the defending World Series champions, Houston announced.

In return for giving up Keppinger, the 'Stros received relievers Henry Sosa and Jason Stoffel, while also tabbing infielder Jose Altuve as Keppinger's replacement.

Shortstop has been an issue in San Francisco all season long with the artist formerly known as Miguel Tejada passing the time at short with a .242/.274/.334 line in 322 plate appearances. To his credit, he's run up a .902 OPS in July but 45 plate appearances hardly means much. Rookie Brandon Crawford has also received playing time on the value of his glove as he's hitting an unimpressive .197/.281/.277 in 154 PA. Emmanuel Burriss and Mike Fontenot have also seen some time at short although they're occupied these days will playing second base as Freddy Sanchez is lost to injury.

Keppinger won't lack for playing time between second and shortstop, but could also spell Pablo Sandoval at third. That's the value of Keppinger: he can play all over the infield and has even made appearances in left and right field despite not being an exceptional fielder. He's hitting .307/.320/.436 on the season, racking up 169 PA for Houston, missing the first two months of the year due to left foot surgery. Last season, as a full-time player, he hit .288/.351/.393, so there's offense to be had.

The Giants also called up first baseman Brandon Belt and put him in the lineup for Tuesday night's game at first base. Belt lost his active-roster spot earlier when he went on the disabled list and was then optioned to Triple-A after starting the year with a .211/.328/.281 line in 67 PA. He's back after knocking seven home runs in 43 games for Triple-A, hitting a cool .324/.462/.549, with third catcher Hector Sanchez losing his roster spot. CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler reports that the Giants may wait to see how Keppinger and Belt help the offense before deciding what price to pay for Carlos Beltran of the Mets, who could immediately inject a bopper into the middle of the lineup. Belt could be that bopper with the ability to move around from first base to left and right field, but won't get much time before July 31 to deliver.

From Houston's end, the deal made sense. Keppinger is appealing to San Francisco because of his $2.3 million contract plus the ability to retain him during the player's final year of arbitration in 2012. But Keppinger wasn't a vital part of the rebuilding process underway, while Jose Altuve, 5-foot-7 (that's listed height, so knock two-to-three inches off for real height) offers a brighter future. Altuve impressed many with his turn at the Futures Game during the All-Star festivities and will immediately start at second base in lieu of Keppinger after hitting .361/.388/.569 for Double-A. at age 21. He has 10 homers combined between Double-A and high-Class A. He still needs to refine his basestealing as he's been caught 14 times already but does have a set of wheels, with 24 stolen bases on the season.

The return for Keppinger was solid -- they acquire Henry Sosa, a live-armed 25-year-old who had recently been promoted to Triple-A and enjoyed a rude awakening. He did punch out 36 batters in 40 1/3 innings at Double-A and 21 in 23 1/3 Triple-A innings, so there is some potential there. Stoffel is the more impressive catch, as the 22-year-old has a future as a setup man. He's currently in Double-A, where he's posted a 3.98 ERA in 31 2/3 innings.

For such a marginal trade, there are quite a few ramifications here for each teams, which could signal a selling process for Houston, represents a gambit by San Francisco and takes some chess pieces off the board.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed. Also, check out Danny Knobler's trade deadline news and rumors.

Posted on: July 19, 2011 12:15 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2011 4:37 pm

Trade Deadline Primer: AL Central

By Eye on Baseball Team

As we continue the series of primers for the MLB non-waiver trade deadline, which is July 31, we'll check out a division that is seemingly wide open. The Indians have been near the top the whole season, the Tigers have been there most of the way while the White Sox have lingered and the Twins have recently made a surge to jump into the mix. Do we have four teams as buyers in one division? Let's see.

MLB Trade Deadline
Cleveland Indians
Status: Buyers
Needs: Outfielder, possibly starting pitcher
Notes: With Shin-Soo Choo and Grady Sizemore on the disabled list, the major focus will be landing a rental in the outfield. The increased attendance this season could help the budget, but they still won't be able to break the bank. The big name here is Carlos Beltran, especially with the recent news that the Mets would pick up Beltran's salary. He does have a no-trade clause, though, so it's possible he won't want to go to Cleveland. Some other names that could arise: Ryan Ludwick, Josh Willingham, Jeff Francoeur, Scott Hairston, Reed Johnson or even Marlon Byrd (if the Indians are OK with his $6.5 million salary for 2012). As far as pitching, maybe David Huff just grabbed the five spot with his brilliant performance Monday and won't let it go. The Indians haven't been connected with any specific starting pitching names on the market. Finally, if you think the Indians need an upgrade at second base, fret not, that's going to be filled from within the roster in the form of hot prospect Jason Kipnis.

Detroit Tigers
Status: Buyers
Needs: Starting pitcher, third baseman.
Notes: The top priority for the Tigers is to find another starting pitcher. Some names that have surfaced in rumors are Hiroki Kuroda, Aaron Harang and Jeremy Guthrie. Derek Lowe's name has come up, but he's got an awfully big salary compared to his actual production at this point. Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports has reported that Kuroda is the Tigers' number one target. Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune presented an interesting scenario, one in which the Cubs would ship third baseman Aramis Ramirez, starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano and cash to the Tigers for third baseman Brandon Inge and prospects. This would work pretty well to fit both the Tigers' glaring needs, but I'm not sure how much more than speculation is behind it. And, as we noted yesterday, Ramirez has stated he'll use his no-trade clause at least through July 31. The Tigers have also been connected to Carlos Beltran, but outfield isn't near as much a need as starting pitching or third base.

Chicago White Sox
Status: Buyers and Sellers?
Notes: The White Sox are in a weird spot when it comes to starting pitching. They've been using a six-man rotation when all six starters are healthy. This means they could deal one of them for something of value in return and still have a full rotation. Being only 4-1/2 games out means the team should be buying, but instead they could do so by selling. Edwin Jackson's name has surfaced, as he's a free agent after the season. The Red Sox, Cardinals and Brewers reportedly had scouts at Jackson's first start after the All-Star break -- in which he threw a shutout. Mark Buehrle is also a free agent after the season, but he has a $15 million option that would vest if he were traded. Another name that seems unlikely to come up in trade talks for a team in the race is Carlos Quentin. Yet the Chicago Tribune floated the idea that Quentin could be moved in order to make room for slugging prospect Dayan Viciedo, especially if the White Sox don't want to pay Quentin's likely hefty arbitration figure in the offseason. The Phillies and Braves were listed as possibilities for Quentin. Meanwhile, the White Sox are certainly in the race and could use upgrades in several areas. Adam Dunn and Alex Rios have been awful, but it's likely the White Sox just hope they come around. That still leaves third base as a position that could use an upgrade. The bullpen has been much better since the dreadful start to the season, but there's always room for improvement there as well. This is one of the most unpredictable teams heading down to the deadline, and general manager Kenny Williams is already quite unpredictable himself, so there's no telling what they'll do. The smart money is on mostly staying pat and hoping the players in-house get things going, but you never know with Williams.

Minnesota Twins
Status: Hold, for now.
Notes: A double-header loss to the Indians Monday dropped the Twins to seven back. Had they won both, they'd only be three back. You can see what kind of swings can happen in a short period of time in this division, which leads us to believe the Twins will either buy or hold. A lot is going to be determined in the next week. If the Twins have started a losing streak and fall down to 10 games back, they might sell a few pieces -- though they are going to hold onto Michael Cuddyer -- but if they start winning again and stick around, it's conceivable to see the Twins as buyers. Former starter turned reliever Kevin Slowey could be dealt either way, otherwise no names have really surfaced in rumors, because of no one knowing where the Twins will be in a week. Let's keep in mind, the Twins should be getting reinforcements in Denard Span, Jason Kubel and Justin Morneau at some point. Team that with the recent return to form from Joe Mauer and Joe Nathan and it's like the Twins have upgraded in July anyway.

Kansas City Royals
Status: Sellers
Players Available: Melky Cabrera, Jeff Francoeur, Wilson Betemit, Jeff Francis, Bruce Chen
Possible Matches: Pretty much anyone.
Notes: The Royals will be pretty aggressive sellers, but they aren't offloading marquee names. Most of their best players are part of the young nucleus that's expected to contend in 2013, if not next season. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports the Royals are pushing Cabrera more than Francoeur. Morosi reports the Angels and Phillies are interested in Cabrera while the Giants have "light interest." According to ESPN's Jayson Stark, the Royals want a "near-ready starter" in return for either Cabrera or Francoeur, but 25-year-old outfielder Lorenzo Cain (who is hitting .324 with a .922 OPS in Triple-A) could easily be summoned, so not getting a starter in return may not prove to be a deal-breaker. There have been reports that the Brewers and Pirates have kicked the tires on Betemit. Francis and Chen are the types of starters that could be dealt in the last hour or two on deadline day, as teams who lost out on other starters scramble.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: July 18, 2011 9:30 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 9:36 pm

Angels GM says he can add payroll

Tony ReaginsBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Angels general manager Tony Reagins says he's hasn't been given orders not to spend money at the trade deadline, as had been reported recently.

"I haven't been limited in any way," Reagins told Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. "I've never had a conversation of that sort with Arte [Moreno] and any writer who writes something like that is misinformed."

However, the Angels currently have a $140 million payroll with approximately $28 million going to Scott Kazmir, Kendrys Morales and Gary Matthews Jr. That doesn't even take into offseason additions of Vernon Wells, Hisanori Takahashi and Scott Downs -- none of whom came cheap.

The Angels have come up in rumors about Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran and Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez. Another name that's popped up is Kansas City's Wilson Betemit and Melky Cabrera. There's also San Diego relievers Heath Bell and Mike Adams, who are the top relievers available.

Anaheim is entered Monday four games behind Texas in the American League West and could use some help in the bullpen and on offense. 

"You always look to upgrade if you can. If the right situation comes along, we'll be open to it," Reagins said. ""But the biggest improvement is going to come from within.

"Each situation [in the past, such as Mark Teixeira in 2008, Scott Kazmir in 2009 and Dan Haren last season] was trying to put the club in position to win a championship. … If that situation presents itself at this deadline, we'll be ready to act."

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: July 18, 2011 8:51 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 11:29 pm

Mets willing to pick up Beltran's salary

Carlos BeltranBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The willingness to spend money isn't just important to the buyers at trade deadline time -- a loose pocketbook can also help sellers.

It could really help the Mets, who have outfielder Carlos Beltran available to interested parties. And because the Mets are willing to pay the remainder of his $18.5 million contract this season, the team can ask for more talent in return.

"From what I gather, they are asking a lot for him because they are willing to pick up all of his salary," a source told ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin.

Beltran would be due nearly $6 million on July 31, but if the team takes on that money, they can possibly get a top-tier prospect in return, something they didn't get for closer Francisco Rodriguez in last week's trade with the Brewers.

Beltran will be a rental, but if the rent is cheap, more teams may be interested. Among those teams would be the Diamondbacks, Pirates, Red Sox, Phillies, Braves and Angels.

Some teams, however, would rather give up money than prospects. Andrew Baggarley of the San Jose Mercury News writes that the Giants would rather pay in dollars instead of players. The Tigers would also prefer to pay cash, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes, as would the Indians, CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler notes.

Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman reports the Mets don't expect Beltran to pass through waivers in August, so if he's going to be traded, it'll be this month. The Mets are 8.5 games behind the Braves in the National League East, but don't have any games against either the Braves or Phillies before July 31. 

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: July 18, 2011 5:45 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 8:20 pm

Ramirez could move after July 31

Aramis RamirezBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez isn't going anywhere… for now.

Ramirez has a full no-trade protection as a player with 10/5 rights, 10 years of service and five with the same team. Ramirez, 33, could be a target for many teams, including the Angels, Tigers and Pirates, but his agent, Paul Kinzer, tells FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal that Ramirez wouldn't approve a trade before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

That last part is the key, though -- Ramirez may approve a trade in August if he clears waivers or the Cubs can make a deal with a claiming team. Last year Chicago moved Derek Lee in August. The issue for Ramirez is his family. His wife and children will return to the Dominican Republic for the start of school in August, and at that point he might be more open to moving.

"When his family goes back, and his kids go back to school, that could possibly loosen it up," Kinzer told Rosenthal. "As of now, he has no interest. He loves Chicago. He always wanted to finish his career there."

Later, Ramirez confirmed to the Chicago Tribune that his family is the reason he isn't interested in a trade.

"It is for family considerations," Ramirez said. "If I were to be single, by myself, yeah, I'd move anywhere and be in a hotel the last two months. But it's too tough with my family. I've earned the right to be in this position."

Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune writes that teams think this is a bluff and Ramirez would accept a trade. He also said the Tigers could send Brandon Inge and prospects to Chicago in return for Ramirez and Carlos Zambrano

The Cubs have a $16 million option on Ramirez for 2012 that becomes automatic, plus another $1 million if he's traded. Kinzer, though, said Ramirez would prefer to have that option dropped if he's traded, making him a free agent after the season. He'd be the second player to decline a guaranteed option for big bucks in 2012 in a trade, as Francisco Rodriguez made a similar move to become a free agent after the season following his trade to Milwaukee.

"Most teams wouldn't have a problem with that," Kinzer said. "They would be renting a player for the rest of the season. That's all stuff we'd have to look at."

If he stays with the Cubs through the end of the season, it's unlikely Chicago would pick up his option.

Ramirez is hitting .300/346/.504 with 16 home runs and 56 RBI this season, and since June 1 he's been on fire, hitting .313/.345/.631 with 14 home runs and 37 RBI. He would help any team that needs a little pop in the lineup, that's for sure. It would be interesting if he were to return to Pittsburgh, where he started his career. The Pirates need a third baseman and they need a power jolt to the lineup. Pittsburgh has come out and said it would look to upgrade its lineup heading into August.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com