Posted on: July 22, 2010 6:26 pm

Girardi tries to sidestep Cubs speculation

Joe Girardi There will be a lot of people reading into what Yankees manager Joe Girardi had to say Thursday on the subject of the Cubs' upcoming managerial opening, but what's most important is what he did NOT say: "I'm not interested."

That's all Girardi would have had to say to at least minimize the distraction of the impending opening in Girardi's hometown. Instead he did some verbal bobbing and weaving that would make Sugar Ray Leonard proud.

"I figured this would come up once Lou [Piniella] announced his retirement," Girardi told the New York Daily News. "I have a responsibility to this club and the guys in that room, and that's my concern. People can speculate all they want, but that's my concern right now. I don't really think much about it."
The closest Girardi came to straight-up denying interest in the Cubs job was when he said "yeah" when asked whether his preference was to continue managing the Yankees.

But he also uttered the dreaded line: "I've loved my time here." That's the equivalent of a GM being asked about a manager's job security and replying that "[So-and-so] is our manager."

"I love it here; I've loved my time here," Girardi said. "I put my kids in school here and they're enrolled to go to school here next fall. There's going to be talk; I grew up there, I grew up a Cubs fan, I went to Northwestern, I lived in Chicago. But my concern is right now."

The Yankees visit Chicago (although on the South Side) August 27-29. There's a slight chance the subject might come up again then.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 22, 2010 6:23 pm

Yankees running out of real estate

Jorge Posada The New York Yankees will add a black armband to their uniform to honor Ralph Houk, the former New York manager and player, who died Wednesday at the age of 90.

The Yankees will add the armband to the left sleeve of the jersey, below the patch honoring former stadium announcer Bob Sheppard. The team is also wearing a patch on the left side of their chest to honor former owner George Steinbrenner.

Hopefully nobody else close to the organization dies anytime soon -- mostly because I don't want to wish death on anyone, it's just not cool, but also because one of America's classic sports uniforms is getting a little cluttered. Honestly, though, I thought the Sheppard one was nicely done, if not a little busy to go with the rest of the Yankee uniform, but doesn't the Steinbrenner patch look a little cheap? It's like one of those oval bumper stickers that used to be for European countries, but are now used for every vacation spot and bad jam band. You'd think the Yankees could do a little better. I like the plain black armband like the team's All-Stars wore at the All-Star Game in Anaheim, but that's just me. It's trivial in the big picture and nowhere near the importance of someone's life, but it'd still be nice for it to be a little more aesthetically pleasing.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 22, 2010 6:00 pm

Haren market heating up

Dan Haren Reports were cropping up Thursday that numerous teams are in hot pursuit of Arizona right-hander Dan Haren. The Diamondbacks started the trading season saying they wouldn't move Haren unless they were bowled over by an offer, so apparently there's some bowling going on or Arizona is lowering its demands.

Nothing has been reported as being close, but ESPN's Buster Olney says it has reached the stage where names are being exchanged and the Tigers have serious interest. FOX Sports names the Yankees, Phillies, Cardinals and Twins as other Haren suitors.

One team official told ESPN's Jayson Stark that the Diamondbacks have backed off their initial high demands.

"They're starting to get more reasonable," the person said. "Before, they were asking for two starting pitchers off your major league roster. Now they're talking prospects, so I think they've gotten realistic. I definitely think he's moving now."

Trading for Haren is a major commitment beyond just the players he would cost to acquire, as he's due at least $29 million on the remainder of his contract ($12.75 million in both the 2011 and 2012 seasons and a $3.5 million buyout for '13). And while he's been exceptionally durable and consistent in his career, Haren's 2010 numbers (7-8 with a 4.60 ERA) are less than eye-popping.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 21, 2010 6:22 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2010 7:38 pm

Wigginton drawing massive interest

Ty Wigginton Who knew that the market for versatile infielders could be plentiful?

Jose Lopez could be an option for the Tigers, Wes Helms has drawn interest from the Yankees and Rangers and other like-minded players are available as well, such as Jose Bautista and Jorge Cantu.

The player most bandied about at the trade deadline, however, has been Ty Wigginton of the Orioles. Incredibly versatile, Wiggy has had a strong season at the plate although he sandwiched a cold streak in between his raking. Virtually every team in contention has been linked to Wigginton, and AOL Fanhouse's Jeff Fletcher specifies three recent teams: the Giants, Rangers and Angels.

The Rangers are an unsurprising team, as they are on the hunt for a right-handed infielder and Wigginton is a logical fit. The Giants are more curious, as GM Brian Sabean is adamant he does not want to bring in a "rental" player. Wigginton is eligible to be a free agent after the season, but Sabean could be persuaded into Wigginton given he would cost less than players such as Jayson Werth.

Speaking of Werth, could the Phillies also be a candidate for Wigginton? If the rumors that Werth is headed out in favor for starting pitcher Roy Oswalt are true, that lineup will suddenly get very left-handed. Wiggy could be a jack-of-all-trades, primarily playing second base until Chase Utley returns from injury and then filling in all over. The two sides have already reportedly discussed Wigginton.

Back to Fletcher's other named team: the Angels. Los Angeles doesn't have much in the way of high-level prospects to deal and have already tried to get Alberto Callaspo from the Royals. While it's not clear if Baltimore would accept Sean O'Sullivan and an additional fringe prospect for Wigginton, you would think that the Angels would at least keep Wigginton in mind.

Another team that could use Wiggy is the Detroit Tigers, who lost Brandon Inge for over a month and already had a compromised shortstop conundrum.

And of course, the Yankees, as they are wont to do, have interest in everybody on the market including Wigginton. (Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports did say that the Yankees are focusing in on Helms and the Indians' Jhonny Peralta, as Wigginton's price is understandably high.)

The Rockies have also been linked to Wigginton as they seek to import a better second baseman than Clint Barmes.

The market for Wigginton is robust, and it's a near lock that he is traded clear to the deadline. The only question is: where? There are so many fits, it will all depend on which team is willing to give up the most.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 21, 2010 10:25 am
Edited on: July 21, 2010 11:32 am

All kinds of Torre trouble

Joe Torre Dodgers manager Joe Torre is making news in a couple of situations where he wasn't even present.

He wasn't present in the late stages of the Dodgers' bizarre game Tuesday night against the Giants, getting the thumb in the seventh inning when the rivals' beanball war escalated after both benches had been warned.

Bench coach Bob Schaefer had been ejected earlier, so after Torre's departure managing duties fell to hitting coach Don Mattingly, who screwed up royally. Mattingly went out to the mound to visit struggling closer Jonathan Broxton, and after taking a few steps toward the dugout, doubled back to say something else to Broxton.

As Giants manager Bruce Bochy helpfully pointed out to umpires, that constituted two mound visits, and once you visit a pitcher twice in one inning, you have to pull him from the game. Broxton was out, George Sherrill suddenly had to enter the game, and he and Travis Schlichting blew up as the Giants took a 7-5 comeback win.

Meanwhile, announcer Tim McCarver, who you might know is prone to a tiny bit of hyperbole, was apologizing for comments about Torre that earned him a scolding from the Anti-Defamation League.

What? All McCarver did was look at the Yankees' treatment of Torre, their former longtime manager, and compare the team to Nazis.
"You remember some of those despotic leaders in World War II, primarily in Russia and Germany, where they used to take those pictures that they had ... taken of former generals who were no longer alive, they had shot 'em," McCarver said during a Saturday broadcast. "They would airbrush the pictures, and airbrushed the generals out of the pictures. In a sense, that's what the Yankees have done with Joe Torre. They have airbrushed his legacy. I mean, there's no sign of Joe Torre at the [New Yankee] Stadium. And, that's ridiculous. I don't understand it."
McCarver, never the apologizing type, sort of apologized Monday: "Although my analogy was inappropriate, in my opinion the underlying point remains true," McCarver told the New York Daily News.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 20, 2010 11:29 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2010 5:20 pm

Report: Phils eyeing Oswalt, try to ship Werth

Jayson Werth Earlier today, we learned that the Phillies may make a deal for a starting pitcher who could then take the rotation spot vacated by Kyle Kendrick on Saturday.

Now, ESPN's Jayson Stark tweets that the Phillies are working on a "major deal" for a starting pitcher. Jayson Werth would be moved in another deal, likely to offset the salary Philadelphia would absorb in the acquisition of the starter. Coworker Buster Olney concurs, saying that Roy Oswalt is a logical fit.

The two starting pitchers on the market that could qualify as a major acquisition are Oswalt and Dan Haren, but Oswalt is far easier to pry. Plus, as Olney says, the Phillies have not discussed Haren, Ben Sheets (who has been linked to Philadelphia before) or any of the Rays pitchers. The Rays have been linked to Werth as they seek a major upgrade with the bat.

All that makes Oswalt the most likely name to be headed to Philly, especially given Oswalt's next start is -- surprise, surprise -- Saturday.

Complicating things is that Oswalt has a full no-trade clause and may want to be convinced by the Phillies that they have a legitimate shot at the playoffs. The Phillies may also be forced to pick up the $16 million club option for 2012, although Oswalt may not make that part of his demands. AOL Fanhouse's Ed Price reports the Astros are very close to putting the deal before Oswalt for a decision.

As for where Werth could go, that's not as obvious. Here are some candidates:
  • Braves: The Braves are thought to be 50/50 on adding another outfielder as Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports . If Nate McLouth can return from his concussion at full strength, the Braves would be fine given a hot Matt Diaz and the return of Jason Heyward. Complicating matters is that the Braves are a division rival, although Atlanta has young pitching Philadelphia undoubtedly covets.
  • Giants: The Giants are looking for a big bat, but GM Brian Sabean has been adamant that he will not acquire any rental players. Could the chance to get Werth change his mind for a suddenly streaking team who is now tied for second place, 3 1/2 behind the Padres? The Giants could move Jonathan Sanchez to Philadelphia or a stable of prospects. The Phillies will certainly have a desire to restock its farm system.
  • Padres: The division-leading Pads of the West have made no secret of their desire for Corey Hart. They can only wait so long, however, and Werth is not a bad consolation prize at all and could even be considered better than Hart, as the Philly right fielder is a five-tool player. It's unclear what pitching the Pads could possibly cough up, though, especially with Mat Latos on the DL. While they have some intriguing pieces down the farm, there are none that jump out.
  • Rays: The Rays have been seeking a big bat for quite a while, and Werth would certainly be that bat. They have a ton of pitching to deal along with prospects and could match up perfectly, with the Phillies spinning some prospects to Houston by way of Tampa. The Rays could give up Wade Davis or Jeremy Hellickson, as well as no shortage of position player prospects -- especially shortstop, where Houston might love to plug in Reid Brignac or add Tim Beckham to its farm. Olney and Stark both heard the Rays are involved in discussions with Werth, although that doesn't necessarily mean they're the front-runner.
  • Red Sox: The Red Sox could certainly use a big thumper, but the team is about to have a plethora of injured players return, one of which is an outfielder. While Jeremy Hermida doesn't make anyone quake in their boots, their outfield production has been surprisingly effective. They have inquired as to David DeJesus but find the price prohibitive, according to the Boston Globe 's Nick Cafardo. Cafardo also reports that Hart's price is too expensive, so imagine what Werth's price would be to them.
  • White Sox: The ChiSox have been hungry for Adam Dunn, but the Nationals aren't budging on an exorbitant price. A scout says that the Nationals are acting as if Dunn is like Ryan Howard -- which is not all that far off an actual comparison. Bottom line, if Dunn doesn't happen, you can't count Kenny Williams out of a deal for Werth. If Williams made Chicago's farm system available for Dunn, wouldn't it be so for Werth?
  • Yankees: The Yankees are miffed that they missed out on Cliff Lee, and despite their sudden need for a starting pitcher with the Andy Pettitte injury, certainly wouldn't turn down adding a bat to an outfield that needs it. It's unlikely Jesus Montero would be swapped, but they have enough complementary prospects to make a deal happen -- but not to the level as other teams on the list.
You can't have trade rumors without a dark horse, though.

My surprise team? The Athletics.

Think about it: They have no interest in trading Ben Sheets, which has to count for something. Then you have the team 8 1/2 games out of first but very much still in the hunt. They lost Ryan Sweeney for the year and need a stick in the middle of the order -- even when they had Sweeney. And of course, they'll recoup draft picks if/when Werth leaves as a free agent.

It'll certainly be an interesting storyline to follow.

UPDATE : And the Phillies may have just lost a little leverage. Starter Jamie Moyer left Tuesday's game with an injury and the latest report from Todd Zolecki has the lefty headed to the disabled list. Manager Charlie Manuel compared the injury to J.A. Happ's, who took over three months to get back on a mound. Ironically enough, Moyer's replacement will likely be Happ.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 20, 2010 3:28 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 12:30 pm

Is Sandberg next Cubs manager?

Now that Lou Piniella has announced he will retire at season's end, who is next to manage the Cubs?

Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune has a quick list of candidates : Ryne Sanberg, Joe Girardi, Bob Brenly, Joe Torre and Alan Trammell.

Girardi is the longest of shots, there is little reason for the former Cubs catcher to leave the Yankees for Chicago's North Side. The Cubs can't offer him more money or a better chance to win. Girardi will likely manage the Cubs at some point down the line, but it won't be in 2011.

Torre, Sullivan writes, is a real possibility. His contract with the Dodgers runs out after the season.

Brenly is in the Cubs' broadcast booth, and that job is less stressful and has a better prognosis for long-term employment. Brenly managed the Diamondbacks to the 2001 World Series title and was 303-262 in parts of four seasons. He was let go after a 29-50 start in 2004.

Trammell is the current Cubs bench coach and has managed the Tigers and is liked by Jim Hendry, Sullivan reports. Trammell was 186-300 in three seasons with the Tigers from 2003-05.

Sandberg is the likely choice. He would create excitement among an aggravated fanbase, is a Cubs legend, understands what he's getting into and has also paid his dues in the minor leagues in a way many Hall of Famers would see as beneath them.

Sandberg is currently managing Triple-A Iowa and has also managed Class A Peoria and Double-A Tennessee.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 20, 2010 2:20 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2010 3:11 pm

Piniella to retire at end of the season

Lou Piniella Lou Piniella announced his intention to retire at the end of the season.

Here's a statement released by the team:

"I couldn't be more appreciative of the Cubs organization for providing me the opportunity to manage this ballclub. I've had four wonderful years here that I wouldn't trade for anything in the world.  I've grown to love the city and the fans but at my age [67 at the end of the season] it will be time to enter a new phase in my life.  It will enable me to spend more valuable time with my family -- my wife, my kids and my grandchildren.  God has blessed me to have been able to work this many years in the game that I love.

"Why make this announcement now? Jim Hendry asked me in recent weeks regarding my future with the team and I told him I had made the decision to retire at the end of the season.  Since my decision has now been made, I don't want to mislead anyone about my intentions when asked in the future.  

"But more importantly, announcing my decision now is what's best for this organization in the long run.  It gives Jim Hendry ample time to find the next manager and he doesn't need to do so in secrecy. The Cubs are one of the greatest organizations in baseball.  I care very deeply for this organization and want nothing more than for it to experience present and long-term success.  I'm proud of our accomplishments during my time here and this will be a perfect way for me to end my career. 

"But let me make one thing perfectly clear: our work is far from over. I want to keep the momentum going more than anything else and win as many games as we can to get back in this pennant race.  I'm going to give every effort I have to help this team win and that will remain my sole focus through the rest of the season."  

An hour or so before Piniella announced the decision, Bill Madden of the New York Daily News writes reported the news without the very mention of a source or anything else to back up what is written other than "the Daily News has learned."

Piniella is 307-271 in Chicago and 42-52 this season, with his team 10 1/2 games out of first place in the National League Central.

Piniella has said this will be his last managing job. He's 1,826-1,691 in 23 seasons as a manager with the Yankees, Reds, Mariners, Rays and Cubs.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
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