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Tag:Erik Bedard
Posted on: July 29, 2011 1:32 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2011 3:23 pm
 

Friday afternoon trade rumor roundup

Pence

By Evan Brunell

Today's the last weekday prior to the trade deadline, which expires on Sunday. Will there be a flurry of activity much like there was Wednesday when Colby Rasmus was part of a three-team deal and Carlos Beltran headed to San Francisco? It's too early to tell, but here's the latest rumors, headlined by Hunter Pence. If you're looking for information on Ubaldo Jimenez, we've broken that off into its own story -- head here and check it out.

HUNTER PENCE

MLB Trade Deadline
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal says the Reds are on Michael Bourn, Houston's center fielder. An odd fit, given the team has Drew Stubbs, but Stubbs has been struggling this year and Bourn can impact Cincinnati at the top of the lineup. The team is also in on Hunter Pence, but Rosenthal tabs Pence as the "Phillies' to lose."

On Thursday, a deal between Philadelphia and Houston was so close that Pence was told during the game that night he was being removed due to a trade, as Heyman reports, but he never came out of the game. That's because a potential deal Philadelphia would have engineered with Jonathan Singleton, Jared Cosart and a third piece fell through when the 'Stros wanted Domonic Brown. Both sides are so close, though, it's hard to imagine a trade doesn't eventually happen. Heyman, for his part, thinks a deal will happen if it's Brown and Cosart for Pence.

However, Joel Sherman of the New York Post isn't ready to count out Atlanta. The 'Stros appear to prefer the Braves' prospects, but Atlanta refuses to deal Mike Minor. If that changes, Pence could be a Brave. Will that be enough to keep him out of Philly, a team Heyman says will "do whatever it takes" to get Pence?
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: July 28, 2011 10:45 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2011 12:05 am
 

Thursday night trade rumors roundup

By Matt Snyder

We're less than three days away to the non-waiver trade deadline in Major League Baseball. As we inch closer, it seems that more players are becoming available, so there are bound to be some fireworks this weekend. Let's check out what happened Thursday night.

CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler reports that the Braves and Phillies -- losers in the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes -- are interested in White Sox right fielder Carlos Quentin. Joel Sherman of the New York Post says the Braves are front-runners on Quentin.

MLB Trade Deadline
CBSSports.com's Scott Miller reiterates the Braves' desire for an outfield bat and throws the name of Padres' outfielder Ryan Ludwick into the discussion. Mark Bowman of MLB.com also reports the Braves are after Ludwick.

Knobler reports that, though the Blue Jays are believed to be done making moves after the Colby Rasmus trade, they still could deal relievers Frank Francisco and/or Jon Rauch.

• Some of the biggest movement of the day happened in terms of Hunter Pence's status. It had been reported for all the early part of this week the Astros were holding onto their All-Star right fielder tightly, but things may have changed. Knobler noted that interest has picked up with Beltran off the market, though some rival GMs still don't think Houston will deal Pence. Fox Sports reports the Braves are in on Pence but the Phillies are the most serious suitor. Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports added that the Indians are also in the mix and the chances of Pence being traded are better than 50-50. ESPN's Jayson Stark says the interest in Pence is "exploding" and the Braves, Phillies, Red Sox and Reds are in on him. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports said as many as eight teams are after Pence. In a contradiction to some of the above reports, however, is that Jon Heyman of SI.com earlier in the day reported the Phillies have given up on Pence and the Braves are the only team left with a shot.

Ubaldo Jimenez's name continues to bounce around, but the status is pretty much the same as before: The Yankees have the best shot, but it's not even close to being a sure thing and the Rockies may keep him.

Per Rosenthal, both the Yankees and Red Sox scouted A's starter Rich Harden during his outing against Tampa Bay Thursday.

• The Tigers are interested in Jason Marquis, reports Bill Ladsden of MLB.com.

• The Braves have had discussions about A's outfielder Coco Crisp, reports ESPN's Buster Olney. Rosenthal reports the Braves also have interest in A's outfielder Josh Willingham.

• Though Hiroki Kuroda's a hot name in the weak starting pitching market, as Knobler pointed out earlier Thursday, Newsday's Ken Davidoff reports that the Dodgers are not taking offers for him. Sherman reports the Yankees are in regular contact with the Dodgers about Kuroda, though.

• The Red Sox have the following starting pitchers on their radar, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe: Rich Harden, Erik Bedard, Hiroki Kuroda, Jeremy Guthrie, Aaron Harang, and Ubaldo Jimenez.

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

Posted on: July 28, 2011 5:31 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 5:38 pm
 

Thursday afternoon rumor roundup

By C. Trent Rosecrans

It appears the Padres' Heath Bell may be the next big name off the trade board. CBSSports.com senior writer Scott Miller writes the talks are heating up, but there's still plenty of other trade rumors out there, so here we go:

• The Red Sox are looking at starting pitching, but they are telling team's they're focused on a right-handed-hitting outfielder, CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler tweeted.

• Knobler also reports the Tigers are down to three options for a starter -- Hiroki Kuroda, Aaron Harang and Jeremy Guthrie.

• Have the Red Sox and Mariners matched up for a deal? FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal reports the Mariners had two scouts watching the Red Sox's Triple-A team on Wednesday and another eyeing the Double-A team. The Red Sox are "all over" left-hander Erik Bedard, a source told Rosenthal. Boston could also be interested in right-hander Doug Fister or closer Brandon League, too.

• Bell expects to be a Ranger by Friday. Why? His parents are flying in from Texas on Thursday to spend 10 days with his family in San Diego, Bell joked to reporters after Wednesday night's game. Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune also says the Braves, Indians and Reds are the most interested in Ryan Ludwick, but you may want to cross the Indians off the list after they acquired Kosuke Fukudome from the Cubs on Thursday. Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman tweets that the Philles are also interested.

• After Wednesday's loss to the Rockies, Kuroda -- who has a no-trade clause -- told reporters, "My honest feeling is that I can't fathom wearing another uniform [other] than the Dodgers uniform right now." Still, MLB.com's Ken Gurick writes the Indians, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Tigers are still making a push for the right-hander. 

• The Brewers are interested in the Dodgers' Rafael Furcal and Jamey Carroll, but the Dodgers will only trade one of the two, Rosenthal writes. ESPN.com's Jayson Stark said the Giants have talked to Los Angeles about Furcal.

• La Valle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune says the Twins aren't looking to deal Denard Span, but notes the Nationals may be interested in Ben Revere or prospects Joe Benson and Aaron Hicks.

The rumor on Wednesday was that the teams were considering a Span for Drew Storen trade, but MLB.com's Bill Ladson cites a "baseball source" as saying the Nationals wouldn't do that deal.

• The Twins are looking for bullpen help, FoxSports.com's Tracy Ringolsby writes, and could be targeting the Rockies. Colorado could deal right-handers Rafael Betancourt, Matt Lindstrom and Matt Belisle, and could even give up closer Huston Street for the right price. The Rockies would be interested in Minnesota's Kevin Slowey.

• Rangers manager Ron Washington reiterates his call for bullpen help. The team is apparently interested in Bell and Leo Nunez, with Robbie Erlin and Chris Davis being dangled.

• The Phillies have given up on getting Houston's Hunter Pence, Heyman tweets. The Braves are the last team in on Pence, he said.

• The Mariners will be busy selling off pieces between now and Sunday's deadline, Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times writes.

• The Cardinals are focusing on middle-infield help, Rosenthal tweets, as shortstop Ryan Theriot struggles.

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

Posted on: July 26, 2011 11:27 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2011 12:07 pm
 

Tuesday's trade rumor roundup

By Matt Snyder

Another day, another seemingly infinite set of rumors and reports. Let's try to tie them all together into one shiny post for you, the Eye on Baseball readers. We've got your back like that.

- On the Ubaldo Jimenez front, we started the day with Troy Renck of the Denver Post saying "chances remain slim" that the Rockies part with Jimenez. Later, however, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that the Rockies want to trade Jimenez, and were speaking with the Yankees, Red Sox, Reds and Blue Jays. Wait, what? Yes, the Blue Jays. Jayson Stark of ESPN.com backed up the report, as did CBSSports.com's own Danny Knobler -- who says the Yankees have the best shot at Jimenez.

MLB Trade Deadline
- CBSSports.com's Scott Miller reports the Angels are looking for a bat, preferably at third base. They covet Michael Cuddyer and Aramis Ramirez, though neither seems available at this time for different reasons -- the Twins want to hold onto Cuddyer and Ramirez won't waive his no-trade clause.

- ESPN's Jim Bowden -- a former general manager himself -- reported that he spoke with Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak and there are still no plans for the Cards to trade Colby Rasmus. Of course, Mozeliak stands nothing to gain by openly saying he's looking to offload the talented youngster, so that report isn't overly significant. Sherman notes the Cardinals are "asking for a ton" in return for Rasmus. Knobler reports the Giants and Nationals are interested in Rasmus.

- Both Knobler and SI.com's Jon Heyman pointed out the scouting section will be full Friday for Erik Bedard's first start after coming off the disabled list. The Mariners would surely move the left-hander if they can get a suitable offer. Of course, Sean McAdam of CSN adds that the Mariners are seeking "a ton" back for Bedard, which seems wholly unreasonable given his health history. Heyman named the Tigers and Red Sox as potential suitors.

- Renck reiterates what he's been reporting for weeks, which is that the Red Sox are watching Rockies' outfielder Ryan Spilborghs with a keen eye.

- As the Hunter Pence rumors continue to dry up, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports the Phillies are still aggressive in his pursuit, but that's about it. We still feel like Pence isn't going anywhere. This next entry is intriguing, however ...

- Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports the Phillies are scouting White Sox right fielder Carlos Quentin, just in case he becomes available.

- Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports the Braves are looking to bolster their bullpen with either Jon Rauch or Jason Frasor of the Blue Jays.

- Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Reds are not shopping their catching tandem, so any thoughts of Ramon Hernandez giving the Giants' offense a shot in the arm can be forgotten.

- There were various B.J. Upton rumors, so here's a quick summary. Things got kickstarted when Fox Sports reported that there were at least five teams in the mix for Upton, naming the Indians, Giants, Braves and Pirates. The Brewers, Rangers and Phillies are reportedly not part of the Upton sweepstakes. Stark has the Nationals as continuing to "hover" on Upton, so maybe that's the fifth team. Heyman has the Giants as having a strong interest, too. Upton will really become sought after once Beltran is traded and even moreso if it becomes clear Rasmus isn't going to be traded.

- Stark has heard the Twins won't become sellers unless they lose every game this week.

- Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports reports the Indians and Pirates are interested in Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta, though Renck earlier in the day said the Pirates have cooled on Iannetta -- and Pirates catcher Ryan Doumit is heading to Triple-A on his rehab assignment.

- Evan Grant of Dallas Morning News reports the Rangers are monitoring several relief pitchers and are still in on Carlos Beltran.

- Knobler is reporting the Brewers are interested in Jamey Carroll, Coco Crisp and Jerry Hairston, in addition to being fringe candidates for Beltran. The most likely match for the Brewers, however, is Clint Barmes of the Astros.

- Finally, we'll leave with the Beltran rumors. Heyman has the Giants as the front-runner, but puts it with a caveat ("for the moment").  He says the Braves are still heavily in the mix, though the Phillies are kind of bowing out. Sherman reports the Mets' asking price is coming down for Beltran. Stark gets specific, naming many of the top prospects the Mets have asked for in exchange for Beltran and been shot down -- such as Julio Teheran, Domonic Brown and Jarred Cosart.

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

Posted on: July 26, 2011 9:29 am
Edited on: July 26, 2011 9:42 am
 

Pepper: Bedard's start in nick of time



By Matt Snyder


Good news is hard to come by when a team has lost 16 games in a row, but the Mariners at least received marginally good news Monday. Left-handed starting pitcher Erik Bedard will return to the mound Friday (MLB.com).

On the surface, it's kind of a "who cares?" type movement. The Mariners are 15 1/2 games out and obviously will not factor into the AL West race. It's just that there's something else rapidly approaching, and that is the non-waiver trade deadline. Bedard is 32, on a one-year contract and has been effective when healthy this season (3.00 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 85 strikeouts, 26 walks in 90 innings).

With the deadline Sunday at 4:00 p.m. ET, Bedard's start coming Friday, several contending teams looking for starting pitching, a lack of quality starting pitchers readily available and the Mariners obviously in selling mode, Bedard coming off the disabled list couldn't come at a much better time for all parties involved. As long as he gets through the start healthy, expect to hear his name in rumors this coming weekend.

HOW TRADES HAPPEN: Former Reds and Nationals general manager Jim Bowden now writes for ESPN, and he has an article up about how trades happen. It's nothing really Earth-shattering, in fact it might seem a bit obvious, but it's still a detailed look about the methodology of going through a major-league trade from someone who has made several in his time.

BUCHHOLZ PROGRESSING: The Red Sox have the best record in the American League, and they've been doing it of late with a patchwork pitching rotation. Jon Lester returned Monday night and now Clay Buchholz is making solid progress in his fight to return from a back injury. Monday, he estimated that he's "75 to 80 percent" healthy after throwing a bullpen session, including breaking pitches (Boston.com).

LACK OF SECURITY: Last week, a fan ran onto Citi Field during a Mets-Cardinals game. Usually when these clowns run on the field, they're stymied by security pretty quickly. Not this time, as the fan took security for quite a ride. Jon Bois over at SB Nation has the details along with video and a map.

WHITE HOUSE INVASION: The Giants won the World Series last year with a group of colorful personalities. That group was back together Monday as the champs visited President Obama in the White House. The Giants went through the usual song and dance, glad-handing with the President, giving him some gifts and posing for plenty of pictures. Perhaps the best part of the whole visit was the presentation. You wouldn't expect personalities like Tim Lincecum or Brian Wilson to dial anything down for the visit -- like a haircut or shave, perhaps -- and they didn't disappoint. Check out the photo at right here, courtesy of the Associated Press.

SEVEN DOWN, TWO TO GO: Michael Cuddyer went into Monday night's game having played six positions for the Twins: First base, second base, third base, left field, right field and center field. After manager Ron Gardenhire saw his pitching staff bludgeoned for 25 hits and 20 runs in seven innings against the Rangers, he turned to Cuddyer for the eighth. Cuddyer ended up throwing the only scoreless frame of the game for the Twins. Sure, he gave up two hits and a walk, but he got through it without allowing a run (3 Up, 3 Down). No other pitcher for the Twins Monday could say the same -- Phil Dumatrait had a line with zero earned runs, but did allow two inherited runners to score. So now the only two positions Cuddyer has never played in a game for the Twins are shortstop and catcher. He has appeared as a DH before, so if you want to count that, he's eight for 10.

A-ROD ON TARGET: Yankees injured third baseman Alex Rodriguez had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee on July 11 and was given a four to six weeks timetable for his return. As things presently stand, everything is in order and the Yankees expect him back by mid-August (MLB.com).

WALLACE'S TIME LIMITED: Brett Wallace got off to a hot start for the Astros this season. It wasn't just a few games. Through April 30, Wallace was hitting .388 with a .988 OPS. Since then, however, both figures have pretty progressively come down to the current marks of .279 and .749, respectively. Manager Brad Mills has reportedly tried to balance protecting Wallace against left-handers versus trying to develop the young first baseman. Mills is now leaning toward sitting Wallace more often against left-handers (Ultimate Astros).

BALL-HAWKIN': Highly-touted Angels rookie Mike Trout hit his first major-league home run Sunday, and it was caught by famous ball hawk Zack Hample -- who has caught over 5,000 balls at major-league games and written three books on the subject. The OC Register has the story about how Hample planned to catch Trout's first homer, how he made it happen and how he gave the ball back to Trout.

MORE DAY BASEBALL: When the Marlins move into their new home next season -- hopefully to a lot more fanfare than they get in their current football stadium -- they'll be playing a lot more day games (MLB.com).

BROOKS WAS HERE: The Orioles have begun building a statue to honor Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson at Camden Yards. The statue will be nine feet tall and weight 1,500 pounds. It's scheduled to be unveiled Oct. 21 of this year. Fittingly, the statue will depict the 16-time Gold Glover preparing to make a routine throw to first base (Baltimore Sun).

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 20, 2011 10:04 am
Edited on: July 20, 2011 11:05 am
 

Pepper: Harper struggles early in Double-A



By Matt Snyder


Bryce Harper is the top prospect in all of baseball. He has prodigious power and a huge outfield arm. Low-A ball proved no match for him this season, as he hit .318 with 14 home runs, 46 RBI, 19 steals and a .977 OPS in 72 games before being promoted to Double-A. But he's still only 18, and is having a rough transition to Double-A.

Through 10 games, Harper is hitting .171 with a .237 on-base percentage and has yet to record an extra-base hit (Nationals Journal). He also looked overmatched at the Future's Game. So what does this mean?

Not a damn thing.

He's 18. Making the transition from the lower levels of the minors (Rookie ball, Low-A, High-A) to the upper levels (Double-A, Triple-A) is the toughest transition for a player this side of when they hit the majors. He even skipped a level. Plus, 10 games is hardly a representative sample from which to draw conclusions and he started slow in Low-A. It's possible he tears up Double-A pitching starting next game.

If we can say anything definitively, maybe it's that this is good for the fans clamoring for a quick Harper promotion. He's going to be special in a Nationals uniform, just not in 2011 and probably not 2012 either.

NOT SATISFIED: After trading Tuesday night for infielder Jeff Keppinger, Giants general manager Brian Sabean said he was working on "something much bigger" before the move and that he's not done making an effort to improve the badly flawed offense (Extra Baggs).

GMs ON HOT SEAT: Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports breaks down some general managers who may be out of a job by the time we turn the page to next season. The ones he lists on the hot seat are Ed Wade of the Astros and Jim Hendry of the Cubs. I'd argue pretty vehemently both should be canned immediately, so no shock there. Also of intrigue, Rosenthal says Yankees GM Brian Cashman and Rays GM Andrew Friedman might step away from their current posts. It would be interesting to see how quickly each is snatched up by other teams.

TROUBLE ON THE HOMEFRONT? Before Tuesday night's loss to the Padres, the Marlins had won nine of their last 10 games, but not everyone was happy. Left-handed reliever Randy Choate was pulled from the game Monday after falling behind 2-0 to a hitter. Yes, in the middle of an at-bat. Considering Choate had struck out 23 lefties and walked just before the game, he felt his track record should at least allow him to finish the hitter. McKeon disagreed and yanked him, saying he was "out of sync." The two reportedly talked, but Choate was still upset. (Fish Tank blog)

IRRELEVANT NO-TRADE CLAUSE: Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano told reporters he didn't even know he had a no-trade clause. Then he said he'd be willing to waive it if it meant he could play for a contender. Of course, Soriano is owed about $61 million through 2014 and considering his age, how quickly he has regressed and his current level of production, there's pretty much no way anyone is giving much for him. The guess is he's stuck in Chicago -- and, for the record, Soriano did say he was happy in Chicago and wanted to win there. (Chicago Sun-Times)

BEDARD'S RETURN DELAYED: Erik Bedard's return from injury has hit a snag, and he'll be pushed back. He's likely going to need a simulated game before thinking about a rehab assignment. This is big news, because we're approaching the trade deadline and a healthy Bedard was likely to be a pretty solid trading chip for the Mariners. He still might go, but his injury history will be a sticking point for potential suitors. (Seattle Times)

BLYLEVEN ON Twins: Bert Blyleven will be enshrined in Cooperstown this weekend, as a new member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. MLB.com has a lengthy story in which Blyleven reflects on his time with the Twins. One thing that jumped out at me is how Blyleven was drafted out of high school and promoted to the majors after just 21 starts and at the age of 19. If that happened nowadays, how much would we have to hear about the Twins "rushing" him to the bigs? Just something to think about.

IKE'S SEASON STILL IN QUESTION: Earlier Tuesday, a story about Ike Davis saying he feared he was done for the 2011 season broke, but then later Tuesday he changed his tone a bit. There's still a question on if he'll be able to get his ankle healed and make it back on the field, but Davis wasn't ready to rule anything out: "I'm not throwing the towel in," he said (ESPN New York). "I'm going to do everything I can to get healthy. And if I don't, I can't really do anything. My body is just not right. I'm working hard and I want to get back on the field."

ANOTHER RIPKEN: Cal Ripken Jr.'s son, Ryan Ripken, is going to play in the Under Armour All America Baseball Game at Wrigley Field next month. The young Ripken hit .353 as a junior this season and the first baseman is fielding scholarship offers from several colleges. Fortunately, Cal is not pushing his son to baseball, saying he just wants Ryan to do whatever makes him happy (Associated Press).

HOMETOWN DISCOUNT: Padres closer Heath Bell is one of the biggest names being thrown around in trade talk, but he's actually willing to take a "hometown discount" to stay in San Diego. The problem is, he's not likely to have that choice. The Padres are in rebuilding mode, and he's their most attractive trading chip. (Sports Radio Interviews)

TEAM FOR SALE: The Dodgers aren't the only team in financial danger out west, as the Padres' Triple-A affiliate will be put up for sale if plans for a new stadium aren't finalized soon. There were plans for a 9,000-seat stadium in Escondido, but the funding for the stadium is now unavailable in the new state budget. Padres CEO Jeff Moorad said he is still holding out hope that things get worked out before the end of the year. (SignonSanDiego.com)

WANG BACK SOON: Nationals starting pitcher Chien-Ming Wang is scheduled to make one more Triple-A start before joining the majors (Adam Kilgore via Twitter). For more on Wang's return to the majors, check out my short article from this past weekend.

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

Posted on: July 18, 2011 2:05 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 2:14 pm
 

Trade Deadline Primer: AL West

By Eye on Baseball Team

Baseball's trade deadline is just 13 days away. The rumor mill is certainly spinning, but we've only really seen one big move -- the Brewers acquiring Francisco Rodriguez. In the upcoming days we'll take a glance around baseball and sort out what we can expect to see from each major-league team. First up, the AL West, a division that saw several deadline deals last season, including an intradivisional Cliff Lee deal (though that happened in early July). It doesn't appear the landscape is ripe for another blockbuster like that, but let's dive in.

Texas Rangers
Status: Buyers
Upgrade needed: Pitching, both starting and relief.
Possible matches: Padres, Marlins, Nationals, A's, Mariners
Notes: If the Rangers continue to win at this pace and create big separation in the AL West -- they're currently up four games and have won 11 in a row -- they won't feel the need to make a big splash. They have reportedly talked to the Marlins about pitching, with Anibal Sanchez, Ricky Nolasco and Leo Nunez as possibilities (Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports). Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports, however, that the Marlins aren't going to move Nolasco or Sanchez. Evan Grant of Rangers Blog reports the Rangers are interested in Heath Bell, Mike Adams, Andrew Bailey and Brandon League -- though Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle says the A's would have to be overwhelmed to move Bailey, since he's under team control until 2014. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports also has the Rangers in on Bell, Adams, Bailey and throws in Tyler Clippard of the Nationals. Buster Olney of ESPN says the Rangers are the "leaders" in the Bell/Adams sweepstakes. I'd expect the Rangers to do whatever it takes, within reason, to get to the World Series again.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Status: Frugal buyers
Upgrade needed: Could use more pitching and another bat.
Possible matches: They'd have to shed payroll first, so none at this point.
Notes: Thanks to several high-priced acquisitions in recent memory (Vernon Wells, c'mon down!) the word is the Angels don't want to increase the payroll -- even though general manager Tony Reagins denies that assertation, there's evidence to suggest it. So, while they'd probably like to upgrade several areas -- coincidentally, an upgrade over Wells would be nice -- there won't be much flexibility. Expect the Angels to make minor trades at the absolute maximum. UPDATE: Rosenthal reports Aramis Ramirez is on the Angels' wish list, but that Ramirez still has no intention of waving his no-trade clause for anyone -- at least until after July 31. This is interesting on several levels. Going after Ramirez would completely contradict the notion that the Angels aren't adding payroll. Not only is Ramirez making a pretty penny this season, but a trade would cause a $16 million option for next season to vest. Also, Ramirez's insistence on not leaving starts to make you wonder if he knows the Cubs will pick up his option after the season.

Seattle Mariners
Status: In limbo, but probably sellers.
Players available: Doug Fister, Jason Vargas, Erik Bedard, Brandon League.
Notes: We can't really be sure how things stand just yet. The Mariners were all set to be buyers and were reportedly interested in upgrading the offense, for example. But they've now lost nine in a row and -- teamed with the Rangers' winning streak -- that has buried them. I can't see a reason to move Felix Hernandez, and the Mariners won't, but some are sure to speculate about him. Just take those "rumors" with a grain of salt. All-Star reliever Brandon League could fetch a decent return and, when the Mariners decide to start selling, Bedard seems like a name that could be involved in any trade talks. Knobler also reports that Vargas and Fister are available -- and points out Hernandez and Michael Pineda are not.

Oakland Athletics
Status: Sellers
Players available: Josh Willingham, Coco Crisp, David DeJesus, Conor Jackson and Michael Wuertz. Probably several more, too.
Possible matches: Pretty much any buyer.
Notes: You have to figure at least three of the above players are shipped somewhere. Things will probably go down to the wire, as none are huge difference makers and will probably be last resorts on July 31. Willingham could go sooner, as he's being dangled, it's just that not many teams are overly excited about him. The Pirates are said to be in on him, but could be setting their sights higher on Hunter Pence.

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

Posted on: July 6, 2011 10:02 am
Edited on: July 6, 2011 3:54 pm
 

Pepper: Harper was 'bored' in Class A



What is the latest with Jon Lester? What will the Yankees get out of the return of Phil Hughes? Tony Lee of NESN.com joins Lauren Shehadi to answer those questions and more.

By Evan Brunell


BORED: Bryce Harper admitted he was "bored" in Class A in a CSN Washington interview, as the Washington Post recaps. The 2010 No. 1 pick said he had developed bad habits over his last 20 games with Hagerstown. Those 20 games represent 25 percent of Hagerstown's entire season.

“Those last 20 games, I was really, you know, really not too focused,” Harper said. “You know, I was wanting to get out of there, doing things that I shouldn’t have been doing. And once I got [to Harrisburg Monday night], baseball was fun again. It was a lot of fun being out here, being in this kind of crowd, this type of atmosphere. You know, that’s what you live for.”

Harper hit .318/.423/.554 in 72 games for Hagerstown before the promotion and had 14 home runs. On one hand, it's understandable that Harper got bored with the level as the 18-year-old really didn't have much left to prove. One could also argue the Nationals shouldn't have left him in Hagerstown so long. Even a high-Class A promotion could have sparked Harper's interest. On the other hand, it's a sobering revelation that Harper fell into bad habits because he was bored. Again, he's only 18 and was playing in Class A, so no sweeping proclamations should be made here that would follow Harper for the rest of his career. But unless he matures in this area he could face sticky situations in the future. What if Harper, expected to be a perennial MVP candidate in Washington, gets bored after his second MVP award, falling into bad habits and tailing off? What if the Nationals aren't contenders? Will this be Zack Greinke all over again?

Harper did say that he won't pressure Washington for a promotion to the majors, but he also didn't publicly lobby for a promotion out of Class A and instead got bored over his last 20 games. The outfielder has said in the past that he hopes to reach the majors by the end of the year, but GM Mike Rizzo has already flatly ruled out any big-league promotion.

“I’m gonna let them make that decision,” Harper said. “I’m not gonna force the issue or anything. I’m just gonna go out and I’m gonna play my game like I can. ... I’m here right now, and we’re trying to win a championship here. That’s what I want to do.” (Washington Post)

HUGHES IS BACK: Phil Hughes is finally back and will start for New York on Wednesday. After a mysterious loss of velocity that saw him placed on the disabled list after just three starts on the season, Hughes' velocity has returned and he's ready to move on. "It's not like I'm towards the end of my career; I knew I have a few good years left in me," Hughes said. "I figured it didn't just go away, that something had to be up. That's why I went and got it checked out. And ever since I took that rest and the cortisone, it's been a different story." Hughes will be facing Cleveland and Justin Masterson at 7:05 p.m. (New York Daily News)

BURGLAR PASSES ON TICKETS
: A car burglar stole an Apple iPod in a town outside of Chicago. There were also two tickets to a Cubs game in the car, but the burglar passed. Ladies and gentlemen, your Chicago Cubs! (Chicago Tribune)

END OF SEASON FOR CUBS
: The Cubs better just pack it in, right? That's what Gordon Wittenmyer writes, noting that no club has ever come back from 16 games below .500 to eventually reach October. The Cubbies are now at 17 games under. (Chicago Sun-Times)

TICKETS RISING: As Derek Jeter chases hit No. 3,000, Yankees tickets on the resale market have spiked. On June 29, you could have gotten a July 9th ticket for an average price of $117. Now, it's all the way up to $188. (BizofBaseball.com)

SOX ON THE HUNT: In a TV interview with NESN, Theo Epstein admitted that the Red Sox were eyeing trading for a "complementary" position player (likely a right-handed backup outfielder), feeling that the pitching depth is strong enough, as WEEI transcribes. Epstein also notes that Lackey is running out of time to turn his season around, and his rotation spot would be in danger if he continues to pitch poorly. (WEEI)

DELAYING PINEDA: The Mariners are trying to figure out a way to delay Michael Pineda's second-half debut to keep his workload light, but it all depends on whether he gets elected to the All-Star Game. Teammate Felix Hernandez pitches Sunday, so is ineligible to play in the All-Star Game. If Pineda is named as Hernandez's replacement, he will likely not pitch until June 19 in Toronto, which would be his 10th day of inactivity, All-Star Game excluded. (Seattle Times)

BEDARD CLOSE: The Mariners expect to have Erik Bedard back shortly after the All-Star break. Bedard is having a fine comeback season but just landed on the 15-day DL. While the M's haven't set their rotation in stone, it's looking like Bedard will be healthy enough to return during the Texas series that begins the second half of the season.

BATTERED: Brian Matusz was one of the Orioles' best pitchers last year. This year? After missing the start of the season with an injury, he was rocked to the tune of a 8.77 ERA in six starts, earning a demotion to Triple-A. Alas, his first start down there went just 5 2/3 innings, coughing up four runs. (Baltimore Sun)

GARLAND DONE: The end of the season for Jon Garland is here, as he will undergo shoulder surgery with an expected recovery time of six months. That means the impending free agent has an outside shot at breaking camp next season. (Los Angeles Times)

ADVICE, PLEASE: For Toronto's minor leaguers in Lance Durham and K.C. Hobson, their travails through the minor leagues are affected by the fact they are the son of a major leaguer (Leon and Butch, respectively). These players lean on their dads for advice as they fight to reach the majors. (Slam! Sports)

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