Tag:Evan Brunell
Posted on: July 29, 2011 11:06 am
Edited on: July 29, 2011 3:58 pm
 

Pepper: Gomes adjusting to Nats after deal

Gomes

By Evan Brunell

TRADE IMPLICATIONS: It's never easy to get traded, and Jonny Gomes is still adjusting to life in Washington.

Unfortunately, his first game ended hitless with a hit by pitch, grounding into a bases-loaded double play in the third, then striking out with runners on the corners in the seventh inning.

“You can’t help but kind of jump into an interview, if you will,” Gomes said. “It’s everyone’s first time seeing you and whatnot. I’ve got a few years in now. I’m a little older. I’m definitely not nervous by any means. But there’s still some sea legs. I can’t remember the last time I grounded into a double play with the bases loaded, maybe ever. I had to go back in the archives to find that. So I’m a little bit out of my element, things like that. But I felt good at the plate.”

Gomes admitted that staying in the National League is going a long way toward getting used to his new surroundings.

“It’s not like they’re going to pitch me different because I’m in a different uniform,” Gomes said. “There’s certain strategies with guys who hit behind you, who hit in front of you, guys who like to run, guys who don’t like to run – just kind of situational ball inside the clubhouse that I’ll have to adjust to. That just comes with days of service to this team.” (Washington Post)

RASMUS FALLOUT: Why didn't the White Sox simply trade for Colby Rasmus themselves, Phil Rogers reports. His conclusion? The White Sox want to keep the manager's seat available for Tony La Russa, as there's a distinct possibility he could rejoin the ChiSox after the year. (Chicago Tribune)

NEW REP IN TORONTO: For Rasmus' part, he just wants to move on and close the St. Louis chapter of his career. Who can blame him? Rasmus is looking to play his game in Toronto, free of distractions. Free from a manager the center fielder feels never cared for Rasmus. Free from constant speculation about his father's involvement in his career. (Sportsnet.ca)

MAN ON THE MOVE: Why does Edwin Jackson keep getting traded? It's simple: Jackson is a good enough pitcher to be in demand by many teams, but has a salary that has continually risen the last few years. (Big League Stew)

MORE CONINE: After Hanley Ramirez called Mr. Marlin Jeff Conine a "chicken," he then took to the Twitter waves to speak more on the subject, and this looks PR-scripted. "I'm sorry that Mr. Conine feels that way, and I admire him for all that he accomplished in his career. Proud to leave my skin on the field and the sweat on my uniform every night for my team, as we pursue our winning goals. End of story, we have games to win!" (Twitter link)

NO HITTING: Adam Dunn never hits in the offseason, choosing to pick up a bat in spring training and find his swing then. It's always worked, but it hasn't in Chicago. The good news is that Dunn's new home near Houston is close to a place for him to swing the bat in the offseason, and he may elect to change his routine this winter. (Chicago Sun-Times)

SKIPPING ZITO: Barry Zito was rocked so badly in his last start that he may have lost his opportunity to make his next start -- and perhaps has lost his spot in the rotation. (San Francisco Chronicle)

UNPOPULAR: Hideki Irabu was never a popular Yankee, but he didn't have many fans in the Japanese media, either. A New York Times story details how Irabu got a frosty reception from his countrymates in his first Yankees news conference. (New York Times)

TIME FOR A FIVE-MAN: Jake Peavy is ready for a five-man rotation with the departure of Edwin Jackson. The only drawback is that Peavy has essentially been a five-inning pitcher all season and won't be fully healthy until next year. This is something to watch. (Chicago Sun-Times)

TO PAY OR NOT TO PAY: It's always going to be better as a big-market team. That's just a fact. But parity rules the day in 2011, and payroll space isn't why. It's because most teams are geared to contend this year than usual. (BizofBaseball.com)

Mets DEBUT: New Mets prospect Zack Wheeler will draw his first start on Monday, in Class A Port St. Lucie. Wheeler was dealt for Carlos Beltran. (Zack Wheeler Twitter)

IRREGULAR: Kenley Jansen was hospitalized after Tuesday night's game, but was released a day later after a cardio conversion put his heartbeat back in place. (MLB.com)

Rays TRADE: Joe Maddon doesn't want his team to make any trades, the manager saying he likes the combination he's got. But there's a reason he's manager, not GM. You can bet on Tampa making some moves before the weekend is out. (St. Petersburg Times)

BEST CHICAGO GM: Three GMs are in action out in Chicago this weekend: the White Sox's Kenny Williams, the Cubs' Jim Hendry and football's Jerry Angelo, leader of the Bears. Which GM inspires the most confidence to get things done? No surprise, it's Williams, who has a history of not waiting around to make his move. (Chicago Tribune)

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Posted on: July 28, 2011 1:28 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Mauer power on display

Mauer

By Evan Brunell


Joe Mauer, Twins: The first home run of the season for Joe Mauer came Wednesday night in the first inning. With two out, he launched a solo home run to right field, a 383-footer. He had a 2-for-4 night with three runs, two RBI and a walk. Now hitting .288/.357/.350, Mauer is heating up, and has been for some time. With this new power, he might be ready to carry Minnesota to a shocking first-place finish. (At six games back, it really might happen.)

Zack Greinke, Brewers: Greinke's appeared in the 3 Down space more than once this season, but we always talked about his astounding strikeout-to-walk rate, now at an impressive 123-21, and said that his ERA -- which was 5.56 four starts ago -- would have to drop. It has, all the way to 4.50, as he's pitched 25 2/3 innings over those starts, giving up four unearned runs and none on Wednesday to the Cubs.

Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox: Have you noticed what Ellsbury's up to lately? He's hit eight home runs in his last 17 games and now has 17 on the year, tying him with Adrian Gonzalez for second most on the team. The leader? David Ortiz, who banged his 20th on the night, adding Boston's first grand slam of the year. Ellsbury scored three, drove in two and was 3-for-4 with a walk, pushing his line to .325/.383/.528 on the year. He also stole his 29th stolen base, which is rather low for him but with the added power, the Sox don't mind. Boston's never had a 25 HR/25 SB player, by the way.


James Shields, Rays: We're going to spend this edition of 3 Down yelling at pitchers who made poor starts. Let's kick things off with Shields, who somehow gave up 10 earned runs to the Athletics -- yes, the Oakland Athletics -- in four innings, with his ERA going from 2.53 to 3.03. The A's scored one in the third but it all exploded in the fourth with nine scored, with Hideki Matsui's three-run home run the biggest blow. He walked and struck out two apiece and will now attempt to banish this game from his mind as he tries to stay in the AL Cy Young race.

Bronson Arroyo, Reds: Arroyo hasn't been doing great lately, accentuating Cincinnati's need for starting pitchers that much more acute. Arroyo, usually as steady as they come for over 200 innings and an average ERA of 4.00, has the ERA all the way up to 5.58 after allowing five runs (one unearned) in six innings. Arroyo has been shockingly consistent as to giving up four or five runs over six innings, but he's given up an inordinate amount of home runs this season, giving up his 30th on Wednesday to Lucas Duda. He's usually good for 30 an entire season.

Colby Lewis, Rangers: Lewis wasn't bad like Shields, but he wasn't great either. He danced around danger, giving up eight hits and two walks, allowing four earned runs. He gave up two homers, one each to Mauer and Michael Cuddyer. Lewis has actually been trying to come back from a very up-and-down season, his ERA resting at 5.70 after April, driving it down to 3.48 over the next month, then getting rocked in two starts to send it way back up to 4.97.  And on it went, him working it down to 3.93, before this latest outing has him an even 4.00.

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Posted on: July 28, 2011 12:14 am
Edited on: July 28, 2011 1:36 am
 

Span-Storen rumor highlights Wednesday buzz

By Evan Brunell

A possible trade between the Twins and Nationals has surfaced on the rumor mill in recent hours, with CBSSports.com's Scott Miller reporting that Washington is zeroing in on Denard Span to be its center fielder of the future, while the Twins target closer Drew Storen in a possible multi-player trade.

It's possible that shortstop Ian Desmond and catcher Wilson Ramos could be part of a deal, as they did not play on Wednesday, fueling speculation that the two could be part of a trade for Rays' center fielder B.J. Upton, who also rode the pine Wednesday.

Of course, the Twins have Joe Mauer at catcher, so it's doubtful they're looking to re-acquire Ramos even if they're regretting the deal that sent him to the Nats for Matt Capps last season, who recently lost his closer's job. But Desmond? The Twins do need infield help, but Alexi Casilla and Tsuyoshi Nishioka crowd the middle infield spots, while Danny Valencia is still starting regularly at third, even if he should hit the bench against right-handers. All this is probably more smoke than it is fire.

What clearly is something, though, is the Span-Storen deals. The Twins need to stabilize their bullpen, both for 2011 and in the future, and adding a young reliever like Storen would go a long way toward locking the ninth inning down for years. We'll find out by Sunday if there's any truth to these rumors.

Here are some other trade rumors to whet your appetite:
There is a live trade deadline chat this Sunday, starting at 2 p.m. Write it into your calendar now!

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Posted on: July 27, 2011 10:11 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 1:25 am
 

Brewers' Weeks leaves with ankle injury

WeeksBy Evan Brunell

Rickie Weeks left the Brewers game in the top of the second inning with an ankle injury, sending bolts of fear into the front office as to how they could possibly replace Weeks as he will hit the disabled list.

"You win a good game and you get bad news," manager Ron Roenike told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Losing Rickie really hurts. What we do offensively, he's a huge part of that."


As Tom Haudricourt of the reported on Twitter, Weeks hit a groundball and took off for first. He "stretched hard with his leg to hit the [first-base] bag before the throw got there and turned his ankle on the base and went tumbling."

Brewers owner Mark Attanasio would later report that MRIs were negative on Weeks, but the team is still looking for damage and have sent Weeks to a hospital over concern he strained a ligament.

"It's just one of those where you have to try to run through the bag, and he got on the unfortunate side," outfielder Nyjer Morgan told the Journal-Sentinel. "It's a tough injury for our team and hopefully we can get him back soon.

"You've just got to handle the adversity; that's all it is. We've got to come together, be a solid, cohesive unit and things should work out."

Already having to deal with no offense or defense out of third base and shortstop, losing Weeks loss opens up second as a position of need -- even if it's a minimum 15-day stay. These days, backup infielder Craig Counsell is a shadow of his former self, hitting .159/.254/.196 in what figures to be his final season. He's not an option.

Milwaukee should have already been on the hunt for someone who can improve the team at short and third, but the Brew Crew really needs to strike for someone who can play all over the infield. Jamey Carroll of the Dodgers makes sense, as he's been linked to many teams thanks to his versatility as well as .291/.363/.358 line in 340 plate appearances.

Of course, keep in mind that other teams will attempt to take advantage of Milwaukee's situation and ask for more in return to give up a middle infielder, which could handcuff GM Doug Melvin. Right now, the best thing for Milwaukee to do is invest in rosary beads and direct good thoughts to Weeks.

There is a live trade deadline chat this Sunday, starting at 2 p.m. Write it into your calendar now!

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

Posted on: July 27, 2011 8:48 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 1:25 am
 

Holliday deal part of best trade deadline deals

By Evan Brunell

As the trade deadline kicks into gear, teams who consider themselves buyers -- much like the Cardinals in acquiring Edwin Jackson and relievers, but sending away young center fielder Colby Rasmus -- are hoping that years from now, those teams will land on articles detailing moves that worked out at the trade deadline.

This is one such article looking back at the three previous years and the deadline deals that occurred. Which of these deals ended up being fantastic ones for teams? Looking strictly at those who were "buyers" -- that is, they went after the best player in the deal or made a trade clearly geared toward winning, let's take a look at the top five in reverse order.

Sanchez5. FREDDY GOT FINGERED

July 29, 2009: Pirates trade 2B Freddy Sanchez to Giants for minor league RHP Tim Alderson.

The Giants were seven games out of first place, but leading the wild card when they added second baseman Freddy Sanchez from Pittsburgh. Sanchez was supposed help settle the Giants' offense en route to a playoff berth. "A kid that has distinguished himself as an All-Star three out of the last four years and a batting champ within that time frame," GM Brian Sabean told the Associated Press at the time of the trade. The timing's great."

Unfortunately for Sabean, Sanchez has neither been an All-Star or batting champion since, but this trade still comes away as a win. That's because Sanchez wasn't acquired with just 2009 in mind, as he limped to the finish line with his new team that season. Battling a leg injury, Sanchez appeared in only 25 games, hitting .284/.295/.324. But in 2010, Sanchez hit .292/.342/.397 as an important part of the team, which would eventually win the World Series that October.

This deal was actually considered a loss for San Francisco at the time, as they coughed up Tim Alderson, then ranked the No. 4 prospect in the Giants organization by Baseball America. But declining velocity took all the luster off of the lefty, who is 22 years old and attempting to reinvent himself as a reliever for Double-A and won't reach the majors unless something changes.

4. BACK TO ATLANTA

July 31, 2009: Red Sox trade 1B Adam LaRoche to Braves for 1B Casey Kotchman.

LaRocheMark Teixeira's replacement in Casey Kotchman wasn't bearing fruit, so the Braves gave up and shipped Kotchman north for Adam LaRoche, who came up with Atlanta and spent three years with the team before being dealt to Pittsburgh in the offseason prior to 2007. At just one game over .500, the Braves were looking for an offensive punch that could get them into the wild card and division mix.

It worked, as the Braves finished the season 10 games over .500, but they still fell short of the playoffs, despite LaRoche's patented second-half surge aiding the team with 12 home runs in 242 plate appearances, hitting .325/.401/.557. That's fantastic production with a cost in only Kotchman, who was traded after the season to Seattle for Bill Hall and hit .217/.280/.336 in full-time duty. Kotchman has rebounded this season in Tampa Bay with a .328 batting average as the club's starting first baseman, but Atlanta's happy with rookie first baseman Freddie Freeman.

3. IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA

July 29, 2009: Indians trade LHP Cliff Lee and OF Ben Francisco to Phillies for minor league RHP Jason Knapp, RHP Carlos Carrasco, SS Jason Donald and C Lou Marson.

LeeThis ended up being a fantastic deal for the Phillies. While the players Philadelphia coughed up have either not yet started their major-league careers or have just started -- making full evaluation of the deal impossible -- we can try. Let's go in order, starting with Knapp. What made him so highly regarded is obvious when he steps on a mound, but that's not often. He briefly pitched for the Indians following the trade, then checked in with just 28 2/3 innings all of last season and has yet to pitch this year after undergoing his second major shoulder surgery since being acquired. He could still end up an ace, but it doesn't look good.

Carrasco has developed into a solid middle-rotation starter for Cleveland. That's all well and good but Philly doesn't lack for prospects and while Carrasco has value, he's not going to make the deal worth it all by himself. It'll be up to Donald and Marson. Donald hit .253/.312/.378 in 325 plate appearances for the Indians last season and is the man with the lone hit in Armando Galarraga's not-perfect game. He's toiling in the minors and isn't much more than a backup infielder, while Marson isn't much more than a backup catcher, hitting .208/.279/.296 in 424 PA over the last two seasons in that capacity.

So the Phillies benefit by giving up a package that, so far, isn't much for an ace like Lee. The left-hander would go on to post a 3.39 ERA in 79 1/2 innings for Philadelphia, giving the club an ace it desperately needed to defend their 2008 World Series title. Philly didn't do that against the Yankees (although Lee did win the only two games Philadelphia came away with in the series), but they did capture a second straight NL pennant and established Philadelphia as a big-market team that would be around for a while.

And of course, while Lee's stay in Philadelphia would be brief as he was moved to Seattle in the offseason to make way for Roy Halladay, Lee's time in Philly was so good that he returned to town as a free agent, taking less years to get back in the City of Brotherly Love. (And we haven't even mentioned Francisco, who has continued his fine career as a fourth outfielder in Philly, although he stumbled this season when handed more playing time.)

2. MANNYWOOD

RamirezJuly 31, 2008: Red Sox trade LF Manny Ramirez to Dodgers, with 3B Andy LaRoche and minor league RHP Bryan Morris going to the Pirates in a three-team trade.


Manny Ramirez wore his welcome out in Boston so badly, the Red Sox would have given anything to get rid of ManRam. They ended up walking away with Jason Bay in a three-team deal, sending Ramirez to Los Angeles. (The full details: Morris and LaRoche to the Pirates along with Boston's RHP Craig Hansen and OF Brandon Moss.) The Red Sox ended up pleased with their investment, giving up essentially nothing. But the Dodgers had the bigger coup, as LaRoche was a colossal bust in Pittsburgh and is now in the farm system of Oakland. Morris is now 24 and has an outside chance of making the majors.

But Manny was all the rage in Los Angeles for the rest of the year back in 2008, hitting an unconscionable .396/.489/.743 with 17 home runs in 53 games. Even Jose Bautista can only aspire to these levels. Ramirez took a .500 team to the division title and boasted a .520 batting average in October as the Dodgers fell to the Phillies, who would eventually win the World Series. He hit well enough in 2009 for Los Angeles at .290/.418/.531 in 431 PA, but was suspended 50 games for violating baseball's drug program. A year later, Ramirez was no longer the toast of town and quickly forced his way out to the White Sox. Still, Ramirez helped revive the Dodgers, if only for a brief period of time before Frank McCourt would do Manny one better in demoralizing Dodger fans.

1. A HOLLIDAY IN ST. LOUIS

HollidayJuly 24, 2009: Athletics trade LF Matt Holliday to Cardinals for minor league 3B Brett Wallace, OF Shane Patterson and RHP Clayton Mortensen.

This is the fourth 2009 deal on this list. It was certainly a good time to be a buyer back then, as the Cardinals well know. They picked up a slugger for ... well, nothing special. Holliday had been acquired from the Rockies in the offseason by Oakland, who offered up (gulp) Carlos Gonzalez, Huston Street and Greg Smith. They didn't get anywhere close the return for Holliday after he failed to produce in Oakland's cavernous stadium. Wallace was supposed to be a good hitting prospect -- his luster had yet to dim. But it did in the next two years, with Wallace being flipped to Toronto after the season, the Jays then immediately sending him to Houston. Opening the year as the starting first baseman for Houston, Wallace has hit .275/.352/.382 and just lost his starting spot.

Mortensen was a fleeting -- and failing -- pitcher in Oakland before being traded for next to nothing to Colorado and has been a solid swingman this season but is currently in Triple-A. Peterson was just promoted to Triple-A and has a shot to develop into ... well, something. But that's a very weak return for a man who has paired with Albert Pujols for a devastating 3-4 punch. He was so overjoyed to be back in the NL that he hit .352 the rest of the way, and is at .320/.400/.549 after inking a contract extension. That's even better than his Colorado numbers, so this was a masterstroke for St. Louis. Odd to say that on a day where the Cardinals did the opposite of a masterstroke by dealing Colby Rasmus to Toronto.

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Posted on: July 27, 2011 6:55 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2011 6:58 pm
 

Ramirez upset with Conine, calls him 'chicken'

Ramirez

By Evan Brunell

Hanley Ramirez fired back at "Mr. Marlin" Jeff Conine, who spent eight years with Florida in a 17-season career before taking a job as special assistant in the Marlins' front office. Conine made remarks last week on the radio about how he would trade Ramirez if it were up to him. Conine added that Ramirez frustrates him on a nightly basis, due to what has become a well-chronicled history of Ramirez not trying as hard as he can to complete a play.

"If he's got a problem, just come over and talk to me like a man," Ramirez told the Miami Herald. "Don't be a chicken, talking on the [radio], because whatever you say is going to stay out there."

Ramirez added that he's surprised at the timing of the remarks, which coincided with the Marlins reversing their skid and posting a 18-13 record under octogenarian Jack McKeon, the new manager. Ramirez himself has finally snapped out of a season-long slump that had him hitting .200/.298/.295 on the morning of June 21, a far cry from the dominating force the 27-year-old had fashioned himself to. Since then, Han-Ram is at .327/.413/.545 with six home runs in 126 plate appearances, swiping six bases as well.

"Why now?" The shortstop questioned, saying he was friendly with Conine prior to the comments. "There are a lot of worse guys than me out there. But nobody knows because nobody pays attention. When I'm on the field, I'm just being me. I'm playing my game. It's how I've got to play. Nobody's going to change me. What I get paid for is to win, respect each other, respect the organization. That's what I do."

Ramirez, who won the Rookie of the Year Award back in 2006, plus a batting title and second-place MVP finish in 2009, has his name littered among Florida's all-time leaderboards, showing up more impressively than Conine has. Ramirez is currently second all time in franchise history in batting average (.307) with Conine seventh at .290. He's fourth in Marlins history in OPS with a .889 mark, Conine placing 10th. Runs scored? Ramirez is second with 615, just behind Luis Castillo's 675 while Conine is sixth. Doubles, triples, home runs ... all the same story: Ramirez ranks near the top, Conine's back in the pack -- except for RBI, where Conine holds a 120-run lead.

In hits, Ramirez, who stated a desire to go into the Hall of Fame as a Marlin, just passed Conine, with 1,010 career hits as a Marlin. Conine has 1,005.

"I think he wants to be Mr. Marlin forever," Ramirez said of Conine. "It won't happen. I'm coming, baby. I think I'm going to be Mr. Marlin. That's my goal now. I wasn't thinking about that [before Conine's comments]."

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Posted on: July 26, 2011 4:50 pm
 

On Deck: Seattle primed for 17th straight loss

On Deck

By Evan Brunell


Follow all games live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.

MarinersCHASE FOR 17: The Mariners will go for their 17th straight loss on Tuesday, running up against the powerful Yankees and ace CC Sabathia. That's a tall task for the Mariners, who will offer up Doug Fister. Fister isn't exactly a terrible pitcher, but he's no Sabathia. Fister's success this season is dependent on a below-average walk rate and limiting home runs, which isn't exactly hard to do in his home park, where he's allowed two of his six homers on the season. By the way, fun fact on the 16 straight losses by Seattle: Back in 2001, the Mariners won 116 games, and their 16th loss of the year was on June 18. Mariners vs. Yankees, 7:05 p.m. ET

KarstensHansonBEST MATCHUP: Yep, your good old Pirates are part of the best matchup, which will pit Jeff Karstens and his surprising 2.28 ERA against the Braves' fireballer Tommy Hanson. Hanson has a 3.0 ERA and is really the better pitcher to have both this year and in the long run because of his excellent peripherals, but Karstens has registered the second-lowest ERA in the NL. He's done so by taking a minuscule 4.2 walk percentage, fourth lowest in all of baseball. And these days, every win is paramount in Pittsburgh as it will put more and more pressure on the front office to make a move to improve the club, which everyone and their mother agrees is necessary. The Pirates are tied for first with the Cardinals, a mere half-game up on the Brew Crew. Atlanta, meanwhile, has fallen to six games behind Philadelphia and at this point have to be more concerned with ensuring their grip on the wild-card race Pirates vs. Braves, 7:10 p.m. ET

VerlanderCY YOUNG SHOWCASE: The Tigers are one game ahead Cleveland for first place, and what better pitcher to keep Detroit in first than Justin Verlander? Seemingly the leader for the AL Cy Young Award, Verlander has a 2.24 ERA in 165 innings, punching out 162. While he's been untouchable much of the year, one of his worst starts of the season came on Jul 15, allowing five runs in six innings. The White Sox, meanwhile, are caught between deciding to go for it or rebuild. At just 3 1/2 out, the series outcome could put a stamp on Chicago's future. It already took down Detroit on Monday, so can be assured of a series win Tuesday as the ChiSox offer up Jake Peavy, a one-time Cy Young Award winner who is now struggling to stay healthy and contribute in the AL. Tigers vs. White Sox, 8:10 p.m. ET

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Posted on: July 25, 2011 12:44 pm
Edited on: July 31, 2011 2:00 pm
 

Live trade deadline chat on Sunday

By Evan Brunell

Join us on this upcoming Sunday for a live trade deadline chat starting at 2 p.m.! Eye on Baseball will be here to talk about all things related to the deadline, plus you'll be updated on the latest breaking news possible. The deadline concludes at 4 p.m. ET.



For all Eye On Baseball trade deadline posts, click here.


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