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Tag:Twins
Posted on: August 3, 2010 1:45 am
Edited on: August 3, 2010 11:11 am
 

Resolution on Lowell approaching

Mike Lowell has been stuck in purgatory for the last few days after completing a wildly successful rehab outing with the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox.

"Tomorrow should be a good day," Lowell said to ESPN's Gordon Edes, however, after Monday's game. Perhaps, at long last, Lowell will be freed from one of the more ridiculous situations a ballplayer can be asked to go through the whole season.

Lowell will either be released, traded or activated.

The latter option was not even close to being an option until Monday night, once first baseman Kevin Youkilis left the game with a jammed finger. He's undergoing an MRI on Wednesday after experiencing swelling. A DL trip is not out of the realm of possibility, in which Lowell would suddenly find himself available to play first base.

That ship may have sailed, however, as its apparent both sides are absolutely sick of each other.

Lowell is a possibility to be traded after clearing trade waivers, but it's unknown if he has already been placed on said waivers or cleared. However, if he has, he could be traded to a team fairly quickly. The Red Sox reportedly had engaged a few teams in talks on Lowell but could not consummate anything by the time the deadline rolled around.

The most likely outcome has Lowell being released, although one may question why it took Boston a couple extra days to make that move.

Either way, the four teams that figure to be most interested in Lowell are the Marlins, Phillies, Twins and Yankees.

The Marlins would represent a homecoming for Lowell, who could step seamlessly into the vacancy that Jorge Cantu left behind when dealt to the Rangers. He could also go back to his roots as Yankee, serving as Lance Berkman's platoon partner at DH and backing up Alex Rodriguez, a position the Yankees are trying to fill.

The Twins have long been connected to Lowell as well, and he would provide a boost to the team's playoff hopes. The Phillies have Chase Utley out for an extended period and no starting third baseman with Placido Polanco moving to the keystone position. Lowell could supplant Greg Dobbs at the position. With Ryan Howard's latest injury and possible trip to the DL, Lowell might become even more coveted by Philly.

Either way, Lowell's tenure in a Red Sox uniform seems to finally and mercifully be coming to an end.

It's only a shame that one of the best third basemen in Red Sox history with a 2007 World Series MVP award had to end his tenure this way.

-- Evan Brunell

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

Posted on: July 31, 2010 7:11 pm
Edited on: August 3, 2010 4:19 pm
 

Winners/losers of trading deadline

Now that the non-waiver trading deadline is past, it's time to take a look back at the winners and losers. While players aren't done switching teams and plenty more will find new zip codes on their mailing addresses in August via the waiver process, it becomes far harder to pull trades off.

Grades are relative to the team's window of contention, goals at the deadline and outcome -- not to other teams.

Angels: L.A. imported Alberto Callaspo from the Royals to plug the dike that was the third-base gaping hole, then absolutely pilfered Dan Haren away from the Diamondbacks. They promptly lost Joel Pineiro to injury, but do have a greater chance at competing this season, even as the Rangers improved themselves. For 2011 and 2012, they kept themselves right in contention to be division champions. With money coming off the books the next season and two, they should be players in free agency and now can trumpet Haren as a front-line pitcher for free agents to play with. Grade: B+

J.A. Happ Astros: The Astros did well in the idea of trading away Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt to begin the trading process. The return for Oswalt from Philadelphia met with a few raised eyebrows. The team is high on J.A. Happ (pictured, left) even though no one else is. The deal was salvaged by flipping Anthony Gose from Brett Wallace. The Lance Berkman trade was tough to swallow. They traded a face of the franchise to the Yankees, picking up salary along the way for retread prospects. This was a deal strictly about money, not about helping the team -- although it did free up a spot for Wallace. Grade: C+

Athletics: The Billy Beane-led A's did nothing at the deadline, which wasn't the wrong choice. Texas and Los Angeles made too many steps to outpace a team that was going to have a hard time keeping pace anyways. What didn't make sense was their adamant position that they wanted to keep Ben Sheets and not trade him. But whoops -- a torn flexor tendon that knocks Sheets out for about a year and causes $10 million to go down the drain in Oakland happened. Grade: D

Blue Jays: Toronto had to give up intriguing prospects Tim Collins and Tyler Pastornicky to ship out Alex Gonzalez to the Braves, but got back young shortstop Yunel Escobar and pitching depth in Jo-Jo Reyes. Gonzalez was a great flier for the rebuilding Jays rather than the short-term Gonzalez -- There's tons of upside with Yunel. Demerits are assessed by a reportedly high price to trade Jason Frasor, Kevin Gregg or Scott Downs. None of them will help Toronto contend anytime soon, and the fact that Jesus Montero and Casey Kelly were prices for Downs is outrageous. They should have done everything they could to move Frasor, and probably could have gotten nice value for Gregg. The only defensible non-trade is Downs, who probably will be a Type-A free agent. Grade: C+

Braves: The Braves made moves for this year, but severely damaged their long-term chances in the process. Selling Yunel Escobar off for Gonzalez, Collins and Pastornicky was questionable enough, but then turned Collins, fungible reliever Jesse Chavez and outfielder Gregor Blanco. Huh? Grade: C- ... and it's not a D because they did at least improve their chances this year.

Brewers: The Brewers did nothing except try to improve their pitching and determine whether it was time to trade Prince Fielder or not. Fielder is likely a goner in the offseason or next season's trade deadline, but there's nothing wrong with hanging onto him. There wasn't much Milwaukee was in a position to do. Jim Edmonds reportedly didn't want to ship out, and past that they didn't have much in the way of valuable trade chips. Grade: N/A

Cardinals: The Cardinals brought in Jake Westbrook. That was good. They traded Ryan Ludwick. Not so good. There are hints that the Ludwick dealing was financially motivated to keep Albert Pujols in town. That's well and good, but Ludwick-to-Westbrook is largely a lateral move, even factoring in more playing time for Colby Rasmus. Grade: C

Cubs: It's tough to begin a rebuilding process once again, but Ted Lilly was a free agent so there was no overwhelming reason to keep him. Ryan Theriot has become punchless at the plate, and they upgrade with Blake DeWitt from the Dodgers anyways. Kyle Smit and Brett Wallach -- two young, minor-league pitchers -- are decent arms. They tried to deal Derrek Lee, but Lee nixed it with his no-trade clause. Can't penalize GM Jim Hendry for that. Grade: B-

Diamondbacks: The Dan Haren trade was odd, no two ways about it. Yes, Joe Saunders won quite a few games in Los Angeles, but so what? He's a No. 4 starter who has a shot at being a No. 3 by virtue of being in the NL, but that's about it. The prospects acquired were underwhelming, although the expected acquisition of Tyler Skaggs will soothe jilted D-Backs fans somewhat. Snyder was a pure cash dump -- but not indefensible. If the team's not contending, why pay a backup catcher millions? Even without receiving anyone of true value, except perhaps D.J. Carrasco, it was high time for Arizona to move on from Snyder. They won out on Edwin Jackson big time, shedding salary for an underperforming starter and getting a young, cost-controllable starter (Daniel Hudson) along with prospect David Holmberg.

Dodgers: The Dodgers gave up quite a bit for Octavio Dotel, even if Dotel is cost-controllable through 2011 on a team option. That trade may come back to bite them hard, even if they needed Dotel to challenge for the division. The Ted Lilly acquisition was nice, and if you concede that Blake DeWitt was the price for Lilly, then Ryan Theriot wasn't a bad grab either. They definitely put the pieces together to contend, but is it too little, too late? Grade: C+

Giants: San Francisco tried to bring in a bat. They really did. They tried for Adam Dunn, David DeJesus (and if he hadn't gotten hurt for K.C., might be in San Fran right now), Scott Podsednik... but nothing came together. They instead settled for two middle relievers: Ramon Ramirez and Javier Lopez. Giving up John Bowker and Joe Martinez for Lopez is a curious move, even if they have strong outfield depth. Jonathan Sanchez was a popular name in talks for a bat, but S.F. was understandably leery of dealing the lefty. The Ramirez trade cost them an average middle relief prospect. They'll continue mixing-and-matching on offense, and the bullpen is definitely better off for the adds. Grade: B

Jake Westbrook Indians: The Indians wanted to get rid of people they didn't want and had no need for. The millions they saved in shipping Kerry Wood and Austin Kearns off -- even without getting any players of consequence in return -- were worth it. Westbrook (pictured, right) finally was shipped out as well, and while prospect Corey Kluber isn't an exciting name, he's enough of an intriguing player that the Indians clearly came out ahead in this season's trade deadline, which was all about shedding irrelevant pieces. Would have been nice for a rebuilding team to get a good prospect, though. Grade: B

Mariners: The Mariners dealt Cliff Lee to get Justin Smoak and a bevy of prospects. That was a solid deal, even if Smoak has just been demoted to Triple-A. That was it, however. While Seattle is in a different place than most rebuilding clubs because they are contenders just struggling through an awful season (advice to GM Jack Zduriencik: bring in some bats next year for a change). Still, it's surprising they weren't more active. The reason Russ Branyan was acquired and then not flipped is... heck, I don't know. Grade: C

Marlins: The Marlins shipped off Jorge Cantu, who was playing third base. That temporary lack of depth at third hurts, although Chris Coghlan will man the hot corner once he returns from injury. It was nice to see the Marlins bring in Will Ohman to contribute out of the bullpen, however. Florida was in a tough place: a team good enough to contend, but not quite good enough to be true buyers. They essentially held serve here while saving a bit of money and importing Evan Reed from the Cantu trade, who has a chance to develop into a nice arm. Grade: B-

Mets: The Mets did nothing here, even though they would have loved to get rid of Luis Castillo, Oliver Perez and Jeff Francouer. No one was having any of it, though, and New York was adamant in not trading its top prospects. You can argue they should have loosened the purse strings a bit to bring in someone, but there was no one overwhelming that made sense for a team slipping out of the division race. A middle-of-the-rotation starter would have been a lateral move, while only a major hitter could have been considered an upgrade -- and then you're back to having to deal top prospects. One problem: their window of contention is now. Grade: C-

Nationals: The Nationals failed to trade Adam Dunn. There is zero reason why they shouldn't have. Grade: F

Orioles: The Orioles are once again a team with no plan, trading away reliever Will Ohman for a fringe major-league reliever. For a squad headed to one of the worst finishes in team history, why exactly they weren't more aggressive sellers is baffling. Ty Wigginton is still on this team... why? The one saving grace is shipping Miguel Tejada off for Wynn Pelzer, who might turn into quite a relief arm. Grade: D+

Ryan Ludwick Padres: I think this Jed Hoyer guy is going to end up a nice GM. The Miguel Tejada trade was OK -- nothing special, but didn't exactly cost much either and the Padres had a real need for someone with decent pop who can play the infield. The Ryan Ludwick (pictured, right) trade was incredible -- he immediately becomes the team's second-best hitter, trading away no one of consequence. Grade: B+

Phillies: The Phillies gave up J.A. Happ and two far-away prospects for Roy Oswalt, emphatically closing the book on the idiotic idea to trade Cliff Lee in the offseason. It would have been nice if they could have imported a utility player like Ty Wigginton or Willie Bloomquist for the stretch run, as Chase Utley isn't exactly on the verge of returning and the depth on the bench is thin. However, after the initial trade for Lee and later the Oswalt deal, the Phillies are near tapped out on money and prospects. Bottom line: they did what they could. Grade: B+

Pirates: The Bucs were quiet then exploded in a frenzy, acquiring Chris Snyder in a buy-low move that saw them give up absolutely no one of consequence . Ryan Church is a backup outfielder, D.J. Carrasco is a solid middle reliever and not much else and backup infielder Bobby Crosby. If he plays full-time, Snyder has a real chance to reclaim the value that made Arizona sign him to a contract extension in the first place -- which 'Zona will help pay. Pittsburgh then shipped out a lefty reliever best used against just lefties for a swingman in Joe Martinez and a solid outfielder who can give them years of cheap production, even if he never morphs into a starting regular. The Octavio Dotel trade to L.A was sublime , getting a viable starter who could end up a strong reliever and one of the Dodgers' best prospects in Andrew Lambo. Grade: A

Rangers: Boy howdy, was Texas busy. They bit the bullet to bring in Cliff Lee, which instantly made it viable World Series contenders, then continued to supplement with Jorge Cantu and Cristian Guzman. Obviously, the Rangers are going for it this year and it's hard to fault them when they have such a strong team. It hurts to lose Smoak, but there are questions about his long-term success anyways, and first-base is not exactly impossible a void to fill. Cantu and Guzman cost them a few average prospects, ones that can easily be mortgaged for a chance like this to win a ring. Grade: A

Rays: Tampa Bay brought in a reliever with an ERA over 8, and that was it. (Okay, so Chad Qualls has a chance to be a solid reliever for the team.) The team desperately needs a thumper, although Matt Joyce is currently making everyone smile since being recalled from Triple-A. Tampa is in an interesting position: able to take on payroll for a playoff push, but which is slashing payroll to around $60 million next year. Adam Dunn would have been a great fit, but Tampa can't concede future seasons just for one "win-now" year -- that would be irresponsible. Grade: C+

Red Sox: The Red Sox were largely quiet until the very end, when they shipped off Ramon Ramirez to San Francisco for an average middle-relief prospect. This trade was more about opening space for intriguing names at Triple-A. The team then struck for Jarrod Saltalamacchia, long coveted by the team, for an average first-base prospect and intriguing, but raw, Class A arm. They were unable to make anything come together to supplement the major-league roster, but figure to be active in waiver trading. For a team falling out of the race, besieged by injuries, it was probably prudent not to do anything drastic and instead build until next year while integrating its returning players and seeing who pops up in August. Grade: C

Reds: Cincy is in the hunt for the division but may have benefited by seeing the Cardinals trade away Ryan Ludwick. They have Aroldis Chapman presumably coming up to help the bullpen shortly and no overwhelming holes. Making a trade would have smacked of making a deal for deal's sake. It would not be surprising to learn that they shot high with their targets and couldn't make anything come together. They could stand to add a middle reliever, but also have Aaron Harang and Homer Bailey on the recovery trail. Staying pat was probably smart. Grade: B

Rockies: The Rockies couldn't make anything happen despite a team falling out of the race which had a really good shot at the division. They couldn't trade Brad Hawpe with Todd Helton's struggles. When Troy Tulowitzki went on the disabled list two months ago, it was very disappointing that Colorado decided to stand pat and see how the team played without Tulowitzki to determine whether to be buyers or sellers. They were already planning to buy to help the team with Tulowitzki, so it should be no surprise Colorado found itself out of the race. They should have done more. Grade: D

Rick Ankiel Royals: It's not often there are good things to say about the Royals, but there's a time for everything. Kansas City did fantastic in shedding Rick Ankiel (pictured, left) and Kyle Farnsworth to Atlanta. Farns is a strong middle reliever, but that's all he is while Ankiel was blocking other players with a better impact at helping K.C. contend in 2012. The return for Callaspo wasn't terrible, but not great. Grade: B-

Tigers: Detroit had far too many holes to do much of anything. They lost Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Guillen and Brandon Inge all to the disabled list in a short span of time. They bought low on Jhonny Peralta who hammered two home-runs in his Tiger debut. You would have liked to see the Tigers be a bit more aggressive with the AL Central division crown available, but it's hard to blame them for holding onto their major prospects. There is no silver bullet available to make up for all the losses. Grade: C +

Twins: The Twins really love saves, as they traded one of the best prospects in Wilson Ramos for Matt Capps of Washington. Take the saves out, and Capps is an approaching-overpriced solid middle reliever. Even though Ramos had lost his luster somewhat, it's still a confusing move. They didn't get the starting pitcher they coveted either. Grade: D

White Sox: The ChiSox did everything they could and more to bring in Adam Dunn, but refused to sacrifice their future in Gordon Beckham. They acquired Edwin Jackson for Daniel Hudson and a minor leaguer, perhaps hoping to flip Jackson to the Nationals. That's a no-go, so while the White Sox did technically upgrade their rotation, it's unclear whether they would have done so if they knew they wouldn't get Dunn. Plus, Jackson makes $8.35 million next year. Grade: C

Yankees: The Bronx Bombers wielded their financial might to bring in Lance Berkman, Austin Kearns and Kerry Wood at minimal cost. Berkman has the most chance to make an impact, taking on the role the Yankees thought Nick Johnson would. Kearns and Wood are supplemental pieces to the bench and bullpen, respectively, and won't be a huge loss if they don't work out. Overall, they gave up next-to-nothing in talent and cash they could burn anyways. The team made an aggressive push for Cliff Lee, but fell apart. In a market with no other clear upgrade than Lee, the Yankees decided to play it safe and keep their minor-league chips. Grade: B

-- Evan Brunell

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


Posted on: July 31, 2010 10:11 am
 

Astros may move Myers, Rodriguez

Wandy Rodriguez The Astros are fielding offers for both Brett Myers and Wandy Rodriguez, as FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal notes .

Brett Myers has had a fantastic season, and there's no wonder why teams are targeting him in the hours leading up to the 4 p.m. trade deadline. He may be the best pitcher remaining on the market .

He comes at a steep price, however. We've been hearing for a while the Astros are lukewarm about moving Myers. That's a bit curious because while the Astros hold an $8 million option for 2011 on the righty, it's a mutual option. If Myers continues the season he is having, he would certainly opt out and sign a richer deal.

Thus, while it's OK for the Astros to try to get as much as they can -- such as Josh Thole and Bobby Parnell from the Mets, as SI.com's Jon Heyman reports -- the idea that they could let the deadline go by without a deal is odd.

The top suitors for Myers seem to be the Mets and Twins. Minnesota also in on Wandy Rodriguez, who has one final year of arbitration remaining. He is making $5 million on the year, so his price tag will rise. Given he can't help Houston's next contending club, Houston should absolutely be looking to trade Wandy.

Rodriguez (pictured) has a 4.80 ERA in 20 starts, but his xFIP is 4.21 and is coming off two straight seasons of an ERA below 4 -- getting all the way down to a 3.02 mark in 2009 and topping 200 innings pitched for the first time in his career.

While trading Myers and Rodriguez would thin out the Astros' pitching staff (unless they got major-league ready pitching in return),  they shouldn't let that stand in the way of any deal. The best possible deal the team can make is one to turn the team around quickly and start a new era of contention.

-- Evan Brunell

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

Posted on: July 30, 2010 1:38 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2010 3:46 pm
 

Trade deadline profile: Brett Myers

Leading up to Saturday's trade deadline, the MLB Facts & Rumors team takes a look at the biggest names on the trade block. Friday takes a gander at the best starting pitcher left on the market, Houston's Brett Myers.

Career stats : 81-69, 261 G, 201 GS, 4.26 ERA in 1328 2/3 IP, 1,099 K, 455 BB

Contract status : Myers signed a one-year, $5.1 million deal that includes a 2011 mutual option of $8 million with a $2 million buyout attached.

Brett Myers Why he's desirable
Brett Myers is having a sensational season, no two ways about it. His home run rate is unsustainably low, but has no BABIP trends that scream fluke and a solid 2.69 K/BB ratio. He's pitching a bit over his head, but not by that much and is easily the best pitcher remaining on the starting pitcher market that is known which includes luminaries such as Jeremy Guthrie, Ted Lilly and Jake Westbrook.

Why he's available
Available probably isn't the right word -- teams are calling on Myers but the Astros seem unwilling to listen, according to the New York Post's Joel Sherman. Can you blame Houston? Myers is having a career season and the Astros would prefer not to decimate their roster even as they rebuild. In addition, while doubtful, Houston is hoping for a relatively quick rebuild.

While 2011 contention is out, Myers has a more than affordable $8 million mutual option the Astros can exercise and at least give the club a fighting chance at a win one out of every five days. For Houston to part with the righty, teams will have to submit a very strong offer that forces Houston's hand. That's not out of the realm of possibility, as teams continue to sour on other mid-rotation starters that aren't much better than in-house candidates.

Who is interested
The White Sox were thought to be making a play for Myers, although with the acquisition of Edwin Jackson, might be out of the race -- unless Jackson is spun for Adam Dunn. Then, Chicago's right back in the market for a starting pitcher.

The division-rival Twins have also been linked to Myers, but after dealing Wilson Ramos for Matt Capps of the Nationals, would the Twins be interested in extending their budget yet again and depleting the farm yet again?

The Mets also inquired into Myers, but were scared off by the Astros' asking price. No other team has been linked recently, although the Dodgers would certainly love to have Myers' services, as would near any team still in contention.

Brett Myers Expected return
There isn't any word what the Astros want in return for Myers, but given that he's been considered "untouchable" by Houston -- posturing for sure, but not all that far off the mark -- it will absolutely take a top prospect to acquire Myers, perhaps even more. And that prospect will have to be close to major-league ready, as the Astros aren't interested in a long-term rebuilding process. The following is just speculation, but of the teams above, the following names might make sense for Houston:

Fernando Martinez from the Mets, who could become a starter for the Astros. F-Mart's luster has fallen off as of late, however. The Astros would also certainly ask for Jon Niese, whom the Mets have near-zero interest in dealing.

If the White Sox wanted to remove even more top prospects from their system, the Astros would go after Jordan Danks  or Brent Morel. Dayan Viciedo is a possibility, but he would not be the centerpiece.

The Twins could be persuaded to part with Ben Revere, but Danny Valencia is probably not going anywhere given the Twins' need for him in the bigs.

What happens
The Astros will hang onto Myers and cross their fingers that Myers agrees to return to town on the mutual option. If he does, Myers becomes a virtual lock to be traded at the deadline in 2011.

More trade deadline targets -- Jorge Cantu (trade profile ) | Scott Downs (trade profile ) | Adam Dunn (trade profile ) | Roy Oswalt (trade profile )

-- Evan Brunell

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

Posted on: July 29, 2010 11:27 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2010 11:54 pm
 

Capps supplants Rauch as Twins' closer

As reported earlier Thursday by Scott Miller of CBSSports.com, the Twins acquired Nationals closer Matt Capps in exchange for prize catching prospect Wilson Ramos.

It was initially unclear how the Twins would handle the late innings, but Kelly Thesier of MLB.com reports via Twitter that Capps will take Jon Rauch's place as closer and Rauch will set up. Manager Ron Gardenhire called Rauch to give him the news.

Rauch has 21 saves and has blown four. He has a 3.05 ERA.

-- David Andriesen

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


Category: MLB
Posted on: July 28, 2010 12:21 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2010 2:16 pm
 

Trade deadline profile: Scott Downs

Leading up to Saturday's trade deadline, the MLB Facts & Rumors team takes a look at the biggest names on the trade block. Wednesday examines perhaps the best reliever on the market, Toronto's Scott Downs.

Scott Downs Career stats: 26-28, 3.80 ERA, 359 G, 50 GS, 551 2/3 IP, 204 BB, 433 K
2010 stats : 4-5, 2.34 ERA, 47 G, 42 1/3 IP, 10 BB, 35 K
Contract status: Signed a three-year, $10 million contract for the 2008 season. Making $4 million on the year and is an impending free agent who stands to be Type A.

Why he's desirable
At 35 years old, Downs doesn't exactly have many years remaining in him. However, the former starter-turned-reliever has emerged as one of the best left-handed relievers in the game. Over the last four seasons from 2007-10, Downs has appeared in 242 games, posting a 2.27 ERA.

Of non-closers, that's the second-best ERA of any reliever with at least 150 games over the same time period -- Arthur Rhodes has a 2.10 ERA in 174 games (128 1/3 innings). Rhodes, however, missed the entire 2007 season due to injury.

Including closers and Rhodes, Downs has the sixth-lowest ERA in the bigs since 2007 (Mariano Rivera, Rhodes, Joakim Soria, Jonathan Papelbon, Billy Wagner). In short: He's good.

Why he's available
The Blue Jays are a rebuilding club, their seemingly-annual first-half run of success notwithstanding. The team is 12 games behind the Yankees, fourth in the AL East with a dwindling 52-49 record. With Downs an impending free agent and a strong market for quality arms in a quality-depleted environment, Downs is a hot commodity. He can bring back a strong prospect that can further Toronto's rebuilding efforts. And let's get real -- when the Jays are ready to seriously contend, Downs could very well be retired.

Scott Downs Who is interested
The Yankees and Red Sox seem most hot after Downs services, as both AL beasts are contending with left-handed relief struggles as well as poor bullpen performance overall. While the Yankees and Red Sox should be considered forerunners, the list of suitors for Downs is expansive. Among the suitors are: Dodgers, Mets, Phillies, Reds, Rockies and Twins.

Of that list, it's tough to imagine the Mets and Rockies pulling off a deal. The Mets are falling behind the division race and recent reports have the Mets seeking an underpriced reliever. The Rockies, for their part, are also slipping out of the race and may choose to stand pat now that they've gotten Troy Tulowitzki back. Philadelphia is in a similar position with many injured and the Braves pulling away in the East.

The Twins are more interested in a starting pitcher, but could choose to bolster the bullpen instead. The Dodgers have some space to add payroll at the deadline, but like the Twins, are more focused on starting pitching. The back of the Reds' bullpen is fairly thin, so Downs could combine with Rhodes for to bring two shut-down lefties to the NL Central race.

UPDATE: The Giants are also in on Downs, but they figure to focus on acquiring a bat.

Expected return
The Blue Jays are asking for a ridiculous amount in return for Downs. As a potential Type-A free agent, Downs can bring back a first-round pick plus a complementary pick after the first round, provided the Jays offer arbitration. Even if Downs accepts, he would make in the neighborhood of around $4-6 million for 2011, a more than affordable deal for such a prime shut-down reliever.

George King of the New York Post reports that the Jays asked the Yankees for top prospect Jesus Montero, an exorbitantly high price for a middle reliever about to become a free agent. GM Brian Cashman of the Yankees had previously made Montero available in a deal for Cliff Lee but maintains that was the only player on the market Montero would have been swapped for.

The Jays also had a high price for the Red Sox, requesting either starting pitcher Casey Kelly or shortstop Jose Iglesias in return for Scott Downs. You can bet Theo pressed the "end call" button on his cell phone seconds after that request. Alex Speier of WEEI.com reported that the Jays have been heavily scouting Roman Mendez of Boston. Mendez is currently pitching for low Class-A Lowell.

While a prospect the caliber of Montero, Kelly or Iglesias is simply impossible to happen, the Jays can definitely extract a blue-chipper with an intriguing profile -- ala Mendez -- for Downs and could even haggle a second prospect out of the interested team. The only question is if it will be enough for Toronto to trade in the division. None of the other suitors seem remotely close or as interested in Downs as Boston or New York.

What happens
The guess here is that while the Jays like Mendez and move to acquire him, the Yankees will sweep in with an offer just good enough to bring Downs in. New York has designs on a second straight World Series, but that won't happen with a bullpen as porous as it currently is. It needs massive upgrading, and Downs is the salve to the Bronx Bombers' open wound.

More trade deadline targets -- Jorge Cantu | Roy Oswalt

-- Evan Brunell

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

Posted on: July 27, 2010 12:36 pm
 

Twins interested in Capps


Matt Capps The Twins may be worried enough about closer Jon Rauch that they're considering the Nationals' Matt Capps, according to ESPN's Tim Kurkjian.

Rauch pitched a scoreless inning on Saturday against Baltimore, but allowed a hit and a walk. In his previous two outings, he gave up two runs in each, a loss to the Indians and a win against the White Sox.

Rauch has 20 saves in 24 opportunities and a 3.22 ERA, along with 26 strikeouts to go along with nine walks in 36 1/3 innings. His WHIP is 1.376 and hitters are hitting .283/.323/.400 off of Rauch. This month, though, they're hitting .379/.472/.414 off of him and he has an ERA of 7.11.

Capps has 24 saves in 28 opportunities to go along with his 2.86 ERA. Batters are hitting .283/.317/.428 against him, along with 36 strikeouts and nine innings. While Rauch has struggled this month, Capps has three wins and two saves to go along with a 0.96 ERA and hitters are just batting .229/.270/.371 against him since July 1.

Capps is signed to a one-year deal for $3.5 million this season after being non-tendered by the Pirates and is arbitration-eligible for 2011.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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


Posted on: July 26, 2010 4:43 pm
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