Posted on: July 8, 2010 6:11 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2010 6:21 pm

Girardi leaning toward Price to start for AL?

David Price On a media conference call for All-Star managers Thursday, Yankees/American League skipper Joe Girardi seemed to hint that the Rays' David Price will get the nod for the AL.

"I believe he is a strong candidate,'' Girardi said of Price. "Obviously when you look at the five pitchers that we have going, the five starters -- and you have to exclude [Boston’s Clay] Buchholz because he’s on the DL -- Price, [New York’s Phil] Hughes, [Seattle’s Cliff] Lee, [Boston’s Jon] Lester, and [New York’s Andy] Pettitte, these are all qualified guys. And you look at who’s on turn.

"Price is leading the American League in wins. He’s an extremely strong candidate. I think he’s second in ERA. He’s had a fabulous first half. And we’ll look at that as we get closer to Sunday."

Girardi has until Monday to announce his decision, and it would be tough to argue against the selection of 24-year-old Price. He has won a league-best 12 games, is second to Lee among qualifying players with a 2.42 ERA and Tuesday would be his natural day to start.

Lee might be able to make an even better case with his AL-best ERA (2.34) and WHIP (0.95). But he's won four fewer games than Price (even though that's hardly his fault) and would be on four days' rest. Then there's the matter of his thought-to-be-impending trade, and the possibility that he might be in another uniform -- or in the National League -- by the All-Star Game.

Speaking of the National League, Charlie Manuel is in a bit of a tough spot. Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez would seem to be a no-brainer given his accomplishments this season (15-1 record, 2.20 ERA, no-hitter), but he had been surprisingly human in his three starts (8.66 ERA) prior to Thursday's impressive win over the Cardinals. Florida's Josh Johnson, on the other hand, is on fire right now and leads baseball with a 1.70 ERA.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: July 8, 2010 5:18 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2010 5:24 pm

Four sent scouts to see Oswalt's gem

The other high-profile pitcher on the market, Roy Oswalt, is garnering plenty of attention for his start against the Pirates.

MLB.com's Brian Taggert tweets that scouts from the Dodgers, Phillies, Rays and Mets were in Houston to watch Oswalt. Oswalt didn't disappoint, throwing a complete-game one-hitter. He struck out eight and walked two.

Oswalt still has hefty pricetag in a $16 million contract for next season and a club option on another $16 for 2012, plus the remainder of $15 million left on his contract for this season.

That could be an impediment for the Dodgers and Mets, while the Rays' owner, Stuart Sternburg, has said he'll take on more payroll, but they seem to need a bat more than a starter.

The Phillies seem to be wondering if they're going to sell -- rumors swirl that they're shopping Jayson Werth, a free agent after the season.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 8, 2010 1:14 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2010 2:23 pm

Ranking the suitors for Lee

Cliff Lee Is your team in on the Cliff Lee sweepstakes?

Chances are -- unless you're a Pirates or Orioles fan, the answer is yes.

An anonymous source tells Newsday's Ken Davidoff that "pretty much every team within five games of the playoffs" has called the Mariners about Lee.

So, if you're counting, that's 17 teams, nine National League squads and eight American League clubs.

Besides the whole 15 games under .500 thing, Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik must feel like the prettiest girl in school.

This is far from a final list, and I could be completely wrong -- but here's a listing of the possibilities in some semblance of an order. Feel free to offer your own favorites.

1. Twins -- still a good possibility, they've got the desire, the prospects (Wilson Ramos, Aaron Hicks) and with a new ballpark, they also have an influx of cash and urgency to do something special. With Lee, we could have some postseason snow-outs.

2. Mets -- the other New York team is always out there trying too hard -- like your one friend who gets a little too dressed up and has that extra spray (or four) of cologne when you go out. Sadly, he always seems to strike out.

3. Reds -- never underestimate the desire of an owner to make a splash. Bob Castellini is an emotional owner and believes firmly in his town's desire to see a winner and ultimately support it. If the Mariners want corner prospects, the Reds could dangle Yonder Alonso and Juan Francisco -- blocked by Joey Votto and Scott Rolen's three-year extension, respectively. There's also Todd Frazier, who can play about anywhere, and pitchers Matt Maloney and Travis Wood, who could be added to the rotation right away.

4. Rangers -- they're not as long of a long shot as you might think. Lee's not about money. It's about prospects, and Justin Smoak is a prospect that would fit perfectly. Roy Oswalt would be costly; Lee is only $4 million for the rest of the season. If money's still an issue, they could sweeten the pot with another prospect. MLB -- the organization -- has a vested interest in the Rangers and they'd likely loan the Rangers the money to make it work. A Rangers team in the playoffs is more valuable to a bidder than one that breaks down in August.

5. Yankees -- the team could go get him, but why rent him now and give up prospects when you've still got a good shot at winning and will just buy him in the offseason, anyway. That way you keep the prospects. But with the Yankees, you've always got to have them in the discussion. They're a courtesy top five, due to the fact they're the Yankees.

6. Rays -- pitching depth isn't a problem in this system, but they have a potential impact bat in B.J. Upton, and a serviceable catcher in Dioner Navarro. A Lee-David Price front of the rotation could be lights-out in a short series.

7. Phillies -- yeah, the Phillies could add the former Phillie, but it would likely cost them Domonic Brown -- who GM Ruben Amaro Jr. wouldn't give up for Roy Halladay. The desire is there, but the prospects may not be.

8. White Sox -- the news on Jake Peavy makes them the highest-riser on the list, plus GM Kenny Williams loves to make a splash, and this would certainly qualify.

9. Cardinals -- despite needs to fill out their rotation, the Cardinals are reportedly looking for bats more than arms. Still, it's tempting to think of a playoff rotation of Lee, Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright -- that would make them a favorite based on "the great" Albert Pujols' offense alone.

10. Tigers -- Detroit could use him, that's for sure. GM Dave Dombrowski has never shied away from a big deal, but it's unclear whether Detroit has the juice in either prospects or cash to get it done.

11. Red Sox -- a lot of needs with all their injures, Lee would be a luxury -- not that they haven't indulged in those in the past.

12. Braves -- Atlanta could certainly use Lee -- who couldn't? -- but they don't seem like a fit in either needs or assets. The Braves, more likely will be crossing their fingers that Lee doesn't land in the NL East, which is still up for grabs.

13. Rockies -- they are more likely to fine-tune than to do anything big. GM Dan O'Dowd has prized prospects and is unlikely to mortgage the future for a rent-a-player.

14. Padres -- sure, they're broke and they're pitching well, but there is some reason here. 1. Owner Jeff Moorad has said he'll deal for an arm if he can, and 2. most of the Padres arms are young arms. Mat Latos, Wade LeBlanc and Clayton Richard may not only tire down the stretch, Latos, at least, is on an innings count of 150 to 180 and he's already an out away from 100 innings on the season.

15. Giants -- looking for bats, not arms.

16. Angels -- ditto.

17. Dodgers -- Jamie McCourt is unlikely to give any of her alimony to help Frank out.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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

Posted on: July 7, 2010 8:11 pm

Doubront faces former manager Kapler Tuesday

Felix Doubront During Tuesday's game against the Rays, Boston starter Felix Doubront was presented with a situation that doesn't exactly occur every day.

He faced his former manager.

Gabe Kapler was a backup outfielder for the Red Sox from 2003-06 before he retired and took a gig managing Boston's Class-A Greenville Drive. Doubront pitched part of the year for the Drive, but did not fare well.

Kapler managed several other current Red Sox as well, such as Daniel Bard, Jon Lester, Josh Reddick and Dustin Richardson. However, it wasn't until Tuesday night that Kapler squared off a former protege.

"He was another hitter I wanted to strike out," Doubront cracked to CSN New England when asked what it was like to face Kapler. Kapler, for his part, noted that Doubront was a completely different pitcher now than he was back in 2007, according to the St. Petersburg Times .

This is certainly true. Doubront posted a 5.66 ERA in eight starts for Class-A Lowell before moving to Greenville in 2007 and tossing up an unsightly 8.93 ERA in 11 starts. Now, he's one of the team's better prospects with a 2.36 mark in Triple-A Pawtucket over six starts in 2010. He's also made eight starts for Double-A Portland (2.51 ERA) and has stepped into the breach twice so far for the BoSox on the year. Over two starts at the major-league level, Doubront has a 4.22 ERA in 10 2/3 innings, whiffing five and walking six.

Kapler was recently activated from the disabled list and is hitting .220/.314/.286 on the season in 106 plate appearances.

-- Evan Brunell

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

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 6, 2010 7:26 pm

Rays willing to spend at deadline

Stuart Sternberg Forget "small market" blues and even attendance woes, the Tampa Bay Rays will spend what they need to make the playoffs, owner Stuart Sternberg told the Tampa Tribune 's Roger Mooney .

"We're well beyond stretched. This for me, personally, is a very special year," Sternberg said. "It's a special team, can be a special team, and we're going to do whatever we can and whatever is necessary to try to give us the best opportunity to win this year."

Sternberg said the Rays could add as much as $20 or $25 million. He said money is an "impediment" but if the team goes to the playoffs, it'll be worth it.

When asked about re-signing outfielder Carl Crawford, Sternberg said, "Remains to be seen."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 6, 2010 2:03 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2010 2:48 pm

Latest Lee rumor: Rays to ditch Upton in 3-way?

Cliff Lee The NBA has the LeBron watch, Major League Baseball has the Cliff Lee sweepstakes.

The latest? Peter Gammons tweets :
Rumblings around St. Pete ballpark was a BJ Upton-Cliff Lee deal. 3 way? The Rays do have shown a tendency to get rid of high-maintenance, talented players (Delmon Young, Elijah Dukes) and Upton has been griping about everything lately .

However, the Rays aren't exactly hurting for starting pitching, so there would likely be a third team involved, getting Lee.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 5, 2010 7:38 pm

Two benchings, two reactions

B.J. Upton There are two ways to take not being in the lineup: the B.J. Upton way and the Gordon Beckham way.

Upton is out against the Red Sox and Daisuke Matsuzaka. Manager Joe Maddon told Upton it was because he was 1-for-13 with a homer against Matsuzaka.

The White Sox are sitting Beckham for the second straight day in favor of Brent Lillibridge.

Both managers, Ozzie Guillen and Maddon, say these moves aren't permanent, but that was no consolation to Upton.

Upton was upset and told the St. Petersburg Times ' Marc Topkin so , "I thought I was an everyday player," Upton said. "I don't know if I'm subject to matchups now or not. I'm not going to get too bent out of shape about it, but obviously I want to be out there everyday."

Maddon told Upton he'd be in the lineup for the remaining six games before the All-Star break, but that was no consolation to Upton. Asked if he was an everyday player, Upton told Topkin, "I don't know. I have no idea. I could not tell you."

Upton is hitting .228/.321/.399 with seven home runs and 29 RBI.

Gordon Beckham Beckham is playing even worse. He's hitting .206/.271/.280 with two homers and 20 RBI.  Lillibridge was 4-for-6 on the White Sox's recent road trip.

"Lilly has been getting hits and hitting the ball hard," Beckham told the Chicago Tribune 's Mark Gonzales . "I don't think I'm hitting the ball softly. I'm not lucky, that's for sure. There's nothing I can do about it."

Guillen stood by Beckham and denied speculation that Beckham could be headed to the minors.

"[Beckham] is my second baseman," Guillen said. "He still is my second baseman. But right now, I think the way Lillibridge is playing, I'm going to give him a shot."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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

Posted on: June 30, 2010 7:33 pm

Drew, Upton out for Fenway showdown

Boston's J.D. Drew and Tampa Bay's B.J. Upton are out for their respective squads in tonight's game at Fenway Park.

Drew is out with a stiff neck and Upton is out after injuring his right quad Tuesday night.

Upton, who didn't run hard after a double that turned into a triple this weekend, hurt the quad stretching a double into a triple.

Carl Crawford is back in the lineup for the Rays, but told the St. Petersburg Times ' Marc Topkin that his shoulder is still sore when he throws and he can only throw "about 70 percent."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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

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