Posted on: July 29, 2010 10:44 pm

Guillen has 'gut feeling' he'll be traded

Jose Guillen
The people who do the accounting for the Royals would sure be happy if Jose Guillen's instincts are right.

The Royals designated hitter/outfielder told MLB.com he has a "gut feeling" he's going to be traded before Saturday's trade deadline. Even though he's the most productive member of the Kansas City offense, the going-nowhere Royals would love to offload the roughly $7.4 million left of the impending free agent's salary.

The Giants are on the hunt for an outfielder, but it's not clear how Guillen and his gimpy right knee would hold up playing the field every day. On the American League side, the Yankees and Red Sox could be interested. Guillen is batting .272/.331/.457 with 60 RBI and 16 homers, and has a history of playing well when he's auditioning for free agency, so he could be a valuable pickup for a contender that can spend the money.

Guillen's gut feeling could be caused by a comment Wednesday by general manager Dayton Moore that Triple-A slugger Kila Ka'aihue would join the team "at some point very shortly." Ka'aihue can only play first base, and first base is occupied nicely by Billy Butler, who's batting .312. That would indicate that Ka'aihue would DH, which is Guillen's spot most days.

"He's the boss and he knows what he's doing," Guillen said of Moore. "He knows more than us. I respect Dayton, he's a very smart man. He's going to do whatever it takes for this organization to improve. So I cannot tell you what's going to happen, but it's my gut feeling that something is going to happen."

-- David Andriesen

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

Posted on: July 29, 2010 5:22 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2010 11:18 pm

Report: Rangers add key piece in Cantu

Jorge Cantu
Looks like the Rangers are getting their right-handed bat.

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Marlins on Thursday agreed to send third baseman Jorge Cantu to Texas for right-handers Evan Reed and Omar Poveda. The deal had been rumored to be on the brink for a couple of days. Joel Sherman of the New York Post says via Twitter that the Marlins will pay $600,000 of the $2.18 million left on Cantu's contract. The Rockies and Giants had also been rumored to be pursuing him.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram is saying the deal is not quite done, and as of this writing, Cantu is still playing in the Marlins' game against the Giants in San Francisco. It's customary for a player who is even close to being traded to be held out or removed from a game to guard against injury.

(UPDATE: Cantu was removed from the game in the eighth inning.)

Texas has a healthy 7 1/2-game lead in the American League West, but the Rangers feel like they might finally have a real championship contender on their hands and are trying to bolster any weak spots. Their biggest weak spot is at first base, where the departure of Justin Smoak in the Cliff Lee deal left them with the seriously underperforming Chris Davis (.188, four RBI and no homers in 31 games). They've been trying to find a right-handed hitter to platoon with him.

Cantu has been primarily a third baseman in Florida but has played 238 career games at first and should have little problem adjusting. He also has played 218 games at second, and the Rangers have a need there right now until Ian Kinsler returns from the disabled list (groin strain).

Cantu is batting .259/.308/.408 with 10 homers and 54 RBI -- not overwhelming numbers but a definite upgrade from Davis. And it's quite an accomplishment by Texas GM Jon Daniels to get the Marlins, not exactly known for throwing money around, to cover part of Cantu's salary.

The prospects, Reed and Poveda, are both Double-A level pitchers, and Poveda, a starter, is on the disabled list after Tommy John ligament replacement surgery. Reed, a late-inning reliever, is 1-1 with a 1.76 ERA in 30 games for Double-A Frisco.

-- David Andriesen

UPDATE: So much for the idea of a left-right Davis-Cantu platoon at first. After Thursday night's game, the Rangers sent Davis to Triple-A to make room for Cantu on the roster.

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

Posted on: July 28, 2010 3:43 pm

Dodgers, Giants, seeking Podsednik

Scott Podsednik The Dodgers may be close to adding a bat at the expense of the Giants, reports Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle .

Only, it's not exactly a bat that inspires confidence, despite his recent hot play: Scott Podsednik

Left for dead in 2008, Podsednik is putting together the best two-year campaign of his career at age 34. While his career season remains his .314/.379/.443 line for the Brewers in 2003, Scotty Po has just one other time with an OPS over .700 before his two-year renaissance. That occurence was in 2005 for the World Series champion White Sox when he hit .700 exactly (.290/.351/.349).

However, the last two seasons have a cumulative line of .306/.353/.407 with 60 stolen bases in 1,017 plate appearances split between the White Sox and Royals. I guess Chicago preferred Juan Pierre and the oodles of money left on his deal to Podsednik.

The Dodgers aren't sure what they'll get -- if anything -- from Manny Ramirez, currently on the disabled list for the second time this season with a right hamstring strain. Earlier in the year, it was a left leg strain. Hmm... think Manny forgot which leg it was that hurt like in Boston?

In any event, L.A. isn't prepared to rely on Ramirez and the Xavier Paul-Garrett Anderson hybrid in left is an offensive sinkhole. Posednik would bring some energy to the lineup. Leading him off and slotting Rafael Furcal in the two-hole would give the Dodgers a top of the lineup to fear. If Manny does return to prominence, Podsednik can share time across all three outfield positions as the Chavez Ravine tenants push for a playoff spot.

The Dodgers aren't putting all their chips into Pods, however -- FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal says the team is also chasing a second outfielder.

For the Giants' end, they really need a bat to shore up the offense. While Buster Posey and Pat Burrell have been godsends, Podsednik would help on defense -- something Burrell and Aubrey Huff aren't really clear on. In addition, the Giants have the fourth-least stolen bases in the majors. Podsednik would create some havoc on the bases, giving S.F. another facet on offense.
-- Evan Brunell

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

Category: MLB
Tags: Dodgers, Giants
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 11:30 am
Edited on: October 19, 2010 12:02 pm

Heyward, Strasburg to finally meet

Jason Heyward If you hear the world explode tonight, it's because of the awesomeness that is the meeting of Stephen Strasburg and Jason Heyward.

The world was cheated out of this opportunity last month, but now the ultimate meeting should take place tonight in Washington, D.C.

Heyward missed the last meeting when kryptonite jammed his left thumb and sent him to the disabled list, meaning the Braves didn't have a chance on June 28 (well, despite the fact they won the game).

This time, though, it's awesome on awesome as Heyward will be in the lineup.

"It's always great to face good pitchers; it's always great to face the best," Heyward told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution 's Carroll Rogers . "That's what the major leagues are about."

In what is unthinkable, Rogers notes the two actually have competition for the National League Rookie of the Year. Sure, the safe money is on Strasburg finishing first and Heyward second, but there's also Florida's Gaby Sanchez, St. Louis' Jaime Garcia, San Francisco's Buster Posey, Chicago's Starlin Castro and Cincinnati's Mike Leake.

NL's top rookies
Stephen Strasburg 5-2 2.32 ERA 75 Ks, 15 BB
Jaime Garcia 9-4 2.21 ERA 90 Ks, 43 BB
Mike Leake 7-2 3.57 ERA 76 Ks, 43 BB
Jason Heyward .276/.387/.459 11 HR, 48 RBI
Gaby Sanchez .301/.364/.472 11 HR, 45 RBI
Buster Posey .368/.404/.571 8 HR, 33 RBI
Starlin Castro .309/.360/.449 3 HR, 31 RBI

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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

Posted on: July 27, 2010 10:34 am
Edited on: July 27, 2010 11:32 am

NL West teams interested in Royals' Podsednik

Scott Podsednik Well, the Royals have to trade someone at the deadline, don't they?

With David DeJesus on the shelf and therefore off the trading block, the Royals' are taking calls on outfielder Scott Podsednik according to multiple reports, including the Kansas City Star 's Bob Dutton .

The Padres, Dodgers and Giants are all interested in Podsednik, Dutton tweets. The Royals and Giants were reportedly close to pulling off a deal for DeJesus when the Royals center fielder suffered a season-ending thumb injury last week.

The Royals won't get the haul they were expecting for DeJesus that they will for Podsednik, but they will get something. Podsednik, 34, is hitting a respectable .308/.352/.400 with five home runs, 43 RBI and 30 stolen bases for the Royals this season and is signed to a reasonable contract, $1.65 million this season and a $2 million club option for 2011 with a $100,000 buyout. However, Podsednik can void the 2011 option with 525 plate appearances this season and he already has 425.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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

Posted on: July 26, 2010 7:06 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:57 am

This week in free stuff: July 26-August 1

A look at this week in promotional giveaways from around baseball:

Tonight, July 26
Lehigh Valley IronPigs (International League) -- Andy Tracy bobblehead
Binghamton Mets (Eastern League) -- mustache giveaway. Who doesn't love mustaches?
New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Eastern League) --kids batting glove giveaway. I love that they're going old school and just one. Ask your parents, kids.
Bristol White Sox (Appalachian League) -- kids batting helmet. Another old-school favorite.

Tuesday, July 27
Washington Nationals -- t-shirt. A classic, grey shirt. I hate when teams try to go too fancy and do some lame busy design, the simpler, the better.
Lehigh Valley IronPigs (International League) --Magic 8 Baseball. This is just awesome. It'd be great if they made the manager use this for all their decisions on the night. Bill Veeck woulda done it. This would have been my favorite of the day…
Toledo Mud Hens (International League)-- mustache giveaway. It must be a trend.
Arkansas Travelers (Texas League) -- Jared Weaver kids t-shirt jersey
Fredrick Keys (Carolina League) Bryan Voltaggio bobblehead. Who is Bryan Voltaggio you ask? Only the runner-up from Top Chef Season 6. If it were a Kevin Gillespie bobblehead, I'd drive there for it.
Princeton Rays (Rookie Appalachian League) --super mug. Apparently, it's a mug and it's super.

Wednesday, July 28
Houston Astros -- orange retro cap. The team wore those glorious 80s uniforms on Saturday, and now it's the orange hats. If only the Astros could skip the 90s and 2000s uniforms and pick one of the great old ones.
State College Spikes (New York-Penn League)  --golf umbrella
Tri-City ValleyCats (New York-Penn League) --reusable grocery bag

Thursday, July 29
New York Mets -- umbrella
Joe Biden Wilmington Blue Rocks (Carolina League) -- Joe Biden bobblehead. It'd be really cool if it was a one of those that talked and it cussed at you.
Lakewood BlueClaws (South Atlantic League) -- Goonies night. While not technically a giveaway, and I usually do just giveaways, but this one is too cool not to share. The BlueClaws are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Goonies, with Jeff Cohen (Chunk) at the game, signing autographs and judging a Truffle Shuffle contest.
Tri-City ValleyCats (New York-Penn League) County Executive Kathy Jimino bobblehead. Good for you, Kathy.

Friday, July 30
St. Louis Cardinals -- Vince Coleman bobblehead. No fireworks, though.
San Francisco Giants --Beat LA beach towel
Richmond Flying Squirrels (Eastern League) nutcracker -- I'm not normally a fan of Christmas in July promotions, but the Flying Squirrels giving out nutcrackers is awesome.
Arkansas Travelers (Texas League) -- camouflage hat
Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Carolina League) -- christmas ornament
Potomac Nationals (Carolina League) -- mini bat
Lexington Legends (South Atlantic League) Big L soap dispenser. I'm seriously considering going to this. I love giveaways of practical items, and this is a good one.
Clinton LumberKings (Midwest League) -- John Danks bobblehead
Boise Hawks (Northwest League) -- Boise Whistle Pigs T-shirt. Part of Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda Night, honoring one of the other finalists for nickname of the team.

Saturday, July 31
Cincinnati Reds -- Homer Bailey bobblehead
Kansas City Royals -- Kansas City Monarchs cap. I love Negro League tributes, and Kansas City, home to the Negro Leagues Hall of Fame, always does a good job.
Los Angeles Angels -- Rally Monkey soap dispenser. OK, forget the Lexington Legends… I'll be hitting eBay for this batboy.
Washington Nationals -- Nyjer Morgan bobblehead. Really, it's great for the stirrups if nothing else.
Houston Astros -- Jeff Bagwell bobblehead
St. Louis Cardinals -- Whitey Herzog bobblehead
Colorado Rockies -- Jason Giambi t-shirt. With sleeves, oddly enough.
San Diego Padres -- Clayton Richard bobblehead
Fresno Grizzlies (Pacific Coast League) --  Buster Posey bobblehead
Carolina Mudcats (Southern League) -- pint glass
Arkansas Travelers (Texas Leage) -- Hank Conger bobbleheads
Corpus Christi Hooks (Texas Leage) -- Hooks retro jersey. Which is  odd, since the franchise has only been around since 2005. It's more old-school Astros style, which I'm always in favor of.
Springfield Cardinals (Texas League) -- Cardinals/Royals I-70 Series throwback shirts. The Cardinals are playing the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, the Royals' AA affiliate.
Bowling Green Hot Rods (South Atlantic League) -- Farmer Axle Bobblehead
Auburn Doubledays (New York-Penn league) --  William Seward bobblehead. The team is honoring the former governor of New York and Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. Seward also helped procure Alaska and was blasted for it at the time.
Brooklyn Cyclones (New York-Penn League) -- sleeved blanket. Yeah, not a Snuggie.
Greenville Astros (Appalachian League) -- aluminum bottle

Sunday, Aug. 1
Minnesota Twins -- Target Field bat
St. Louis Cardinals -- Ozzie Smith bear. This is in honor of the 1985 NL championship, but I'm disappointed there's no Willie McGee bobblehead. Really, if anyone is screaming for a bobblehead, it's McGee.
Harrisburg Seantors (Eastern League) -- autographed baseball grab bag
Richmond Flying Squirrels (Eastern League) --  wooden bat
Trenton Thunder (Eastern League) kids fielding gloves
Inland Empire 66ers (California League) -- skate deck
Beloit Snappers (Midwest League) -- Kevin Slowey bobblehead
West Michigan Whitecaps (Midwest League) -- dog bowl
Lowell Spinners (New York-Penn League) --  Heidi Watney bobblehead. A bobblehead for the NESN Red Sox reporter.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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

Posted on: July 23, 2010 10:28 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2010 10:50 pm

Hart exits game with wrist injury

Corey Hart Another of the most talked-about outfield trade targets went down on Friday.

A day after David DeJesus was lost for the season with thumb injury, the Brewers' Corey Hart left in the third inning of Friday's game against the Nationals with a right wrist injury.

Hart chased a Cristian Guzman liner to the right-field line and slid into the wall to attempt to catch the foul ball. He didn't catch it, but finished the inning. Jim Edmonds pinch-hit for Hart in the bottom of the third.

According to Jordan Schelling of MLB.com , Hart underwent X-rays on his wrist and they were negative. However, the same was said about DeJesus last night. Hart will undergo an MRI on his wrist Saturday.

Hart has been a popular name in trade talks for teams searching for a big bat. He's hitting .292/.349/.568 with 22 home runs and 70 RBI.

Hart's been named as a possibility for the Giants, Rays and Padres, among other teams.

-- 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