Posted on: July 30, 2010 11:17 pm

Dodger accused Lilly of cheating

Ted Lilly The Dodgers could be the front-runner to land Cubs starter Ted Lilly, with ESPN.com's Jayson Stark saying they have a deal in place but are stuck on how much money would move.

If Lilly does go west, the home clubhouse manager at Dodger Stadium might be advised to put his locker as far away as possible from Casey Blake's. They might need a little time and an awkward conversation before they warm up to each other.

In May, Blake accused Lilly of starting his windup in front of the rubber to try to gain an advantage. He protested to umpire John Hirschbeck, who didn't intervene, and Blake had to be restrained.

"I know he doesn't have an overpowering fastball," Blake said afterward. "I know he's trying to get as much of an edge as he can. But he moved in.

"That's cheating. You've got to stay on the rubber."

Lilly admitted he might have inadvertently been ahead of the rubber "a couple times," but that it wouldn't even be an advantage because a pitcher loses the leverage of pushing off the rubber. He didn't seem to appreciate being labeled a cheater.

"Sometimes a batter will get in the box and he'll step out, and behind the box, and on the lines," Lilly said. "I don't think he's trying to cheat. It might not be intentional."

Should make for an interesting introduction if Lilly goes to the Dodgers.

-- David Andriesen

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

Posted on: July 30, 2010 12:06 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2010 1:55 pm

Dodgers interested in Lilly, Theriot

Ryan Theriot The Dodgers are hoping to kill two birds with one stone by trading for starter Ted Lilly and second baseman Ryan Theriot, says FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal.

While the Dodgers' starting pitching depth isn't as thin as it was earlier, the add of Lilly and his 3.69 ERA in 117 innings would be a boon, suddenly giving the Dodgers five legitimate starters. Lilly is in the final year of his contract and has a limited no-trade clause along with a likely Type-A designation as a free agent. Los Angeles could then bring back Lilly on a no-brainer one-year deal or get draft picks for the lefty -- provided, of course, the club even offers arbitration which may not happen given the team's recent history.

Theriot (pictured), meanwhile, would supplant Blake DeWitt's .272/.352/.372 line and average fielding with a .285/.321/.329 mark and average-to-above average fielding. Smacks of a lateral move at best, especially since Los Angeles would certainly need a big chunk of Lilly and Theriot's deals picked up. Lilly is making $10 million on the year, so has roughly $4 million left to be paid while Theriot is enjoying his first-year arbitration salary of $2.6 million. For the Cubs to pick up much of the roughly $5 million left on the deals, L.A. would have to send out yet another quality prospect.

For Lilly, one can understand the move to bring in a clear upgrade who can deepen the Dodgers' rotation for a postseason run. For Theriot, it seems like unneeded deck chair shuffling that will cost a quality prospect.

-- Evan Brunell

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

Posted on: July 29, 2010 8:20 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2010 8:26 pm

Signs point to slow deadline

Prince Fielder Thursday was a big day in trades, with Roy Oswalt, Jorge Cantu and Miguel Tejada, among others, on the move.

Monitoring the chatter in the baseball world, however, gives the indication that there might not be much more dealing to come.

"There's nothing really going on," general manager Doug Melvin told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about the Brewers' outlook. "I don't anticipate anything happening [before the Saturday deadline]. Things can change but that's the way it looks now. I don't have to trade players. I have to make sure anything we do makes absolute sense to do anything."

That's one of the main things driving -- or halting -- this trade season. Most of the teams with the attractive pieces don't really need to move them. There aren't the usual teams trying to unload salary ballast at all costs as they sink. The Brewers could trade Prince Fielder, but they don't have to. Ditto the Nationals with Adam Dunn. The Jays could move Jose Bautista, but he's also under team control and has Toronto fans buzzing.

Many of the big names -- Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Oswalt -- are now off the board. David DeJesus and Ben Sheets were knocked off by injuries.

The slate of potential buyers has gone down in the past two weeks. The Angels, Mets, Marlins and Rockies are taking a cold, hard look at the standings and realizing it doesn't make sense to mortgage the future on what's becoming an increasingly long shot. The Red Sox and Dodgers are potentially more aggressive but kind of in the same boat.

The days before the deadline are always filled with GMs expressing outrage at the hefty price tags being put on available players, hoping to force those prices down, but this year it really does seem like teams are taking a harder line because they have less pressure to sell. And teams have so much money invested in scouting and bonus money that they view prospects as high-value commodities rather than pawns. They are afraid to make lousy deals with young players.

There also is a trend toward making deals after the non-waiver deadline -- there's still a month left to trade after Saturday, just with different rules.

“Most of the guys available on July 31 are going to be available in August,” a National League GM told the New York Post.

That's not to say many of the names being thrown around this week won't be in different uniforms in the next 48 hours. Dunn probably will be traded, as will Ted Lilly, and the Blue Jays would be crazy not to trade Bautista when he's at peak value. But even more than most years, most of the talk will likely be for naught when it all shakes out.

-- David Andriesen

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

Posted on: July 28, 2010 4:51 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2010 5:18 pm

Lilly-for-Happ rumor stinks

Ted Lilly AOL Fanhouse's Ed Price has an interesting rumor: J.A. Happ could be on his way to the Cubs for Ted Lilly.

Price cautions that it is an unconfirmed rumor. The rumor is interesting, as it may signify that the Phillies have decided assuming Roy Oswalt's contract and parting with multiple prospects is not the right decision .

Lilly's 3.69 ERA is belied by a .261 batting average on balls in play and a 4.48 xFIP, so are essentially moving to replace Jamie Moyer. Giving up Happ, a promising young-left hander, for Lilly seems like a steep price. Happ has three starts to his name in 2010 before falling to injury. He was optioned to Triple-A after a rehab stint and is trying to put his season back together (4.84 ERA, 1.47 K/BB in 22 1/3 innings).

Lilly, meanwhile, is finishing up a four-year, $40 million deal before hitting the free agent market.

The Phils are right in the thick of the division race, but swapping Happ for Lilly smacks of a desperation move after closing themselves off to an Oswalt deal. Whether or not one thinks that's the right call (it is, in this man's opinion), it doesn't give a team license to go and make another bad trade.

That's not even considering the fact that Lilly's no-trade clause has the Phillies on it, as Ken Rosenthal reports for FOX Sports.

SI.com's Jon Heyman, for his part, reports the Phillies are looking at Cleveland's Jake Westbrook and Fausto Carmona. Westbrook is essentially the right-handed version of Lilly, while Carmona is young, productive and locked up for years to come. Now that's someone you trade Happ for.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
Category: MLB
Posted on: July 28, 2010 4:40 pm

Cubs' Lee vetoed deal to Anaheim

Derrek Lee We'd heard before that the Cubs Derrek Lee wasn't interested in going anywhere at the trade deadline, but now we know he won't be headed anywhere until after the season. Lee invoked his 10-5 rights to block a trade to the Angels, MLB.com's Carrie Muskat reports .

While it was an interesting discussion in a vacuum whether Lee would use his no-trade rights, the fact that he did -- and vetoed the trade to Southern California -- comes as a bit of a surprise.

The Angels have rumored to have interest in Lee ever since Kendry Morales suffered a season-ending celebration injury. Lee seemed a natural fit, he's a free agent after the season and the Cubs are out of the race. It also seemed too good to be a good match because Lee makes his offseason home in California, why wouldn't he want to head home and perhaps participate in a pennant race.

Lee wouldn't expound on his choice to Muskat, nor would Cubs general manager Jim Hendry, who only confirmed her report.

With Lee out of the equation, it does make sense that the Angels are now shifting their focus to Prince Fielder. He'll be much more expensive, but if Lee's unavailable, it's either a lesser player such as Jorge Cantu or Ty Wigginton or go for bust, and that's Fielder or Adam Dunn.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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

Posted on: July 28, 2010 2:21 pm

Cubs' Lee will not waive no-trade clause

ESPN's Bruce Levine says that Derrek Lee will not waive his no-trade clause, meaning the slugger will remain with the Cubs through the rest of the season.

It is thought the Rangers kicked the tires on Lee, with the Angels most interested. Instead, these two teams will have to turn elsewhere. The Rangers remain in on Jorge Cantu, although the Giants may have stepped up as frontrunner. Both teams are also actively engaged in talks for Prince Fielder, who would certainly beat an acquisition of Lee.

Lee is having a substandard season with a .248/.33/.387 line, although the 34-year-old is at .340/.364/.509 since the All-Star break, comprised of 55 plate appearances. Lee is a free agent after the season and is thought to want to return to the North Side.
-- Evan Brunell

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

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 28, 2010 1:58 am
Edited on: July 28, 2010 1:59 am

Reality bites for Lilly

Ted Lilly Ted Lilly walked off the mound in a Cubs uniform for what was probably the final time Tuesday, and it was a day of resignation.

The Cubs are going nowhere, and it's time to sell. Lilly is a proven veteran starter who's an impending free agent. He wants to stay, and by all accounts his teammates don't want to see him go, but baseball reality will probably have the final say.

''That's how it goes," Lilly told the Chicago Sun-Times. "And I've said what I want before, but there's a lot of things I don't get the final say in. That's the way it is.''

Lilly and manager Lou Piniella, who both arrived in Chicago in 2007, shared a cab to Minute Maid Park on Tuesday. They talked about Lilly's likely departure.

''As a manager you get attached to your players, and Teddy, for instance, has been here with me for four years,'' Piniella said. ''He's been a huge part of my four years. He's a good young man. He's a professional. And I've got nothing but admiration for him.''

Lilly is 3-8 with the worst run support in the majors, but has a 3.88 ERA. One scout told the Sun-Times that if they were making the same money, he'd still rather have Lilly than Houston's Roy Oswalt.

At least three teams in the market for a starter had scouts watching Tuesday: the Yankees, Twins and Dodgers.

-- David Andriesen

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

Posted on: July 27, 2010 2:13 pm

Zambrano wanted to apologize in person

Carlos Zambrano Carlos Zambrano apologized again on Tuesday, and once again it wasn't to his teammates.

Instead, Zambrano talked to MLB.com's Carrie Muskat and said he was waiting to apologize to his teammates when he joins the team -- and that he'd wanted to do so sooner if he'd been allowed.

"I'm a person and a human, and I know when I make a mistake. I have to come to the team and apologize," Zambrano said. "I'm not going to [apologize] because [the Cubs] said I have to do it. I'm going to do it from my heart. I want to be clear and at peace with my teammates."

Zambrano told Muskat that he wanted to apologize to his teammates immediately after he blew up at U.S. Cellular Field on June 25, but was told to stay away by the team. Last night he went to ESPN and apologized for his actions. He did that, he said, because he was frustrated he couldn't do it in person.

"I wanted to do this way before this time," Zambrano said. "I wanted to come to the clubhouse and apologize and talk to my teammates."

If that's true, why didn't he stick to the initial plan of not talking to the media before his return to Chicago. Why go on ESPN and apologize before he could do it in person. And if he'd texted and called Derrek Lee, why couldn't he approach his other teammates in the same fashion?

I don't doubt there's some sincerity in what Zambrano has now said in two interviews, it just seems that his actions are steps in the wrong direction. Ultimately, it won't mean anything when Zambrano is back without he Cubs and collecting big paychecks while underachieving, it s just odd that the whole thing has been handled this poorly.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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

Category: MLB
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