Posted on: July 26, 2011 11:49 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2011 12:03 am
You bet the rumors swirling around his Tampa Bay batting helmet have gotten B.J. Upton's attention.
"Thanks for all the support on twitter - I appreciate it," he tweeted from his @BJUPTON2 account Tuesday -- presumably as Atlanta, or Cincinnati, or San Francisco phoned Rays general manager Andrew Friedman yet again.
"Now I know how my brother felt this offseason," came another tweet from Upton. "Anyone hear any good trade rumors this week? Still here!"
Matter of fact, the buzz grew louder Tuesday surrounding Upton. Several industry sources believe that the Rays, at 9 1/2 games out in the AL East, will dump Upton by Sunday's non-waiver trading deadline the same way they dumped Matt Garza and bade farewell to free agents Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena and Grant Balfour last winter.
Money -- the lack of it, thanks in no small part to horrible attendance in Tropicana Field -- remains a significant problem for the Rays. And it's not getting any better.
Several clubs are looking for the kind of spark that Upton (.229, 15 homers, 53 RBIs, 23 steals, terrific defense) can provide. He would fit perfectly in San Francisco, especially if the Giants fall short in their quest to obtain the Mets' Carlos Beltran. The Giants, according to sources, have interest. So, too, do the Nationals, Reds, Pirates, Braves, Cardinals and, possibly, the Phillies writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
And B.J. is right -- brother Justin, Arizona's right-fielder -- went through a similar stretch last winter.
"I've talked to him, and we laugh about it," Justin told me Tuesday afternoon. "When it comes down to it, like last winter with me, it's out of your control. You just have to do your thing, see what happens and let it be."
Difference is, Arizona is committed to Justin Upton, 23. Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers made that clear last winter when he traded third baseman Mark Reynolds to Baltimore.
The Rays? Not so much with B.J., 26 -- much to Upton's chagrin.
"Obviously, he's played his whole career there and he lives there," says Justin, who said the brothers probably talk four or five times a week. "He wants to stay. It's always tough in a situation like that."
Ubaldo Jimenez to Yankees?
The Yankees appear to be in the best shape to acquire Ubaldo Jimenez if the Rockies decide to deal him, as colleague Danny Knobler writes. Here are takes from two scouts who have watched Jimenez pitch in recent days:
Scout one: "Quite frankly, he's not the same guy as he was last year. Before, when he needed to go get it, he'd hit 100 m.p.h. When I saw him in Denver, he'd reach back to muscle up and it was 95. [Atlanta's] Scott Proctor threw harder. If Ubaldo at sea level is 91, 92, 93, he's not the same guy."
Scout two: "I can't imagine Jimenez going anywhere. If he's on a real frickin' contender, he's a No. 3 right now. Something's missing."
Short hops, quick pops and backhand stops:
--Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers says he thinks Friday and Saturday will be the key days when the trade market loosens up and the action begins. "There are a lot of clubs out there with scouts looking at minor league clubs right now," Towers says.
-- While you might think they're looking to replace injured shortstop Stephen Drew, Towers says he is looking for pitching, pitching and pitching. Starting and/or relief.
-- The Giants, Rangers and Phillies have scouts in Cincinnati this week watching Mets' outfielder Carlos Beltran as New York GM Sandy Alderson enters the crucial final days before making one of the more significant decisions in recent Mets history. "Beltran looks real good right now," another scout who has been watching in Cincinnati this week says. "He's looking healthy."
-- One club that has spoken with Washington say closer Drew Storen can be obtained in the right deal.
-- Rival clubs say the Angels are diving into the trade market after owner Arte Moreno, hesitant at first, now has approved additional payroll for midseason help. While the Angels are looking for a third baseman, they would send shortstop Erick Aybar to the Mets for Jose Reyes straight up and take the rest of Reyes' $9 million 2011 salary if New York would bite (the Mets won't, they're keeping Reyes). "I'd do that if I'm the Mets," one NL executive says. "They're not going to be able to re-sign him. How can you give Reyes 10 years at $20 million [each] when he's hurt all the time?
-- Minnesota doggedly has insisted it can win a weak AL Central for the past month, and Tuesday night's comeback win in Texas was a big one. If the Twins do decide to become sellers, don't be surprised if they make outfielder Delmon Young available.
-- Well, in a weak market for starting pitchers, look who's coming off of the disabled list to start Friday for Seattle: Erik Bedard. He'll start against Tampa Bay unless something happens between now and Friday, and you can bet the scouts will swarm Safeco Field. Bedard has not thrown more than 100 innings in a season since 2007. He's at 90 now, so look out.
-- Twins right-hander Kevin Slowey continues to draw interest and Minnesota is expected to deal him.
-- The Marlins are looking to add, not subtract, and do not intend to deal closer Leo Nunez unless blown away with an offer. Florida is moving into a new stadium next season and has not gained near the momentum they had hoped this summer.
-- About that odd timing of Milwaukee acquiring closer Francisco Rodriguez and announcing it just after the All-Star Game ended? Rodriguez's former agent Paul Kinzer had failed to submit proper paperwork for K-Rod's 10-team no-trade list -- Milwaukee was on it -- and with K-Rod having hired Scott Boras recently, Mets GM Sandy Alderson was afraid Boras would correct the oversight. That's why, once the Mets and Brewers agreed to the deal, Alderson wanted it finalized as soon as possible, afraid that if they waited even one more day, Boras would get the list in and K-Rod would have power to scotch the deal.
-- Wonder what's taking so long for the trades to happen this week? Wonder why you read some rumors that turn out to be badly off the trail? Some insight from legendary executive Pat Gillick's Hall of Fame speech on Sunday: "As a young scout I, remember hiding up in trees with binoculars so no other scout would know I was interested in a prospect. I remember the assumed names or clever tactics we all used to get an edge and throw others off the scent."
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Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks, B.J. Upton, Carlos Beltran, Drew Storen, Erik Bedard, Florida Marlins, Francisco Rodriguez, Justin Upton, Kevin Slowey, Kevin Towers, Los Angeles Angels, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, New York Mets, Pat Gillick, Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers, Washington Nationals
Posted on: January 4, 2010 9:35 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2010 9:36 pm
Looking to add a veteran starting pitcher to their youthful rotation, the Twins have made an offer to left-hander Jarrod Washburn and are awaiting a response this week, according to CBSSports.com sources.
The size of the Twins' offer is not clear, though Minnesota's intent is. The Twins, in need of both pitching and a third baseman, are hopeful of adding a pitcher first. They were in touch on another Scott Boras client, third baseman Adrian Beltre, but deemed him too expensive and shifted their sights away from him earlier this winter.
As for Washburn, 35, the Twins view him as a perfect fit in that he is left-handed, he's got a reputation as being a good guy in the clubhouse, he's pitched enough that he can help anchor a young staff and he's an Upper Midwest native (he was born in Wisconsin and still lives in there in the off-season, in Webster).
Given all that, the Twins view Washburn as an ideal arm to help them open their long-awaited outdoor ballpark, Target Field, in 2010. Aiming for a big splash there, the Twins are projecting a payroll close to $90 million this season, which easily would be a club record.
Washburn was in the midst of a renaissance season in Seattle in 2009 when he was traded to Detroit for the stretch run. But a knee injury sabotaged him and cut his season short. After going 8-6 with a 2.64 ERA over 20 starts in Seattle, Washburn was only 1-3 with a 7.33 ERA in eight starts for the Tigers before being shut down.
The Twins earlier this winter re-signed right-hander Carl Pavano, and they also return youngsters Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey (returning from a wrist injury), Nick Blackburn, Francisco Liriano and Glen Perkins from a team that overtook Detroit for the AL Central title in '09.
Signing Washburn also would give the Twins the ability to trade an arm such as Perkins in their quest for a third baseman. Among others, they have discussed Kevin Kouzmanoff with San Diego.
Posted on: July 27, 2009 9:35 pm
Their season dangling in the balance with Monday's devastating news that starter Kevin Slowey will miss the rest of the season because of wrist surgery, the Minnesota Twins have expanded their trade talks to focus on starting pitchers.
Already searching for a middle infielder -- negotiations with Oakland regarding shortstop Orlando Cabrera have intensified in the past 24 hours, sources say -- and a set-up man, the Twins now are shifting gears again as they struggle to keep pace with Detroit and the Chicago White Sox in the American League Central.
Slowey's 10 wins lead the rotation even though he hasn't pitched in three weeks. Among those the Twins are expected to inquire about -- or have inquired about -- are Seattle's Jarrod Washburn and Arizona's Jon Garland and Doug Davis.
Meantime, the Twins, after nixing a couple of mid-level prospects the A's have asked for in exchange for Cabrera, have provided the Athletics with a list of young players they would trade for the shortstop. Though Cabrera got off to a very slow start offensively for Oakland, he has batted .339 since June 4.
Rookie pitcher Anthony Swarzak has been a huge help lately as Nick Blackburn, Scott Baker, Francisco Liriano and Glen Perkins have struggled to reach the seventh inning in recent starts. But with the subtraction of Slowey, the Twins clearly are in a bind.
The Twins had fallen to four games behind division-leading Detroit entering Monday night's games and clearly are frustrated.
Following a tough weekend against the Angels in Anaheim, the three Twins' franchise players -- Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer and Joe Nathan -- told LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that it's time to make a move.
"Yeah, there's frustration," Mauer told the newspaper. "But I've learned over the last few years not to try to get my hopes up that we'll have something, then get disappointed."
"It's frustrating, very frustrating," Morneau said. "You hear about the future, the future. I don't know who gets to decide when that is or when they think that is. You have a core of a lineup that can compete with anyone in the league. One of the best closers in the game. Young starting pitching that might be missing one veteran guy to show them the way.
"It makes a difference to have someone like that."