Posted on: July 22, 2011 6:58 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 7:08 pm

With Gomez out, Brewers look at A's Crisp

With center fielder Carlos Gomez on the disabled list, the Brewers are taking a look at Coco Crisp as a possible replacement.

The Brewers were already looking for more bullpen help and for a right-handed bat off the bench, and they already had a scout watching the A's. But with Gomez out after fracturing his left collarbone on Wednesday night, Crisp is another possibility.

Gomez was only playing part-time for Milwaukee, with Nyjer Morgan starting recently against right-handed pitchers. Crisp is a switch hitter, but he has also been better this year against right-handers (.283) than against lefties (.230), so he isn't a perfect fit.

But with few options available on the trade market, it appears that Crisp is a possibility.

The A's have also drawn attention from the Pirates, who also have a scout tracking Oakland. Outfielder Josh Willingham seems of most interest to the Pirates.

The Reds and Indians are other teams that have considered a move for Crisp.

For more trade deadline news, click here.
Posted on: July 21, 2011 2:55 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 5:49 pm

Tigers like Shields, but will Rays move him?

The Tigers plan to have two scouts at Tropicana Field on Thursday night, to watch Rays right-hander James Shields.

They'll no doubt want to see him pitch well -- but perhaps not too well.

If Shields beats the Yankees Thursday, the Rays would be just 5 1/2 games behind New York in the American League wild-card standings, with their next 20 games against teams that began Thursday with records no better than .500. If the Rays lose, they'd be 7 1/2 games back, making their chances of catching either the Yankees or Red Sox look slim.

And while the Rays have sent out mixed signals on their trade plans, a 7 1/2-game wild-card deficit would likely leave them much more open to moving Shields or Jeff Niemann.

Besides the Tigers, Shields has interested the Reds, the Cardinals and probably a few other teams.

"You'd have to give them a lot, but you should have to," said one official from an interested team.

The Rays value the 29-year-old Shields for what he has done on the mound (he's 8-8 with a 2.60 ERA and three shutouts this season), but also for his influence in the clubhouse. And Shields isn't terribly expensive, even for the cost-conscious Rays, with club options that run through 2014.

The Rays don't need to move him, and an official of one rival team was told that Tampa Bay's top priority was to "protect its pitching."

"They're not moving Shields," that official said, adding that the Rays may even be looking to add bullpen help and a right-handed bat.

Other teams aren't so sure, with officials contending that while the Rays won't talk about Jeremy Hellickson, they may at least discuss Shields and Niemann. The scouts section at Tropicana Field will likely be full to watch Shields pitch against the Yankees.

They'll want to see him do well. But perhaps not too well.

As for B.J. Upton, people who have spoken to the Rays say it's become much less likely that he will be traded this month. Many scouts still love Upton's skills (he can run, and hit with power), but others are very down on his seeming lack of effort, his sub-par numbers and a salary that will rise next year. The feeling now seems to be that the Rays wouldn't get value by moving him now.

For more trade deadline news, click here.
Posted on: July 19, 2011 4:15 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2011 5:01 pm

Do the Yankees need relief?

With the development of David Robertson, the probability that Rafael Soriano will return from the disabled list and the continued excellence of Mariano Rivera, the Yankees have been suggesting to teams that they're happy with their bullpen.

But eyes were raised in the scouting community when the Yankees had one high-level person in San Diego last week, then dispatched another to Kansas City this week.

The Yankees have long had interest in Royals closer Joakim Soria. They've also shown interest this summer in Padres relievers Mike Adams and Heath Bell.

The Royals haven't been very open to trading Soria. Teams that have spoken to them say the most available players on the roster are starting pitchers Jeff Francis, Bruce Chen and Kyle Davies, outfielder Jeff Francoeur and utility man Wilson Betemit. It's unlikely that the Yankees would see any of the Royals starters as a significant upgrade. Betemit could be a short-term fit, while Alex Rodriguez is out after knee surgery.

Many teams have shown interest in the Padres relievers, including the Rangers, Reds and Phillies, in addition to the Yankees.

For more trade deadline news, click here.
Posted on: July 19, 2011 3:48 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2011 4:47 pm

Red Sox in on Ubaldo, but watch for Texas

The Rockies still aren't sure they'll trade Ubaldo Jimenez. They're still asking a ton for Ubaldo Jimenez.

But they sure haven't scared teams away.

The Red Sox are the latest team to inquire, sources said Tuesday. It's not yet clear how serious that interest is, or how strong a match there would be. The Red Sox have also continued to monitor the Carlos Beltran market.

While the Yankees' interest in Jimenez has been widely reported, some people familiar with the Rockies plans believe that the Reds or the Rangers would have a better chance of landing the ace right-hander. Both Cincinnati and Texas are said to have enough young talent to motivate the Rockies to make a deal.

The Tigers have also been in touch on Jimenez, but it appears they don't have enough available talent to get him. The Tigers continue to prioritize starting pitching; they've asked about almost every starter on the market.

Jimenez is scheduled to make his next start for Colorado on Tuesday night. Some teams are still trying to convince themselves that he is totally healthy.

For more trade deadline news, click here.
Posted on: July 19, 2011 3:39 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2011 4:47 pm

Reds look at Figgins, Crisp, Wandy, Ubaldo

The Reds, four games behind in the crowded National League Central, continue to push to upgrade their starting pitching.

But that's not all.

Even as they've strongly pursued Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez and have looked into Houston's Wandy Rodriguez, the Reds have expanded their search for a new leadoff hitter, as well.

The two names that currently interest them, according to sources: Seattle's Chone Figgins and Oakland's Coco Crisp.

Figgins has been a serious underachiever in his two years with the Mariners, and Seattle still owes him more than $20 million on a contract that is guaranteed through 2013. But the Mariners would likely eat much of that money in order to part with Figgins, and some people believe that he'll be a better player once he returns to the leadoff role he filled with the Angels.

Crisp has just a .312 on-base percentage in his second year with the A's, but he also has 27 stolen bases. Crisp is on the final year of his contract, and will be a free-agent at the end of 2011.

As for Jimenez, sources categorized the Reds' interest as "strong." Cincinnati could put together an attractive package, most likely built around Yonder Alonso, the first baseman whose path to the big leagues is blocked by Joey Votto's presence. The Rockies would like to find a first baseman to eventually replace Todd Helton.

It's not yet as clear how interested the Reds are in Rodriguez, whose contract is somewhat prohibitive. The Astros have told teams that they'll listen on any of their players, but an official of another team that talked to Houston said there was a fear that general manager Ed Wade is trying to make a "job-saving deal." Most people in baseball believe that Wade won't survive, once new owner Jim Crane takes over from Drayton McLane.

For more trade deadline news, click here.
Posted on: July 18, 2011 1:41 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 7:04 pm

M's may talk pitching (but not that pitcher)

In 12 days, the Mariners went from 2 1/2 games out to 11 1/2 games out. Not easy to do, especially when three of those days were the All-Star break.

In 12 days, the Mariners went from possible buyers to possible sellers. The Mariners have suggested to teams in the last several days that they would be willing to discuss trading some of their starting pitching in exchange for some much-needed hitting.

But not that pitcher. And not that one, either.

The names that have been floated, according to sources, are Jason Vargas and Doug Fister -- and not Felix Hernandez or Michael Pineda.

It's not certain how anxious the Mariners are to make a deal. One source described it more as "throwing bait out there, to see what interest there is." One issue is how much the Mariners value second-half wins that would make their final record look respectable, even if catching the first-place Rangers has already become a huge longshot.

In a market where multiple teams are searching for starting pitching, there could be significant interest. Fister is 3-11, but has a 3.18 ERA and good secondary numbers. Vargas has a 3.68 ERA and is tied for the league lead with three shutouts.

As to what the Mariners would be looking for in return, that's fairly obvious. In their current nine-game losing streak, the M's have scored just 11 runs.

The Tigers, Reds and Indians are all among the teams searching for rotation help. The Indians have continued to prioritize starting pitching, even as their shaky offense suffered another blow when Grady Sizemore went on the disabled list Monday.

Posted on: July 9, 2011 9:10 pm
Edited on: July 9, 2011 9:36 pm

Rolen takes Chipper's place on NL All-Stars

Scott Rolen will replace Chipper Jones on the National League All-Star team.

Jones went on the disabled list Saturday and had surgery on a knee that has bothered him for two months. Rolen had next call on a spot because he finished just behind Jones in player balloting.

Rolen is hitting just .245 for the Reds, but third base is an unusually weak position in the National League this year.

Posted on: July 3, 2011 9:13 pm
Edited on: July 4, 2011 1:25 am

3 to Watch: The Jeter returns edition

The last time Derek Jeter came off the disabled list, he got six hits in his first three games.

The time before that, he had eight hits in his first three games. The time before that, he had six hits in his first two games.

So with Jeter set to come off the disabled list as the Yankees begin a three-game series in Cleveland, does that mean Derek Jeter is going to get his 3,000th hit in George Steinbrenner's hometown?

No more than fact that Jeter has six hits in only one of the 16 three-game series he has played in this year means that he won't.

All we really know is that Jeter (who returns from the DL with 2,994 career hits) has a history of fast starts when coming off the disabled list. And also that Jeter is not the same hitter he was in 2003, the last time he went on the DL.

For what it's worth, we know that Jeter is a career .343 hitter against the Indians, and that he's a career .370 hitter at the ballpark that was known as Jacobs Field when he first played there, and now goes by the name Progressive Field.

We know that two members of the 3,000-hit club -- Tris Speaker and Nap Lajoie -- reached the milestone in Cleveland, and that one member of the club -- Robin Yount -- did it against the Indians.

And we know that the Yankees insist that they're not worried about giving Jeter a chance to get to 3,000 this weekend at Yankee Stadium.

"I know there are conspiracy theories, but we need to win games," general manager Brian Cashman told reporters Saturday in Trenton, N.J. "We dopn't have time to play around with milestone stuff and all that extra stuff. I can honestly tell you, I could care less."

If the Yankees did care, they wouldn't be the first. As I pointed out last month, in 1978 Reds manager Sparky Anderson said he would pull Pete Rose from a game, rather than take a chance that he would get 3,000 in New York.

"I will not allow Pete Rose to do it anywhere but Cincinnati," Anderson said then. "I would not cheat those people. It's a must that he do it at home."

The Yankees have three games in Cleveland, followed by four games at home against the Rays, followed by a trip to Toronto and Tampa Bay after the All-Star break.

When will 3,000 come?

We can only tell you that history says it might not take long.

On to 3 to Watch:

1. Before Jeter's calf injury, and before his return was scheduled for Monday, we thought the game of the day would be in St. Louis. It still might be, because Reds at Cardinals, Monday night (6:15 ET) at Busch Stadium, brings the renewal of what has become one of the most heated rivalries in the game. It's quite a week in the National League Central, where the top four teams finished play Sunday separated by just two games. The Cardinals and Brewers begin the week tied for first, and the Reds (two games back) play three games this week in St. Louis followed by four in Milwaukee.

2. Our C. Trent Rosecrans says Roy Halladay should be the National League starter in the All-Star Game. I'm not going to disagree, but I will say that Jair Jurrjens would be a good option, too. Halladay doesn't pitch again until Friday, so Jurrjens (who leads the majors with a 1.89 ERA) has a chance to become the NL's first 12-game winner when he starts in Rockies at Braves, Wednesday night (7:10 ET) at Turner Field.

3. Jeter's return from the DL will get more attention, but Phil Hughes' return, in Yankees at Indians, Wednesday night (7:05 ET) at Progressive Field, may be more important to the Yankees' chances this season. The reports from Hughes' minor-league rehab starts have been good, but you can bet everyone will be checking the radar gun readings and the box score line from his first big-league start since April 14. Oh, and maybe you should watch Jeter, too. He's 5-for-12 in his career against Justin Masterson, who will start for the Indians.

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