Posted on: July 31, 2011 9:52 pm
Edited on: August 1, 2011 5:26 pm

3 to Watch: The rich don't get richer edition

The Yankees always get what they want, right?

The Yankees and Red Sox get everything. The rich get richer.

Except when they don't.

In a week where the Nationals briefly acted as buyers (sending minor leaguers to the Reds for bench player Jonny Gomes), and where the Indians and the Pirates were both buyers, the Yankees were . . . silent?

And the Red Sox were . . . not silent, but they didn't really get what they wanted.

That's not to say that the Yankees are in trouble, or that the Red Sox are. That's not to say that the Yankees have suddenly become cheap, or that the Red Sox have, either.

Just don't say they always get what they want, or even what they need.

The Red Sox came closer, with their deadline-beating three-team deal for Erik Bedard. Bedard was awful in his Friday night showcase, but he was very good earlier in the season.

But with Monday's news about Clay Buchholz -- CSN New England reported that he has a stress fracture in his back, and could be out for the year -- the Sox were more determined to add a starter than the Yankees were. In fact, CSNNE's Sean McAdam wrote, the Sox actually wanted to add two starters, and settled for one possibly healthy one (Bedard).

The Yankees were much more content to stick with what they have. But should they have been.

The Red Sox are at least solid atop their rotation, with Jon Lester and Josh Beckett. The Yankees can rely on CC Sabathia.

And . . .

That's it, really. The Yankees can rely on CC Sabathia.

They don't have a true No. 2. They have Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon as amazing surprises. They have A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes as amazing enigmas. They have Ivan Nova and perhaps Manuel Banuelos as talented but really untested kids.

But who starts Game 2?

Now you understand why Cliff Lee's decision to sign with the Phillies last December was so potentially devastating to the Yankees.

They were left taking a chance that a top starter would be available on the July market. They were left trying to decide if Ubaldo Jimenez or Hiroki Kuroda (who, in the end, refused to consider any trade) would fit.

"If those are the two guys, I would live with what I have," one rival scout said in the middle of last week. "And then hope that A.J. pitches better, which he probably won't."

Did the Yankees go wrong at the deadline? Only if they don't win.

Check back at the end of September, or sometime in October.

On to 3 to Watch:

1. Sabathia pitched like a true ace in July (with a 0.92 ERA in five starts). Now that they passed up on trading for help, they sure as heck need him to pitch like an ace the rest of the way, starting in Yankees at White Sox, Monday night (8:10 ET) at U.S. Cellular Field. The White Sox have every bit as big a need for Jake Peavy to pitch well, and more than that for him to stay healthy. The White Sox traded away Edwin Jackson, which gave them bullpen help (in Jason Frasor) and some payroll relief, but it left them with little rotation protection, in case the fragile Peavy gets hurt again.

2. The Tigers' acquisition of Doug Fister understandably got far less attention than the Indians' trade for Jimenez. But Fister serves almost as important a role for the Tigers as Jimenez does for the Indians. The Tigers are 4-16 when they've used a fifth starter, which means that even if Fister is decent, starting in Rangers at Tigers, Wednesday night (7:05 ET) at Comerica Park, he'll be a huge improvement. The Rangers explored adding a starter, too, but settled for making significant bullpen upgrades with Mike Adams and Koji Uehara.

3. The Indians announced Monday that Jimenez won't make his Cleveland debut until Friday in Texas. But Bedard will make his Boston debut a night earlier, in Indians at Red Sox, Thursday night (7:10 ET) at Fenway Park. That series, between one of the American League's true powers and a team that wants to be thought of the same way, sure became a lot more interesting with what the Indians did Saturday night. By Thursday, the Red Sox should know for sure about Buchholz, and maybe Thursday's game will give them some idea whether Bedard will really help.

Posted on: July 30, 2011 11:04 pm
Edited on: July 31, 2011 10:50 am

Giants get Orlando Cabrera from Indians

The Giants, who have been looking for small upgrades since making the big deal for Carlos Beltran, have acquired Orlando Cabrera from the Indians.

The much-traveled Cabrera became expendable in Cleveland when the Indians called up top prospect Jason Kipnis to play every day at second base. Cabrera is a shortstop by trade, but the Indians signed him to play second, alongside Asdrubal Cabrera (no relation).

The Indians got Thomas Neal, a 23-year-old Triple-A outfielder, in exchange for Orlando Cabrera.

Cabrera, who has been on playoff teams each of the last four years (in four different cities!), will likely play shortstop for the Giants. The Giants' .579 OPS at shortstop is the worst in the National League, and 29th in baseball ahead of only the Rays.

Cabrera is in the Giants' lineup at shortstop for Sunday's game in Cincinnati.

Brandon Crawford and Mike Fontenot had been sharing time at short. Crawford was optioned to Triple-A Fresno to make room on the roster for Cabrera.

Cabrera went to the playoffs with the Angels in 2007, with the White Sox in 2008, with the Twins in 2009 and with the Reds last year.

Now he's headed there again, with the Giants.

Posted on: July 30, 2011 8:10 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2011 11:14 pm

Indians stun baseball with deal for Jimenez

In the most stunning move of an already stunning season, the Indians have acquired ace right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez from the Rockies.

The teams announced the trade at the end of a wild night, saying it was pending a physical exam by the Cleveland medical staff on Sunday. Jimenez took the mound for the Rockies one final time Saturday night in San Diego, pitching one uninspired inning as the teams put the final touches on the trade. The deal, which originally appeared to be for three players, was expanded by adding a fourth player before it was finalized.

Jimenez came off the mound at the end of the first inning, and got a hug from manager Jim Tracy and his Rockies teammates.

The Indians agreed to trade both of their top two pitching prospects, Drew Pomeranz and Alex White, along with minor-league first baseman Matt McBride and a fourth player to the Rockies in exchange for Jimenez, the top pitcher on the July market. Pomeranz will be listed officially as a player to be named later, because he signed out of the draft last Aug. 15 and technically can't be traded until this Aug. 15.

The Indians lost 93 games last year and went into this season with low expectations. But they've spent much of the year in first place in the weak American League Central, and began play Saturday night two games behind the first-place Tigers.

The Rockies were the team that entered the season with high expectations, but after a strong start, they have fallen far behind the Giants in the National League West. Now they've agreed to trade their top starting pitcher, although they did so for an impressive package of prospects.

White and the Pomeranz, both 22 years old, have been described by rival scouts as potential top of the rotation starters. White made his big-league debut this year, while Pomeranz moved from Class A up to Double-A Akron. White was the Indians' first-round draft pick in 2009, and Pomeranz was picked in the first round a year later.

White has been on the disabled list with a finger problem, but he was due to make a rehabilitation appearance Saturday night at Akron. Pomeranz was scheduled to start that game for the Double-A Aeros, and when he and McBride were scratched, it was the first real sign that Jimenez was headed to Cleveland.

Jimenez is 27 years old, and he is signed through next year with a club option for 2013. Because of that contract, which is considered very team-friendly, the Indians felt comfortable trading two huge parts of their future. Jimenez obviously gives them a much better chance to win the division this year, and they felt he will give them a real chance the next two seasons, as well.

The Indians were able to keep their major-league team intact, and able to keep their two top position-player prospects, Lonnie Chisenhall and Jason Kipnis, out of the trade.

The Rockies talked to many teams about Jimenez, including the Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers, Reds, Rangers and Blue Jays. They always believed that the Yankees were capable of putting together the best package, but Yankees general manager Brian Cashman insisted on protecting his top prospects.

Posted on: July 28, 2011 10:11 am
Edited on: July 28, 2011 12:29 pm

Indians get Fukudome from Cubs

The slumping Indians have acquired outfielder Kosuke Fukudome from the Cubs.

The 34-year-old Fukudome has been mostly a disappointment in his time with the Cubs, but he has a .374 on-base percentage this year, and is in the final year of his contract. The Indians will give up two low-level and low-value prospects in exchange (Abner Abreu and Carlton Smith), and the Cubs will pay most of the remaining money on Fukudome's contract.

In other words, this is the kind of low-risk acquisition that fits the surprising Indians the best.

The Indians were no-hit on Wednesday by the Angels' Ervin Santana, and they've scored just seven runs in their last five games. They remain just one game behind the Tigers in the American League Central, despite going just 22-35 in their last 57 games.

The Indians are in a somewhat tricky situation. They want to show their players and fans (attendance has been up at Progressive Field) that they're trying to make the most of this surprising opportunity to win, but at the same time they need to preserve their best prospects in order to have an even better chance to win big in the years to come. So while the Indians showed interest in both Carlos Beltran and Ubaldo Jimenez, the two biggest names on the trade market, a deal for either one never seemed likely, and wouldn't have made much sense.

Fukudome costs much, much less in prospects, but could give the Indians at least an incremental boost.

Posted on: July 24, 2011 6:18 pm

Putting 15 straight losses in perspective

The Yankees have been around for 111 years, and they've never lost 15 games in a row.

Neither have Cubs or the White Sox, or the Indians or the Giants (New York or San Francisco).

It's not unheard of for a team to lose 15 in a row, but it's not exactly common. And it's not good.

When the Mariners lost their 15th straight Sunday in Boston, they became just the 12th team in the last 50 years with a losing streak that long. Ten of the previous 11 went on to lose 100 games, while the 11th (the 1982 Mets) lost 97.

What kind of team loses 15 straight? Teams like the infamous 1962 Mets, who went on to lose 120. Teams like the 1988 Orioles, who lost 21 straight to start the season.

The Mariners' streak is the longest in the big leagues since the 2005 Royals lost 19 straight, and ties the third longest in the last 30 years. If they lose Monday in New York, the Mariners will become just the fifth team in the last 40 years to lose at least 16 straight.

It's already a club record -- and it would already be a club record for 13 of the other 29 big-league teams.

The Yankees club record is 13, set in 1913. They haven't even lost 10 in a row since then.

The White Sox club record is 13, set in 1924. The Giants' is also 13, set in 1902 and tied in 1944. The Indians set a record with 12 straight losses in 1931.

The Mariners have only been around since 1978.

Oh, and those other teams that have never had a 15-game losing streak? Here's the list:

Angels, Astros, Blue Jays, Brewers, Diamondbacks, Marlins, Padres and Rockies.

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 24, 2011 3:20 pm
Edited on: July 24, 2011 3:54 pm

Dodgers think Kuroda would OK deal

Hiroki Kuroda has generated lots of interest on the trade market, but also lots of intrigue.

The reason for the interest is obvious. Plenty of teams would like to add a starting pitcher, Kuroda is a decent starting pitcher (3.52 career ERA, 3.19 this year) on a one-year contract, and his Dodgers team is obviously out of the race in the National League West. The Tigers have been very interested in Kuroda, and the Yankees, Red Sox, Indians and Brewers are all believed to have shown interest, as well.

The reason for the intrigue: Kuroda has a full no-trade clause, and some people in the game believe that he would invoke it to block a trade.

But the Dodgers continue to explore possible trades, and according to sources they believe that Kuroda could be persuaded to go to a contending team for the final two months of the season. The same sources said that if Kuroda decides to pitch in the major leagues again next year, he would likely only agree to pitch for the Dodgers.

Despite their financial troubles, the Dodgers don't appear to have any interest in dealing their more established stars. The only other Dodgers player whose name regularly comes up in trade talks is Jamey Carroll, who has drawn interest from Brewers.

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 1:04 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 5:33 pm

Sizemore out 4-6 weeks, Indians call up Kipnis

The Indians won't have Grady Sizemore for at least the next month, but they will have top prospect Jason Kipnis in the lineup this weekend.

Kipnis, who homered in the All-Star Futures Game in Phoenix, hinted at the move Thursday, when he posted "It's time!!!" and then "I'm coming Cleveland!" on his Twitter account, @TheJK_Kid. The Indians announced the move a short while later, and said Kipnis will make his big-league debut Friday night against the White Sox.

Kipnis, who is hitting .279 with 12 home runs at Triple-A Columbus, could give a much-needed boost to an Indians lineup that has felt the loss of Sizemore. Sizemore has been on the disabled list three times this year, and the Indians announced Thursday morning that he had surgery to repair a sports hernia and will miss the next 4-6 weeks.

Sizemore's injury dates to a slide he made in May. He was hitting just .214 in his last 43 games before making his most recent trip to the DL this week, because of a knee problem.

"Knowing the two areas are related and also learning my knee condition is not serious gives me peace of mind going forward that I can finish the season healthy and help contribute to an exciting pennant chase," Sizemore said in a statement released by the Indians.

Sizemore has played in just 200 games over the last three seasons, because of various injuries.

Kipnis is a second baseman, but he also has some experience playing the outfield (although he hasn't played there since 2009).

Luis Valbuena was optioned to Columbus to make room for Kipnis.
Category: MLB
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