Roundup: Deadline drawing closer
With just over 10 days left to the big day, buzz is starting to populate in all corners of the league as teams decide if they are going to buyers or sellers. Will the Mets pick up a starting pitcher to help carry them down the stretch? Will the Astros send Roy Oswalt somewhere for a big return? Will we see Ted Lilly or Dan Haren on the move soon? We’ll know soon enough, but for today here’s a look around the league on Tuesday:
— Starting pitching buzz has pretty much dominated the talks on the market and a name being tossed around by some clubs is Indians starter Jake Westbrook. But according to Fox Sports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, Westbrook won’t come cheap. The starter has a clause in his contract that says he’ll recieve a $2 million bonus if traded and his salary is set to increase by a pro-rated portion of $1 million. As Rosenthal points out, this could prevent clubs that have salary constraints, such as the Mets and Dodgers, from making a move. Westbrook is also a free agent at the end of the season, so a club could potentially try to lock him up for the long-term, but that seems less likely.
— Rosenthal also touched on the case of Oswalt, Houston’s ace hurler. Major League sources suggested to Rosenthal that the market for the veteran hurler is slow and seeing limited interest. This is presumably because of his large contract, set to pay him $6 million more this season and $16 million next season.
— Heading into the second half of the season, there are a lot of teams that would love to have Nationals veteran Adam Dunn’s bat in the lineup. But all signs coming out of the Nationals have indicated that it was going to take A LOT to move Dunn. The Washington Post added to that on Tuesday, suggesting that Washington needed to be wow-ed to move Dunn. Adam Kilgore of the Post offers the White Sox as a team that could put together a solid offer for Dunn.
— There have been several reports that the Dodgers are being very aggressive on the market this year, despite their budget constraints. First on the wish list? Possibly a left-handed starter as an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Tuesday reports that according to a source, the Dodgers are eyeing Paul Maholm. Maholm is currently the Pirates’ highest paid player on the active roster, with a $4.5 million salary. He looked impressive in his last start, tossing a three-hit shutout at the Astros. Overall, Maholm is 6-7, with a 4.08 ERA. The Dodgers have also been linked to interest in Oswalt and Lilly.
— Add the Phillies to the list of teams looking for starting pitching. Less than 24 hours after he allowed seven runs in five innings against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium, Phillies right-hander Kyle Kendrick was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. It is unclear if he will take Kendrick’s spot in the rotation or serve as a long man in the bullpen until the Phillies make another move. The Phillies have said left-hander J.A. Happ will help them at some point this season. They also are trying to acquire a starting pitcher in a trade.
— Bailey Stephens