July 2011

Pirates acquire Ryan Ludwick

A day after adding Derrek Lee, the Pirates acquired Padres outfielder Ryan Ludwick for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

The Pirates have been actively seeking to upgrade their corner outfield and the hope is that Ludwick will provide the production the Pirates have been lacking. In 101 games with the Padres this season, Ludwick has hit .238 with 11 homers and 64 RBIs.

Earlier on Sunday, a source said that while Ludwick was being eyed by the Pirates, he was not their primary target. The acquisition means that the Pirates’ attempts to trade for other potential outfielders were unsuccessful.

This marks the second straight season that Ludwick has been a part of a July 31 trade. He was sent from the Cardinals to the Padres last year but hit only .211 in 59 games with San Diego to end the season.

Like the Lee deal, the Pirates do not appear to be giving up too much in return for Ludwick. That means that the Pirates will likely have to pay Ludwick most, if not all, of his remaining $6.775 million salary. Ludwick, 33, will be a free agent after the season.

— Jenifer Langosch

Dodgers Deal Trayvon Robinson

The Dodgers replenished their Minor League system just before Sunday’s deadline, sending outfielder prospect Trayvon Robinson to Boston for top catching prospect Tim Federowics and right-handed pitchers Stephen Fife and Juan Rodriguez, according to a baseball source. — Ken Gurnick

Pirates get Ludwick from the Padres

SAN DIEGO – One year to the day after landing outfielder Ryan Ludwick, the Padres on Sunday dealt their best run-producer to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Ludwick, who is hitting .238 with 11 home runs and a team-best 64 RBIs, was shipped to the Pirates for a player to be named later.

Ludwick, who turned 33 on July 13 and can play left and right field, will be a free agent following the season. He’s making $6.775 million this season.

Ludwick was in the original starting lineup for Sunday’s game against the Rockies but he was later scratched.

— Corey Brock

Blue Jays enter talks for Rodriguez

The Blue Jays have reportedly made a late push to acquire Wandy Rodriguez. Multiple online reports are suggesting general manager Alex Anthopoulos is in hot pursuit of the Astros left hander but it wasn’t immediately clear whether a deal was close to being completed.

Rodriguez is owed a total of $23 million in 2012-13. He also has a club option worth $13 million in 2014 that becomes a player option if he is traded. Toronto has the financial flexibility to take on that kind of salary but it’s not known whether they would be willing to commit that to a 32-year-old pitcher who has gone 7-7 with a 3.47 ERA in the National League Central this season.

— Gregor Chisholm

It’s Adams (not Bell) going from San Diego to Texas

SAN DIEGO – The Padres dealt a highly-regarded reliever Sunday, though it wasn’t the move everyone figured was coming.

The Padres traded eighth-inning specialist, right-hander Mike Adams to the Rangers for two Minor League pitchers, left-hander Robbie Erlin and right-hander Joe Wieland.

Adams, who turned 33 on Friday, is 3-1 with a 1.13 ERA in 48 appearances. Since the 2009 season, Adams – regarded as one of the top set-up men in the game, has posted a 1.31 ERA in 155 appearances.

The trade came as a surprise to Adams, who admitted that he figured that closer Heath Bell would be traded on Sunday.

“I came in this morning prepared to be the closer. I honestly thought Heath (Bell) would be moved. This is a shock,” Adams said.

The Padres, who were seeking impact players with upside in any deal, land Erlin, a 20-year-old who was a third-round Draft pick in 2009. Erlin is 8-4 with a 3.34 ERA in 20 games (19 starts) between Class A Myrtle Beach and Double-A Frisco.

Wieland, 21, was a teammate of Erlin’s in Frisco. He made news on Friday for tossing a no-hitter against the Padres’ Double-A affiliate, San Antonio. Wieland is a combined 10-3 with a 1.80 in 21 games (20 starts) between Myrtle Beach and Frisco.

Wieland was a fourth-round pick in the 2008 Draft.

— Corey Brock

Yankees talking about Wandy Rodriguez

The Yankees have discussed Houston Astros left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, but still have to be convinced that he would represent a significant upgrade over the pitching they currently have in their rotation.

General manager Brian Cashman balked at the Rockies’ request for several high-level prospects in exchange for right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez, who instead went to the Indians on Saturday.

Left-hander Manny Banuelos is generally considered off-limits by the Yankees, but they seem willing to at least talk about players like right-hander Dellin Betances, catcher Jesus Montero and right-hander Ivan Nova.

Rodriguez represents the upper echelon of what’s left on the market leading into Sunday’s 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline, but the Yankees will need to believe that he would make an impact over what Bartolo Colon or Freddy Garcia figure to provide in order to stomach the $38.3 million he’d be owed through 2014 if Rodriguez exercises his player option for that season.

Rodriguez is 7-7 with a 3.49 ERA in 19 starts this year for Houston. In 122 innings, he has permitted 49 runs (47 earned) and 120 hits, including 15 homers, while walking 38 and striking out 106.

— Bryan Hoch

Bucs still pursuing various targets

The Pirates added first baseman Derrek Lee late on Saturday, but that has not stopped their pursuit of other offensive upgrades. General manager Neal Huntington remains engaged in various conversations about a number of players. One of them is Padres outfielder Ryan Ludwick, though a source said he is not the Pirates’ top target today.

The club is interested in outfielder Jason Kubel, too, though it’s unknown whether the Twins are willing to start becoming sellers.

Though the Pirates’ primary pursuits are to continue to upgrade the offense, the team is still looking at pitching options as well. The club could use a steady set-up man to bridge the gap to closer Joel Hanrahan.

Pirates president Frank Coonelly, who is with the club in Philadelphia, said the organization still has financial flexibility that would allow it to take on more salary.

— Jenifer Langosch

Furcal Trade Official

The Dodgers confirmed Sunday the trade of veteran shortstop Rafael Furcal to the St. Louis Cardinals, officially turning the page on 2011. In return the Cardinals will pay $1.38 million of the remaining $4.8 million of Furcal’s salary and send Double-A outfielder Alex Castellanos to the Dodgers. The move allows the Dodgers to replace Furcal with top shortstop prospect Dee Gordon, who was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque. — Ken Gurnick

Tigers still looking for reliever

With a few hours left before the non-waiver Trade Deadline, the Tigers are still looking for one more deal that would help their bullpen with a right-handed reliever. Though they already added a righty with David Pauley as part of the Doug Fister trade, they could use another to help take some workload off of Al Alburquerque, who hasn’t pitched since last Sunday due to inflammation around the ulnar nerve in his right elbow.

Alburquerque played catch Saturday and felt improvement, giving Tigers officials optimism that he can avoid a DL stint. Still, given the off and on elbow issues he has experienced this summer, it wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest they’re going to have to keep an eye on him.

Foxsports.com reported the Tigers have been in touch with the Padres, who have Chad Qualls, and have shown interest in Rays righty Joel Peralta and Baltimore’s Jim Johnson.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland gave no indication the Tigers were done dealing when he talked with reporters Sunday morning.

“Would I be shocked [by another deal]? No,” Leyland said. “I really can’t say that I’d be expecting another move, but I wouldn’t be shocked.”

— Jason Beck

Braves acquire Bourn

The Braves have acquired center fielder Michael Bourn from the Astros in exchange for Jordan Schafer and three Minor League pitchers —  left-hander Brett Oberholtzer and right-handersPaul Clemens and Juan Abreu.

Bourn will play center field and bat leadoff for the Braves for the remainder of the season.  He has hit .303 with a .363 on-base percentage and 39 stolen base attempts in 105 games for the Astros this year.

“Michael Bourn is a perfect fit for our club, which focuses on speed and defense to match up with our strong pitching,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said. “This trade gives us the first true leadoff hitter we’ve had in a number of years.”

Once Schafer and Nate McLouth went on the disabled list this past week, the Braves’ began searching for a center fielder.  The 28-year-old Bourn has one more arbitration-eligible season remaining and could make somewhere in the neighborhood of $7 million next year.

Schafer spent most of the past two months as Atlanta’s starting center fielder.  Once considered the organization’s top prospect, he has missed time the past three years due to suspension and a left wrist injury.

Clemens has established himself as a strong prospect while going 6-5 with a 3.73 ERA in 20 starts for Double-A Mississippi this year.  Oberholtzer gained attention during Spring Training and has posted  a 3.74 ERA in 21 starts for Mississippi.

Abreu is a strong-armed right-handed reliever who recorded 68 strikeouts in 48 innings for Triple-A Gwinnett this year.  – Mark Bowman