July 2011

July 30 roundup: Ubaldo to Cleveland?

Less than a day remain’s until Sunday’s 4 p.m. ET Non-Waiver Trade Deadline, and one of the best arms in baseball is reportedly close to being moved.

The Denver Post’s Troy Renck reports the Indians are on the edge of bringing in Ubaldo Jimenez from the Rockies, for a package including Drew Pomeranz. The Tigers were also in on the conversation, also thought to prominently include the Yankees.

For for the latest developments with Jimenez, keep up with MLB.com’s Rockies beat writer Thomas Harding here, and MLB.com’s Indians beat writer Jordan Bastian here .

Other moves Saturday didn’t have quite the star pull, but were still significant: Detroit did end up with starting pitching, what they coveted most, in Doug Fister, and got some relief help, too, in David Pauley. To the Mariners went Charlie Furbush, Casper Wells and third-base prospect Francisco Martinez, as well as a player to be named.

  • Texas had been keen on Heath Bell, but the Padres will still have plenty of suitors if the Rangers no longer want to make a deal now that they have Koji Uehara.
  • The Nationals are busy, making two trades on Saturday — one dealing Jerry Hairston Jr., the other dealing Jason Marquis — and reportedly were talking with Minnesota about acquiring Denard Span.
Down to the wire we go.
– Evan Drellich

Furcal in Uniform

Despite being absent from Saturday night’s starting lineup amid strong indications that he will be traded to St. Louis, shortstop Rafael Furcal is in uniform and taking part in pre-game stretching with the Dodgers. — Ken Gurnick

Kuroda Staying with Dodgers

Pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, one of the prime trade targets for contending teams, told the Dodgers Saturday he would not waive his no-trade clause and will remain with the club for the rest of the year. — Ken Gurnick

Furcal Going, Going …

The Dodgers have not announced a trade of shortstop Rafael Furcal to the Cardinals, but Furcal was not in the starting lineup for the Dodgers’ game with Arizona Saturday night and top prospect Dee Gordon reportedly left the Triple-A Albuquerque clubhouse in New Orleans headed to the airport and a flight to Los Angeles. The Dodgers might want Gordon in place before announcing any deal. — Ken Gurnick

O’s and Rangers agree on Uehara deal

The Orioles traded reliever Koji Uehara to the Texas Rangers on Saturday afternoon, completing a deal that will net them first baseman Chris Davis and pitcher Tommy Hunter.

The deal, which was first reported by the Baltimore Sun and confirmed by a source to MLB.com, comes in between a doubleheader with the Yankees and gives the Rangers one of the best right-handed relievers on the market. Uehara has pitched to a 1.02 ERA in his last 32 games, allowing just four earned runs over a 35 1/3 inning-span.

A first baseman, Davis gives an Orioles system devoid of upper-echelon position players another option given that veteran Derrek Lee is on a one-year deal and is also considered trade bait. The Rangers’ fifth-round pick in the 2006 Draft, Davis is hitting .250 with three homers and six RBIs in 27 games for Texas.

Hunter is 1-1 with a 2.93 ERA in eight relief appearances for the Rangers. He was a 13-game winner as a starter for the Rangers last year but strained his right groin muscle at the end of Spring Training, missed three months and was never able to regain his spot in the rotation. The Rangers have been using him in middle relief since he came off the disabled list.

The right-hander went 13-4 with a 3.73 ERA in 22 starts for the Rangers last season, and will likely be stretched out in Baltimore. The Orioles starting pitching has been inconsistent and they’ve made it no secret that they were looking for a Major League-ready arm in any deal.

The Rangers had been talking to the Padres about Heath Bell but Uehara has better numbers, he has been successful in the American League and he has a vesting option for next season. If he pitches in 12 more games this season, he becomes a signed player for 2012 at $4 million.

– Brittany Ghiroli

After Aviles swap, nothing more appears in KC sights

With the trade of infielder Mike Aviles to the Red Sox, the Royals have moved both of the third baseman that started the season as alternating regulars. Earlier, Wilson Betemet was dealt to the Tigers.

With less than 24 hours to go to the Trade Deadline, general manager Dayton Moore said he had no other deals pending. As he duly noted, something could pop up but apparently nothing more was in the Royals’ sights as the countdown headed for the final hours.

–Dick Kaegel

Efforts to trade Bourn increasing

The Astros’ efforts to trade outfielder Michael Bourn are picking steam, according to multiple reports. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported Saturday it’s growing more likely Bourn will be dealt before Sunday’s deadline.

Bourn, who’s tied for the National League lead in hits since June 1, told MLB.com on Saturday he’d prefer to stay in Houston, but understands it’s out of his control. Bourn, a Houston native, was traded to the Astros in 2007 from the Phillies in the Brad Lidge deal.

Brian McTaggart

 

Another Tigers trade possible, but not big

Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski didn’t rule out another trade before Sunday afternoon’s non-waiver Trade Deadline. But judging from his remarks, if something does happen, it’s likely to be a smaller swap. The roster, for the most part, is set.

“I don’t know if we’ll do anything,” Dombrowski said Saturday afternoon after announcing the trade for Doug Fister and David Pauley.

“I mean, we continue to talk to people, see if there’s ways to make our club better. Again, you never tell what comes out of the blue at this point. Anything can come out of the blue. But our starting pitching, we feel this solidifies our starting rotation. We’re not going to make any moves with our positional players. The way our club settles is the way it is. I guess if there’s one spot that came out of the blue, it might be a bullpen situation, but if we finished here, we’d be happy.”

The Tigers reportedly remain in the mix for Colorado starter Ubaldo Jimenez, but it’s difficult to see them pulling off a deal unless the Rockies’ asking price drops dramatically. After reports Friday night suggested the Rockies wanted Rick Porcello and Max Scherzer, Dombrowski said Saturday that any trade discussion involving their current starters is and has been a non-starter.

“We have never, ever contemplated trading anybody off our starting staff at this level,” Dombrowski said. “That never has been part of any conversations. Have we been asked for that? Yes. Have we ever contemplated or talked about that? No.

“And when you really stop and think about it, it would make no sense whatsoever, because you’re trying to plug a hole and you just created another hole.”

Conceivably, the Tigers could trade a starter and upgrade to another starter now that Fister is in the fold. But the core group of the Tigers rotation looks very much intact. When Dombrowski talked about his starting staff and where Turner fits in, he talked about them as a long-term group.

Ace Justin Verlander is under contract for three more seasons. Rick Porcello and Max Scherzer don’t hit free agency until the same time. With that in mind, part of the appeal for the Tigers with Fister was that they can keep him for four more years after this before he can become a free agent.

“We’re very happy,” Dombrowski said. “All of a sudden, you look forward and we’re in a spot where you have Verlander and Scherzer and Porcello, who we can see now starting to dial it up like he’s capable, and Fister, who’s a very good pitcher. Four young guys, four guys for an extended period, and we still have Jacob Turner behind them.”

– Jason Beck

Kuroda Talks Continue

The Dodgers continue trade talks with the Yankees, Red Sox and Rangers for pitcher Hiroki Kuroda. If an agreement is reached, Kuroda then would decide if he’d waive his no-trade clause and accept the assignment. — Ken Gurnick

Tigers, Indians stay active in Jimenez sweepstakes

SAN DIEGO — The willingness of the Tigers and Indians to discuss their most prized pitching prospects makes them the prime contenders to meet the Rockies’ price and pry right-handed pitching ace Ubaldo Jimenez from the Rockies.

According to reports, the Yankees also are making a big push, but those same reports also indicate the Yankees believe the Rockies will lower their asking price. But the Rockies themselves have not indicated to anyone that they will ask for less for Jimenez, their ace and a pitcher with a club-friendly contract. The names that are in play with the American League Central-leading Tigers and the Indians, second in the Central, suggest that they do not have to take less from the Yankees.

The Rockies appear to be asking for one of two members of the Tigers’ current starting rotation, either Rick Porcello or Max Scherzer, top pitching prospect Jacob Turner (called up for a spot-start Saturday against the Angels), and CBSSports.com reported Saturday that the Rockies also have inquired about the No. 2 hitter in the Tigers order, outfielder Brennan Boesch.

The Tigers were known to be looking for rotation help, and they acquired Mariners right-hander Doug Fister on Saturday morning for the back of the rotation. That would give them five starters, but if they put together a package for Jimenez they could theoretically send the Rockies Porcello or Scherzer and still have five.

The Indians emerged as a player during the week, and the Rockies have asked for their top pitching prospects, Drew Pomeranz and Alex White, or at least some combination involving one of the two. The phone lines are still open.

The latest reports seem to indicate the Red Sox are not prime players for Jimenez, although they did make calls to Colorado during the week.

Jimenez pitches against the Padres tonight at PETCO Park.

Jimenez is the talk of the deadline, but the Rockies appear to be more likely to move right-handed setup man Rafael Betancourt, who has shaken off a slump and is pitching well. The Angels, Twins, Rangers and Cardinals are among those who could be looking to the Rockies for relief help, according to the Denver Post. The Rockies have long coveted Twins right-handed pitcher Kevin Slowey.

The Rockies are more likely to move Betancourt than two younger relievers they like who have been mentioned in reports — Matt Lindstrom and Matt Belisle. Indications throughout the last couple of weeks have been that the Rockies definitely do not want to move Linstrom.

– Thomas Harding

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