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July 20 roundup: Motown Moves

Brandon Inge has been a rock for the Tigers for a long time, but this season, the team needs more from the hot corner. On Wednesday, general manager Dave Dombrowski landed Wilson Betemit from the Royals, sending a pair of prospects back to Kansas City: Antonio Cruz and Julio Rodriguez. Inge was subsequently designated for assignment.

As for Detroit’s potential pursuit of Ubaldo Jimenez — who’s made clear he doesn’t want to be traded — the Tigers are now skipping top prospect Jacob Turner’s next start in the rotation.

“We are monitoring his workload,” Tigers vice president and assistant general manager Al Avila wrote in an e-mail Tuesday.

Whether Turner or Jimenez is available or not, starting pitching is definitely the Tigers’ desire: “Our attention is on pitching,” Dombrowski said before Wednesday’s game.

Elsewhere around the league:

  • The Pirates are nearing a deal with 34-year-old right-hander Jason Grilli. Grilli did not pitch in 2010 because of right knee surgery and signed a Minor League deal with the Phillies this winter.
  • Cubs general manager Jim Hendry points out it’s rather obvious which players he would consider moving and which he wouldn’t: “Why would I trade Sean Marshall?” he said. “Why would I trade Darwin Barney? Those calls kind of stop quickly. It makes no sense.”
  • In St. Louis, Tony La Russa‘s not saying the Cards need a big acquisition to win the tight National League Central.
  • Padres owner Jeff Moorad has offered reliever Mike Adams assurance that he will not be traded, according to Yahoo’s Jeff Passan. Adams is under Padres control through 2012 (he’s arbitration eligible this year).
  • Houston’s Hunter Pence could be had, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.

– Evan Drellich

July 19 roundup: A pair of deals

The blockbusters, if there are any, haven’t arrived yet. But with 12 days to go before the Non-Waiver Trade Deadline, Tuesday did bring a pair of trades.

One deal sent infielder Jeff Keppinger from his three-year home with the Astros to the Giants for a pair of Minor League arms, Henry Sosa and Jason Stoffel. Top prospect Brandon Belt, whose first stint in the bigs didn’t go as planned to open the season, also subsequently returned to the San Francisco roster.

In a similar move for the Rangers, they brought aboard infielder Nick Green from the Rangers, for Minor League pitcher Zach Phillips.

The rumors flying elsewhere:

  • The Cubs’ Alfonso Soriano isn’t concerned about the possibility he could be shipped off. “I don’t worry,” he said. Soriano, 35, is owed $18 million per year through 2014 and has a full no-trade clause, but said he would not get in the way if the Cubs approached him about a possible deal. Sources told MLB.com there have not been any conversations betweens the Cubs and Yankees about a New York reprise.
  • SI.com’s Jon Heyman reported via Twitter that the Yanks won’t give up a big prospect for a reliever, and that New York does want a starting pitcher, but sees Ubaldo Jimenez as a longshot.
  • The Phillies had a scout attend Tuesday’s Mets-Cardinals game to watch outfielders Carlos Beltran and Scott Hairston and left-handed reliever Tim Byrdak, according to ESPN New York. Beltran had been out with an illness.
  • The Braves are among the teams who have shown an interest in Beltran.  If the Braves acquired Beltran there’s no guarantee he would play only center field — they’re happy with Jordan Schafer’s range at that spot. The Giants are also in on Beltran.
  • Multiple reports indicated that the Yankees and Mets kicked the tires on Beltran, but the idea never went far.
  • The Marlins aren’t expected to part with any major pieces. As the team approaches .500 in a hot July, they will consider adding a third baseman or pitcher, but not at the expense of a core player.
  •  The Padres still need to figure out what to do with relievers Mike Adams and Heath Bell. San Diego’s looking for young, controllable players in any deal, players who presumably are no more than a year or so away from being Major League contributors.
  • FoxSports.com’s Jon Morosi said the Royals and Brewers remain in touch about Kansas City infielder Wilson Betemit but had not made substantial progress in trade talks.
  • Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti has told right-hander Hiroki Kuroda he would inform him if trade talks for the right-hander took place, according to the Los Angeles Times. Kuroda has not decided if he will waive his no-trade clause. The Dodgers also released Marcus Thames.
  • Pirates GM Neal Huntington told MLB Network’s Jim Bowden he is looking to add.

– Evan Drellich

Mike Cameron on the move

Veteran outfielder Mike Cameron was designated for assignment by the Red Sox on Thursday, a move that’s likely to result in Cameron being traded or released after 10 days. He could accept a Minor League assignment, but that’s not a likely scenario, considering his track record and the fact that he could bring something to the table for a contending team that could play him with some consistency.

“We have some time, by virtue of the designation method, to explore a trade for him,” general manager Theo Epstein said at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, before the finale of a three-game series with the Phils. “That’s always a possibility. We’ve talked to him about how he might benefit from playing every day and trying to get on track a little bit. It’s a remote possibility, but there’s always the possibility that he could accept an outright assignment to the Minor Leagues and try to get on track that way. Everything is on the table. We’ll stay in touch and see what happens.”

Cameron, 38, is a free agent after the season and is owed about half the $7.25 million he’s making this year — a high salary for a team to take a gamble on, considering Cameron’s hit just .149 in 94 at-bats this year. The Sox, though, have already committed to eating Cameron’s salary if he ends up being released, so they’re likely prepared to eat most of the money in a trade, too.

Cameron hasn’t adjusted well to a bench role and wasn’t effective against even left-handed pitching this season, going 9-for-63 against southpaws (.143) when he’s historically hit them well. Still, there’s the possibility that regular at-bats could allow him to find his rhythm.

– Evan Drellich

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