Reds general manager Walt Jocketty and his club have not gotten into the serious stages of talks about any potential deals as of yet.
“I wouldn’t say nothing is going on. We’re talking a lot but nothing is even close,” Jocketty said on Tuesday afternoon.
What remains a sticking point are the extraordinary asking prices for available players. For example, the Denver Post reported Tuesday that the Rockies wanted Aroldis Chapman and top catching prospect Devin Mesoraco in any deal for ace starter Ubaldo Jimenez.
In having a high asking price, Colorado is hoping that a team will blink and give in. That team won’t likely be the Reds.
According to a baseball source, Cincinnati has no plans to blow other teams away with its proposals. If there is a fair deal that can help the club, they would discuss it. The Reds aren’t going to overpay in a trade, however.
– Mark Sheldon
According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports (via Twitter), the “three hottest teams” going after Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda are the Indians, Tigers and Rangers.
Cleveland is known to be searching high and low for outfield help, especially with both Grady Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo out with injuries, but the club is also in the market for rotation assistance. After Sunday’s 4-2 loss to the White Sox, Tribe manager Manny Acta made it clear that his club is working hard in trade talks.
“The truth will come out,” Acta said. “A lot of people will be shocked, surprised and be quiet for a long time after they find out every effort that the team put into it.”
Does that mean the Indians are on the verge of pulling off something big?
Given the number of rumors that are including Cleveland as a suitor right now, it certainly seems like the Tribe is trying to pull the trigger on one or two deals. The Indians have also been linked to outfielders B.J. Upton, Coco Crisp, Josh Willingham and Ryan Ludwick in various reports.
Hunter Pence and Carlos Beltran are unlikely to land in Cleveland.
As for Kuroda, he is 36 years old and is owed roughly $4 million over the final two months. Over his past nine starts, the right-hander has posted a 2.78 ERA with a .221 opponents’ batting average. His 3.19 ERA on the year indicates that Kuroda is having a better season than his 6-12 record would indicate.
Cleveland has reportedly shown interest in Aaron Harang.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Indians are one of a growing number of teams talking to Tampa Bay about outfielder B.J. Upton. Cleveland is hunting for outfield help and Upton fits the mold.
Upton would not likely cost as much in prospects as Carlos Beltran or Hunter Pence, and the Rays outfielder is under contractual control through 2012. Upton isn’t having a stellar year — he’s hitting .232/.312/.400 with 15 homers and 52 RBIs — but he still provides speed and power potential.
Upton is under contract for $4.825 million this season and is eligible for arbitration for the 2012 campaign.
As things currently stand, the Indians are without center fielder Grady Sizemore (right knee injury and sports hernia surgery) and right fielder Shin-Soo Choo (broken left thumb) Both could be back in late August or early September.
The Tribe has also been linked to Coco Crisp, Josh Willingham and Ryan Ludwick, among others, in various reports and rumors.
Cleveland — also possibly in the market for rotation help – has also reportedly shown interest in pitcher Hiroki Kuroda of the Dodgers.
At 48-50, the Reds are only four games out of first place entering Thursday’s off day but they are looking up to three other clubs in the National League Central. So they are very much in the race, which has Reds general manager Walt Jocketty taking a buyer’s mentality heading closer to July 31.
“Oh yeah, definitely,” Jocketty said. “We would like to improve our club since it’s easier to do before the 31st. There is some urgency but not tremendous urgency. I still have a lot of confidence that we’re good enough to win but if there is a chance to upgrade the club, we would try to pursue it.”
Jocketty would not specify the player or players he is seeking to get as upgrades, but there is a type he wants.
“I’d prefer guys who are under contract for a while,” Jocketty said. “I’m not sure anything will develop. We’re trying to win this year but we want to stay full of talent so we know we can compete for years to come.”
– Mark Sheldon
Reds general manager Walt Jocketty normally attempts to keep any intentions on trades quiet. But this year, Jocketty feels like the market is dictating some of the silence.
“There’s little talk going on,” Jocketty said. “The GMs I’ve talked to have said the same thing. There’s not much happening.
“Clubs that are borderline don’t want to give up players, because they’re still trying to win games,” Jocketty said. “It’s getting harder and harder to make deals midseason, because clubs are trying to sell tickets and get people to come to the ballpark, and they don’t want to dismantle their clubs and erode their fan base. It makes it tough.”
The Reds have some potential needs at shortstop, left field and maybe a starting pitcher. But they could just as well work from within since they have strong prospects at Triple-A like SS Zack Cozart and OF/1B Yonder Alonso.
– Mark Sheldon
With only an unearned run for support, Clayton Kershaw fired seven scoreless innings Thursday as the Dodgers edged the World Series champion Giants and ace Tim Lincecum, 2-1, presenting new manager Don Mattingly with an Opening Day first victory.
The 23-year-old Kershaw, the youngest Opening Day starter for the Dodgers since Fernando Valenzuela in 1983, struck out nine and allowed four hits with one walk. He outdueled Lincecum, the two-time Cy Young Award winner, who also went seven innings with five strikeouts, five hits and three walks.
– Ken Gurnick
An error by Cardinals shortstop Ryan Theriot in the 11th inning on Thursday helped the Padres to a 5-3 victory before a sold-out crowd of 46,368 at Busch Stadium.
Chase Headley scored from third base when Theriot botched the relay throw back into the infield after a single by Cameron Maybin. Nick Hundley drove in a run later in the inning for the final margin.
The Cardinals (0-1) took a 3-2 lead into the ninth inning before Ryan Franklin allowed a home run to Maybin with two outs in the inning.
The Cardinals got three hits from Matt Holliday, including a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning.
– Corey Brock
Pitching, defense and power carried the Angels to an impressive 4-2 Opening Day decision over the Royals under threatening skies at Kauffman Stadium.
Jered Weaver, the Majors’ 2010 strikeout king, was on his game, and Torii Hunter and Jeff Mathis smacked solo home runs to lead the assault against Royals starter Luke Hochevar.
Hunter’s 446-blast to dead center – his third career Opening Day homer and second in Kansas City — snapped a scoreless duel in the fourth.
– Lyle Spencer
Don Mattingly said he was “definitely excited” as first pitch approached for his first game as Dodgers manager Thursday. He bought a luxury box for the “20 to 30″ family and friends who traveled for his debut. “I feel a little better than I thought I would,” he said. “I thought I’d be more edgy.”
He said predecessor Joe Torre called earlier in the week to wish him luck “before going to Hawaii.” He said Torre also “scolded” him for the Dodgers’ bench-clearing confrontation with the Padres Saturday, the second such incident for the Dodgers this spring.
“I didn’t mind what happened the other day,” said Mattingly, who earlier said he liked the “spirit” his team showed in an exchange of hit batters that resulted in umpire warnings to both clubs.
– Ken Gurnick