Jays, Reds talking about Rolen?

The Blue Jays have more than Roy Halladay potentially up for grabs as Friday’s 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline inches closer. There is reason to believe that Toronto is currently in talks with Cincinnati about a trade that would send third baseman Scott Rolen to the Reds.

After dealing with left shoulder issues for much of the past four years, Rolen’s value has never been higher. He is hitting .320 with a .370 on-base percentage, eight homers and 43 RBIs in 88 games for the Jays. Rolen is still a Gold Glove-caliber third baseman, but he is 34 and might not repeat this performance next year.

Reds GM Walt Jocketty and Rolen go back to their days with the Cardinals and, prior to joining the Jays, the third baseman spent his entire career in the National League. Rolen is under contract for $11 million this season and $11 million in 2010, and the Jays may very well be trimming their payroll again next year.

One source said that “it would definitely be wrong” to say discussing a Rolen trade made no sense for Toronto. A person with knowledge of the Jays’ thinking would neither confirm nor deny that the Reds and Jays were indeed in discussions — usually a sign that something is cooking.

If the Jays do trade Halladay, it’s likely that Toronto would also be looking to shed some more of its payroll, considering contending in 2010 probably isn’t realistic without Doc. Beyond Rolen, various reports have named Lyle Overbay, Alex Rios, Marco Scutaro, Rod Barajas, Scott Downs and Jason Frasor as candidates to be dealt.

One report indicated that the Jays were asking for highly-touted Reds prospect Yonder Alonso (seventh overall in last year’s Draft) in a potential Rolen deal. The Rolen/Reds rumors have persisted for a few weeks and Cincinnati third baseman Edwin Encarnacion has had his name come up as the player possibly headed to Toronto.

The Dodgers are reportedly the new favorites to land Halladay, though Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi told the New York Post on Wednesday that he’s leaning more toward keeping the ace in the fold through next season.

UPDATE: A source on Scott Rolen discussions with the Reds: “All is quiet. Don’t buy into all the other reports.”

–Jordan Bastian

7/30 Cubs update

With outfielder Reed Johnson sidelined for at least three weeks with a fractured foot, the Cubs are in the market for a right-handed hitting outfielder. Maybe. GM Jim Hendry says they don’t want to commit to someone long-term who could get in Johnson’s way upon his return. If nothing is done by Friday’s deadline, the Cubs will likely recall left-handed hitting Sam Fuld from Triple-A Iowa.

The Cubs’ primary goal heading into the deadline was to find another lefty who could help in the bullpen. That was before Johnson was hurt. Hendry said his cell phone has been ringing more than usual in the last 12 hours.

“[Wednesday night], some of the people I’d been calling all of a sudden called back and maybe they were looking at things a little differently,” Hendry said. “So, from an optimistic side, we might be able to do something by [Friday]. Some of the people we inquired about, unfortunately, are people other people also want. So we’ll see.”

There isn’t a push to find someone to help in the outfield.

“The way we’re going, Reed was starting less than 25 percent of the time anyways,” Hendry said. “To be honest with you, off the top of your head, name me all the right-handed hitting center fielders who can really help who would be better than what we have right now who are available? Willie [Mays] is not playing anymore.”

— Carrie Muskat

Dodgers Still Want Halladay

Although the Dodgers missed on Cliff Lee, the fact that they were willing to offer the Indians a package of their top prospects gives some in the organization hope that they will make a similar late run at Toronto’s Roy Halladay, even though SI.com claims the Dodgers have crossed Halladay off their “wish list.”

The Dodgers have made it clear they will not trade Clayton Kershaw or Chad Billingsley. But a week ago general manager Ned Colletti indicated that the Blue Jays wanted either two or three players off the Major League club, including one of the two starting pitchers, or a package of five or six prospects. Foxsports.com lists those prospects as “outfielder Andrew Lambo, right-hander Josh Lindblom, third baseman Josh Bell and right-hander Chris Withrow.”

With the acquisition of Lee taking the Phillies out of the picture as an acquirer of Halladay, the Dodgers might be in the strongest position to satisfy the Blue Jays with prospects. That deal also could include former Dodgers reliever Jason Frasor, which would also satisfy the club’s need to improve the bullpen. Otherwise, Baltimore’s George Sherrill remains at the top of that Dodgers wish list. — Ken Gurnick


Tigers trade Josh Anderson to Royals

The Tigers have traded outfielder Josh Anderson to the Royals for cash
considerations. Anderson’s contract was designated for assignment last
week to make room for Carlos Guillen. The Royals and Yankees both had interest, but the Yankees
reportedly weren’t willing to offer up a prospect in the deal.

Kansas City will be the third team for Anderson this calendar year and
the fourth in his career. Detroit acquired him from Atlanta in the
final week of Spring Training.

Anderson batted .242 with the Tigers with
four doubles, four triples and 16 RBIs in 74 games, covering 165
at-bats. The 26-year-old stole 13 bases in 15 attempts.

— Jason Beck

Brewers mentioned with Pads’ Correia

The latest pitcher to be mentioned alongside the starter-hungry Brewers is right-hander Kevin Correia of the Padres, who would be a step down from the other players linked to Milwaukee (Roy Halladay, Jarrod Washburn among them) but at least could help plug some holes.

Correia is 7-8 with a 4.75 ERA and would come cheaply, according to the FOXSports.com blog item that mentioned the Brewers as one of the interested teams. No deal is imminent, the report said.

The Brewers’ rotation is a bit of a mess, with Dave Bush (triceps) on the disabled list and Jeff Suppan (oblique) in limbo for his Saturday start ahead of a Thursday appointment with the doctor. The Brewers have already tried Seth McClung and Mike Burns as in-house replacements before sending them back to the bullpen (now McClung is on the DL with an elbow injury). The team will give another reliever, Carlos Villanueva, one more chance to start on Sunday in San Diego.

As I reported earlier this week, Brewers GM Doug Melvin will be on the team’s chartered flight to San Diego this afternoon, meaning he’ll be out of contact with Trade Deadline buzz for a few hours but will be back in the pocket for the final hours on Friday. The deadline to move players without exposing them to waivers is July 31 at 4 p.m. ET. 

— Adam McCalvy

Tigers have “absolutely nothing going”

With less than 48 hours before Friday’s nonwaiver trade deadline, the Tigers sounded like a team with a lot of needs but not many solutions.

“To my knowledge, we have absolutely nothing going,” manager Jim Leyland said Wednesday afternoon.

Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski seemed to indicate much the same in remarks to Booth Newspapers.

“I’ve talked to a lot of different people,” Dombrowski told Booth on Wednesday,
“but there is not as much going on as last year because few clubs are
looking to move players. The difference between this year and last year
is more clubs are in contention.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean the Tigers won’t make a deal. Last year’s trade that sent Ivan Rodriguez to the Yankees for Kyle Farnsworth, for instance, came together in less than 24 hours. But for a team clearly in contention, yet with more needs, lack of activity isn’t a good thing.

— Jason Beck

Marlins closing in on closer Bell

MIAMI — The list of teams inquiring about Padres closer Heath Bell is long. But, according to reports, none of those teams have been as aggressive as the Marlins.

FOXSports.com and ESPN.com reported Wednesday that more than 10 teams have inquired about Bell, but Florida has been on the hottest pursuit. According to FOXSports.com, however, San Diego would want one of the Marlins’ top pitching prospects, lefties Sean West or Andrew Miller, as the centerpiece of a multi-player package.
Whether or not the front office would part ways with either of those two arms is unknown, but Florida’s farm system is deep enough in prospects to sway any general manager.
Why Bell would pique the Marlins’ interest is easy: He fills a dire need in the back end of their bullpen, is 31 years old and under club control for the next two years, and the low-payroll Marlins would only have to pay a pro-rated chunk of his $1.255 million contract — which amounts to about $400,000. 
The Marlins have been using Leo Nunez to close out games with Matt Lindstrom on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. Lindstrom, the team’s closer at the start of the season, is expected back by this weekend.
In 38 appearances this season Bell, a right-hander, sports a 2.01 ERA and has converted 25 of his 26 saves. In six seasons in the big leagues, Bell sports a career 3.38 ERA. This is his first year as a team’s full-time closer.
— Alden Gonzalez

Bucs still open to potential deals

Hours after trading Jack Wilson and Ian Snell to the Mariners and Freddy Sanchez to the Giants, Pirates general manager Neal Huntington was asked if the organization — which has also already dealt Nate McLouth, Nyjer Morgan, Sean Burnett and Adam LaRoche this summer — was finally done dealing.

Huntington downplayed the necessity of making any more deals. But at the same time, he didn’t close the door.

“We continue to have ongoing dialogue,” Huntington said. “We’re not looking to make any more trades. We weren’t looking to make these trades. We don’t need to make other trades. But if the right baseball opportunity presents itself, it’s certainly something we take a look at. Again, if it’s strong enough, we move forward.”

At this point, lefty reliever John Grabow would seem to be the most likely left to go. He’s the only player remaining on the roster who is set to be a free agent at season’s end. And as prompted the decisions to trade LaRoche, Wilson and Sanchez, the Pirates don’t like to lose players to free agency without getting something in return.

The Marlins and Cubs are known to have interest in Grabow, though it may take Orioles lefty reliever George Sherill being dealt before the Pirates get substantial offers from teams looking to add a veteran lefty in the ‘pen.

Rays and Halladay

According to a report by FOX Sports, the Rays still consider themselves to be in the mix to acquire Toronto ace Roy Halladay, but they think they are a longshot due to the price in dollars and prospects.  The report goes on to state that the team is looking for bullpen help a day after they were looking to unload members of their bullpen.

Rays officials are mum on any trade developments.

–Bill Chastain

Yanks among those eyeing Josh Anderson

An industry source confirmed the Yankees have shown interest in former Tigers outfielder Josh Anderson, following a report earlier Wednesday from cbssports.com’s Danny Knobler. A second team, not yet identified, is also said to be interested in Anderson.

The Tigers designated Anderson’s contract for assignment last week to make room for Carlos Guillen to return from the disabled list, so Detroit isn’t in a position to ask for much in a trade. Still, the speedy Anderson could be a fit for the Yankees to fill in for Brett Gardner, who’s out until mid-August with a fractured left thumb.

The Tigers will have to either swing a deal with another club or let Anderson go if they can’t get him through waivers. If he does sneak through waivers, the Tigers can outright him to Triple-A Toledo.

Anderson batted .242 with the Tigers with four doubles, four triples and 16 RBIs in 74 games, covering 165 at-bats. The 26-year-old stole 13 bases in 15 attempts.

— Jason Beck