If the Red Sox are going to pull off a blockbuster trade by Friday’s deadline to land one of the marquee players they have targeted — Roy Halladay, Victor Martinez, Adrian Gonzalez or Cliff Lee — it stands to reason that Clay Buchholz is probably going to have to be included.
Knowing this, Buchholz took the hill for the Sox on Tuesday night for the last time before the deadline and seemed unfazed by the circumstances. He allowed nine hits over 5 2/3 innings, but just two runs. Buchholz would have gotten the win if not for the implosion of the bullpen.
After the game, he seemed unfazed by his name continually churning in the rumor mill. Perhaps this is because Buchholz has been the subject of rumors at this time of year for three seasons in a row.
“Those are things that you can’t control and I’m a firm believer in doing the things that you can do to help a team win and not really think about anything else,” Buchholz said. “It doesn’t matter what I want or what I say, it’s what the organization needs. So i just let it go in one ear and out the other until somebody in here tells me something about it. I really don’t pay any attention to it.”
Yahoo Sports! reported Tuesday that the Red Sox made a couple of proposals to the Jays for Halladay that included Buchholz. However, Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi told the Web site that he is still not close to a deal.
“Nothing is close,” Ricciardi said. “Nothing is happening.”
In the meantime, enticing highly-touted prospects around the league like Buchholz will have to wait another few days before being sure of their fate.
— Ian Browne
With an owner, Arte Moreno, who obviously doesn’t worry about rolling the dice – recall the Mark Teixeira acquisition last year at this time — the Angels remain actively involved in the Roy Halladay sweepstakes. But they can’t be too optimistic.
The Jays clearly are asking for the moon and the stars, judging by the package they rejected in the Phillies’ counter-proposal according to ESPN.com: southpaw A.J. Happ and three highly-regarded prospects from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, outfielder Michael Taylor, pitcher Carlos Carrasco and shortstop Jason Donald. It is believed the Jays would insist on one of the Angels’ young starters – Joe Saunders, Ervin Santana or Jered Weaver – along with Brandon Wood and several other premium prospects.
Weighing against such a dramatic and costly move are several factors. One, the Angels are 20 games above .500 with the third worst team ERA in the American League, but the pitching has been much improved of late with Sean O’Sullivan and Matt Palmer delivering quality work in the No. 5 slot. John Lackey has shown in his past eight starts that he’s back in prime form as a lead dog in a rotation
Finally, they don’t have to look too far to recall how much valuable talent the Mariners surrendered to land Erik Bedard from Baltimore. All-Star center fielder Adam Jones alone, in reflection, wasn’t worth it, and there’s a possibility Wood could reach something approaching that level with consistent playing time.
There are other front-line starters who could appeal to the Angels by Friday’s non-waiver Trade Deadline, including the Indians’ Cliff Lee and the Reds’ Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo. The Reds also have several set-up men – veterans Arthur Rhodes and David Weathers and young right-handers Nick Masset and Josh Roenicke – the Angels could find attractive at a lesser price tag than a durable starter. Roenicke, who throws in the mid-90s, is the nephew of Angels coach Ron Roenicke.
The Reds reportedly would be interested in an everyday shortstop and power. Maicer Izturis’ brilliant play of late might be taking him out of trade consideration, but the Angels are loaded in the middle infield. Sean Rodriguez, with superior defensive tools and 23 homers in 75 games at Triple-A Salt Lake, could have huge appeal in Cincinnati with his powerful right-handed bat, along with outfielder Terry Evans (21 homers in 94 games at Salt Lake).
— Lyle Spencer
It’s unlikely the Angels will make a big, bold, Mark Teixeira-type move again this summer, but they’re monitoring every living, breathing reliever who could fill a late-innings role in front of closer Brian Fuentes.
Trouble is, teams in possession of these valuable commodities figure to ask for more than the Angels are willing to deliver. That seems to be the case with Orioles lefty George Sherrill, who would give the Angels a pair of left-handed hammers at the back end. Baltimore knows his value and is looking for a pair of prime-time prospects such as Brandon Wood and lefty Trevor Reckling, according to the LA Times. Hard to imagine the Angels doing something like that.
This could become a moot point if Jose Arredondo makes it back to anything resembling his 2008 form in Triple-A Salt Lake in his recovery from elbow issues.
With John Lackey back in top form and Sean O’Sullivan racking up wins at the back of the rotation, it doesn’t appear likely the Angels would give up the farm for Roy Halladay, as appealing as the great right-hander would be. The Indians’ Cliff Lee could be more in their ballpark.
The Angels have a surplus of highly athletic infielders and talented young pitchers. But with so many free agents looming this winter — Lackey, Kelvim Escobar, Vladimir Guerrero, Chone Figgins, Bobby Abreu, Darren Oliver — they’re understandably leery of moving the athletes and arms coveted by other clubs.
— Lyle Spencer
The Indians, staying true to company form, are mum on whether or not Cliff Lee is on the block. But if what Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi said today is true, and Roy Halladay is, indeed, “unlikely” to be traded, that would only serve to make Lee all the more valuable to contending clubs.
Several of those clubs, including the Phillies and Dodgers, had scouts at tonight’s game at the Rogers Centre to watch Lee, and they saw the reigning AL Cy Young winner turn in a complete-game gem against Halladay’s Jays. Lee improved to 6-9 with a 3.17 ERA in a season in which his record is no indication of how well he’s pitched.
The contenders know this, and the Indians have to know their odds of keeping Lee beyond his 2010 option year, in which he’d make $9 million, are slim to none. Of course, trading Lee in advance of that option year, with no top-of-the-rotation starters in the system or on the horizon, would surely be a major blow to any hopes of the Tribe contending next season. But trading Lee with a little less than a year and a half left on his contract would allow the Indians to pull in maximum value for the left-hander.
Teams get desperate for starting help this time of year, and it’s not every day that a club can land a bona fide No. 1 of Lee’s ilk. If Halladay is pulled from the block, as Ricciardi hints, then the desperation to land Lee only rises — and with it rises the temptation for the Tribe to pull the trigger on a trade.
— Anthony Castrovince
His team is the subject of much trade talk in advance of the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, but Indians general manager Mark Shapiro said he has “zero sense” as to whether or not the Indians will get a deal done.
“We’re extremely busy and active right now,” Shapiro said.
The two names on the lips of fans and writers alike are Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez. The Indians hold affordable options on both cornerstone players for 2010, and trading either or both of them before the ’10 season would be a tough sell to the fan base. But the Indians have to be open-minded about all serious offers for the Cy Young winner and the switch-hitting catcher because of the potential returns they could bring in.
That being said, if the Indians are active in the trade department this summer, it appears more likely that guys like Carl Pavano or Jamey Carroll — both of whom are eligible for free agency at season’s end — would be shopped. Reliever Rafael Betancourt can also be had, as the Indians aren’t likely to exercise his $5.4 million option for next season. The Tribe would listen to offers for closer Kerry Wood, but the $10.5 million he’s owed next year makes it doubtful that such offers exist.
Third baseman Jhonny Peralta and first baseman Ryan Garko could be deemed expendable by the Tribe, but those names, as well as those of Lee and Martinez, might be names to watch moreso in the offseason than at the deadline.
As far as how the deadline will shake out, Shapiro said the non-waiver component is perhaps less meaningful this year than in years past. Given the financial constraints holding back many teams right now, he expects the trades of very few players being blocked by the waiver system.
“This year, the [non-waiver] deadline is going to be far less relevant,” Shapiro said. “[The market] will probably be active all the way through August.”
What are the Indians searching for in the trade market? That’s easy. It’s pitching, pitching and more pitching.
— Anthony Castrovince