The Dodgers have acquired Orioles lefty closer George Sherrill to shore up their left-handed setup situatoin, according to MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick. Carrie Muskat of MLB.com is reporting that the Cubs are in on Pirates lefties John Grabow and Tom Gorzelany.
So where does this leave the Rockies, who have only Franklin Morales throwing from the left in the bullpen?
The Denver Post mentions the Orioles’ Mark Hendrickson and the Blue Jays’ Scott Downs as possibilities. The Jays, trying to trim payroll, would be happy to part with Downs, who is due the remainder of his $3.75 million salary this year and $4 million next year. Hendrickson is more economical. He is making $1.5 million this year, and is not signed beyond.
The Rockies, however, are not wanting to disturb the Major League roster, and have been unwilling to deal prospects like second baseman Eric Young Jr. We’ll see if an offer they like comes.
— Thomas Harding
The Orioles have been mostly quiet as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, but multiple news outlets are reporting that the Dodgers are hot on southpaw closer George Sherrill. Sherrill has also been linked to the Angels, which could start an inter-city bidding war.
Baltimore is believed to be looking at teams with infield prospects, and the Dodgers’ Josh Bell and Angels’ Brandon Wood have both reportedly come up in trade talks. Both of the Orioles’ current corner infielders — Aubrey Huff and Melvin Mora — could be eligible for free agency next season, and Baltimore wants to get younger at the corners like it did in the outfield.
Sherrill, who was acquired in last season’s Erik Bedard trade, was named to the All-Star Game in 2008 and narrowly missed the same honor this season. The left-hander has been strong for Baltimore but could help further kick the Orioles’ rebuilding movement into gear.
— Spencer Fordin
Last week’s trade with the Indians for right-handed eighth-inning guy Rafael Betancourt brought the Rockies close to a bullpen that can be considered a strength. Despite his struggles in Monday night’s 7-3 loss to the Mets, Juan Rincon is more suited for a role other than primary setup guy. Rookie Matt Daley has more room for error.
But there’s still the case of the missing lefty.
Franklin Morales is all the Rockies have from the left side. He is electric, but he also has some growing to do. His pitch sequence before giving up a grand slam to the Mets’ Fernando Tatis was an example of a guy learning on the job. But that might have been a good spot for a more experienced pitcher. (Of course, it could’ve been just one of those things that happen: Tatis has a .219 average against lefty pitchers.)
It would be nice, though, to have one more guy with a history of matching up with key left-handed hitters who can also handle the righty pinch-hitter. Some of the relievers have problems with lefties.
Lefties hit .260 with nine walks agaisnt 10 strikeouts against Daley. They hit .250 but with six walks agianst five strikeouts against Rincon. From a batting average perspective, the best option is Josh Fogg, who has held them to a .185 average. But the Rockies have used him sparingly because he is a long reliever on a staff that has its starters going deep in games.
The Orioles’ George Sherrill has been floated as an option, but it’s unlikely the Rockies could give up the pacakage the Orioles want. The Denver Post citing other clubs executives, point to the Orioles’ Mark Hendrickson and the Nationals’ Joe Beimel as possibilities. The paper noted the Rockies have gone after both in the past.
The ultimate for the Rockies would be to land one of them or another useful lefty by parting with a prospect, rather than disturbing the roster. They have to think long and hard before giving up outfielder Ryan Spilborghs, who is a strong clubhouse presence and more importantly has a history of providing exactly what the club needs offensively and defensively. Third baseman Garrett Atkins has been speculated about since the end of last season and lost his job to Ian Stewart during an ealry slump. But the at-bats have cleaned up to the point that he is a stategic weapon for manager Jim Tracy.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia reiterated Thursday that
general manager Tony Reagins has been active in discussions with other general
managers about trading for pitching depth, specifically in the bullpen.
“He’s been in contact with GMs the last couple weeks, I’m
sure on a daily basis,” Scioscia said. “There are a few things he’s looking at
that can make us better. But there’s also some things that could make us better
but leave a hole in our big league team that he has to consider.”
Scioscia didn’t name any players the Angels are after but the club has reportedly scouted Toronto’s Scott Downs and Brandon League, Baltimore’s George Sherrill and Arizona’s Chad Qualls.
Scioscia, though, said he wasn’t sure if a trade will happen
but said he’s fine with his current roster as it stands if a deal for a bullpen
arm doesn’t work out.
“It’s tough to say right now if we’re going to do anything that
is going to make us better,” Scioscia said. “If we don’t, then particularly in
our bullpen, we’ll have to rely on guys like [rookie Kevin] Jepsen. There’s
potential there but not the certainty that an experienced power arm could bring
to the mix. So if it happens, it happens and even if it doesn’t, we’re going to
play baseball and I like our team.”
— Rhett Bollinger
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