Posted: Monday July 10, 2006 10:20AM; Updated: Monday July 10, 2006 3:33PM
The Yankees are looking closely at disappointing Mariners right-hander Joel Pineiro and could send the almost-as-disappointing Shawn Chacon west for him. The Yankees scouted Pineiro's outing against Detroit on Friday, a performance that was much better than his numbers indicated (7 2/3 innings, 10 hits, six runs). However, a competing GM said he'd be concerned about Pineiro's steep drop in velocity from the low-to-mid 90s to the high 80s (not to mention the fact that opponents are batting .312 batting against him).
Chacon's been going south since suffering a hematoma below his left knee after being struck by a batted ball. The teams were discussing financial arrangements, which will take work since Pineiro's $6.8 million-a-year price tag is about double Chacon's $3.6 million-a-year salary, and particularly since teams don't want to feel they are contributing to the Yankees' expansive coffers.
Reds GM Wayne Krivsky deserved his three-year extension for squeezing two superb trades in before the season, bringing in pitcher Bronson Arroyo and second baseman Brandon Phillips. Still, it's an uphill battle to beat the Cardinals. "They're not great,'' one NL executive said of the Cards, "but I don't think there's anybody who can beat them in that division.''
The Cardinals showed their desperation when they surrendered a pretty good prospect, outfielder Terry Evans, to get Jeff Weaver, who's pitched as badly as anyone in baseball and can still earn a $1 million incentive bonus with 30 starts. Evans had 22 homers and 26 stolen bases in two minor league stops. "That has all the earmarks of Tony [La Russa] panicking,'' once competing GM said. Even more so, it's also a reflection of a thin pitching market.
Perhaps Randy Ruiz, who has come out of nowhere, could become the Yankees' outfield answer. Ruiz, who went to Monroe High in the Bronx, is creating a buzz among scouts, but even Yankees executives seem caught off-guard by Ruiz's hot streak in the minors (.306, 12 home runs).
Yankees right-handed pitching prospect Phillip Hughes, who pitched in Sunday's Futures game, is drawing raves. But one NL scout said, "Homer Bailey is even better.'' While the Reds prospect, also right-handed, allowed a run in Team USA's victory, he got the win and impressed many by staying in the game even though the thumb on his pitching hand was bleeding extensively, the result of a middle fingernail cutting it as he threw.
As if the Tigers don't have enough pitching, Humberto Sanchez, who started for the World team, was lights-out in the Futures game. Sanchez is 5-1 with a 2.15 ERA for Triple A Toledo.
PNC Park is spectacular. So nice that maybe the home team gets caught enjoying the view. The Pirates set a record by suffering 25 one-run losses by July 4, one more than the '71 Astros. Now, that's truly the pits.