Posted: Monday July 24, 2006 10:34AM; Updated: Monday July 24, 2006 2:49PM
Abreu's market a mystery
Some question whether Bobby Abreu has the mental makeup to play in New York.
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Beyond Abreu's interest in going to New York (both he and Soriano have condos in the New York area; Abreu's is in midtown Manhattan while Soriano's is in the Fort Lee, N.J., area, just across the George Washington Bridge from Yankee Stadium), the Yankees' other advantage in the Abreu Derby is their apparent willingness to pick up at least the $23 million that remains on his contract through 2007.
But in the case of Abreu, the Yankees -- who've also considered backup plans involving Craig Wilson, Shawn Green and Preston Wilson (recently offered to them by the Astros) -- tell Philadelphia they won't surrender better prospects on top of the money. Abreu has only one home run since May 31, but his market is really hurt by his rep; one AL scout derisively referred to Abreu as a "country-club compiler,'' meaning he's sometimes low on effort despite being high on numbers.
Some Phillies people are making noise behind the scenes that they may still keep Abreu, which is very likely a nice way of saying they still don't know if they can get much for him. (For instance, the Tigers, who need a left-handed hitter, appear to have no interest in Abreu.)
Phillies GM Pat Gillick is known as one of the shrewdest dealers around. But one competing executive warned, "If Pat tries to get cute, he just may get caught,'' meaning he might be stuck with Abreu.
This Pat (Burrell) will stand pat
That brings us to Burrell. The Phillies are very likely stuck with him, as the potential deal to send Burrell to Baltimore for Rodrigo Lopez just blew up. Burrell informed the trading parties that he would not waive his blanket no-trade clause to go to Baltimore, no matter how many home runs they were telling him he'd hit in Camden Yards.
Furthermore, Burrell told the Phillies that there are really only two teams to which he'd accept a trade: the Red Sox and the Yankees. And that field is cut in half by virtue of the fact that the Yankees, leery of Burrell's chronic foot problem, have zero interest.
Padres mull Betemit, Ensberg
The San Diego Padres are working overtime to line up a third baseman. The trade bait is fine setup reliever Scott Linebrink, and their best options appear to be either Wilson Betemit or the diminishing Morgan Ensberg, with some Padres people apparently preferring the more versatile Betemit.
How far has Ensberg fallen, only a year after finishing fourth in NL MVP voting? Before going on the disabled list with what was reported to be a shoulder contusion, Ensberg, who still had 19 home runs, had hit .157 with only two home runs in the preceding 27 games. The club has performed two MRIs and found nothing amiss, spawning league speculation that the problem is partly mechanical or mental.
Astros GM Tim Purpura was asked about the suspicion that more than just his shoulder is bothering Ensberg, and Purpura pointed out that the slump "coincided with the injury.'' And Purpura added, "The positive thing is there's no structural damage. He reports that he's still sore. You've got to listen to what your players tell you.''
Around the majors
A new name appears on the Mets' pitching radar every day, it seems. But since a weekend's gone by since the last Daily Scoop, it's two new names: Tony Armas Jr. and Kip Wells.
The Blue Jays are canvassing the market for shortstops. They're looking at bringing Cesar Izturis back to the organization where he started. Julio Lugo is another possibility.
Cory Lidle will go somewhere. Boston, which is virtually holding tryouts for the No. 5 spot in its rotation, seems like a good place for him.
With scouting whiz Mike Rizzo headed to the Nationals, the Diamondbacks have considered hiring Rockies exec Kasey McKeon, son of Jack.
After hearing Sidney Ponson say he's replaced alcohol with ice cream, one American League scout said, "Well, if he means it literally, he had better open up a Friendly's.''
Daily Spin: The New York Daily News reported that Carl Pavano, who hasn't pitched in more than a year, is currently on an "accelerated program.'' Our take: If it accelerated any more, he'd be going backward.