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Come and get 'em

Market slow to develop for Phillies' Burrell, Abreu

Posted: Thursday July 27, 2006 12:03PM; Updated: Thursday July 27, 2006 12:55PM
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The Phillies may end up with nothing more than salary relief if they deal the high-priced Bobby Abreu.
The Phillies may end up with nothing more than salary relief if they deal the high-priced Bobby Abreu.
• TRUTH & RUMORS: More on Soriano derby

Is there a market for Pat Burrell? Or, for that matter, even Bobby Abreu?

The Yankees' trade proposal for Abreu was a couple of Class A prospects. That, in effect, is scarcely more than an offer to take the $23 million remaining on Abreu's contract.

While Phillies GM Pat Gillick hasn't accepted yet, the Yankees aren't discounting the possibility they'll get Abreu by default at the deadline. The Tigers are supposedly in the market for a left-handed hitter yet have ignored Abreu and appear to be focusing instead on two right-handed hitters, Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Lee, and it's difficult to identify teams interested in Abreu.

Phillies people are suggesting to folks that they may wind up keeping Abreu, another sure indicator that teams aren't exactly forming a conga line to take him.

Meanwhile, Burrell's decision to invoke his no-trade clause and turn down the Orioles after the Phillies were ready to deal him for Rodrigo Lopez, and Burrell's subsequent request to go to only one of two teams -- the Yankees or the Red Sox -- could keep him in Philly forever. Since the Yankees worry about Burrell's chronic foot problem, that leaves Philly only one option and cuts its negotiating power to nil.

Abreu, the sort of on-base machine that could interest the Red Sox more than Burrell, still may overcome his high price tag, a mixed rep and recent power outage (one home run since May 31) to be traded somewhere before the July 31 deadline. But Gillick may have no choice but to wait until the Soriano and Lee situations are resolved before acting in the hope that the losers in those respective derbies begin to show interest in Abreu.

Soriano comes ahead of Abreu

One competitor said Nationals GM Jim Bowden indicated that he expected to have a trade for the multitalented free-agent-eligible Soriano soon. But another exec, perhaps hopefully, sensed growing "frustration" in Bowden for not being able to get a "Herschel Walker-type deal," an assertion a combative Bowden denied in a brief but uncomfortable phone conversation on Wednesday.

"That's not true," Bowden said. "This is what I tell all the teams: Put your best proposal on the board, and I'll consider it. We've not demanded anything of anybody."

Yet others say Bowden has asked the Yankees for both top pitching prospect Phil Hughes and Jose Tabata -- who was described by one scout as "another Manny" -- plus two more prospects. And the price for the Tigers was reportedly top pitching prospect Humberto Sanchez, even better outfield prospect Cameron Maybin plus a third big prospect.

While it's likely the Tigers will resist any temptation to deal Maybin, they might consider trading Sanchez, which could be the start of a deal -- if only Sanchez is sound. But Sanchez recently felt elbow discomfort, and it's unknown when he'll start again.

Anyway, it's possible any deal for Soriano could be held up by the Brewers, who understand they have almost no chance to sign the even more coveted Lee long-term and recently told possible trading partners that they'd decide by Friday whether to make the outfield market even more star-studded by dealing Lee.