Manny unlikely to be traded (cont.)
Sleeping in Seattle?
Seattle, a team that promised a makeover months ago, appears to be trying to drive a hard bargain with its few tradable veterans -- Jarrod Washburn, Raul Ibanez and Adrian Beltre. However, the promised makeover doesn't really work if no changes are made. Interim GM Lee Pelekoudas is under a lot of pressure. But ultimately, Pelekoudas, a longtime executive, will probably do what's prudent and accept the best he can get for their high-priced vets.
Washburn threw Sunday for the Mariners, and not the Yankees, and he continues to pitch wonderfully (he has pitched to a superb 2.44 ERA over his past nine starts). The Yankees' offer to absorb the full $14 million Washburn is owed through 2009 is seen by most as generous, considering Washburn's overall performance in 2008. That remains the most likely of Seattle's deals, though to date, the Yankees haven't acceded to Seattle's wishes for Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner.
Washburn is said to be open to a trade. And while one of the two teams may have to accommodate Washburn's move in some small monetary way (he has veto rights over a Yankees trade), that isn't likely to be a deal-breaker. Word is, Washburn wouldn't mind moving cross-country to pitch for the Yankees.
For Ibanez, the Mariners are thought to be seeking talented lefthanded pitching prospect Jon Niese, who along with outfielder Fernando Martinez are the Mets' untouchable minor leaguers. The Mets also have Robert Parnell and Eddie Kunz throwing well at Double-A Binghamton (N.Y.) so perhaps a compromise can be arranged. Third baseman Casey Blake, who went Saturday to the Dodgers, was the Mets' first outfield choice for his versatility and right-handedness. So the price may have to come down on Ibanez.
Yankees score a double with perceived piracy
Baseball people love the Yankees' trade for Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte, even if the Pirates did decide to substitute Dan McCutchen and Jeff Karstens for Phil Coke and George Kontos. The Yankees had long been focused on Marte, who's the perfect addition to their previously all-righty relief corps (though one NL exec cautions, "Pitching in New York's different than Pittsburgh''). Still, Marte's $6-million option for 2009 looks like a bargain for the Yankees.
The Pirates' end of things got mixed reviews. Jose Tabata is seen as talented but immature, and he'd fallen below Austin Jackson in the minds of most Yankees execs. Ross Ohlendorf is a "great arm'' but "fails to consistently execute his pitches,'' one A.L. exec says. Still, there's no doubt the Pirates, who don't expect to win next year and never would have picked up Damaso Marte's option, did the right thing by making a trade for the future.
Around the Majors
With the Rockies' hot streak, it would be difficult to imagine them trading Holliday now. The same goes for reliever Brian Fuentes, though he's a free agent after the year and more replaceable (Manny Corpas seems to be back, lowering his ERA two runs in a month and a half). If Fuentes goes, the Cardinals, Rays and Marlins look like possible players.
The D-Backs are a potential player for Teixeira. However, Conor Jackson's nice year, versatility (he's good in left as well as at first) and contractual situation (he's not eligible for free agency for three more years) would make him off-limits for Texiera.
The Mets also seek relief, as they are concerned about Duaner Sanchez's recent dropoff.
Brian Giles' name has been connected to the Mets, though a Mets person said that must be the Padres' hope because he's not currently on their radar.
Jake Peavy is great. But one AL scout worries whether his aggressive arm action could be a problem later.
Joba Chamberlain's head-hunting is going to get someone hurt -- on his own team. Alex Rodriguez was drilled the day after Chamberlain threw at Kevin Youkilis' own hot head.
Anthony Reyes finally got out of Tony LaRussa's doghouse by being traded to Cleveland.
The Indians, by the way, know how to conduct a sale. Their take for C.C. Sabathia is better than folks think (especially if center fielder Michael Brantley is the second player after Matt LaPorta), and the two players they got from the Dodgers for Blake, pitcher Jon Meloan and catcher Carlos Santana, have a chance.
Four straight games against the Cubs will make it 11 straight sellouts at Milwaukee's Miller Park, hard to believe at one time. Tuesday's game, which features Ben Sheets vs. Carlos Zambrano is of particular interest. Those two teams still have 10 games left. So kudos to the schedule-makers.
Was Brewers manager Ned Yost asleep throughout the Astros' entire seven-run inning vs. Jeff Suppan on Sunday?
Congrats to Goose Gossage and Dick Williams, two very worthy Hall of Famers.