Nationals could replace Acta with Valentine (cont.)
Looking for an ace? Don't look here
The pitching market is taking some serious hits lately.
If the Padres were already frustrated by Jake Peavy's veto of the trade to the White Sox, now they have to beside themselves. With Peavy out "eight to 12 weeks" with an ankle injury, according to the Padres trainer, the team's hope to save the remainder on his contract (close to $60 million right now) is likely delayed by a year.
This, of course, is not the fault of Peavy, who received the no-trade powers in return for agreeing to take what was seen as a below-market contract for an ace. But you have to wonder how many teams will eagerly give out full no-trade clauses in the future. The Braves are the one team that has made it policy never to give them out, and GM Frank Wren recently contended in a phone interview that "it's never prevented us from getting one player."
The rest of the trade market appears to be diminishing, as well. Erik Bedard reported "stiffness" before being scratched from Saturday night's start at Colorado. With the Astros winning, Roy Oswalt is all but certain to stay in Houston. "They could never get what they wanted for him, anyway," one AL executive said.
And now it appears that the Indians will at least wait for the returns of Grady Sizemore and Jake Westbrook (throwing 92 mph in a recent rehab start) before deciding whether to do any heavy selling. They might eventually consider shopping Cliff Lee, but the reasonable $8 million option for 2010 may be seen as a reason to hold on since Cleveland isn't about to give up next year even if it makes the ultimate call to wave the white flag for this one.
With Rockies rolling, could their sale be called off?
The Rockies are on a roll with 11 straight victories, but word out of Colorado is that the team will wait until after the season to make a decision on manager Jim Tracy. Folks scoffed when GM Dan O'Dowd said this was a much better team than it was showing. But apparently it was.
Ian Stewart is doing a superb job since supplanting the struggling Garrett Atkins at third base. Speaking of Atkins, a career .290 hitter who's hitting .193, O'Dowd said, "I wouldn't have believed it. This guy has been one of the most consistent offensive players."
Stewart has been brilliant lately both ways, increasing the need to trade Atkins at a time it can't be done, not with his $7.05 million salary. That's OK -- after the way they started, they'll take it.
The big question now is whether the Rockies, who are 3 1/2 games back in the NL wild-card race, will transition from sure sellers to probable buyers.
Draft winners: Rockies, Tigers, Mariners, Red Sox and Nats
The Rockies were credited by many draftniks with having one of the better drafts last week, merely by taking high-ceiling left-hander Tyler Matzek from Capistrano Valley, Calif., with their first pick, No. 11 overall. (Other teams thought to have drafted well include the Nats, Red Sox, Tigers and Mariners.)
Matzek's agent, Greg Genske, was telling folks they wanted a "precedent-setting" deal, which is being taken to mean more than the $7.3 million that Genske's Newport Beach neighbor (Scott Boras) got for Rick Porcello. That's not happening. But if the Rockies can offload a contract or two they might be able to pony up $3-4 million for the very talented Matzek.
Around the majors
The Red Sox now "aren't in a hurry" to trade Brad Penny, who hit the mid-90s in his last start vs. the Yankees, even with John Smoltz seemingly ready to go. While it appears they have too much pitching, they also know there's no such thing. The market also hasn't been great so far for Penny, thanks to his $5 million salary. Perhaps with the pitching market dying, though, he'll begin to look better to someone.
Rockies closer Huston Street is being heavily scouted. Among the teams that need a reliever are the Yankees, Rangers and Angels. The Rays, Cubs and Twins might also consider bullpen help.
The Cardinals continue to scour the market for a bat.
Giants lefty Jonathan Sanchez is on the market, but scouts say his stuff has slipped in recent starts.
In explaining that he's feeling fine now, Johan Santana revealed that he felt soreness earlier. His velocity was down on Sunday during his terrible performance in a 15-0 loss to the Yankees -- from 94 in his previous start to 92 tops -- but he insisted, "I'm good."
Ervin Santana hasn't been the same since returning from injury. "His stuff is way down," one scout says.
There are renewed worries about Dontrelle Willis after a brutal, eight-walk performance at Pittsburgh, the home of Steve Blass. I wish Willis well in overcoming his demons.
Tom Glavine isn't as likely now to file a grievance against the Braves and may just settle into retirement, the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo reported. It's nice to see that discretion prevailed with Glavine, who had a case but also has made $129 million in baseball (according to baseballreference.com). Also good to see Globe people continuing to do a great job despite their mistreatment by management.
The Yankees probably did a smart thing by taking a flyer on Slade Heathcott, a five-tool high school outfielder, with their first pick in last week's draft. His father's in jail for drugs, his mother's out of the picture and Slade was academically ineligible for a short period. However, he was considered to have very high upside.
Yankees reliever Brian Bruney was over his head trying to take on Mets superstar closer Francisco Rodriguez. After Bruney called K-Rod's postgame celebration a "tired act," Rodriguez said he didn't know who Bruney was before amending that to say he's a "nobody" who's always hurt. The next day they nearly came to blows. K-Rod doesn't need to be mixing it up with an alleged "nobody." And players on the DL should be seen and not heard.
Best of luck to Diamondbacks reliever Scott Schoeneweis, who just returned after taking some time off following the untimely death of his wife, Gabrielle.
Condolences to Nationals outfielder Josh Willingham, who lost his younger brother, Jon, in a car accident this week.
Red Sox owner John Henry got a little carried away when he Tweeted "MT curse," regarding Mark Teixeira after the Red Sox made it eight straight this year over the Yankees. I am a threat to say equally irresponsible things on my own account. You can follow me on Twitter at SI_JonHeyman.
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