If Cleveland's willing to trade Martinez, Boston's a likely suitor (cont.)
Morgan-Milledge trade works for everyone (except Jack Wilson)
Before the Pirates and Nationals agreed upon a four-player trade that swapped outfielders Nyjer Morgan and Lasting Milledge, Pittsburgh asked Washington to include promising young pitcher Craig Stammen with Milledge. When the Nats said no, Pittsburgh requested another good pitching prospect, Garrett Mock. The Nats held firm, eventually getting Pittsburgh to agree to the deal once they agreed to swap Joel Hanrahan (a talented but struggling hurler) for Sean Burnett.
So interim GM Mike Rizzo probably impressed his bosses with his dealing here. He held out for the right deal.
And though Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson ripped the trade from Pittsburgh's perspective, it actually made sense for both sides. The Nats, who possessed a bunch of defensively deficient corner outfielders, badly needed a center fielder who could catch. The Pirates saw Milledge as a player with more talent in need of new scenery.
The issue with Milledge, as it's been for a few years, is the character question. The Nats didn't necessarily see him as a bad person, just an immature guy who didn't understand his place. They appear to be purging themselves of some favorites of former GM Jim Bowden, who disregarded character in his quest for talent.
Pirates GM Neal Huntington acknowledged doing due diligence on Milledge but said they found nothing overly concerning. Milledge's issues have been far less worrisome than those of another Nationals outfielder, Elijah Dukes, whose temper problem is well-documented. However, Huntington conceded it was a gamble taking a player who had worn out his welcome in two prior stops. "It could blow up in our face,'' Huntington acknowledged. Although, Huntington stressed he felt Milledge is still worth the risk.
Around the majors
Phillies people had internal discussions about Pedro Martinez, the Cooperstown-bound free agent, after investigating several possible trade options. The Phillies have enough decent prospects (pitchers Kyle Drabek and Carlos Carrasco, infielder Jason Donald, catcher Lou Marson and outfielder Dominic Brown are among the better ones) to make a deal for the pitcher they seek. But there just aren't too many good ones that fit Philly out on the market. For instance, there are concerns about whether Erik Bedard is a fit for Philly.
The Indians wanted either Brad Holt or Bobby Parnell plus another piece from the Mets for Mark DeRosa before settling on hard-throwing Cardinals reliever Chris Perez. The Mets didn't appear to have been tempted in the least. While DeRosa would have helped, his best position is the one where the Mets are currently strongest, third base.
Arizona left-hander Doug Davis is enhancing his trade value with a 0.86 ERA over his last three starts, though he hasn't won any of them (stat courtesy of Ed Price of AOL FanHouse). I still like the Brewers to re-acquire Davis, who is 3-8 with a 3.28 ERA overall.
As to whether Diamondbacks star Dan Haren might go anywhere (FoxSports.com reported that the Angels called), one D-backs person said to me, succinctly, "Haren stays.''
As about 50 e-mailers pointed out, Russell Branyan should have been on my list of best free-agent signings. For $1.4 million, he's been a true bargain. He also became the first to hit the Mohegan Sun Sports Bar in center field at new Yankee Stadium, doing so with is 20th home run in Seattle's 8-4 victory Thursday night.
I am naming the Yankees as the early favorite for Aroldis Chapman, the Cuban pitching prodigy who defected. Chapman is said to be the best left-handed pitching prospect in the world. He is reputedly 21, but Jack Curry in the New York Times reminded us that it was reported during the WBC that he may be 26.
Mannywood welcomes Manny back to the Dodgers, even if the return begins in San Diego tonight. The Dodgers, 21-8 when Manny was suspended for PED use, went 29-21 in his absence. They actually increased their NL West lead to 7 1/2 without the Man-child.
I'll take Kevin Youkilis over Mark Teixeira. When it's that close, I favor the guy in first place.
The tweeting continues at http://twitter.com/SI_JonHeyman.
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