Trade preview (cont.)
Superstar Pursuers (Those likely in the Halladay chase)
1. Phillies. They have plenty of money, plenty of prospects and plenty of need. Even if they stick to their stated plan to keep pitching prospect Kyle Drabek, they still have pitchers Carlos Carrasco, Jason Knapp, J.A. Happ, catcher Lou Marson, shortstop Jason Donald and outfielders John Mayberry Jr., Dominic Brown and Michael Taylor.
2. Angels. Despite the loss to injury of Torii Hunter and Vladdy Guererro (he could be out awhile), pitching remains their focus. Brandon Wood and Sean Rodriguez are infield prospects, but with their pitching prospects Trevor Reckling and Jordan Walden years away, Jered Weaver could come into play.
3. Giants. Really looking for a hitter. But they'll consider it.
4. Rangers. They have perhaps baseball's best-stocked farm system, and hitting prospect Justin Smoak would be a lure. But ultimately, they probably don't have the money to add anyone significant.
5. Cardinals. They have declared their interest. If they do get Halladay, they'd have baseball's best pitching rotation, albeit an all-righthanded one.
6. Red Sox. They have at least a trio of high-end prospects (Clay Buchholz, Michael Bowden, Lars Anderson). But there's considerable doubt as to whether the Jays would deal him in division.
7. Yankees. They could offer either Phil Hughes or even Joba Chamberlain and also have a big-time hitting prospect (Jesus Montero) and some others down below, to (pitcher Dellin Betances). But again, wrong division.
8. Brewers. They pulled off the big trade last year. But their system isn't quite what it was.
9. White Sox. Their GM is the most aggressive in the business. But it's hard to see how they do it without Gordon Beckham.
Prospects who are close to untouchable
1. Clay Buchholz, Red Sox P. His stock has soared with a big year at Pawtucket. Will get his first start of the year for Boston Friday.
2. Neftali Feliz and Derek Holland, Rangers, P. Feliz hit 100 mph according to Gameday at the Futures Game Sunday.
3. Gordon Beckham, White Sox, IF. They already love him in Chicago. Held out of Jake Peavy trade.
4. Kyle Drabek, Phillies, P. "Supremely talented,'' one GM said. Has a rep for being slightly mouthy, though.
5. Madison Bumgarner, Giants, P. If anyone can afford to part with a pitching prospect, it's San Francisco.
6. Brett Wallace, Cardinals, 3B. Natural hitter is beloved. Also said to field better than you'd think considering his squatty body.
7. Alcides Escobar, Brewers, SS. Sterling defender. Though, a Brewers person's comparison of Escobar to Alfredo Griffin gave me pause (Griffin was good, but no superstar) and made me wonder if he could be had in the right deal.
8. Jason Heyward, Braves, OF. Big bopper has great potential.
Around the Majors
Sunday's Futures Game here, which could also be called the Roy Halladay Trade Bait Game, included Wallace, Drabek, Bumgarner, Escobar and Yankees catcher Jesus Montero.
Desmond Jennings (Tampa Bay, outfielder) looks about his fast as Carl Crawford.
With Jay Bruce out with a fractured wrist, the Reds' need for an outfielder increases if they have any intention of trying to stay with the Cardinals, Brewers and Cubs.
Funny to see Ozzie Smith managing the U.S. team and using nemesis Tony La Russa's office (a person with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch pointed that out).
Pedro Martinez should have his decision soon. Of course, Pedro Time isn't always real time. Hey, Hall of Famers can be divas. Philly looks like the favorite, followed by Texas.
Interesting article in the New York Daily News Sunday about the flaws in the Mets organization, and whether Omar Minaya could be in trouble. The Mets have had many debilitating injuries, but there are other issues, including a lack of replacements at the upper levels of the minors (both Triple-A Buffalo and Double-A Binghamton are "atrocious,'' one competing scout told me). While I've hear a smattering of rumblings about Minaya's security from scouts, there isn't any real sign of unrest from above Minaya, whose contract extension doesn't begin until 2010. Good thing he signed that extension, though.
I saw Shelley Duncan (@shelldunc) has retired from tweeting (sounds like he was a little too honest and upset some folks), but I'm still at it. Follow me on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/SI_JonHeyman
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