Phillies won't give up Drabek for Halladay; Lee on the block? (cont.)
One Indians person said that while he still envisions both Martinez and Lee staying with the Tribe, that person still believes Martinez is more likely to be dealt than Lee since they do have an excellent crop of young hitters, including a switch-hitting standout catching prospect in Carlos Santana. Whereas their best pitching prospect, Hector Rondon, has only pitched 15 games above A-ball (he's 7-5 with a 2.75 ERA at Double-A Akron). They do have hopes for a return to form for the fallen Fausto Carmona and a return to health for Jake Westbrook, and for that matter, several others.
It isn't known why the Indians would suddenly consider trade options for Lee more seriously, but his value could not be much higher. He provides an excellent fallback option for teams that fail to land Halladay. While he's predictably slipped a bit from his otherworldly 2008 Cy Young performance, he's still a superb starter.
The Phillies and Dodgers are among teams that have interest in Lee, especially if those teams deem Halladay unattainable. The Rangers are another logical spot in that they have the pitching prospects to tempt the Indians, starting with Derek Holland and Neftali Feliz but not limited to those two (Michael Main, Martin Perez, Kasey Kiker and Blake Beavan are some others). The Rangers are in an unusual situation, though, with steep financial issues, so it's uncertain whether they could afford Halladay or even Lee.
If Lee is frustrated by the losing in Cleveland (he's only 5-9 despite a 3.31 ERA), he hasn't said anything publicly to that effect. But his own feelings in this case don't matter, anyway, since he does not have a no-trade clause. For that reason, Lee would be a "cleaner" trade than Halladay.
Around the majors
Mets GM Omar Minaya and manager Jerry Manuel were told their jobs are not in jeopardy by Mets COO Jeff Wilpon. Bobby Valentine once received a similar vote of confidence from Fred Wilpon before Fred Wilpon fired him. But in this case, the Mets have been undone by injuries. So it's hard to make a case that Minaya and Manuel are to blame. Minaya's three-year contract extension, which pays him in excess of $1 million annually, also doesn't begin until 2010. Manuel, though, will enter 2010 with lame-duck status, as his contract expires after the year.
Gary Sheffield's explanation that his vacation to the Bahamas was to blame for his hamstring injury was priceless. Maybe we should call him Dr. Sheffield. He certainly has exceeded all expectations on the field (including mine), and he's surprised many by not asking for a new multiyear deal yet. That's got to be coming, no?
Matt Holliday showed some big signs of regaining his form with two home runs, two doubles and six RBIs in Oakland's 14-13 victory Monday night. Holliday's trade value could be regenerated if he hits like that. "I still believe he's a very good player," one AL executive said.
The red-hot Rockies, now leading the NL Wild Card race, are looking for relief. They called about Betancourt (one of many Indians up for grabs) and also have talked about Chad Qualls, George Sherrill, Danys Baez and Takashi Saito.
Sherrill would be a "real overpay," one GM said, and you can't blame Baltimore for that in this barren relief market. Both the Angels and Dodgers make sense for him.
Some believe the Diamondbacks will hold onto Qualls now that Tony Pena is gone.
Some GMs believe a few more players will be available after the July 31 trade deadline this year since more players will clear waivers due to teams not wanting to pick up big contracts in this economy. (Of course, that doesn't apply to stars with reasonable or good contracts like Halladay, Lee or Martinez).
The Padres appear to have hit a wall.
Condolences to the entire San Francisco Giants family for losing majority owner Sue Burns, by all reports a spirited owner and fan who died of cancer only a week after learning she had the disease. It's been an especially tough year for the Giants, having lost the fine scouts Pat Dobson and Joe DiCarlo earlier.
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