Latest trade talk on Washburn, Halladay, Lee, Martinez and others
The Yanks called the Mariners to inquire about long-time target Jarrod Washburn
The Phillies have identified Lee as their first fallback option after Roy Halladay
The Red Sox are looking into Victor Martinez, Adrian Gonzalez and Halladay
Knowing their chances remain slim for superstar pitcher Roy Halladay and even slimmer for star pitcher Cliff Lee, the Yankees called the pitching-strong Mariners on Saturday to inquire about their status as buyer or seller. The Yankees need a starting pitcher, and Jarrod Washburn is a pitcher they've liked for years.
Over the weekend GM Jack Zduriencik informed the Yankees, Dodgers and other teams interested in their players that they weren't yet ready to sell, but there's a sense around baseball Seattle still might make a deadline switch. Ownership historically hasn't been anxious to sell, but realistically, they don't have enough offense to compete with the Angels or Rangers.
Erik Bedard's latest arm ailment just might make their call for them. Though sadly, at the same time it will also diminish their sale.
While the Mariners are having a surprisingly impressive season thanks to several cost-efficient pickups by Zduriencik (Russell Branyan and David Aardsma have been the best of those), they are doing it without a bona fide lineup. And now they'd have to do it without one of their better pitchers. Also, they were just swept by the visiting Indians over the weekend, getting outscored 31-6 over the three-game series.
The Bedard trade of two years ago -- which was made by the previous regime and saw Adam Jones and George Sherrill go to Baltimore -- has turned out to be a disaster. But the decision of the same regime to hold onto Washburn when the Yankees and Twins were offering to take his entire $11 million salary last year seems prudent.
Now, Washburn's stock is as high as it's ever been, and the Yankees would have to give up a top prospect or two to have a chance at Washburn.
Washburn has pitched to an 8-6 record and 2.71 ERA and is said to be a favorite of pitching coach Rick Adair. Right now, he may become a favorite of many of the teams looking for pitching, such as the White Sox, Twins, Dodgers and Phillies.
Another fallback option for the Yankees is Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo. Cincinnati made him available near the end of a dreadful 0-6 road trip. But the guess is the Reds would have to eat a significant portion of the $17 million remaining on his deal. So far they aren't volunteering to do that.
Yankees still eyeing Halladay knowing it's a long shot
The Yankees believe their chances are practically nil after hearing from Toronto that it would take both Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes plus two more top prospects for Halladay. Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi wasn't kidding when he told the Yankees up front it would take more from them and Boston than it would from other teams.
To have any shot at all at Halladay, the Yankees have to hope things fall through with Phillies, then consider whether to dangle one or the other, Chamberlain or Hughes. For Halladay, they might part with one (though not both).
One AL scout said he'd offer Chamberlain, but not Hughes. "I think Hughes is going to be good, but Joba I wonder about. He hasn't learned his lesson from showboating yet. In fact, he's gotten worse. He's extremely talented, but I just wonder whether he'll break down."
While Chamberlain's antics annoy some folks, he has put together two straight excellent starts.
Phillies remain frontrunners on Halladay, but looking at Lee
The Phillies have identified Lee as their first fallback option should their talks with the Blue Jays fail to land them Halladay, and they scouted Lee's last two starts as he continues to pitch beautifully. There's been a lot of jockeying and posturing between the Phils and Jays over Halladay, but Philly remains by far the most logical landing spot considering their keen interest and stash of worthy prospects.
While the Phillies blanched at one Jays' proposal of Kyle Drabek, J.A. Happ and Dominic Brown (as they should have), feathers have been ruffled and apparently Halladay himself is now getting anxious, the sides have continued to exchange ideas. Though there remains a difference of opinion, there are deals to be made by mixing and matching with one or two of the three players above, plus pitcher Carlos Carrasco, shortstop Jason Donald, catcher Lou Marson and outfielder Michael Taylor.
As has been suggested several times in this space, the inclusion of the top pitching prospect Drabek would limit the secondary pieces while the inclusion of Happ would necessitate bigger secondary pieces. Brown, the best-liked outfielder, would be more unlikely to go with Drabek, for instance.
"It's early," one official with one of the teams pointed out, suggesting there's still time for a deal.
The Jays' self-imposed Tuesday deadline isn't being taken very seriously at this point, and they themselves indicated it wasn't necessarily a strict deadline if something was afoot.
Meanwhile, there was no evidence of big progress with any other team. The Jays requested a package from the Angels of pitcher Joe Saunders, infielder Erick Aybar, infield prospect Brandon Wood and a fourth prospect, a request that was surely going to go nowhere. The Angels were the first team to view their prospects as ultra-valuable years ago, and others have followed their lead. They are not changing their approach now. Besides, that proposal seems over the top.
The Rangers also have exchanged names with the Jays but seemed to believe their rival Angels were having more discussions with Toronto (and those talks are going nowhere).
The Dodgers also are thought to have exchanged names with Toronto. But one thing the Dodgers and Angels have in common, beyond their locale, is they don't like to give up prospects, and the Dodgers' offer was said to be considered low by one source. It's very unlikely that they top the Phillies' offers, which everyone believes will be the best Toronto gets.
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