Ethier may be thinking of Red Sox (cont.)
The Braves aren't openly shopping Derek Lowe, but with Julio Teheran and Mike Minor thriving at Triple-A, there's little question that they would listen to any outside interest. Lowe has had much success in the AL East, so the Yankees and Red Sox would be candidates for interest, as would Texas. The Braves would most likely be seeking some salary relief in any deal, and they'd surely use the savings on a big bat.
It's amazing that the Braves are where they are considering they've received virtually no help from Dan Uggla or Jason Heyward. Heyward had his first big game in quite a while in the Braves' win on Thursday (in May, he had more MRIs than RBIs, two to one), so that's a positive step. The Braves also expect Martin Prado, their best hitter the last two years, back soon after the All-Star break.
One GM predicted that it will be "hard to trade with the Astros.'' He suggested that the Astros would try to "win trades to save their jobs,'' with a new owner coming in. That's too bad, because Houston is done and needs to restock at the upper levels of the minor leagues, competitors say.
The Twins are still not considering becoming a seller. Despite horrendous luck this year, "the Twins still think they have a chance to win,'' one rival exec said.
Nobody would confirm the New York Post report that there either are, or at least will be, secret in-season negotiations between the Mets and Jose Reyes. But what kind of secret would they be if someone confirmed it? My take: Even if the Mets have thoughts about trying to extend Reyes during the year, it seems extremely unlikely that he would accept an offer from them with mere months to go before unfettered free agency. Mets GM Sandy Alderson did tell Mets writers that a trade of Reyes is "very unlikely'' during this season. Which seemed pretty obvious at this point, especially with him now on the disabled list.
The Mets would love to find a taker for Francisco Rodriguez. But while the $17.5 million vesting option on his deal makes them want to deal him, it's also what deters some logical suitors "Scary,'' was the word one GM used to describe the option that vests with 55 games finished (he's on pace to beat the 55 now, with room to spare).
The Angels created big buzz with their callup of 19-year-old megaprospect Mike Trout (he turns 20 next month). He has been compared to Mickey Mantle, but while he hasn't demonstrated that sort of power yet, his speed is unreal. Some scouts believe Peter Bourjos is just as fast, but not from what I saw this spring. And the rest of Trout's game is vastly superior.
The Reds did the right thing promoting top shortstop prospect Zack Cozart, who some believe is ready now. Their other young shortstop, Paul Janish, is "an Adam Everett type'' in the words of one scout, describing the good-field, little-hit veteran.
The Tigers will consider an offensive upgrade for at least one of three spots: third base, second base or outfield.
Condolences to the family of Dick Williams, who died at age 82 on Thursday. He was a baseball genius who knew how to win and did so everywhere he went. It's great that he was finally inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008, late considering he guided the Impossible Dream 1967 AL champion Red Sox (who improved from ninth place in 1966), the 1972 and '73 world champion Oakland A's and several other winners. He was also very blunt and pretty funny. Once, upon hearing that Tony La Russa had passed the bar, Williams said, "Unlike La Russa, I would never pass a bar.''
Some scouts in the NY metro area think the Rockies got the best player from their area, Carl Thomore, whom the Rockies already signed for about $480,000.
Ike Davis is holding a charity event on July 17 at Michael's in Brooklyn, a dinner for Solving Kids' Cancer (SKC), in which he'll do a Q & A session and prizes will be given out. The event begins at 7 p.m. Call 212-588-6624 for tickets.
Excellent White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper has started his own Website, doncooperbaseball.com, which will help kids improve their pitching while avoiding injuries. Cooper will provide video analysis, point out flaws and positives. And long-time White Sox trainer Herm Schneider will present shoulder, elbow and conditioning programs.
With everything else that's going on with the Dodgers, McCourt is said to be complaining privately about a couple of the team's signings (namely Juan Uribe and Ted Lilly). Overall, GM Colletti has done a very good job and is said to have had a solid relationship with McCourt, so it's very likely McCourt is just blowing off steam at a difficult time. The team has been hampered by a stark reduction in payroll and also has been decimated by injuries to the infield and pitching staff. But McCourt's behind-the-scenes complaints are par for him. One person who knows him well said, "If they signed 10 All-Stars and one player who didn't work out, he'd just be upset about that one player.''