Beltran-to-Giants trade agreed to; Beltran has 24 hours to accept
At least six teams are after Tampa Bay's talented but struggling young outfielder
There is a question as to whether Carlos Beltran will accept a deal to an AL team
Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers among teams to have checked on Ubaldo Jimenez
SI.com's Jon Heyman is sending updates all week long as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline draws closer. To follow Heyman on Twitter, click here.
A trade that would send Carlos Beltran from the Mets to the Giants has been agreed to and Beltran has 24 hours to accept, which he is expected to do. The Mets are paying a significant portion of the $6 million left on Beltran's deal. It is believed the Mets will get pitching prospect Zack Wheeler from San Francisco.
A trade that would send All-Star Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran to the Giants is close but details are still being worked out. I'm hearing that the Mets will pay significant amount of the $6 million left on Beltran's contract so they are expected to be getting good prospects from San Francisco.
The Giants appear in position to land the Mets' Carlos Beltran, although he Phillies haven't quite given up. The deal isn't done but could get done within a day or so. Beltran has no trade clause and those are his two preferred teams. The Texas Rangers tried hard to get him but appear to have given up the fight.
Competing teams have become convinced the Rays will trade talented outfielder B.J. Upton, and some believe it's for the best. At least six teams are involved, and they view the enigmatic Upton as the classic change-of-scenery guy.
And that means getting as far away from Tampa Bay as possible, which might explain why all the teams pursuing Upton are in the National League.
"For whatever reason it's not working for him in Tampa, whether he doesn't mesh with the other star players or the coaching staff,'' one interested rival executive said, alluding to Upton's previous run-in with Rays star Evan Longoria and the well-known frustration Rays coaches have with him. "If they trade him, he's going to take off.''
So far, Upton's only going down. From a high of .300 in 2007, his average has dropped four straight seasons to a low of .229 this year. But it isn't discouraging a host of NL team from going hard after Upton. The Braves, Giants, Cardinals, Nationals, Pirates and Phillies are said to be among the teams interested in him. Upton would seem to be an odd alternative to Carlos Beltran since Beltran is one of the better hitters in baseball, but it appears the Giants see him as just that.
The Rays are said to want a "Garza type deal,'' which means a nice package of prospects similar to what Tampa Bay got when it traded starting pitcher Matt Garza to the Cubs last offseason. Upton isn't a rental player -- he isn't due to become a free-agent until after the 2012 season -- so an acquiring team will have time to try to straighten him out. Most players thrive in Tampa Bay, but it isn't working out for him there. So a trade is for the best.
The Phillies' main interest seems to be Hunter Pence. Astros people are telling other teams it's very unlikely they move Pence but Philadelphia may be counting on their history of good dealing with ex-Phillies GM Ed Wade, whom they have traded with often. The other teams seem to believe that Pence, the face of the Astros franchise, isn't going anywhere.
Josh Johnson is not expected to pitch again for the Marlins in 2011. His shoulder problem that has kept him out since May 16 is said to not be a serious issue and surgery is not being considered for him. But it appears nobody wants to take a chance with one of the most valuable properties in the game.
The teams believed to be in on Ubaldo Jimenez are the Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers, Rangers, Red Sox, Blue Jays and Reds, with the Indians another possibility. Those were the teams that scouted his last start. It's clear Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd is working hard to investigate what he can get for the star righthander with the great contract ($2.8 million this year, $4.2 million next year and team options the following two years for $5.75 million and $8 million, though he can void the second team option if traded). But trading Jimenez comes at a big risk for the Rockies, who have their own need for quality starting pitchers, necessitating huge asking prices. It's still estimated by competing GMs that there's only a 20 percent chance he goes.
The Mariners, losers of 17 straight, are hopeful Erik Bedard's return showcase Friday will be a hit, and that they will be able to get a haul for the talented lefty with 85 strikeouts in 90 innings. At least the Red Sox and Tigers are expected to attend, and it would be a surprise if all the others seeking starting pitching (the Jimenez pursuers) didn't also attend. Seattle is said to have a high asking price for Doug Fister, who's 3-12 despite a 3.33 ERA. Fellow starter Jason Vargas wouldn't bring anything back. And as for a trade of Felix Hernandez, one Mariners person answered with two words: "Not happening.''
Cardinals outfielder Colby Rasmus has been the focus of the White Sox, but ChiSox people aren't sure they can give up both starter Edwin Jackson and reliever Matt Thornton plus what little prospects they have ("they don't have much,'' one NL scout said) for Rasmus. The Mariners, Giants and Nats have checked in on him, according to Danny Knobler of CBSsports.com, and the Rays have, too. St. Louis would have to be overwhelmed to surrender such a young talent, but a comment Tony La Russa made to KSD TV-5 in St. Louis illustrated an existing rift. In answer to a question, La Russa said, "No, he doesn't listen to the Cardinal coaches much, and that's why he gets in these funks in my opinion.''
Several teams have checked in on Carlos Quentin (he's make sense for the Giants and Phillies as an alternative to Beltran), but it seems like a long shot the White Sox would trade one of their two very productive power hitters. GM Ken Williams likes to pursue all avenues, and dangling Quentin, who has 20 home runs and 65 RBIs, certainly is encouraging other GMs to call him. And while one White Sox person suggested Quentin is "Jekyll and Hyde'' as a hitter, it's still hard to see them moving him with their offense already disappointing.
The Red Sox are presumably in the middle of a lot of big things, as usual, but one of their most likely moves is for a fourth outfielder. Ryan Spilborghs of the Rockies looks like he may head the list to fill such a role. He's a fourth outfielder by trade and he'd cost less than the Royals' Jeff Francoeur. Red Sox people are very pleased by the play of prospect Josh Reddick in rightfield so they may not need to make a big splash at that position. They don't seem to be at the forefront of the Beltran talks anymore.
The Astros' Clint Barmes looks like a possible infield reinforcement or the Brewers. The Dodgers' Jamey Carroll is thought to be another possibility for them.
Trevor Bauer, the No. 3 overall pick who signed early for $7 million ($4.5 million guaranteed), is thought to have a chance to help the Diamondbacks in the bullpen sometime this year. The two pitchers picked ahead of him, Gerrit Cole with the Pirates and Danny Hultzen with the Mariners, are not believed close to signing. The Diamondbacks are also working on acquiring pitching via trade.
The Rays are not actively shopping pitchers Jeff Niemann or Wade Davis and are said to require being blown away to trade either young pitcher. All-Star starter James Shields looks like he's off the board altogether now.
The Rays would consider trading Johnny Damon. But his defense is limited at this point and there isn't much of a market for designated hitters. If they were to trade him, they wouldn't mind signing him back in the offseason, though. He's been a positive influence for the team.
The Diamondbacks could use a first baseman, but they are apparently leery of Carlos Peņa's strikeout ratio. The Pirates could be another possibility. Or Peņa could stay with the Cubs; most of their star veterans are either untradeable (Rafael Soriano, Carlos Zambrano) or have no-trade clauses (Kerry Wood, Aramis Ramirez).
The bankruptcy judge chastised Dodgers owner Frank McCourt in ruling against him for hiding the fact he would have to pay a $5.25 million breakup fee if he had to back out of his loan arrangement with Highbridge. Since the judge ruled for MLB that McCourt would have to take MLB's loan instead, McCourt has to pay that $5.25 million now. McCourt's next step is apparently to sue FOX, perhaps his last remaining ally, to get out of his current TV contract, which has two more years on it. His $150 million loan from MLB won't be enough to keep him afloat for two more years.
I don't think Jonny Gomes, acquired from the Reds on Tuesday, is going to put Washington over the top.