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Baseball
Stephen Cannella
July 31, 2000
Help WantedAs the trade deadline nears, contenders are looking for reinforcements
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July 31, 2000

Baseball

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SETTING (But Not Clearing)
The Table

Marlins second baseman Luis Castillo is a classic leadoff hitter, reaching base often (through Sunday his .461 on-base percentage was second in the National League), stealing bases (a major-league-best 41) and scoring lots of runs (a team-high 69). But driving in runs is not his forte. Castillo, who had six RBIs in 305 at bats, was on pace to knock in 10 runs this year, which would be the fewest ever in a season for a hitter who had at least 450 at bats. Here are the alltime leaders.

PLAYER, TEAM

YEAR

AB

RBI

Enzo Hernandez, Padres

1971

549

12

Clyde Milan, Senators

1910

531

16

Roy Thomas, Phillies

1906

493

16

Charley O'Leary, Tigers

1904

456

16

Ivy Olson, Dodgers

1918

506

17

Chappy Charles, Cardinals

1908

454

17

Al Burch, Dodgers

1908

456

18

Morrie Rath, White Sox

1912

591

19

Bob Lillis, Colt 45's

1963

469

19

Help Wanted
As the trade deadline nears, contenders are looking for reinforcements

Giants general manager Brian Sabean could have been speaking for most of his major league counterparts last week when he discussed the moves he would like to make by the July 31 trading deadline. "All of us are looking to improve our pitching; I don't see the quality out there to meet the demand," said Sabean, who is generally happy with his team, which at week's end was in second place in the National League West, 1� games behind the Diamondbacks.

The midsummer call for arms is as predictable a part of the season as the trading deadline itself. Heading toward the zero hour of baseball's shopping season, here are several contenders' wish lists as they gear up for a postseason push.

Yankees
General manager Brian Cashman deserves credit for picking up outfielders David Justice and Glenallen Hill, lefthander Denny Neagle and infielder Jose Vizcaino without dealing prized prospect Alfonso Soriano, but his work is not quite finished. "Obviously we still have needs," Cashman said last Friday after making the deal with the Cubs for Hill, who will pinch-hit and DH. "I'm not done lining up choices for George [Steinbrenner] to say yea or nay to." With leftfielder Shane Spencer (torn right ACL) lost for the season, the Yankees are trying to fill that hole, and they might be able to use Soriano to reel in Expos outfielder Rondell White, who has a strained right hamstring but may come off the disabled list this week. That deal could be the next choice presented to the Boss. Says manager Joe Torre about the likelihood of a trade for another outfielder: "There's no question we're looking."

Braves
Atlanta lost its second baseman and leadoff hitter for the season when Quilvio Veras tore his right ACL on July 14. Though 19-year-old rookie Rafael Furcal and veteran Keith Lock-hart have filled in ably, the Braves are considering Rangers second baseman Luis Alicea, a free-agent-to-be who's having the finest offensive season (.307 average, .383 on-base percentage through Sunday) of his career. Alicea, an 11-year veteran, would provide a solid bat and dependable defense, and allow Furcal to continue splitting time at shortstop with Walt Weiss. Atlanta also needs outfield help: Reggie Sanders, Bobby Bonilla and Trenidad Hubbard (combined .216 average, 10 home runs and 34 RBIs) have given the Braves less production from leftfield than any other team in the National League.

Mariners
As one of the few teams with pitching depth—righthander Brett Tomko is buried in the bullpen despite a 4-2 record in eight spot starts—Seattle is in good position to acquire the lefthanded bat it has craved since spring training. Brewers outfielder Jeromy Burnitz (.217, 20 homers and 58 RBIs), who broke off negotiations for a contract extension last week and may be dealt, could fill that role, as could talented first baseman-outfielder Travis Lee, who was sent to Arizona's Triple A affiliate in Tucson on July 16 after struggling in the majors. The Mariners have also inquired about Astros righthanded-hitting outfielder Moises Alou (.349, 15, 53), who would have to waive his no-trade clause for a deal to go through.

Red Sox
Boston has the American League's best ERA (4.19 through Sunday) and is anticipating righthander Bret Saber-hagen's return from shoulder surgery next month, so Dan Duquette will be one of the few general managers not looking for pitching. "Our defense has been all right, and our pitching has been a strength," he says. "But we need consistent offensive production from third base, first base and designated hitter." The Rangers are listening to offers for first baseman-DH David Segui (.342, 10, 56), who would give Boston much-needed pop and a defensive upgrade over first baseman Brian Daubach. The Red Sox are also interested in Burnitz.

White Sox
Three weeks ago general manager Ron Schueler insisted that the American League Central-leading White Sox didn't need to make major moves. That changed last week when righthander Cal Eldred went on the disabled list with a sore elbow. "We are doing a lot of searching, a lot of talking and a lot of scouting," says Schueler. "We're talking about getting some pitching." One possibility is Reds righthander Pete Harnisch, who was being scouted by the White Sox and several other teams last week when he threw his second straight complete-game win, against Houston.

Dodgers
Last week general manager Kevin Mal-one downplayed the likelihood of his making a big deal, but if Los Angeles, which had crept to within four games of the Diamondbacks in the National League West and 2� of the wild-card-leading Giants at week's end, is to remain a contender, it must bolster its rotation. A possible addition is Devil Rays righthander Steve Trachsel (6-9, 4.57 ERA). Trachsel, a free agent after the season, is on pace to collect $4.5 million in performance incentives, and Tampa Bay is willing to dump him cheaply to avoid that obligation. That's good news for the Dodgers, who would rather not part with young starters Eric Gagne and Darren Dreifort—the players other teams keep asking for in trade talks—in any deal they make.

Blue Jays
The major leagues' top homer-hitting team has offense to spare, so general manager Gord Ash is sniffing around for pitching. Last week he grabbed inconsistent but talented righthander Esteban Loaiza (5-7, 5.53 ERA at week's end) from the Rangers and stuck him in the rotation. Ash hopes that deal was just a start. "My belief is that one pitcher wasn't going to be the answer," he says. "[ Loaiza] is not the Number 1 guy. He's a guy we liked, and there are other teams we're continuing to talk to."

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