The Padres' effort to acquire leftfielder Brian Giles from Pittsburgh after claiming him on waivers is dead. That's largely because, after the Pirates insisted that their catcher, Jason Kendall, be part of the deal, they balked when San Diego wanted them to cover more than half of the $42 million owed Kendall over the next four years. The trade also fell apart because the Padres had reservations about giving up Oliver Perez, a 22-year-old lefthander who was striking out 10.1 batters per nine innings at week's end. ( San Diego also would have given up outfielder Xavier Nady and righthander Kevin Jarvis.)
Though Perez (4-6) yielded five runs in four innings of a 10-0 loss to the Martins last Friday, his stock has risen since his fastball jumped from 89 mph last year to 96 mph this season. The Padres sent Perez to Triple A Portland in May to get him to throw from a more regular arm slot. "His velocity is up, and he's had a more consistent slider," Padres G.M. Kevin Towers says, "but the [high] strikeout games are a bad sign. People get caught up in Olliemania, and he'll press for strikeouts. We'd rather see him be more efficient with his pitches."
San Diego and Pittsburgh could revisit the Giles deal this winter, but the Padres, who will move into a new ballpark next season, are now more likely to target a big free agent, such as Athletics shortstop Miguel Tejada, rather than surrender talent.
Eric Chavez is at it again. The A's third baseman has followed his .257 first half with a .319 start to his second half through Sunday, continuing his career pattern. He's a lifetime .256 hitter before the break and .300 after.
"He's still only 25 years old," Oakland general manager Billy Beane says. "It's a function of his youth. The scary thing is, What happens when he hits like this all year, not just in the second half? He's going to put up ridiculous numbers."
HANDLE WITH CARE
On Aug. 12 the Rangers called up their next great pitching hope from Triple A Oklahoma—righthander Jose Dominguez, 21, who was undefeated in 27 appearances, including 20 starts, in the minors this season. However, after a clerical error was discovered, Texas announced that his first name was actually Juan and he was 23. By the end of his first night in the majors he was also no longer undefeated, losing to Detroit 7-4. Now the Rangers are wrestling with what to do with Dominguez, who in his second start on Sunday night gave up four runs in four innings to the White Sox before being lifted, for the rest of the season. He's already thrown a total of 140? innings this year—73? more than last season—and Texas wants to shut him down or give him limited relief duty as a precaution against overuse.
"We did it in Arizona with Brian Anderson and Omar Daal when they were young," says Rangers manager Buck Showalter, the Diamondbacks' skipper from 1998 through 2000. "When a young pitcher goes beyond a 30-inning increase, you're asking for trouble."