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Trade Deadline: Yankees content with bullpen?

07.19.11 at 6:25 pm ET
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The Yankees have told teams they won’t be looking to improve their bullpen before the July 31 trade deadline, according to Dan Knobler of CBSSports.com.

While they have been reportedly interested in Royals closer Joakim Soria since last season, Knobler writes they are now content with the improvement of David Robertson (1.21 ERA) and the scheduled return of Rafael Soriano from the disabled list.

New York did send executives to San Diego, where the Padres have two available relievers in Mike Adams and Heath Bell. However, if the Yankees are targeting one pitcher this summer, it will likely be Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, bullpen, Joakim Soria, ubaldo jimenez

Trade Deadline: Red Sox join market for Ubaldo Jimenez?

07.19.11 at 4:22 pm ET
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The Red Sox are the latest of several teams to inquire about Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenezaccording to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com, although it’s not clear how serious their interest is at this stage.

Colorado has a steep asking price for the right-hander, and there is steep competition from the likes of the Yankees, Reds and Rangers. The 27-year-old’s contract goes through 2013, with an $8 million team option in 2014.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, Red Sox, ubaldo jimenez,

Trade Deadline: Dodgers GM meets with Hiroki Kuroda about rumors

07.19.11 at 4:16 pm ET
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Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti met with starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda on Monday to discuss the recent trade speculation over the right-hander. According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, Colletti told Kuroda that he did not want to trade him, but he was willing to give him a chance to play for a contender.

Kuroda has a no-trade clause and there’s speculation that he may not want to play on the east coast. Asked whether or not he would waive the clause and allow a trade, he said, “At this point, I don’t know yet … I have very complicated feelings.”

Kuroda is 6-11 with a 3.13 ERA this season, and is drawing interest from the Red Sox, Yankees, Indians and Tigers.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, Dodgers, Hiroki Kuroda, Ned Colletti

Transcript of Terry Francona on The Big Show: Sticking with veterans has worked in the past

07.19.11 at 4:05 pm ET
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Red Sox manager Terry Francona joined The Big Show for his weekly interview Tuesday to discuss the team’s success, struggles and Sunday’s marathon win over the Rays.

J.D. Drew‘s underwhelming performance has been well documented this season, and with Josh Reddick and Darnell McDonald waiting in the wings, Francona was asked who he plans on playing in right field as the pennant race rages on.

“[Drew] has a long history of doing what he’s done, and you’re right, to this point it hasn’t been what he normally does,” Francona said. “[Reddick] doesn’t have the history, but he’s been a huge part of what we’re doing for the last month. So it creates a little bit of a — I don’t want to say dilemma, because it’s good. I just don’t know exactly how it’s going to work. It’s easy just to put the guy that’s hot out there, but as a manager you have to think, ‘OK, am I hurting down the road more than I’m helping today?’ So that makes me think a little bit.

“I really couldn’t think back to a veteran that we stuck with that we weren’t rewarded for,” he added. “If we think somebody can help us, we do try to stick with him. How many times was I told I should not play David [Ortiz] the last two years? Well if I had listened to them it wouldn’t have been very smart. [Dustin] Pedroia, [Mark] Bellhorn, I mean you can go on and on and I just don’t think we’ve stayed with guys too long. Maybe I’ll miss a name or two, but I think for the most part if we think they can help us, we want to let them play or we’re going to miss out on some good baseball. And I don’t want to do that.”

Following is a transcript of the conversation. To hear the interview, check out The Big Show audio on demand page.

Were you a little bit concerned based on the travel and the late game [against the Rays on Sunday] that your guys might be a little too tired for that one last night?

Not really. Our schedule is so crazy, most of the time we play a lot of Sunday night games and we get in at 4:30 anyway, so what the heck is the difference of an hour and a half? The rule of thumb is if you can get to bed before the sun comes up, you’re generally OK. We didn’t quite make that, but we try to make some adjustments. We’re not hitting on the field tonight. We’re trying to save up our energy and use it in the game. We’re deep enough in the season now that we don’t need to hit on the field all the time. We’ll be OK. And we sent [Tim] Wakefield ahead to try to make adjustments, but you try to not let things get in the way of winning.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, J.D Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury

The Red Sox rotation in context: A fatal weakness?

07.19.11 at 2:25 pm ET
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BALTIMORE — As detailed in today’s column, the Red Sox are approaching this year’s trade deadline as an opportunity rather than a necessity. In contrast to past years, the team has no glaring weakness. The Sox have an elite offense that leads the majors in every major category, a very good defense (the Sox entered Monday ranked third in the majors in defensive efficiency), a growing stockpile of viable bullpen options and a rotation that has withstood injuries to be roughly middle of the pack.

The greatest uncertainty for the Sox right now surrounds the rotation, of course. With Jon Lester (his return is scheduled for Monday) and Clay Buchholz (no timetable) on the DL, the starting staff is the most difficult element of the team to predict going forward. The Sox are hopeful, even confident, that Lester and Buchholz can return to join Josh Beckett and give the Sox a front three that can compete with any. But that outlook can change on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis.

All of that said, it is worth asking: Based on what the Sox have done to date, are they in a position of necessity with regards to upgrading their rotation? Does history suggest that they need to get better?

After Tim Wakefield was roughed up on Monday for seven runs in 4 2/3 innings, Sox starters have a collective 4.14 ERA this year. The mark ranks 22nd in the majors.

In a vacuum, that kind of starters’ ERA isn’t horrendous for a team with World Series ambitions. In the last 20 years, nine World Series winners — including both the 2004 and 2007 Sox — have had ERAs that were worse than 4.14.

But, of course, the run-scoring environment was much different in those two championship seasons than it is now. Runs are more scarce than ever, which means a) that what the Sox are doing offensively is all the more remarkable and b) that what their starters have done is of even greater concern.

Since baseball introduced the two-round playoff format in 1969, no World Series winner has had a rotation ERA that has ranked as low as 22nd in the majors. Just two (the 2006 Cardinals, who ranked 20th, and the 1993 Blue Jays, who ranked 21st) have ranked 20th or worst.

Of course, the ’93 Blue Jays ranked 21st at a time when there were just 28 big league teams, so their ranking was more or less equivalent to what the Sox have done this year.

And the Sox do have reason to believe that they will get better, if only because Lester and Buchholz are expected to return, John Lackey (6.70) — who has shown some promising signs in his last two starts — will either improve from his standing as the worst starter in the majors in the first half or else he will see diminishing starts and the same can be said of Andrew Miller (5.68 ERA) and others.

Even so, while the Sox do not yet feel urgency about how the state of their rotation, it is possible that such an outlook could change between now and the end of the month depending on forthcoming developments.

Trade Deadline: Phillies, Marlins discussing Leo Nunez deal

07.19.11 at 12:46 pm ET
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Intradivision trades aren’t that common unless both sides can work out a truly mutually beneficial deal. However, that may be the case with the Phillies and Marlins who are talking about a deal that would center around Florida closer Leo Nunez, according to a tweet from ESPN.com and Baseball America writer Jerry Crasnick.

Nunez (27 saves, 3.30 ERA) is one of the big right-handed bullpen arms on the market, and the Fish are expected to ask for “young starting pitching in return,” which Crasnick believes the Phillies have.

Nunez would be a nice fit for a Philadelphia bullpen that ranks eighth in the NL in ERA (3.51) and seventh in opponents’ batting average (.238). Still, Crasnick tweeted later that the Marlins are “not ready to pull the plug yet” as they remain 10 games out of the Wild Card race and have won nine of their last 10 games.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, florida marlins, Philadelphia Phillies,

Trade Deadline: Felix Hernandez isn’t going anywhere

07.19.11 at 12:19 pm ET
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Another year. Another strong season from Felix Hernandez. Another not-so strong season from the Mariners. Another July with teams that are looking for starting pitching calling Seattle to see if they can pry “King Felix” from the Pacific Northwest.

And another time that the answer is again, “No.” That’s what Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik told FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal he’s telling potential suitors.

‘€œRight now, there is no motivation to move him. We’€™re happy as well with him. We hope he’€™s here for a long time. It’€™s nice to know that every fifth day we’€™ve got Felix Hernandez pitching. That has been my stance all along.’€

Hernandez is 8-8 with a 3.26 ERA in a league-high 21 starts this season after winning the Cy Young award in 2010 with a MLB-low 2.27 ERA and AL-high 249 2/3 innings pitched.

Rosenthal reports that the Yankees “occasionally call to see if the Mariners will reconsider their position on Hernandez,” but the answer continues to remain the same.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, felix hernandez,

Trade Deadline: Indians looking for outfield help

07.19.11 at 12:05 pm ET
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Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore (bruised right knee) was put on the disabled list on Monday night for the third time this season, and neither the team nor the player know exactly how much time he will miss. Put that together with Shin-Soo Choo‘s current stint on the DL, and the Indians appear to be lacking firepower in the outfield. (Austin Kearns and rookie Ezequiel Carrera are Sizemore and Choo’s current replacements in right and centerfield respectively.)

That has led the AL Central-leading Indians to begin looking at cheap options like San Diego’s Ryan Ludwick (.238/.306/.376) and Oakland’s Josh Willingham (.244/.321/.434), according to a tweet from Sports Illustrated baseball writer Jon Heyman. Carlos Beltran was thought to be an option, but his no-trade clause seems to be the burden in any trade involving Cleveland.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, Cleveland Indians, josh willingham, Ryan Ludwick

Trade Deadline: Yankees decide Carlos Beltran ‘not a fit’

07.19.11 at 11:01 am ET
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Sure, the teams and players change every year, but one of the stories leading up to July 31 every season is always how quickly rumors can change regarding who is going where and for how much.

The latest example comes from the Yankees and their perceived interest in acquiring Carlos Beltran. Early Tuesday morning, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that the Bronx Bombers had talked with the Mets about what it would take to get the right fielder. But just a few hours later, Bob Klapisch of FOX Sports and The Record (Bergen, N.J.) tweeted that New York’s AL team “briefly entertained idea of acquiring Carlos Beltran but decided ‘it’s not a fit.'”

Olney had previously claimed any Mets-Yankees deal involving Beltran would have to be “a pure salary dump,” but it appears now that the Yankees would be more contented to see Nick Swisher improve on his line of .256/.370/.415 than look to Beltran as a separate option.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, carlos beltran, New York Yankees,

Trade Deadline: Any Aramis Ramirez trade wouldn’t happen until August

07.19.11 at 9:18 am ET
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You don’t hear this too often. A solid hitting corner infielder is unwilling to be traded from a struggling team that has no shot at the playoffs to a contender who could very well compete in October.

But that is the case with Aramis Ramirez who is unwilling to waive his no-trade clause to leave the Cubs because of his love for Chicago, Ramirez’s agent Paul Kirzner told FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal. However, Kirzner did open the door for a potential deal that would happen after the non-waiver deadline is up in August, when Ramirez’s wife and daughter are expected to leave the Windy City for the Dominican Republic where the child goes to school.

‘€œI don’€™t see it happening,’€ Kinzer told Rosenthal. ‘€œWhen his family goes back, and his kids go back to school, that could possibly loosen it up. … As of now, he has no interest. He loves Chicago. He always wanted to finish his career there.’€

The Angels, who are four games out of the AL West lead, have had lots of interest in moving Ramirez to their hot corner. The third baseman is having one of his best years of late with a line of .300/.345/.511 to go with 17 home runs and 58 RBI.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, Aramis Ramirez,
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