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Trade Deadline: Indians reportedly seeking outfield help

07.21.11 at 12:31 pm ET
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The Indians are in the market to acquire an outfielder as they have called the Padres seeking Ryan Ludwick, tweets SI’s Jon Heyman. He also writes that they are interested in Athletics’ outfielder Coco Crisp.

According to Heyman, the Reds also have an interest in both outfielders and could create a cross-state battle with the Indians to acquire either of the outfielders.

The Indians are currently tied with the Tigers for first place in the AL Central. Ludwick is batting .244 with 11 home runs and 61 RBIs this season. Crisp is hitting .265 with 4 home runs, 31 RBIs and has stolen 27 bases.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, Coco Crisp, Ryan Ludwick,

Theo Epstein on D&C: No trade option can take the place of Clay Buchholz

07.21.11 at 11:00 am ET
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Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein joined the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday and discussed the possibility of the Sox making a move before the July 31 trade deadline, the health of Clay Buchholz, the emergence of Josh Reddick and the attempts to sign Jacoby Ellsbury to a long-term contract.

Following is a transcript of the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Which member of your roster has surprised you the most this season?

It’s going to be hard to pick just one. I think not to be overlooked is the contributions of guys like Matt Albers and Alfredo Aceves that really helped make our bullpen a strength in this club. You can add Wakefield and Andrew Miller as well as guys who have really stepped up and helped stabilize our rotation. The one thing we haven’t had to talk about this year that we normally have to talk about is a bullpen collapse. Knock on wood, we haven’t lost a lot of tough games out of the bullpen. There has been one or two, but usually by this time of year you have lost half a dozen or more. We haven’t had to talk about just throwing someone out there to start a big-league game that we don’t feel good about. The depth guys have really stepped up and stabilized things, which is huge.

Isn’t pitching what every team is looking for at the trade deadline?

Yeah, you can never have enough, obviously. We’ve proved that. The reason every team looks for pitching is that you can acquire a pitcher and slide him in. For position player help you have to have the right fit. Pitching is so tenuous. You think you have enough, you think you’re set, and one key injury to the wrong pitcher and you are in a compromised spot. So there’s probably not a team in baseball that could withstand an injury of their best pitcher and be fine. That’s why you can never have enough no matter what. Keeping these guys strong and healthy through the year is such a battle that you always need more pitching to back them up.

Will the next couple of weeks of medical reports on Clay Buchholz dictate in some fashion the direction the club might go in terms of trading for a starting pitcher?

There’s nobody that we can go out and acquire that is going to take the place of Clay Buchholz. If you asked me what player out there, if could name one player to acquire for this team it would be a healthy Clay Buchholz. I think we’re going to have that. It’s been a slower process than anyone wanted — especially Clay — but he is getting better. We’ve had three opinions on it now and it looks like it’s just a matter of time. Let’s say — and we don’t expect this at all — let’s say the news was different and it’s going to be a little longer I’m sure it would affect how we would look at things. But I don’t think there is anybody out there we could acquire that would come close to replacing Clay. And when it comes to depth options I think we have a lot of those internally and I’m sure we’ll look around. But I do believe that Clay will come back healthy and be that type of impact acquisition that we couldn’t make on the trade market.

Has Josh Reddick made the decision pretty easy about who should be playing right field now?

You can’t deny what Josh Reddick is doing and you can’t deny that he’s a different player than he’s been. Josh Reddick has always had a world of talent. From the day we drafted him, the ball jumped off his bat as well as just about any player in our system. Always really athletic, always a really good outfielder, always a playmaker in the outfield, always a pretty dynamic baserunner. It was simply of question of Josh — and it always has been — improving his plate discipline. His swing mechanics, going up there with a plan, working the count, putting himself in a position where he could let that explosiveness of his bat play and let his natural instincts play out there in the batters box. We’ve probably talked to Josh about it thousands of times over the years and it looks like a light has gone on for him. He’s a different guy and a really exciting piece, not for just this year but also the future. Tito makes out the lineup and I’m sure he’s going to have decisions to make on a nightly basis. I don’t want to speak for him, certainly Josh is someone who has helped us win games and you want to put him in a position to continue to do that.

Does the production from Reddick and the struggles of J.D. Drew mean that we have seen a full-time switch in right field?

I don’t think you have to cast your lot on one player and completely bury another. As I said, Tito’s job is to put the best team on the field on a given night to help us win. When you have one player performing so well, or so hot, maybe demonstrating that a light has gone on for him and another player who has struggled all year it’s something you have to really massage as a manager. But we’ve always been an organization that has given the best players a chance to impact the game for our team on that given night. I know there’s been a lot of discussion on these airways, ‘Do this 100 percent. The other guy plays zero percent.’ That’s probably not how it’s going to be, but of course the players who are playing the best at the time get the chance to win a game for the Boston Red Sox.

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Read More: andrew miller, Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury, john lackey

List: Ranking Theo Epstein’s trade deadline moves

07.21.11 at 9:52 am ET
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Of all the pressures a general manager deals with, the wheeling and dealing of the trade deadline might be the most intense. For contending clubs, a big move leading up to July 31 could make or break a season, as teams try to add that last missing piece for a title run. Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein has been at the helm since 2003, giving him eight different cracks at a deadline deal. As we approach the end of July, let’s take a look back at Epstein’s trade deadline history, ranking his moves from worst to best.

8. 2003: Traded Freddy Sanchez and Mike Gonzalez to the Pirates for Jeff Suppan, Brandon Lyon and Anastacio Martinez; traded Phil Dumatrait and Tyler Pelland to the Reds for Scott Williamson

There are a lot of names flying around in this pair of deals, but for the first trade we can narrow it down to Sanchez for Suppan, which does not bode well for Boston. Sanchez soon became one of the best hitters in the National League, claiming a batting title in 2006 with a .344 average, and was a member of last season’s World Series champion Giants. Suppan, on the other hand, appeared in just 11 games for the Red Sox and posted a 5.57 ERA while allowing 12 home runs. He was gone for St. Louis by 2004, where he had a front row seat for the Red Sox’ World Series sweep. Williamson turned out to be a better acquisition than Suppan, as he posted a 1.26 ERA during the 2004 campaign.


7. 2007: Traded Engel Beltre, Kason Gabbard and David Murphy to the Rangers for Eric Gagne and cash; traded Joel Pineiro to the Cardinals for Sean Danielson

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Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, Red Sox, Theo Epstein,

Trade Deadline: Astros reportedly willing to trade Hunter Pence

07.21.11 at 9:06 am ET
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The Astros are willing to deal away right fielder Hunter Pence, tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney. He adds that rival executives expect Pence to be dealt. Olney speculates that the Braves might be a good fit for Pence since that have plenty of prospects to deal.

The Houston Chronicle also is reporting that the Astros are willing to deal away Pence, as general manager Ed Wade has made it clear he’€™d be willing to listen to trade discussions about virtually everyone. The teams the paper mentions as possible fits for Pence include the Red Sox, Phillies, Braves, Giants, Indians, Pirates and Tigers. All of those teams reportedly have been interested in acquiring an outfielder.

Pence, who is in his fifth season in the majors, is batting .316 with 11 home runs and 61 RBIs. Pence played in the All-Star Game earlier this month.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, Hunter Pence,

Trade Deadline: Padres reportedly tell Mike Adams he is staying put

07.21.11 at 8:33 am ET
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A dozen teams have contacted the Padres about the services of relief pitcher Mike Adams, but San Diego will not be trading him, according to a Yahoo! Sports source. The source said last week Padres owner Jeff Moorad told Adams, “You’re not going anywhere.”

Adams is having another great season with the Padres. The 32-year-old has a 1.23 ERA, which is second-best in the majors. In 205 games with the team he has a 1.69 ERA.

Yahoo! is also reporting that the Padres have received more calls regarding Adams than current closer Heath Bell. The Padres have said their closer is available and are asking for multiple prospects in return. The Blue Jays are one of the teams that are reportedly interested in Bell, writes FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, Heath Bell, Mike Adams,

Trade Deadline: Phillies, Royals reportedly talking a deal for Melky Cabrera

07.21.11 at 8:32 am ET
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The Royals and Phillies are reportedly trying to work out a deal that would send Royals outfielder Melky Cabrera to the Phillies, according to FoxSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi.

The Phillies have reportedly been interested in the Mets’ Carlos Beltran, but Cabrera would not be a bad alternative. The switch-hitter is hitting .294 with 12 home runs and 54 RBIs this season.

The Royals have two outfielders that have received interest leading up to the July 31 trade deadline, Cabrera and Jeff Francoeur. It is unlikely that the Royals will deal both outfielders.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, Jeff Francoeur, melky cabrera,

Trade Deadline: Tigers acquire Wilson Betemit from Royals

07.20.11 at 6:16 pm ET
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According to several reports, the Tigers have traded minor league prospects Antonio Cruz and Julio Rodriguez to the Royals for third baseman Wilson Betemit.

Detroit’s Brandon Inge has had the worst season of his career at third base, hitting .177 with one home run and 17 RBI entering Wednesday. Betemit, 29, is hitting .281 with three home runs and 27 RBI in 58 games this season.

Between Inge and Don Kelly, the Tigers have had the second-worst OPS at the third base position (.500) in the majors, ahead of only the Mariners and Chone Figgins (.463).

The Tigers are first in the American League Central at 51-45.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, Brandon Inge, royals, tigers

Trade Deadline: Red Sox, Phillies reportedly have best chance at Carlos Beltran

07.20.11 at 5:51 pm ET
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According to Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated, the Phillies and Red Sox are the two most likely teams to land Carlos Beltran in a trade.

Philadelphia seems to have a slight edge because the Mets are reportedly interested in Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown and are not afraid to trade Beltran to their division rival.

As for the Red Sox, Heyman reports they have been one of the most aggressive teams pursuing Beltran, although they appear less willing to deal as many prospects as the Phillies.

Both teams could certainly use Beltran. The Phillies rank 20th in batting average, while the Red Sox continue to cycle between J.D. Drew, Josh Reddick and Darnell McDonald in right field.

The Braves, Giants, Tigers, Brewers, Indians, Rangers and Pirates are also potential suitors for Beltran.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, carlos beltran, Phillies, Red Sox

Trade Deadline: Braves reportedly close to adding offense

07.20.11 at 5:32 pm ET
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According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Braves are nearing a deal for a right-handed hitter, although the report did not specify which player could be heading to Atlanta.

Josh Willingham, Ryan Ludwick, Hunter Pence and Jeff Francoeur are just a few of the available righties on the market. The Braves rank 26th in batting average and 27th in on-base percentage entering Wednesday. With Chipper Jones on the disabled list, the team could use some help bolstering its lineup.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, Braves, Chipper Jones,

Trade Deadline: Reds reportedly targeting James Shields

07.20.11 at 5:32 pm ET
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According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Reds are looking to trade for Rays starting pitcher James Shields, which would explain why Tampa Bay scouts were evaulating Cincinnati minor leaguers this week.

Shields’ availability has come as somewhat of a surprise, as the 29-year-old leads the Rays in ERA (2.60) and strikeouts (145) entering Wednesday. The Reds have offensive talent in their farm system, especially at first base and catcher, areas the Rays are looking to improve upon.

The Reds rank 22nd in team ERA at 4.09, and the team’s highest ERA among starters belongs to Mike Leake, who’s at 4.11.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, james shields, Rays, Reds
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