- Buster Olney, Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
There is a lot of talk going on right now between teams, a lot of conversation about a lot of players, one GM said Saturday night. While there could be a flurry of trades before the July 31 deadline, a lot of what is being talked about is being shaped by injuries.
1. The Detroit Tigers' primary focus had seemed to be acquiring a starting pitcher, and they have had conversations with the Arizona Diamondbacks about Dan Haren and with the Chicago Cubs about Ted Lilly. But then, in what appeared to be a benign slide, Magglio Ordonez broke his ankle -- and a few innings later, Carlos Guillen strained a calf. As manager Jim Leyland said, the Tigers will have to revamp everything.
If they do look for an outfielder, they could make an offer for the Phillies' Jayson Werth, and according to ESPN's Jayson Stark, Detroit happened to have a scout at the Phillies' game on Saturday. Or they could call the Kansas City Royals and pick up the money still owed to veteran outfielder Jose Guillen. Jeff Francoeur has been available; he could be a fit for the Tigers. But the New York Mets probably won't trade him, writes Andy Martino of the Daily News.
The loss of Ordonez was a crushing blow to the Tigers, writes Mark Snyder.
It was a costly injury for Ordonez, who now cannot pick up enough plate appearances to make his $15 million option kick in; he needed 540, and he is about 180 short.
2. The Oakland Athletics generally had the Matt Holliday plan in place when they invested $10 million in Ben Sheets: If they contended for the AL West title and Sheets threw well, they would be in position to keep him for the whole year. But if they dropped back, then they could trade Sheets -- and he's drawn offers. Scouts noticed recently that Sheets' velocity was down and that he had started throwing a changeup more and his breaking ball less. Now, that all makes sense, with Sheets being placed on the disabled list because of elbow trouble. He will be examined on Tuesday, but swelling has the Athletics very concerned. He could be out for the rest of the year, writes Susan Slusser.
3. The Milwaukee Brewers have gotten seemingly good news about Corey Hart, who is drawing a lot of interest from other teams. Hart hurt his hand banging into a wall the other day, and the Brewers say his injury is a day-to-day thing and not serious. Rival teams have questions, though. "If they're going to get anything in a trade, he's got to play before the deadline and show he's healthy," one general manager said.
Hart feels like he got lucky, as Tom Haudricourt writes.
4. David DeJesus was one of the most prominent outfielders available on the trade market, but he is out for the rest of the season.
Here is one player who could be back soon: Justin Morneau, who is recovering from a concussion.
• T.R. Sullivan writes that the Texas Rangers are making a push for Jorge Cantu, which makes sense because the Rangers have waited and waited for Chris Davis to produce, and that just hasn't happened at the big league level. Cantu, a proven RBI guy, would hit near the bottom of the Texas lineup and get a lot of RBI chances.
• The Yankees won't feel the need to rush into a deal for Dan Haren, writes John Harper. Totally agree with what John writes here: If the Yankees make a trade for Haren, it will be a deal made completely on their terms. They are indicating to Arizona that they are willing to taking Haren's contract, but they'll give up their Grade-B-plus prospects to get him, and not their Grade-A prospects.
Part of the reason why they won't be nutty-aggressive is that acquiring Haren could complicate their future pursuit of Cliff Lee, writes Joel Sherman. Getting Haren would be a mistake for the Yankees, writes Ken Davidoff.
• The Rays' top pitching prospect, Jeremy Hellickson, may be moved into the bullpen for the stretch drive.
• The pressure of timing adds to the pressure at the trade deadline, writes Larry Stone.
• Ozzie Guillen thinks that the asking prices from some teams are crazy.
• Don Mattingly should get an interview with the Cubs if the Dodgers don't hire him, Phil Rogers writes in this notebook.
• The McCourts need to sell the Dodgers, writes Bill Plaschke.
• Ralph Houk felt lucky to be a Yankee and to be alive, writes old friend Dave Anderson.
• Congrats to the folks who will be honored at the Hall of Fame today -- Andre Dawson, Whitey Herzog, Doug Harvey, Bill Madden and Jon Miller. I tell people this all the time about Miller: If you go back and listen to the call made by Jon on the Jeffrey Maier play in 1996 and remember that he was about 150 yards away from Maier at that moment, then you will hear one of the great announcing moments of all time. He ascertained immediately what Rich Garcia did not.
And today will be better than yesterday.
Injuries to key players like Magglio Ordonez are shaping what appears to be a very busy trade deadline.