Latest buzz before MLB trade deadline
July, 31, 2011
By Buster Olney | ESPN.com
Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesWhere will Heath Bell end up after today's MLB trade deadline?The Indians played at San Francisco on June 26, and as the Cleveland players began to stretch on the field for batting practice, Orlando Cabrera walked away from the pack and went to shake the hand of someone standing next to the cage -- San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy.
This was a day after the first published report tying the Giants in a possible match with the infielder, and just a couple of days after Cabrera had been told by Manny Acta that he wouldn't be a regular player for the Indians anymore.
As Cabrera walked away from Bochy, he glanced over and saw that I had seen his conversation with the San Francisco manager. And Cabrera smiled and winked: He knew there was a fit for him with San Francisco.
Players say out loud that they ignore the trade rumors and they don't pay attention to it, but the truth is that they can't get away from it this time of year. If their names appear in a trade rumor, their family, friends and teammates will alert them.
Few players have taken the field under more unusual circumstances than Ubaldo Jimenez. After weeks of trade speculation, a deal between the Rockies and Indians was at the 1-yard line on Saturday evening -- but not quite finished, contrary to many reports -- and so Jimenez took the mound, as the two teams finished their haggling over the last piece of the deal. And predictably, given the distractions at hand, Jimenez was awful.
The last few hours before the trade deadline today will be very anxious, especially for Ryan Ludwick, who is almost certainly going to be dealt to the Indians for Denard Span -- the object of the Nationals' obsessive search for a center fielder -- and for the small army of right-handed relievers likely to be moved today: Grant Balfour (Arizona?), Heath Bell (Texas remains a possible fit), Rafael Betancourt, Kyle Farnsworth and many others.
General managers had been saying for a few weeks that there have been a lot of trade discussions, and that while there hadn't been many deals, there would be a bunch coming down the line.
• The Indians were not scared off by the warning signs that hovered over Jimenez and scared off other teams -- the diminished velocity and performance, and the effort by Colorado to trade him in spite of his team-friendly contract.
The Yankees had asked the Rockies if they could give Jimenez a physical examination if a trade agreement were reached, and were told no. The Red Sox had similar concerns.
But the Indians are taking the chance, in agreeing to trade Drew Pomeranz and others; once Cleveland agreed to put Pomeranz in the deal, one GM said, it was a worthwhile trade for the Rockies. The Rockies did agree to allow the Indians to give Jimenez a physical later today, although it's not exactly clear how extensive the exam will be. One inning was a bad way to end it for Jimenez with the Rockies, writes Dave Krieger.
One scout tells Paul Hoynes that he can't believe the Rockies traded Jimenez.
From Stephen Oh of Accuscore: Cleveland's chance of making the postseason increased from 17 percent to 23 percent, and the net improvement is 1.1 wins over the rest of the season. This makes sense given how many starts (about 12) Jimenez figures to make the rest of the season.