Contenders jockeying for position in pursuit of big four trade targets
With one week to go before the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline, the Phillies remain the favorites to land ace
The Phillies and Blue Jays remain engaged in dialogue regarding Halladay, and the defending World Series champions are still viewed by baseball executives as the most logical and likely landing spot for the perennial All-Star. With deep pockets, their deeper reservoir of prospects and a resolve to repeat, the Phillies appear to have maintained the front-running position in the most-watched derby in baseball, with the teams exchanging names and apparently making some progress in recent days, league sources indicate.
The Jays are said to be aiming for a package that includes one of two top young pitchers,
"They're trying hard," one exec said of the Phillies.
The Phillies told the local media and other baseball people they will do what the can to keep Drabek, a dynamic young pitcher with terrific stuff. If the Jays settle for Happ, who's having a terrific rookie season, they surely would insist that the remainder of the package be stronger. But while Drabek is considered the pitcher with the higher upside ("he has a plus fastball and plus breaking ball," one scout said), one Blue Jays-connected person said they could see Toronto doing a deal without Drabek.
Halladay seems more likely than ever to leave Toronto with the revelation Thursday via Ricciardi that Halladay told the Jays he wouldn't be signing an extension beyond 2010, which was the trigger to put him on the trading block. One acquaintance of Halladay said he believes he is "emotionally gone," and sources indicate that Halladay -- who has a full no-trade clause -- sees the Phillies as a favorable option.
The Brewers, Dodgers, Rangers, Giants, Cardinals, Angels, Yankees, Red Sox and Mets are among other teams that have shown interest. The Brewers may be the biggest threat to the Phillies, but probably only if they're willing with shortstop prospect
The Cardinals now appear to be the front-runners for Holliday, who would fit nicely into their cleanup spot, behind
"It looks like it has a good chance to happen with the Cardinals," one league source said.
The potential deal would likely send top hitting prospect
As a young hitting prospect with power, he has excellent value, however. Word was, St. Louis might ask Oakland for cash considerations, especially if Wallace, who received a $1.8 million bonus last year, is in the deal. Halladay has about half his $13.5 million salary to be paid, as well.
The Dodgers, Brewers, Yankees, Phillies and Rays have been identified as possible pursuers of Lee. However, the Indians don't want to trade him unless they can receive in return enough young pitching talent back to give them hope in 2010. No sense giving up on next year, too.
The Rays aren't necessarily unhappy with their rotation, but Foxsports.com reported they were nonetheless looking at Lee, whose reasonable $9 million club option raises his value but also gives the Indians more reason to hold onto him.
One competing executive, speaking of Lee and Martinez, said he believed the Indians would only part with either player "if they felt compelled to ... it would have to be a bell-ringing situation."
Former Indians ace
The Indians are believed to be seeking top young pitchers like
The Red Sox have been pursuing Martinez for weeks, leading some to wonder whether a deal can be made. The teams appear to match up well, as Boston has the types of young pitching prospects the Indians covet. The Red Sox retain interest even after acquiring first baseman
Competing teams suggest they don't believe the Red Sox would part with their top young pitching prospect,
The Rays, whose starting catcher
Shapiro, speaking generally about all teams' recent valuations of prospects, said, "There is an understanding of the value of young prospects in roster construction. But it's almost to the point where there's an over-evaluation of these guys. There's almost an over-correction."
• The Mets bowed out of talks with the Jays for Halladay at the mention of top outfield prospect
• The Rays were looking to clear money to set up a big move, and one way to do that would be to find a taker for the very same Kazmir, who is no longer a prospect and is scheduled to make $22 million over the next two seasons. Sources say the Rays were scouting the Angels' minor-league system. AOL Fanhouse first reported that Kazmir could be an Angels target.
• The Mets' investigation of feisty assistant GM
• The Yankees seek pitching, and a starter would make the most sense now that Hughes and
• The Rockies made a nice move to pick up Indians reliever
• Colorado has dangled
• The Nationals should deal veterans
• Nationals executives are expected to travel to California soon to meet with the
• Congrats to the amazing
• Thanks to you (well, some of you), I have moved into third place behind @NickSwisher and @CC_Sabathia in the MLB category of Twitter. You can follow me at