Plenty to discuss …
- It looks like the New York Yankees are going to be without third baseman Kevin Youkilis for most of the rest of the season, and Mark Teixeira just had to go back on the disabled list after suffering some inflammation in the wrist that kept him out most of the season already. That all comes after the Yankees learned they’d be without Curtis Granderson for another month or so. GM Brian Cashman said the Yankees are always looking for upgrades, but I’d think the latest rash of injuries would push that looking into overdrive. Couple the injuries with the fact that Vernon Wells is quickly reverting to pumpkin status after a hot start (.121/.136/.150 in his last 29 games, with his OPS all the way down to .638), and it’s fair to wonder whether the Yankees are going to want to pull the trigger on a bat – any bat – quickly. Alex Rodriguez could be back at some point, so it’s possible the Yankees will be more focused on an OF/DH type bat like, say … Alfonso Soriano?
- Speaking of Soriano, Bill Ladson hears that the Washington Nationals may need to be players at the Trade Deadline this year to push their best-on-paper roster into the playoffs. And a quality right-handed bat might be the order of the day, and Soriano is going to be available – given his no-trade rights, he can scuttle a deal, but Washington would fall right into his wheelhouse of preferred teams (East Coast, in contention, National League). That said, with Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth, and Denard Span on the roster, the Nationals have three clear starting outfielders when everyone’s healthy. Soriano would be a mighty expensive bench bat/occasional left-fielder. If they’re just looking for a powerful righty to come off of the bench, how about Cody Ransom? He’s slugging .662 with the Cubs …
- The Padres’ hot streak has them emerging as a possible surprise buyer at the deadline, and they could use a starting pitcher. What do you know? The Cubs have a few to spare, and the front office knows the Padres’ system well.
- The Orioles have designated interesting 25-year-old utility player Yamaico Navarro for assignment, and I can’t help but wonder if the Cubs might kick the tires. He originated in the Red Sox’s system, so the front office knows him well. He’s a great plate discipline guy, and can play anywhere – including shortstop. That’s a nice utility player to have on hand.
- Bruce Levine did the chat thing at ESPNChicago, and … (1) Bruce thinks Nate Schierholtz is a keeper, rather than a flip piece (with another year of arbitration left, and with an outfield that could otherwise need three(!) new starters next year, I also think it’s fairly likely that Schierholtz stays … but the Cubs will listen, because he’s got value); (2) young pitching remains the focus in trade for guys like Matt Garza and Scott Feldman; (3) of the guys Bruce projects to be dealt, he thinks Garza, Feldman and Kevin Gregg return the best prospects (assuming the Cubs only deal obvious candidates (i.e., not shocking the world and dealing Jeff Samardzija), I agree on the value, though I’d add Alfonso Soriano in there *if* the Cubs eat a ton of his salary); and (4) Bruce says something he’s said before (and with which I very much agree): Darwin Barney would be far more valuable on a good team with a great offense than he is on the Cubs, where his offensive deficiencies really stick out.
- Steve Adams chatted over at MLBTR, and … (1) Steve thinks it’s a good bet that the Tigers get a “big fish” to fill their closer hole, which suggests Jonathan Papelbon would be the target; (2) the Rangers would need to include more than just Mike Olt in a deal for Matt Garza (and, although his future might not be a third base, I’d question whether drafting Kris Bryant is going to make the Cubs slightly less interested in Olt – who, incidentally, has been striking out in 1/3 of his AAA plate appearances this year as a 24-year-old); (3) Steve guesses a “C” prospect for Kevin Gregg, which probably isn’t too far off, if it’s a high-upside, but flawed, young prospect; and (4) David Price trade rumors are going to be an offseason thing, not a July thing.