Deadline Day has Come

A semi-live blog of today’s MLB deadline day stuff. The usual mix of confirmed developments and any near-instant reaction I find. Plus some of my own thoughts, as warranted.

11:10- First, a recap of yesterday’s moves, including George Sherrill going to the Dodgers, more Pirates abandoning ship, and a couple of other deals. Also, Freddy Sanchez joined San Francisco on Wednesday (as we hinted at in that day’s blogging) for a potentially steep price, pitching prospect Tim Alderson.

11:21- Ken Rosenthal and FOX reported this morning that a Victor Martinez deal was unlikely, but Jayson Stark previously said Cleveland and Boston could pull off a three-way deal. Clay Buchholz would be Cleveland’s primary return on a trade, while the third team would take Adam LaRoche (and probably some minor leaguers). No real updates on Stark’s report, so we’ll see about this…

11:31- It does seem, however, that the Red Sox are still looking seriously at Adrian Gonzalez, but it’s clear that he is not likely to come without paying a steep price. In the Daily News article linked here, we also find out that the Yankees were interested in lefty-pitcher Jarrod Washburn, but that is not going to happen as Detroit just swooped in and got him.

11:45- The Daily News also has this gallery of not-so-great Yankees and Mets trades or free-agent signings, both at the deadline and otherwise. Ah yes, Jay Buhner for Ken Phelps and Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano. Gotta love it.

11:50- Looks like a couple of prospects headed to the Mariners for Washburn. Here are some details on them. Good move for Detroit, as it gives some protection for the rotation behind Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson in case rookie Rick Porcello wears down under the strains of a late-season pennant drive. Plus, Comerica (national) Park might be an even better place for southpaw hurlers than Safeco Field. A 2.64 ERA could go even lower, and if so, Washburn figures to be in for a nice payday once he reaches free agency this winter.

11:55- Not much else cooking right now, but we have until 4:00 ET, so I’ll be back a little later!

2:15- A little bit has changed since we last spoke. The Brewers traded for Claudio Vargas. Minnesota got Orlando Cabrera for basically a bag of balls. Jeremiah Graves likes it, since Cabrera is better offensively than what they previously had at short (aside from not walking very much), and his glove is solid. The Brewers may just be taking a cautious wade in the “go for it pool.”

2:23- Washburn reaction. Good deal both ways says Blogging About Baseball. Rob Neyer sees it as a wiser move for Seattle, as does Geoff Baker, while Keith Law thinks Washburn could be golden in October. Ken Davidoff thinks the Tigers are going for it this year, if only to keep attendance up despite the economy. Seems a bit cynical, especially since Mike Illitch is an owner who flat out wants to win. John Lowe in the Detroit Free Press worries about whether or not the Tigers will give Washburn enough run support, something he manifestly lacked in Seattle (and Lowe notes that Detroit has let down Edwin Jackson several times this season).

2:30- Fan bloggers mostly praised the Tigers’ decision, apparently including a (reluctant) Yankees fan. I can’t say I’d have given up top prospects for Washburn, which is supposedly what Brian Cashman was told he’d have to do. Of course, Detroit arguably ended up getting him for less, perhaps somewhat by default. This Mariner fan is happy, since the Mariners at least build up some pitching depth for someone they likely wouldn’t have been able to re-sign.

2:44- A Red Sox blogger wishes the Yankees had gotten Washburn (figures), but seems happier about a possible Victor Martinez trade that might be getting closer

2:45- Detroit apparently wants Luke Scott from Baltimore. That definitely would help the offense a little bit.

2:50-’s Jonathan Mayo hints on his Twitter page at whom Boston might deal for V-Mart. No Buchholz apparently, which could make this deal almost as good as the one Philly made for Cliff Lee. In fairness, Cleveland is looking for longer-term potential, which Nick Hagadone and Justin Masterson may have.

3:05- A Victor Martinez trade means it would likely be “we hardly knew ye” for Adam LaRoche in Boston. Just one hour until the deadline, and rumor is Atlanta may be interested in acquiring him (they actually had LaRoche a couple years back and then dealt him to Pittsburgh for closer Mike Gonzalez).

3:23- And what do you know? Adam LaRoche is headed to Atlanta, per Gordon Edes (seen here and here). He should provide some extra offense.

3:28- The Yankees won’t quite let the deadline pass quietly. They’ve acquired Jerry Hairston, Jr. from Cincinnati. As with the Phillies getting Ben Francisco in the Cliff Lee deal, Hairston’s not spectacular but he will give them a right-handed bat off the bench with a little power (eight home runs so far this year). He can also play multiple positions in the field.

3:32- Boston gets Casey Kotchman in return for Adam LaRoche, per NESN. Kotchman was the Braves’ first baseman, but as the report notes, he’d be competing with V-Mart and Kevin Youkilis for playing time. On the other hand, perhaps Martinez would just rotate between catcher and DH.

3:34- Colorado upgrades the bullpen with a deal for Joe Beimel, late of the Nationals.

3:36- The Boston Globe’s trade deadline blog confirms details of the Martinez trade.

3:42- The Marlins will apparently stand pat and either get the wild card or nothing on what they have now.

3:45- Reports that Scott Rolen has been traded to the Reds. He does have to waive his no-trade clause first. He’d be a nice addition going forward, although the Reds are unlikely to win the NL Central this year (they’re just not better than the Cardinals or Cubs). No, I haven’t forgotten about Roy Halladay, but it’s pretty clear that he won’t be dealt today. No indication that the Jays have been in any serious talks over him this afternoon.

4:00- And there it is! The deadline is upon us.

4:04- The dust may not settle for another hour or so as teams and MLB confirm all the paperword/medicals/issue press releases. Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi at FOX say Edwin Encarnacion will go to Toronto in return for Rolen, who is expected to waive his NTC. He’s signed through next year. Reds also deal a couple of others- nobody of particular note- per Yahoo! Sports. Also, in a milder surprise, the Marlins will, in fact, acquire Nick Johnson from Washington for a prospect. This should give Hanley Ramirez some protection in the batting order.

4:06- Yahoo!’s live blog says that the Blue Jays did not ask Roy Halladay to waive his NTC. If true, this confirms that he’s staying in Toronto, at least until the end of the season. Also, the Yankees gave a minor league catcher (but not Jesus Montero) for Hairston, Jr.

4:10- From earlier, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale says San Diego is not trading reliever Heath Bell (unless he clears waivers during August). Minnesota balked at the high price, as other teams did with Adrian Gonzalez.

4:12- River Ave. Blues likes the Hairston trade for the Yanks. Was Watching with a light-hearted nostalgia flashback. Boogie Down says the Yanks were smart not to make trades just for the sake of them today. That said, I do think Boston improved themselves by getting Victor Martinez and Casey Kotchman.


More Baseball Stuff

First and foremost, it doesn’t look like Roy Halladay’s going anywhere. His trade value may have plunged with the Cliff Lee deal concluded. Boston apparently is reluctant to get involved, per MLB Trade Rumors and the Herald.

Pittsburgh and Seattle made a hefty trade. The Mariners get Jack Wilson to give them solid defense at shortstop (and an expensive option on his contract for next year), while the Pirates will see if Jeff Clement can finally live up to his #3 pick hype, plus they get Ronny Cedeno and some pitching prospects. Veteran Pittsburgh reporter Dejan Kovacevic says the Pirates are actually paying much of Wilson and pitcher Ian Snell’s remaining salary for this year. Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron, as well as Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus like what the Pirates are getting, while Rob Neyer says the Mariners’ end of the deal is in three parts– whether or not Snell, a formerly touted prospect, can get back to the Majors and blossom as a pitcher (in a great pitcher’s park), whether or not the Mariners can win the AL West this year or next (a product, at least in part, of Wilson’s defense), and that Pittsburgh is paying some of the freight. Fellow ESPN writer Keith Law again finds little to love in the deal other than the defensive possibilities for Seattle, and Pittsburgh building up its supply of young pitchers.

The Pirates may also trade Freddy Sanchez and/or others today. Stay tuned on that one.

The great Ken Rosenthal has a rundown of other stuff. He thinks George Sherill may go, but Adrian Gonzalez probably won’t. Rosenthal also says Boston is unlikely to get Victor Martinez, but MLB Trade Rumors quotes Buster Olney with sourced info that indicates Martinez is going somewhere.

More later.

Not Halladay, But…

Still a nice deal for the Phillies. They get Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco from Cleveland for four prospects, not bad ones at all, but none of whom is Kyle Drabek or J.A. Happ. All of this is pending medical formalities. You may recall that the Fightin’ Phils absolutely wouldn’t trade both for Roy Halladay (and were only prepared to deal one because it was Roy Halladay). Even if the Indians’ new prospects develop nicely, this is still a coup for Philadelphia. Lee may not like the hitter-friendly nature of Citizens Bank Park, but he should still benefit from switching to the weaker National League (The Good Phight has numbers confirming my point), especially the NL East. Assuming the Phillies pick up his team option for next year, he’d hit the open market in the same year as Halladay, and would have plenty of suitors, but it’s really too early to get into the “will he sign long-term” stuff. Ben Francisco, by the way, might help Philly too, as he gives them some outfield/bench help, and he’s right-handed in a team loaded with lefties. Getting back to the prospects, Swing and a Long Drive notes that three were blocked by established major leaguers, while pitcher Carlos Carrasco had obviously fallen below Drabek and Happ in the pecking order (his stats bear that out, and Philadelphia tried to include him in some Halladay proposals). Bottom line? Philadelphia becomes the favorite to win the National League again, unless the Dodgers get Halladay (which they won’t unless they give up Clayton Kershaw- not happening). Not to say that LA couldn’t win a best-of-seven with the Phillies, but I wouldn’t pick them to do so right now. Not with the Phillies’ loaded starting rotation.

Phillie fans seem happy with this deal, and as I said, they really should be. “All Shall Rejoice,” screams 4DaysRest. Red Pinstripes are Cooler asks a good question about who goes to the bullpen or exits town if Pedro Martinez has anything left and so is added to the rotation at some point in August. Fire Ruben Amaro may have to change its name. This blogger gives Philly a “B+” for the deal (you can also see his grades on other moves leading up to tomorrow’s deadline). Intial reaction from Cleveland’s perspective isn’t favorable to the Tribe’s haul, which is understandable given that they probably expected a price similar to Halladay’s. Yesterday, they traded Ryan Garko to San Francisco for a pitching prospect who has shown flashes of potential. Keith Law thinks he’s probably going to make it as a reliever, assuming he ever does.



So here’s why I didn’t do a big NBA post in the last couple of days: Not that much of any interest actually happened! Or, to be more specific, nothing that really changes the equation as far as next year’s title contenders are concerned. The Lakers signing Ron Artest only makes them better, and he is a net addition over Trevor Ariza despite being older- especially on defense. Oh, and don’t forget the Rockets likely won’t have Yao Ming at all this season. Antonio McDyess could help the Spurs, but if they are going to win the West, it’ll be on the backs of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker just like in previous years. Any other serious contenders? Maybe Portland could get in there if the youngsters blossom, but they still be a year or two away. Shawn Marion is a good addition for Dallas, and they kept Jason Kidd, but is Marcin Gortat really ready to become a starter, especially for over $6 million per year? Oh, and Marion, as noted in the article about his acquisition, had a rough time in Toronto last year.

I guess the East could be a little more interesting, with Detroit letting Rasheed Wallace go to Boston and instead bring in Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon. Will a big chemistry change and infusion of youth get them back to the elite level? Not sure those two guys are really on par with the old Pistons troika, but then Larry Brown and Flip Saunders did do yeoman’s work getting that bunch to play bigger than the sum of their parts in sheer talent. The Raptors are quietly building a good team, which Hedo Turkoglu strengthens further still. Of course, with Chris Bosh a year from free agency, their window to make a title run may not be a big one. But they’re definitely in the conversation along with Cleveland and Boston. Doubt Orlando’s gonna stick; they really did catch some fire in the playoffs and Turkoglu came up huge for them in several games. But they should have Jameer Nelson back at the point, and of course Dwight Howard isn’t even in his prime yet. Plus, they turned Courtney Lee and a couple of other pieces (including Rafer Alston, who was going to lose his point guard job upon Nelson’s return) into Vince Carter.

I mentioned Bosh’s impending free agency. Well, he, LeBron, Dwyane Wade, and others undoubtedly heard about this coming season’s decreased cap and that it could be lower still in 2010. In fact, this piece from Alan Hahn suggests that LeBron could actually see his 2010-2011 salary decrease if he opts out of his contract to become a free agent, instead of taking the option and waiting a year (though he could also take a shorter-term contract and hit the market again before he turns 30). Meanwhile, Frank Isola’s not impressed at how Wade is treating the Heat.

A little less random analysis down the road if warranted and especially closer to the season. Soccer and other stuff later today.


Free Agent Frenzy Part Two

More deals roll in. I won’t be here all afternoon, but once I leave, I’ll come back tonight or tomorrow with some broad reactions to whatever happens today.

2:28- The Islanders sign Dwayne Roloson to a two year contract. He could back-up Rick DiPietro or start if/when the U.S. National team starter has another injury. Also, the Blackhawks sign Tomas Kopecky from Detroit, to go along with Marian Hossa, and Ty Conklin leaves Detroit for St. Louis.

2:47- Reports from TSN and Puck Daddy that Steve Montador has signed with Buffalo. The Boston Globe’s round-up of early signings thinks it’s a case of Sabres coach Lindy Ruff believing Montador can improve his defensive game with better coaching. Having Ryan Miller in goal helps too…

2:55- The Rangers sign Donald Brashear away from Washington, while the Caps add Mike Knuble from the Flyers. Not a Brashear fan although he has developed into more than just a fighter. Apparently, Ranger fans now have to forgive him for crushing Blair Betts last season. Knuble should add some scoring depth to Washington’s forwards, taking the heat off the likes of Alex Ovechkin and Alex Semin. For two years and $2.8 million per, it could be a bargain. Coincidently, Brashear’s contract with the Rangers is virtually identical.

3:27- Nothing big right now, some relatively minor signings, although Scott Niedermayer has re-signed with Anaheim (which was virtually certain after they traded away Chris Pronger), while Philadelphia signs Brian Boucher for what will be his second stint with the Flyers. He’ll compete with Ray Emery for the starting job in goal. Not that this will give Flyer fans too much confidence.

4:03- Jaroslav Spacek signs with Montreal for three years and $11.5 million. Decent offensive defenseman, but might be overpaid at that rate. It probably means Mike Komisarek isn’t coming back.

4:19- Edmonton addresses their goaltending need by signing Nikolai Khabibulin to a four year deal. He’s 36, but was excellent last year (25-8-7, 2.33 GAA), winning away the Blackhawks’ goalie job from Cristobal Huet. Almost certainly an upgrade over Dwayne Roloson.

4:21- Erik Cole re-signs with Carolina for two years.

4:48- Puck Daddy’s live blog posts confirmations that Scott Clemmensen has signed with Florida. He did a great job in New Jersey filling in for the injured Martin Brodeur during the mid-part of last season, and while he will likely again be a back-up, this time to Tomas Vokoun, he apparently will also get a nice pay raise too. Further, Ian Laperriere leaves Colorado to join the Flyers. Both players signed for three year deals.

5:06- Hal Gill is headed to Montreal. Two years, $4.5 million. He did well for Pittsburgh during the playoffs last year, but don’t ask him to be a front-line defenseman. He tends to do a little better in the #2 or 3 pairing. Elliotte Friedman of CBC notes that Gill likes disciplined defensive systems, which could make him a good fit for Jacques Martin.

5:17- More from me later. Gotta run.


Free Agent Frenzy

As TSN hypes NHL free agency every year! We’ll update from time-to-time over the course of the day with stuff culled from various sources. Quick-fire reactions as warranted.

Canucks will take over a $12 million cap hit per year to keep the Sedin twins. Mild surprise there, because it sounded like Toronto was going to bid and possibly go all-in on them. But they keep the playmaking and goal-scoring pair, and for not much more than they would have paid under one of those 10-12 year deals players have gotten lately (these contracts are for 5 years each). At least one Canucks fan/blogger likes it on the grounds that Vancouver is keeping its core intact, and might now even have a window to win the Cup, especially if they add one more top-notch scorer.

On the other hand, they lose Mattias Ohlund, who is headed to Tampa. The ‘Bolts did give him a seven year deal, even though he’s 33 years old, but that keeps the cap hit under $4 million per year. For at least the first 3-4 years of the deal, he should definitely improve their porous blueline from last year, and could be a valuable mentor for this year’s #2 overall pick and fellow Swede Victor Hedman. As Scott Burnside notes in ESPN’s running blog (linked above), this may up the price for Mike Komisarek and Rob Scuderi, because with Jay Bouwmeester choosing to accept Calgary’s offer last night, there aren’t many good defensemen on the market.

1:15- Puck Daddy has a live blog with twitters from various good sources and some comments. Good stuff so far. Also one from TSN. I will mostly post what is officially confirmed. Nonetheless, there are rumors that the Leafs have signed former Ranger Colton Orr. Not a bad move, because as Derek Harmsworth notes, Brian Burke wants them to be a tougher, workmanlike team than they have been in recent years.

1:20- Remember to hit refresh (or just check in every so often) for updated posts. WordPress doesn’t post what I add automatically…

1:27- Another blog notes that Radek Dvorak re-signed with Florida, which the Sun-Sentinel confirms. Scintillating, I know.

1:34- A Flyer fan’s wishlist. Not sure if they’ve really got the cap room to do much though. Chris Pronger might be it for the moment.

1:43- Andy Greene resigns with New Jersey. Probably more of a depth move than anything else; they actually didn’t give him a qualifying offer because of cap considerations, hence he became a free agent.

1:50- TSN confirms the Panthers have re-signed David Booth to a 6 year contract worth over $25 million. Booth set a personal-best with 31 goals last season, and could make next year’s U.S. Olympic team.


That Didn’t Take Long

Scott Gomez in somewhat happier times, Image courtesy of

Scott Gomez in somewhat happier times, Image courtesy of

Even before the NHL’s free agent frenzy, we have a big trade. Scott Gomez is now a Montreal Canadien. He and a couple of minor prospects head up I-87/Autoroute 15, while the New York Rangers get restricted free agent to be Chris Higgins (a native of Smithtown, NY), touted prospect Ryan McDonagh, and journeyman Doug Janik.

Image Courtesy of

Image Courtesy of

Quite a few pundits seem to have thought this deal would set the Rangers up to acquire Dany Heatley, whom the Ottawa Senators have been trying to trade so they wouldn’t have to pay him a $4 million bonus tomorrow. Actually, the relationship between Heatley and the Senators has very much deteriorated in recent months, but the bonus essentially provides a built-in deadline. But right now, there doesn’t seem to be any indication that the Rangers are prepared to pay a steep price in prospects for Heatley, especially if Ottawa won’t take on the big contracts of Michal Rozsival or Wade Redden; trading Gomez rid New York of $4-5 million a year (assuming they sign Higgins, which GM Glen Sather apparently expects to do). Perhaps, they will use the freed up salary cap space for someone else, or to deal with eventual contract extensions for some of their better young players, like Marc Staal or Brandon Dubinsky. There is also the possibility of a salary cap decrease in 2010-2011 depending on what the economy does to ticket and sponsorship sales across the league next year.

Excluding that stuff though, it’s probably a better deal for the Rangers than for the Canadiens, as Adam Gretz writes. Higgins had an injury plagued 2008-09 season, but is a decent two-way player and seems to have the type of lunch-pail attitude head coach John Tortorella wants. McDonagh was a first round pick only a couple of years ago and scouts give him strong marks for his speed and talents as a “defensive defenseman.” Gomez can be a terrific playmaker, should improve Montreal’s offense, and in general, the Canadiens need to clean their house after an ugly finish to last season. Still, they gave up a lot for him, not to mention the amount of money they have to pick up. Might be a sign that Montreal doesn’t expect to recruit any major free agents, and if so, Gomez doesn’t really bring them much closer to Stanley Cup contention on his own, even if he can put up the numbers he once did in New Jersey. Puck Daddy rounds up some of the other blogospher reactions.

Image Courtesy of

Image Courtesy of

And in the last hour or so, The Fourth Period is also reporting that Jay Bouwmeester has signed with Calgary for five years and $33 million. CBC and the Flames have confirmed the deal. The Flames acquired his rights from Florida over the weekend for Jordan Leopold (who is also supposed to become a free agent tomorrow) and a draft pick. This was not a small risk, because Bouwmeester was definitely going to be the most coveted free agent of the summer. Still, he is originally from Edmonton, will be joining a pretty good team led by Jarome Iginla and goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, and he’s probably not leaving more than about $1 million per year on the table. Kudos to the Flames for this one.

Tomorrow could be pretty wild, so hold on tight!