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Yanks Trade Jesus for Pitching

And pitching wins championships. It is being reported that the Yanks have dealt Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi for young stud Michael Pineda and Jorge Campos. It's the second time Brian Cashman has agreed to send Montero to Seattle.

You always are more worried about young pitchers getting injured than position players, but then again maybe calling Montero a position player is a misnomer. Not to toot my own horn, but I've never developed an attachment to the young slugger because I always thought this day was coming. It was clear that the Yanks didn't buy their own hype about his catching prospects. He was essentially stuck as a DH since he never would have the chance to take over first base with Teixeira around.

Both clubs do well here. The Mariners get the best hitting prospect in the game. The Yanks get the #2 they've desperately wanted for a while. Heck, Pineda has the stuff to be a number one. Campos and Noesi both rate as B prospects according to John Sickels, with Campos having more upside and Noesi ready to contribute now. Seems like a fair trade to me.

Update: Word is the Yanks also got Kuroda on a one-year deal. Suddenly the pitching staff is a strength!

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Epstein ‘On the Cusp’?

Steve Buckley is reporting this evening that Theo Epstein is "on the cusp" of joining the Cubs, with an announcement possible within 48 hours. John Henry and Larry Lucchino better be asking for the moon.

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Tick Tock

That was fast.

As Alex Speier at WEEI notes, all the starting pitching that was on the market last night disappeared today: Erik Bedard looked bad in his return from the DL, Hiroki Kuroda decided not to waive his no-trade clause for anyone, and the Indians swooped in to acquire Ubaldo Jimenez after the Rockies told the Yankees they could not do a physical before finalizing the trade.

That left Rich Harden (and Jeremy Guthrie and some others, including Bedard), and the Boston Red Sox apparently have him, sending Lars Anderson and a player to be named. It's a good trade for the Red Sox assuming Harden can stay healthy through October because when he's healthy he's a top-line starting pitcher. Anderson, meanwhile, had no role anymore with the Sox once Adrian Gonzalez came on board, but he is just 23, and still has plenty of potential despite a rocky couple of years at AAA; it's a good deal for the A's, too.

With less than 24 hours to the trade deadline, it seems the Sox have addressed their No. 1 concern. I could see them going after a player like Guthrie or using Bedard's poor performance to hold out get him even cheaper than they otherwise would have (if you're going to have one potential ace-quality guy who is chronically injured, might as well have another for backup, right?), but it seems more likely that the Sox have done what they needed to do. Now all eyes are on New York.

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Getting Closer

Hiroki Kuroda? Ubaldo Jimenez? B.J. Upton? Someone else we haven't heard as much about?

The Sox and Yankees are both making inquiries, and they have both been tied to just about every available player under the sun. For some reason, I think there will be a major move today, so if there is, comment about it here.

Until then, feel free to discuss the major events from yesterday: the Blue Jays fleecing the Cardinals for Colby Rasmus and the Giants and Mets making a more traditional prospect-for-rental trade involving Carlos Beltran.

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Trade Fodder

It's coming. The 2011 MLB trade deadline.

The Red Sox are certainly not in need of more offense, on pace for 885 runs and, even more stunningly, a 120 OPS+, which would be the highest team total in the American League since the 1982 Brewers of Yount, Molitor, Cooper, Oglivie and Gorman Thomas. (By comparison, the only teams to come close in the past 15 years are the 1997 [119] and 2001 Mariners [117] and the 2003 Red Sox [118].)

So forgive me if I don't put much stock in rumors that the Sox are interested in Carlos Beltran or even Hunter Pence (who is at least a cheaper, younger, overall more attractive possibility but not necessarily more attractive than simply playing Josh Reddick full time). They could go after pitching, if there were any quality pitching worth having. As Theo Epstein has said, the best move the Sox could make would be adding a healthy Clay Buchholz to the roster. In fact, that isn't quite right. The best move the Sox will make occurs today, when Jon Lester replaces Kyle Weiland in the rotation, and this despite the fact that Boston has been 12-2 since placing Lester on the DL.

No wonder, then, that Fangraphs rates the Red Sox the team in baseball with the least need to make a move at the deadline.

The Yankees aren't much worse off, coming in at No. 23, with strengthening their rotation the team's obvious priority. But, again, is Derek Lowe or Wandy Rodriguez really the savior here?

So have at it, Yanks and Sox fans. What should the teams do to prepare for the playoff run and the playoffs themselves. Who should they be willing to give up to get 'em?

General Yankees The Wire

Trade Days

It's that time of year, and we have the first report of a team making a completely ridiculous reasonable request of the Yankees, who are seeking a starting pitcher:

The Rockies have asked the Yankees for four minor league players – including top pitching prospects Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances – in exchange for 27-year-old right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez,’s Jon Heyman tweeted Sunday. Jimenez is 5-8 with a 4.08 ERA this year, but is a past All-Star, World Series starter and Cy Young candidate.

The other two players asked for are Triple-A catcher Jesus Montero and right-hander Ivan Nova, who is 8-4 with a 4.12 ERA for the Yankees.

To recap, that's Banuelos, Betances, Montero and Nova for Ubaldo Jimenez, who has a 4.21 ERA in his last 37 starts dating to last June.

Get it done, Cashman! 

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Johnny and Manny to Tampa

The Tampa Bay Rays have signed Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez. If we were to list the most important members of the Rivalry of the last 15 years, these guys would rank right up there. Here is a hastily put together top 10:

  1. Derek Jeter
  2. Pedro Martinez
  3. Manny Ramirez
  4. Alex Rodriguez
  5. Mariano Rivera
  6. David Ortiz
  7. Roger Clemens
  8. Johnny Damon
  9. Nomar Garciaparra
  10. Don Zimmer

No complaints there, right? These are/were the guys who gave the rivalry the most heat.

And now two of them are in Tampa. Man, I feel old.

General Red Sox The Wire

Sox Sign Jenks

The Sox apparently found a reliever willing to sign for fewer than three years AND take a demotion in the process: Bobby Jenks.

Jenks was nontendered by the White Sox after posting a league-average ERA in 2010 despite striking out more than 10 batters per nine innings, allowing a lower OPS (.668) than in 2009, blowing just four saves and allowing just two of 16 inherited runners to score. Oh, and he's only 30 next year.

Looks like a good signing from here. With Jenks and Bard in the bullpen, the Sox would either 1. have a potential for dominant 7th-8th-inning relief if Jonathan Papelbon returns somewhat to form, or 2. have a backup plan in case Papelbon pulls a Keith Foulke. 

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Yankees Counterstrike

Or not. But Alden Gonzalez tweets that the Yanks did win the Russell Martin quasi-war.

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Crisis In Boston: Angels Sign Downs

The Angels' gain is Boston's loss, as Scott Downs takes his relief innings to the west coast. Downs was widely considered Boston's number one target this offseason. After adding complementary players Charlie Crawford and Andrew Gonzalez, there was a feeling of optimism in the land of clam chowder and MIT's underrated museum (an elementary school teacher's dream, I tell you!). This will be the year management opens up the pocketbooks! But old habits are hard to break. The frugal owners went with Plan B and called it Plan A. That's maybe a strategy that will work for one offseason. But this bit of deception comes on the heels of the Sox refusing to pony up for Jason Bay last year (what could have been?!) and Francisco Rodriguez before that.

Even though I mainly follow soccer these days (it's called football here in Indonesia. You read and you learn. You're welcome), I think I still have a good grasp of things baseball-wise.

Hey, who's this Clifford guy anyway?

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Is Today the Day?

Both the Yankees and Rangers have presented formal "menus" of offers to Cliff Lee, presumably with varying years and dollar mounts, plus options and incentives. How much more is left to decide? I suspect today will end with the Yanks getting their man.

In other news, the Sox and Yanks have both been after erstwhile Dodger catcher Russell Martin, with the Sox reportedly making an offer yesterday. The Sox also no longer have to worry about giving up a first-round pick for a middle reliever, thanks to signing Carl Crawford. That would seemingly clear the way for a full-fledged pursuit of Scott Downs, a signing of whom would have the dual benefit of keeping him away from New York.

Will we see all these deals done today, or will we have to wait through the weekend? Comment away on all the hot stove action here.

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David Ortiz Suddenly Worth His Salary

Remember when lots of Red Sox fans this offseason were saying that if David Ortiz really thought he was worth more than the one-year, $12.5 million option the Sox held on his contract, then he should go onto the free market and find out whether that's truly the case? 

Carlos Pena, he of the 102 OPS+ and 1.1 WAR in 2010, has signed a one-year $10 million deal with the Chicago Cubs. According to both Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs, Ortiz provided three times the value Pena did last season.

Use this thread to discuss any and all Winter Meetings scuttlebutt.

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Rumor Central

Enough rumors going around to fill a blog, so here's a roundup of the Sox- and Yanks-related ones. Use this thread to post additional rumors or action and to comment on these:

  • The Red Sox may be willing to give up their first-round pick for Scott Downs, but not Grant Balfour. Downs has been awesome since 2007, and he's a lefty, and the Sox were rumored to be trying to acquire him at the trade deadline this year. It makes sense to get him, especially since the Sox will have five high draft picks anyway. The Sox are also interested in Matt Guerrier, Brian Fuentes and Koji Uehara. Epstein made clear yesterday his No. 1 priority for the team going forward is the bullpen.
  • Nevertheless, the Sox have also reportedly expressed interest in Magglio Ordonez as one of those complementary right-handed bats Theo mentioned.
  • The Yankees will offer six, but not seven, years for Cliff Lee — at this point, anyway. But Rosenthal says there's a team that plans to make a seven-year offer to Lee. Would anyone be surprised if it was the Nationals? Buster Olney says nope. What do the Yanks do if they lose out on Lee? Or will they allow that to happen, even if it requires an insane, seven-year deal to a pitcher who will turn 33 near the end of the first year of his contract?
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Let’s Not


Safe to say this is something neither side of the rivalry really wants to see at this point.

The Wire

Cliff Lee ESPN Special Tonight?

I must admit that Lebron's decision last night to choose the path of least resistance and join Wade and Bosh made me think for a second: Is this what it's like to hate the Yankees?

Well, never mind that. The rumor mill is milling and it looks like Cliff Lee could be a Yankee very soon. The M's are asking for Jesus Montero and two other prospects. 

Lee, Sabathia, Hughes: The Big Three! And Pettitte's not too bad either. Call it the Big Four.

General Yankees The Wire

Yanks Sign Chan Ho Park

The Yankees sign Chan Ho Park, who is maybe the greatest Korean-born pitcher in MLB history. The righty hurler sports an exquisitely groomed beard and mustache, which will be further groomed to nothingness. True Yankeedom requires sacrifice. The move means Mitre or Gaudin are likely out.