The Astros aren't shopping Oswalt, but did the Dodgers inquire anyway?

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ESPN Los Angeles’ Tony Jackson reports that “a source with knowledge of the situation, speaking on condition of anonymity” said that the Astros aren’t looking to trade Roy Oswalt right now.

Of course we always hear this about big trade chits. Remember last year how J.P. Ricciardi was saying that he wasn’t really trying hard to trade Roy Halladay . . . after he basically told everyone that he was going to trade Halladay?  Yeah, it’s kind of like that.  Everyone is always available if the offer is right. If Steve Phillips gets hired by someone tomorrow and offers Ed Wade his team’s top five prospects, Oswalt will be at the airport ten minutes later.

But I’m more interested in this report’s source than its facts. Tony Jackson is a Los Angeles guy and he’s dealing with an anonymous source. I’m not exactly a seasoned reporter, but I have found that you kind of need to know your anonymous source for a bit before they’ll give you anonymous information.  This leads me to believe that Jackson’s source is an L.A. guy he’s known for a bit.  Maybe I’m crazy, but does it not seem likely that his source is a Dodgers guy who knows this information because the Dodgers inquired about Oswalt and were rebuffed?

A Dodgers source would call for anonymity far more than an Astros source with this kind of thing too. The Astros have already implied that they weren’t shopping Oswalt, and it would actually help their position if this line was underscored through more official comment, thereby obviating the need for leaks like this.  The Dodgers — or any other team — however, would hurt themselves if their interest was known, partially because it would stoke expectations in the press and the fan base, and partially because it might stir competition among rivals for Oswalt’s services. In their case, whispers are the only way you’ll hear this kind of thing.

So, yeah, this all just armchair deduction on my part, but I tend to live by the two obs, and this kind of deduction usually works for me. I think the Dodgers have inquired about Oswalt.

Johnny Cueto expected to opt-out of his deal after the season

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Johnny Cueto signed a six-year $130 million deal with the Giants prior to the 2016 season. In his first season he went 18-5 with a 2.79 ERA and 198 strikeouts in 219.2 innings, helping lead the Giants to the playoffs. This season has been rocky for Cueto — he’s got a a 4.42 ERA in 15 starts and has battled blisters — but they’ve been far rockier for the Giants overall, as they sit in last place in the NL West and have the second worst record in baseball.

Many suspect that the Giants will either rebuild or, at the very least, restructure some in response to this nightmare year. If so, they’re likely going to be doing it with Cueto, who Jon Heyman reports is going to opt-out of his deal:

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Johnny Cueto is planning to opt out of his contract at the end of the year, but he would listen to any extension offer . . . Cueto has $84 million to go over four years. It would probably take an injury or major slump for Cueto not to opt out. But it makes sense that he will.

Heyman says the Giants are not inclined to give him an extension, so expect to see Cueto on the free agent market three days after the World Series ends, which is the deadline for him to exercise his opt-out rights.

The Dodgers are concerned about Julio Urias’ shoulder

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Things are going great for the Dodgers lately. They’ve won seven consecutive games and 13 of their last 14. They lead the National League in wins and are in first place in, arguably, the best division in baseball.

But there are a lot of moving parts on a baseball team, and even when some things are going great, other things can go not-so-great. Like this:

Urias has been diagnosed with shoulder inflammation and shut down indefinitely. An MRI last week showed no structural damage, but his shoulder is still bothering him. He has not pitched in the bigs since late May, when he allowed seven runs in less than three innings against the Miami Marlins. He was sent down after that and went 3-0 with a 3.12 ERA, six walks and 17 strikeouts in 17.1 innings pitched in three starts with Oklahoma City before being shelved.