1:08 p.m. EDT update: MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert reports that the deal is Ziegler for first baseman Brandon Allen and left-hander Jordan Norberto.
The move suggests that the Diamondbacks will be calling up Paul Goldschmidt to take over as their primary first baeman. Allen was filling the role of late and was hitting .172/.351/.483 with three homers and seven RBI in 29 at-bats.
1:05 p.m. EDT update: USATODAY’s Bob Nightengale reports that a deal has been agreed to between the Diamondbacks and A’s, pending a review of Ziegler’s medical records.
Both ESPN’s Buster Olney and FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal are hearing that the Diamondbacks are making a run at Oakland reliever Brad Ziegler. SI.com’s Jon Heyman reports that a deal is likely.
The A’s haven’t ruled out trading any of their veteran relievers, but Ziegler would probably be the second most expensive to acquire, behind only closer Andrew Bailey. Ziegler has a 2.39 ERA in 37 2/3 innings this season, and right-handers have hit just .198 against him.
Ziegler is strictly a matchup guy: with his sidearm delivery, left-handers have torched him for a .398 average. However, he’s yet to give up a homer to either righties or lefties this season. Also, he’s under control through 2014.
Rosenthal says that a Ziegler trade may end up being the only one the A’s make. They also have Rich Harden, Josh Willingham, Coco Crisp, David DeJesus and a bunch of other relievers available, but nothing has gotten done for any of them.
Update: The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser chimes in with the news that the A’s asked about Diamondbacks outfield prospect Collin Cowgill last week. The 25-year-old hit .354/.430/.554 with 13 homers in 395 at-bats for Triple-A Reno this season.
Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:
The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.
The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.
I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.
In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.
The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.
The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.
Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.