Sifting through the rumors: Blue Jays – Halladay, Overbay and Bradley

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*The Yankees are expected to inquire about Roy Halladay, and new Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos said trading within the AL East will “never be a stumbling block” for him.
The Red Sox figure to get back into the chase for Halladay is that’s the case. The Phillies still have the young talent to pull off a Halladay acquisition, though they may run into budget issues at some point. Also, FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal believes the Angels could again target Halladay, particularly if they fail to re-sign free agent John Lackey.
It makes all kinds of sense for the Jays to trade Halladay now. They’re big long shots for 2010 anyway, and there may well be more quality starters available at the trade deadline next year than there are in free agency right now. With Tim Hudson out of the mix, there’s a huge drop-off from John Lackey to Randy Wolf, Rich Harden and the rest of the free agent options.
The Yankees’ chances of landing Halladay would likely hinge on their willingness to part with Jesus Montero, who may well be the second biggest offensive talent in the minors behind Atlanta’s Jason Heyward. One of Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes would likely have to be involved as well. Hughes has the greater value of the two at this point, and it’s highly unlikely that the Bombers would part with both he and Montero. The packages that make the most sense are Chamberlain and Montero or Hughes plus outfielder Austin Jackson.
The Red Sox would probably be willing to part with Clay Buchholz if it would allow them to keep both Casey Kelly and Daniel Bard. The Jays, though, would likely insist on acquiring two of the three, particularly since most of the rest of Boston’s intriguing prospects are in the low minors. One exception is outfielder Josh Reddick, who could be positioned as a potential long-term replacement for Alex Rios.
The Jays would want three from the Phillies big four: J.A. Happ, Kyle Drabek, Dominic Brown and Michael Taylor. The Angels have less talent to part with than usual, though the Jays would presumably be very interested in Erick Aybar if he was made available. Mike Napoli, Brandon Wood and right-hander Jordan Walden would also be brought up in talks.
*Lyle Overbay, who was nearly traded back to Arizona for Chris Snyder last week is now a possibility for Seattle after the Mariners were turned down by their own free agent, Russell Branyan.
Perhaps this is nothing more than the Mariners trying to put some heat on Branyan, who is holding out for a two-year deal. Overbay’s name is getting kicked around everywhere else, so if the Mariners could figure that throwing their hat into the ring will cause Branyan to reconsider their offer of one year and an option.
If there’s actually something to the rumor, then outfielder Michael Saunders and infielder Matt Tuiasosopo could be possible returns for Overbay, who will earn $7 million next year and then become a free agent. The idea of going year to year with their first baseman is attractive to Seattle, since prospect Mike Carp isn’t far away. The Blue Jays are open to moving Overbay because they’re interested in installing Adam Lind at first base.
*The Toronto Sun’s Bob Elliott believes the Jays still have some interest in Milton Bradley and repeats the Bradley-Lyle Overbay-Luis Castillo rumor that made the rounds on Monday.
Bradley makes an awful lot of sense for the Jays if the Cubs are willing to pay a chunk of the $21 million he’s owed over the next two years. Bradley is being viewed as a liability because of that salary and maybe he is, but he just led the entire American League in OPS with the Rangers in 2008. With Overbay out of the picture, the Blue Jays would have the option of using him as a full-time DH or rotating him into the outfield when he’s healthy. There’s probably nothing to the three-team proposal involving the Mets, but Bradley is there for the taking if the Jays want him.

Phillies walk off winners thanks to a poor decision by Marcell Ozuna

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The Phillies’ bullpen, which has not been good as of late, gift-wrapped Monday’s game for the Cardinals. Starter Nick Pivetta was brilliant, fanning 13 while allowing two runs in 7 1/3 innings. But things unraveled after he left the game. Victor Arano took over for Edubray Ramos to start the ninth inning with the Phillies leading 4-2, but he allowed a one-out single and a double. After striking out Harrison Bader, Arano appeared to strike out Yairo Munoz for the final out of the game, but the ball trickled through the legs of catcher Andrew Knapp, allowing a run to score and the tying run to move to third base. Lefty Adam Morgan came in to face pinch-hitter Kolten Wong. Wong tied the game up, sneaking a single into center field.

In the 10th inning, Jake Thompson gave up the go-ahead run on a leadoff home run to Tommy Pham. It seemed like it was just going to be another one of those losses that have become increasingly common for the Phillies lately. But the Phillies’ offense didn’t go down quietly, even though it hadn’t put a runner on second base since the start of the second inning when J.P. Crawford doubled. In the bottom half of the 10th, Hoskins blooped a single into shallow left-center to start the inning. Hoskins moved to second base on a ground out from Odubel Herrera. Matt Bowman intentionally walked Carlos Santana, then struck out Jesmuel Valentin. That brought up Aaron Altherr, who replaced Nick Williams after Williams took a baseball to the face off of the right field fence. Bowman fell behind 2-1, then threw a 90 MPH fastball that Altherr lined into left field. Rather than keep the ball in front of him, Marcell Ozuna decided to dive for the ball to make the final out, but he missed. The ball trickled past him, allowing the tying and the game-winning runs to score, giving the Phillies a come-from-behind win.

On the list of people happy to see Ozuna miss that ball are Altherr (of course), Arano, Morgan, and Thompson. But perhaps no one was happier than manager Gape Kapler. The win might help take the heat off of him somewhat after another poor performance from the bullpen. When a team struggles, everyone wants a scapegoat and Kapler is an easy target. He has been all year, undeservingly.

Phillies radio broadcaster and former major league reliever Larry Anderson said after the bullpen meltown, “Not everybody can pitch in the ninth inning. And I know Gabe Kapler thinks they can, but they can’t.” Aside from Ramos and Seranthony Dominguez (who was unavailable after throwing 52 pitches between Saturday and Sunday in Milwaukee), no one in that bullpen has been reliable. The closer, Hector Neris, just got optioned to Triple-A. You work with what you have, and right now, Kapler doesn’t have a whole lot. Thankfully for him, he wasn’t punished with another loss thanks to Ozuna.