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Guest Blogged by J.P. Maxwell
According to the Oakland Athletics team site (now also in the San Francisco Chronicle), the team designated OF Milton Bradley for assignment yesterday. The team now has ten days to either trade or release Bradley. This is a surprising move, considering how well Bradley can play at times and it seemed the A’s worked very hard to acquire him a couple of years ago. Bradley can hit for power and average, runs pretty well, and has played well on defense. He has had some trouble with injuries over his career and some “character” issues in the past as well. To me, those two things had to be major factors for his designation. He is due to make $4 million this year, a little bit more than half of that should be remaining for the rest of this season. A few teams who need help in the outfield are believed to have interest including the Padres, Marlins, Cardinals, and maybe even the Pirates. It is believed that it would not take much talent to acquire Bradley in a trade. If Bradley is not traded after the ten days, the A’s then have to release Bradley and “eat” the remaining money on the contract.
Apparently J.P. and I think a lot alike as I was working on a post about Bradley being linked to the New York Mets (and team officials shooting it down) when he sent this post in. Personally I think Bradley would be a great pickup for whichever team gets him. He’s been very injury prone and has a reputation for being tough to get along with in the dugout but as J.P. mention, I can’t imagine it would take much to get him. However, the interested parties could very well wait it out until the A’s are forced to release him (see the Cardinals persuit of Ohka) in order further minimize their risk.
The San Francisco Giants and Florida Marlins have reportedly swapped relievers. According to the AP, the Marlins are receiving the struggling veteran Armando Benitez in exchange for Randy Messenger. The Giants will also reportedly pay over $4 million of Benitez’s $7 million contract.
While Benitez has the name recognition in this deal, it would appear to be a great one for the Giants. In Messenger, they get a 25 year old reliever with a 2.66 ERA so far this year and rid themselves of a troubled player. Benitez has recently been under fire for criticizing the San Fran offense as well as his hefty 4.67 ERA. The Marlins are presumably hoping Benitez will return to his 2004 form when he saved 47 games while compiling a minuscule 1.29 ERA.
Say what you will about interleague play, but there’s an undeniable buzz in towns like New York and Chicago when cross town rivals duke it out. The Mets sit atop the NL East with the best record in the National League. The New York Yankees are 3 games under .500 and 9.5 games behind their bitter rivals, the Boston Red Sox. So, as the pair prepare to square off, you might think the Mets would be content being the better (and much younger) team. Apparently you’d be wrong. Joe Sherman of the New York Post while discussing the Mets dropped this bombshell that’s sure to keep the Rumor Mill spinning for the next week:
"Still, the Mets hunger for their next ace, which explains their sizable bid on Daisuke Matsuzaka. The Mets are in good budget shape, with Beltran, Reyes and Wright signed reasonably, and the pacts of Tom Glavine and Pedro Martinez due off the books over the next two years.
So don’t be surprised if they push hard to both trade for Dontrelle Willis and sign Carlos Zambrano if he makes it to free agency."
While that’s hardly "inside information", juicy speculation is often times all a good rumor needs to spread like wildfire. When you combine this story with the increased pressure the Mets have been facing to trade Lastings Milledge (Rumor Mill Rumblings subscribers know what I’m talkin about), as well as the fact that the Marlins have reportedly been telling teams "Willis isn’t available… yet" and you suddenly have a pretty plausible scenario. If Florida continues to fall behind the Mets and the Braves (they’re currently 8.5 back) and their stadium financing doesn’t come through, the Fish might just be convinced to deal their ace within the division. And thus… a rumor is born.
The Florida Marlins and Colorado Rockies have agreed to swap troubled pitchers. The Rockies will send Byung-Hyun Kim to the Marlins in exchange for Jorge Julio. The deal certainly won’t be inspiring much hope in either fan base as the two pitchers each have ERAs over 10.00 (Kim at 10.50 and Julio at 12.54). No word yet on whether or not Rockies GM, Dan O’Dowd has been told ERA is like golf, the lower the score the better.
Well sorry about the delay folks. For once the forecasters got it right. We got 10 inches of snow on top of 2 inches of ice (both setting a new record for the ENTIRE month of November). This town does NOT deal with snow well. The word snow comes out of the weatherman’s mouth and there are 10 accidents just on principle alone. Anyway, we’re still basically snowed in but I’m back in the saddle and ready to fire up The Rumor Mill again. What better way to do that than a quick roundup of everything going on to get you ready for the Winter Meetings which I’m sure will give me plenty to write about. Hold on, cause here we go.
- The Chicago White Sox signed a one year deal with Scott Podsednik for $2.9 million. The Sox are still said to be pursuing trades, namely for Chone Figgins, however, so this could just be a sign and trade.
- The New York Mets have reached an agreement with their free agent pitcher Tom Glavine. While Glavine had been considering a return to Atlanta, the Braves were apparently not able to find the funds to make that happen. The Mets on the other hand, apparently had an extra $10.5 million laying around.
- The Cleveland Indians have taken two big strides to bolster their bullpen. The Indians signed the left handed Aaron Fultz from the Phillies and the right handed Roberto Hernandez from the Mets. The Tribe’s ‘pen needed some experience and what better way to do that than sign a 42 year old pitcher?
- The San Francisco Giants have re-signed their second baseman, Ray Durham. Durham had been injury prone throughout his career with the Giants, however, in his contract year last year, Durham managed to stay healthy by focusing on strength and conditioning and it paid off. Durham hit a career best 26 home runs and was rewarded by the Giants with a two year, $14 million deal.
- The Seattle Mariners have signed Jose Guillen to a one year $5.5 million contract.
- The San Francisco Giants have reportedly reached a deal with free agent
outfielder, Dave Roberts. Roberts will apparently be following his
former skipper, Bruce Bochy, to the Giants and will be given a three
year $18 million contract.
- The Giants also re-signed Rich Aurilia to a two year deal.
and now… The Rumors:
- The St. Louis Cardinals are apparently taking another look at free agent pitcher Jason Schmidt. After signing second baseman Adam Kennedy and pitcher Kip Wells at what are, at least for this offseason, considered bargain prices, the defending champs apparently have some extra money to spend.
- The Dodgers and Red Sox apparently met last night to discuss a possible deal involving Manny Ramirez and Brad Penny.
- The Chicago Cubs are still courting Julio Lugo as well as Kenny Lofton and Jason Schmidt.
- Toronto Blue Jays center fielder, Vernon Wells, looks to be poised to cash in big in next year’s free agent market, a fact that could prompt the Jays to trade Wells while his value is high.
- The Seattle Mariners are reportedly shopping first base slugger, Richie Sexson.
- The Pittsburgh Pirates are still looking for a left handed bat and might end up having to trade for one rather than pull someone off the steadily shrinking scrap heap.
- Interest in pitcher Miguel Batista seems to be growing with the Phillies, Cubs, and Cardinals all linked to the pitcher.
- A deal involving the Cubs’ Jacque Jones and the Rockies’ Jason Jennings has reportedly been discussed.
- Oh, and shocking as it may be, interest in Barry Bonds is apparently quite low. I seem to remember saying something like that a while back…
Well, that should catch everyone up on the current events. The Winter Meetings are currently underway and as always I’ll keep you up-to-date on all the Rumors and Rumblings from across baseball.