Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Saturday Post

So now we let this rest for a little while, and turn our attention to Michael Bourn, et al.

Rosenthal, 7:06am
There is "very little momentum" about a deal for Bourn, but anything can happen on deadline day.

Rosenthal, 7:04am:
Braves, Nationals, Indians, Giants have all called the Astros about Bourn.

Saturday, July 30

Dejan Kovacevic, 4:59pm:
"More interested suitors" in Willingham are the Braves and Red Sox

Rosenthal, 4:18pm:
Rosenthal quotes a rival executive who says that the Braves now have six Untouchables, making it harder to get a deal done for Bourn.

Knobler, 3:44pm:
If the Astros don't like the package they are offered, they'll hold on to Bourn until winter.

Ken Davidoff, 3:11pm:
Braves are confident they'll get an outfielder

Olney, 3:01pm:
Atlanta "working hard" on a deal for Bourn

O'Brien, 2:58pm:
Braves trading for Bourn means that Jordan Schafer is probably out of Atlanta's plans.

Rosenthal, 2:53pm:
Braves getting more involved on Bourn

Jerry Crasnick, 2:28pm:
Talks to move Bourn are "picking up steam," and he expects Bourn to move by the deadline.

Olney, 1:58pm:
You may be able to cross the Indians off the Bourn list, as Olney says there's a good chance they work something out for Ludwick.

Mark Bowman, 1:50pm:
Braves have talked to Houston about Bourn, but talks have not passed "preliminary stage."

Stark, 1:49pm:
Lots here, as usual. Braves are pissed, but not compelled to trade for anyone. Bourn, Wandy, Myers, and Michaels are on the block; Yankees more interested in Kuroda than Wandy. "Good luck" getting Lee to waive his no-trade clause.

Bill Ladson, 1:04pm:
The Astros want ML-ready prospects for Michael Bourn, but Washington can't decide if they want to do it.

Rosenthal, 11:31am:
Braves not yet in on Bourn, as they "got in late" on Pence (?). Reds, Nationals, Indians are talking.

Olney, 9:16am:
The Astros might hold on to Bourn. Team official: "You still have to try to win games."

Friday, July 29
Rosenthal, 11:30pm.
Braves are in on Bourn and B.J. Upton

Morosi & Rosenthal, about 11:20pm:
The Nationals, Braves, Indians and Reds are among the clubs with varying levels of interest in Bourn, major-league sources say.

Jerry Crasnick, 10:26pm:
I didn't think Michael Bourn was on #Braves radar, but apparently he is now. Ryan Ludwick more down the list of options.

About 8:20, while everything was starting to go down with Pence...

Shortly after, Olney:
Rival executive: Reds focused on Michael Bourn, who would answer their desire to add a lead-off hitter for 2011 and beyond.

Heyman:
#astros price tag on bourn to #reds said wildly high.

Want to hear a Purpura story?

Here's a piece in Sports Illustrated about a July 2006 deadline that would have gone as follows:

Houston sends Roy Oswalt, Morgan Ensberg, and Adam Everett to Baltimore for Miguel Tejada.

Baltimore sends Oswalt to (a) the Mets for Lastings Milledge and Aaron Heilman, (b) Rangers for John Danks and Thomas Diamond.

So however you feel about Ed Wade, he's not Tim Purpura.

Braves working on damage control

So...Buster Olney tweeted that:

A strong belief in the ATL organization that the package they offered for Pence was markedly better than deal HOU made with Philadelphia.

What else could they possibly say? The last week has been a disaster for the Braves. They've lost two games on the Phillies in their last ten, not only is Jordan Schafer on the DL, but they just lost Nate McLouth to the DL, as well, leaving the Braves to call up 27-year old Jose Constanza, who had a .712 OPS in 86 games for Triple-A Gwinnett.

Add to that, they very badly need a corner outfielder, and were too stingy (allegedly) to pull the trigger on the two best corner outfielders available, losing out on Beltran to the Giants, and Pence to the division rival Phillies - who, on paper, just took care of their one of their few weaknesses.

The obvious response to this, from an Astros' fan's perspective is to say, "OH JEEZ ED WADE DID IT AGAIN TRADING WITH THE PHILLIES WHAT ARE WE THE PHILLIES FARM TEAM JON HEYMAN WAS RIGHT I HATE MYSELF AND ED WADE I'M THROUGH WITH THE ASTROS SCREW THEM WHEN DO THE TEXANS PLAY?

That would be weak-minded, because if you look at what Olney actually tweeted, the feeling that they had the better deal comes from within the organization. About half an hour before that tweet, Olney tweeted from an NL source who said the Braves "would have" included Minor in the deal. But "would have included," and "did include" Minor are two different things. Ed Wade set a Friday deadline, and he abided by it.

I can't help but feel like the Braves are working on some damage control with their fan base. A friend of mine - a Braves fan, texted this:

F***in fu**ers. Fu** them. G*****n phillies. I hope (the Phillies') d***s fall off. I hope Ben Franklin gets up and buries himself in Atlanta. I hope Pence goes 0-230 the rest of the year. F***ing stingy-a** Braves. Who needs four f***ing untouchables? Sh*t stains.

When I replied, "You could still get Bourn," he wrote back:

That would be too good to be true. We'll end up with mediocre-a** Willingham or can't hit for s**t Blo* J*b Upton. If we're lucky, we'll get Carlos Quentin. I'd rather have him over Ludwick.

(Three minutes go by)

Braves will probably get Willingham. Yipp fu***ing skip.

(This morning, after it had all set in)

Now the word is the BRaves are going for Coco Crisp. Talk about sloppy seconds. We deserve it. Braves? Ha! Atlanta Cowards! Afraid to give up two of many prospects for a real shot at October. Pu**ies.

I'm guessing my buddy is fairly representative of Braves fans who are pissed that the team didn't go for it, and by valuing prospects more highly than the Phillies, are waiting to see if they'll get Bourn, or Upton, Crisp, Willingham, or Ludwick.

Point is, the Braves have some work to do - and they're apparently using Buster Olney to do it.

Jarred Cosart says the right things

McTaggart has an interview new Astro Jarred Cosart, who is reporting to Corpus, is predictably excited about joining the hometown team.

“It doesn’t matter what team, but now that I’m with my hometown team it’s unbelievable. And the fact they’re rebuilding and they have a lot of young guys and there’s an opportunity. I want to pitch in the big leagues and I want to win. There Astros are going into that mode and they want to win with younger guys. It shows a lot about the organization’s belief in young guys and giving younger guys a chance, something the Phillies really didn’t need to do.”

What were the Braves thinking?

So the Braves could have prevented the Phillies from loading up on a good right-fielder for the next 2+ years, but ultimately they didn't, and now everyone is handing the Phillies the NL East for the foreseeable future. What in the world were the Braves thinking?

Presumably they weren't willing to trade two of their top pitching prospects - whomever that might be, because most in the media would draw Delgado, Minor, Teheran, and Vizcaino out of a hat and rank them that way.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but you still only need five starting pitchers, right? Let's look at the Braves' rotation:

Derek Lowe - under contract (a big contract) through 2012.
Tim Hudson - under contract through 2012, with a team option for 2013 (and a $1m buyout)
Jair Jurrjens - a 25-year old ace, won't be a free agent until 2014
Tommy Hanson - 24 years old, won't be a free agent until 2016
Brandon Beachy - 24 years old, won't be a free agent until 2016 (or 2017, I can't tell. But it's on down the road).

So Lowe and Hudson are likely gone at the end of 2012, due to free agency, and them being old. Going into 2013, the Braves would have Jurrjens locked up until 2014, and three more years of control of Hanson and Beachy. That's two starting pitchers they'll need for 2013-2014.

Why not give up two of the Big Four? I could understand it if the Braves would have to flip the entire rotation in two years, but they clearly don't. Two starting pitchers is what they'll need...two years from now.

The Braves and Phillies clearly have different organizational philosophies, and that showed in the last 16 hours. Maybe it'll pay-off in the long run for the Braves, but it looks like the Phillies have the edge for the next two years.

Rosenthal has some nice things to say about Zeid

Here's a ringing endorsement:

Two scouts say 3rd player in Pence trade, RHP Josh Zeid, ready for bigs now in 'pen. "I'd kill to get Zeid," one says.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Oooh, maybe Pence had an idea all along...

This is a story from PhillyBurbs.com, where we get a random, telling little tidbit:

Starting pitcher Roy Halladay said on Friday night that Pence and he had a brief conversation at the All-Star Game about possibly joining the Phillies.

"He asked about how I liked it here (in Philly)," Halladay said. "For me, it has been everything that I thought it would be. I think he's going to be excited to come here and play. We talked about some of the players we had with Chase Utley, and the guys he has tried to model himself after. I think he's going to be a real good fit."

Reaction Roundup

Keith Law's summary of the Pence deal (Insider-Only) has a lot of great information, including this quick summary:

I'd call it a reasonable return, but not a great one, given the risk attached to both of those prospects. This deal could easily result in disaster for Houston...if the red flags on these prospects (especially Cosart) prove prophetic.

I do think a player who's more than a rental should return one prospect of a little more certainty than either of these two guys can offer, or that it should have included one more major prospect from Philadelphia.

-
SI's Cliff Corcoran:
At the moment, this looks like a good deal for both sides. The Phillies might have overpaid for Pence, but their potential reward (one if not multiple world championships) is worth the risk...Cosart and Singleton are both a long way from the majors in terms of development, and a lot could go wrong with either one, but getting two top prospects, a potential front-of-the-rotation starter and potential middle-of-the-order bat, for essentially a league-average outfielder is a trade any rebuilding organization needs to make.
-
Anthony Castrovince:
the best advice at this juncture is to read about Cosart's electric stuff and Singleton's projectable power and hope for the best, but, naturally, be patient with the process. The Astros are smart to be acknowledging not only their place in the standings this season, but their realistic contention hopes in 2012. They were right to dangle Pence at a time when his trade value is at its peak and his production is getting them nowhere.
-
Rob Neyer:
the Phillies did not trade -- and the Astros did not trade for -- a truly outstanding, can't-miss prospect. The Phillies traded for a couple of Florida State League players who will probably reach the majors but might not do much more than that. Singleton and Cosart are both too far from the majors to say more than that.
-
FanGraphs:
Ed Wade may have made some questionable moves in the past, but it’s hard to argue that he isn’t currently steering the Astros in the right direction.
-
Hardball Talk:
My opinion is that the Phillies should have been able to get more if they were parting with Jonathan Singleton and Jarred Cosart in the same deal. Those are two of the top 50 prospects in the game. I think it’s a better return than what the Padres got for Adrian Gonzalez from the Red Sox. It’s far, far better than what the Phillies got when they traded Cliff Lee to the Mariners a year and a half ago, and it’s probably more than what they gave up for Roy Halladay. Even the best players don’t generally net the kind of return Pence just did.

Jon Heyman enjoyed himself very much tonight

Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman seemed to enjoy himself very much this evening, as he pulled a James Joyce-ian stream of consciousness tweet-binge. Let's look in, huh?

Heyman:
#astros sold high on pence. yet still didnt get very much

More hilarity, from Heyman:
SAT answer: astros are to phillies what kansas city a's used to be to yankees.

A Re-tweet:
Ed wade has been such a better GM for us since he went to Houston.

On future deals:
Wade: “We’re going to be open-minded on all fronts.'' translation: we'll pay dearly for someone to take wandy off our hands

How this went down

Let's try to piece together just what happened tonight:

Rosenthal, about 7:30pm:
Pence talks are to point where another team will need to trump #Phillies with superior package. #Braves still trying.

Rosenthal, about 8:30pm:
Sources: #Phillies close to acquiring #Astros' Pence. Deal expected to be completed tonight.

Olney, a little after:
Astros right to finish the Pence deal now; his trade value will never be higher than right now,because he's in line to make $25m in '12, '13

Heyman, as Pence found out:
theyre hugging pence in astros dugout now. reception will be even bigger in philly. (They're going to hump his leg?)

Heyman, ever the East guy:
they're just finishing up the paperwork on pence deal. good job by #phillies. charlie manuel can smile.

Rosenthal, 9:58pm:
Source: #Astros wanted two of #Braves' top four pitching prospects, plus another young pitcher Braves regarded highly.

Stark, 10:04pm:
#Astros will choose player to be named later from list of players in low A ball, sources say. PNL won't be a top prospect.

Jon Paul Morosi, 10:46pm:
Wade said he didn’t know #Phillies were the best match for Pence until “about 10 minutes before we finalized the deal.”

Baseball America on the Astros' haul

Here's Baseball America's rundown of the three players acquired by Houston.

Singleton:
Singleton has a pure stroke with strength in his swing and isn't afraid to go deep in counts to go with above-average raw power. He's more of a hitter than masher at this stage, and will have to identify spin to improve at higher levels, especially against lefthanded pitchers (.189/.339/.232, 0 homers).

Cosart:
He has good life on his fastball but needs to improve his fastball command. His curveball is a true power hammer that can be a plus pitch when he commands it, and he has improved his changeup to the point where some scouts consider it superior to his curve.

And even Baseball America has to do some background work on Zeid.

Welcome Wagon: Josh Zeid

The third player already named (with one to be named later - how does "Elroy" sound?) is RHP Josh Zeid. Zeid is huge, 6'5", 210lbs, 24 years old, from New Haven, Connecticut, drafted in the 10th Round of the 2009 draft.

Zeid started things off in the NYPL, throwing 79.2IP in 15 starts for Williamsport, allowing 64H/26ER, 72K:20BB, with one HR allowed. In 2010, he moved up to the South Atlantic League, throwing 107.1IP, 95H/35ER, 111K:27BB (2.93 ERA / 1.14 WHIP). Zeid skipped High-A, and went to Double-A reading, where he's pitched in 21 games - 11 as a starter, but with six games finished - and had a rough go of it. In 63.2IP, he has allowed 63H/40ER, 56K:27BB, for a 5.65 ERA / 1.41 WHIP, and nine homers allowed.

Here's a Q&A Zeid did with Phuture Phillies, and John Sickels had this to say back in March:

Zeid has a 90-94 MPH fastball and a good slider, and he worked on his changeup in the Fall League. He's thrown strikes so far... Phillies fans are aware of this guy, but he's under-the-radar nationally and overshadowed by younger pitchers in the system (Cosart, Colvin, May, etc). His performance last year merits close attention, and he's not some junk-ball trickster, he's got solid stuff.

Kevin Goldstein noted:
Since moving to the bullpen at Double-A Reading in early June, Josh Zeid has gone 16 IP, 10 H, 2 BB, 24 K.

Welcome Wagon: Jarred Cosart

Prospect #2 in the Pence deal is RHP Jarred Cosart. Cosart is 21 years old, 6'3" and 180lbs. Cosart was drafted in the 38th Round of the 2008 Draft, out of Clear Creek High School in League City.

In seven games for the GCL Phillies in 2009, Cosart threw 24.1IP, 12H/6ER, 25K:7BB, with a 2.22 ERA/0.78 WHIP. He spent 2010 with Lakewood, in the South Atlantic League, throwing 71.1IP, 60H/30ER, 77K:16BB, for a 3.79 ERA/1.07 WHIP. This season, in 20 games (19 starts), Cosart has thrown 108IP, 98H/47ER, 79K:43BB, with his K:BB ratio dropping from 4.81 in 2010 to 1.84 in 2011.

FanGraphs wrote of Cosart coming into 2011:
He has the ceiling of a No. 1 starter and his repertoire includes a mid-to-high-90s fastball, curveball and changeup. Cosart has a low-three-quarter arm slot and there is definitely some effort to his delivery. He doesn’t use his lower half as much as I’d like to see; he generates much of his velocity through his arm action.

This is after they mention his injury history: elbow, shoulder, and back.

I like the talk about the SP1, but the Astros are going to have to tread carefully with him.

Given his groundball track record, he could slide over to the corresponding level at Lancaster. I'd prefer to see some shuffling (ideally after the impending Wandy/Myers trade) and see him at Corpus the rest of the season.

Welcome Wagon: Jon Singleton

Let's look at the three players the Astros just acquired, shall we?

Jonathan Singleton

Singleton was a Philadelphia 8th Round pick in the 2009 draft, and was largely considered to be Philly's top prospect (FanGraphs puts him at #2, behind Domonic Brown). He'll be 20 in mid-September, is 6'2", 215lbs, and was Baseball America's 39th-ranked prospect coming into 2011.

In 2009, he played 31 games for the Phillies' GCL team, hitting .290/.395/.440, with 13K:18BB. Playing for Lakewood, in the South Atlantic League, in 104 games he hit .290/.393/.479, with 74K:62BB in 2010. In 2011, he advanced to High-A Clearwater, where he was hitting .282/.386/.411, with 14 doubles and nine homers in 378 plate appearances.

The question is about his defense. Singleton played first in 2009 and 2010, but has split time between left field (30 games) and first base (45 games) in 2011. It could go either way: The Astros could put him back at 1B, since Mills can't trust Brett Wallace to even think about a left-handed pitcher.

Of course, they could just make Singleton a full-time outfielder. With J.D. Martinez' call-up, there's a gap. And if Singleton can hold it down in the outfield, he could start in LF in 2013, when Carlos Lee is mercifully off the team. If the Astros thought too much of J.B. Shuck, he would have come up to Houston instead of Martinez.

I also wonder if he will move to the corresponding level, which would be Lancaster. David Flores has been playing 1B for the JetHawks, and is hitting .325/.385/.577. Kody Hinze was recently called up, and is flat-out killing the ball, hitting .348/.410/.623 for Double-A Corpus Christi, in 19 games.

Of course, they could just make Singleton a full-time outfielder. With J.D. Martinez' call-up, there's a gap. And if Singleton can hold it down in the outfield, he could start in LF in 2013, when Carlos Lee is mercifully off the team. If the Astros thought too much of J.B. Shuck, he would have come up to Houston instead of Martinez.

So here's a guess: If the Astros keep him at 1B, it's unlikely, but possible (as OremLK notes, he's only 19) he could go to OKC, and put pressure on Brett Wallace, effectively ending Koby Clemens' shot at Astros glory. If the Astros move him permanently to OF, he goes to Corpus and takes J.D. Martinez' spot.

UPDATE: He's fared much better at 1B than in the outfield, so let's call him a 1B.

J.D. Martinez called up?

Stephen Goff wielded his mighty Rolodex to learn that J.D. Martinez' contract has been purchased, and he could be in Houston tomorrow.

Fare thee well, Hunter Pence

I feel differently about Hunter Pence than I did about Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman last year. Oswalt and Berkman had somewhat burned their bridges, and their goodwill, with me far before the trade deadline with their perceived complaining, poor body language, and overall fussyness about their very presence.

Hunter Pence was a treat to watch (and I realize this reads like an obituary). He was weird, he had googly eyes, and by all accounts, he would spend so much time in the batting cage that he would almost wear himself out. Who doesn't like a player who works too hard - sort of the antithesis to Lance Berkman's public sentiment?

I'm not too good at remembering specific games. It's shameful, really, how devoted I am to the Astros, but I don't have that game-by-game recall. (Recently I had the chance to go to Philadelphia and hung out with a buddy of mine - huge Phillies fan. I said the only time I had ever been to Citizens Bank Park was Labor Day 2006. Immediately he said, "Astros game. Clemens vs. Hamels, and Clemens had to come out with a groin injury." Of course he was right, but there was no real reason for him to remember that particular game. That's not me.) But I do remember April 27, 2007. The Astros had just lost to the Brewers, and Phil Garner announced post-game that the Astros were calling up Hunter Pence. I was immediately enthralled - it was probably the most excited I had been about the Astros since the World Series.

Over the years, Pence proved himself to Astros fans, quickly becoming a fan favorite, if only because he played hard, and got results at an acceptable rate. For everyone who says that "Pence is a #6 hitter on a good team" should understand what the Astros' franchise has become that Pence should earn such a spot in our hearts.

With players like Carlos Lee, 2010 Berkman, and 2010 Oswalt, Pence shut his mouth and played hard.

But this move had to happen. Because the Astros called him up in April, he got an extra year of arbitration. It's not impossible to think that Pence could earn $25m over the next two years of arbitration. A team like the Astros can't have that. He's simply becoming too expensive, and to be able to have this kind of leverage - a good, young player, with years of team control, in the prime of his career - is a rare opportunity. I know Drayton loves Hunter Pence, probably like a son, maybe like a forbidden lover. But this is about winning for the next ten years, not staring at a guy in right field and thinking, "What a swell player."

To think that Pence is the only marketable player the Astros have is ridiculous, and a sign that maybe the Astros need a better PR staff.

It's amazing the Astros were even able to do this, considering their draft history over the past eight years. This is the flip-side of developing talent - to trade them for more prospects in the event that you simply cannot compete with the hand that you're dealt. It's similar to spending $5 on a scratch-off, winning $10, and then buying more scratch-offs. That's what rebuilding is: constantly trying to hit the jackpot. It might not happen, but you have to try. For the Astros, sentimentality hasn't gotten them anywhere.

Good luck, Hunter Pence. Thank you for being good.

Hunter Pence traded to Philadelphia

So, it finally happened. While I was at dinner. Of course, during my shift. I went to eat dinner with The Wife once the game had started thinking, "Well! Nothing's going to happen during the game." And then it happened.

The Astros have traded Hunter Pence to the Phillies for RHP Jarred Cosart, 1B/OF Johnathan Singleton, P Josh Zeid, and a player to be named later. Apparently the Astros are also paying the Phillies $1m to keep them under the luxury tax threshold. We'll have more on Cosart/Singleton/Zeid later.

Before you get all pissed off about sending money to the Phillies: Shut up. It's not like Jim Crane is going to come around and ask you to throw in, like it's church. It's not your money - what do you care?

Still, I'm upset. We're all upset. It's appropriate to feel the way Sean Pendergast feels, wondering what's happened to the Astros:
How bad are the Astros? They traded their best player who's 28 & still 2 full seasons from free agency..and it's the unquestioned right move.

That's okay. It's a sad day. Likely you think of Hunter Pence as the Last True Astro. A throwback to hope. That would be a largely false emotion - one that's more telling about the Astros than it is about Pence. The Astros were 331-379 in Pence's 2007 starts, and from 2008-yesterday. And they flipped him for Philly's two top prospects. It's sad. But it was necessary.

Perpetual Rumor Post

While it's fun to look back at the end of the year and say, "Hey! We had 8,341 different posts during the last week of July!" That's hell on you. So here's a running list of Pence rumors for your Friday. (Now updated to include all rumors):

McTaggart, 6:57pm:
In a response to Twitter outrage, McTaggart clarifies that "some teams" have been told he's not available. Not all.

Olney, 6:42pm:
Braves still trying to get creative on a deal for Pence.

Rosenthal, 6:40pm:
Astros, Phillies "progressing" toward a deal for Pence.

McTaggart, 6:37pm:
The Astros are telling teams that Clint Barmes is not available.

Rosenthal, 6:25pm:
Braves want an athletic corner outfielder they can control beyond this year. So that leaves...uh...

Rosenthal, 6:24pm:
The Phillies are going to have to choose between Pence and a reliever.

Stark, 6:12pm:
Stark references multiple sources that any deal with the Phillies will be a two-team trade.

Heyman, 5:55pm:
Pence is rumored to be moving "now," Phillies are faves, Reds, Red Sox, Indians still in.

Mark Sheldon, 4:17pm:
The Reds aren't selling, according to GM Walt Jocketty.

Olney, 4:15pm:
The Phillies "have no intention" of making Domonic Brown available in a trade for Pence. Olney makes a specific note of the time, with "as of..."

Phil Rogers, 3:39pm:
And here, out of nowhere, is Rogers saying how scouts have been talking about how hard Carlos Lee has been playing, and "is he looking to be an Indian or a Pirate?"

McTaggart, 3:36pm
A few things here. A deal with the Phillies would likely only involve the Astros. The Braves are still "in the mix" with a handful of unidentified teams. Bourn and Wandy are also drawing "heavy interest." Myers is getting some trade rumor love.

In the Phils House, 3:35pm:
Charlie Manuel just said that Dom Brown may be more relaxed in Triple-A. Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

Knobler, 3:24pm:
Braves CF Nate McLouth has just been put on the DL with a strained oblique. Interesting...

David O'Brien, 3:01pm:
The Braves may be out on Bourn because it would mean they're giving up on Jordan Schafer in CF. There will be more holes to fill this off-season, and they might just go with Quentin because he's cheaper, and will be a free agent sooner.

Zach Levine, 2:58pm:
Pence is in the Astros lineup, hitting 4th. (For now.)

Jeff Passan, 2:55pm:
The Tigers are shopping LHP Andy Oliver (4.64 ERA/1.47 WHIP) on multiple trade fronts.

Olney, 2:53pm:
Reds want players that will help, not just in 2011, but in 2012-13. (That's Bourn, and Pence).

Knobler, 2:46pm:
Braves looking at Ludwick, "holding tight" on their top pitching prospects

Heyman, 2:27pm:
Reds are "going hard" after Bourn.

Jim Bowden, 2:17pm:
Travis Wood has been scratched from his start at Triple-A Louisville tonight.

Matt Gelb, 2:16pm:
Domonic Brown is still in Philly, and batting 2nd tonight.

Heyman, 1:47pm:
Pence is the Phillies' guy. If it takes until Sunday, it takes until Sunday. No "early deadline."

Danny Knobler, 1:41pm:
Phillies are "focused" on Pence - and may not need a third team.

Mark Berman, 1:35pm:
Seven teams in on Pence, not just six - as reported yesterday. A new, unidentified, team showed up today.

Olney, 1:23pm:
We told you! Rival execs think Pence could command $23-25m before his arbitration years are up.

Heyman, 1:17pm:
If the Astros don't want Brown, other teams will. Philly will "figure it out," as they're - and this is creepy - "hot for Hunter."

McTaggart, 1:04pm:
McTaggart confirms Heyman's report that Pence was removed from the lineup, then put back in.

Rosenthal, 12:47pm:
What's taking so long? Astros are also trying to move Bourn, Wandy, Myers.

Sherman, 12:45pm:
Sherman is very clear about his speculation, but the Phillies had a scout at Double-A Trenton yesterday. Wonders if RHP Dellin Betances might be involved somehow.

Sherman, 12:30pm:
Contradiction alert! Now Wade likes Atlanta's prospects more than Philly! Philly also willing to go the three-team route.

Rosenthal, 12:30pm:
Confirms Stark's report about involving a third team in the Pence deal to get prospects the Astros want.

Heyman, 12:23:
Philly will do "whatever it takes" to land Pence.

Jayson Stark, 12:15pm:
Lots here to unpack. Braves offered package they weren't willing to offer for Beltran, got shut down, and have apparently moved on. Astros would spin Dom Brown for more prospects, and so work continues on a three-team deal.

Heyman, 11:39am:
"Word is," Astros don't like the Phillies prospects. (Posturing alert!) "This is becoming a real soap opera."

Rosenthal, 11:32am:
Wade is still trying to drag other teams into the Pence sweepstakes, besides the Phillies.

Bryan Hoch, 11:06am:
The Astros have lowered their asking price on Wandy, and the Yankees have "limited interest" in Brett Myers.

Joel Sherman, 10:47am:
Ed Wade likes Atlanta's deal better than the Phillies, but Atlanta won't include a "key guy," believed to be Mike Minor.

Buster Olney, 10:43am:
Atlanta has "zero enthusiasm" about giving up any of Minor, Vizcaino, Delgado, or Teheran.

Daniel Gotera (via H5AB), 10:40am:
Yankees have made multiple inquiries about Wandy.

FanGraphs, 10:30am:
The package being offered for Pence is too good to pass up - with Marc Hulet calling the deal "similar" to what the Blue Jays got for Halladay.

Jon Heyman, 10:22am:
Pence was told prior to last night's game he'd been traded. But, uh, wasn't. Heyman questions whether the Apparatus actually wants to trade him.

AJC's Jeff Schultz, 10:13am:
Braves catcher David Ross says they need a right-handed bat. Larry Wayne agrees that the Braves should do something.

Tom Singer, 10:00am:
Add the Tigers to the list of teams interested in Pence.

Justice, 9:52am:
If Wade does well over the next 60 hours, Justice is told he could save his job.

Jim Salisbury, 9:47am:
July 29 is the day Ruben Amaro tends to work his magic.

Rosenthal, 9:34am:
The Reds are in on Bourn, as well as Pence, but Pence is the Phillies' to lose.

Heyman, 8:42am:
If the Phillies sub in Dom Brown for Jonathan Singleton, the Astros might take it.

Heyman, 8:10am:
Asking price for Pence remains unreasonable.

Olney, 5:11am:
Huge bidding war going on for Pence.

Jon Paul Morosi, 4:11am:
Morosi thinks the Reds should acquire Michael Bourn.

Here's a scout who doesn't think too much of Hunter Pence

The Philadelphia Daily News' Paul Hagen talked to a scout who doesn't think too much of young Hunter Pence:

Not a fast bat . . . Needs to cheat a lot and therefore strikes out a lot . . . Not a high OPS guy . . . Would not protect [Ryan] Howard in the batting order . . . Not a guy I would like to pay a lot over the next 3 years like you would have to in [arbitration] . . . Not a great defensive player either. Not a premium guy worth giving up premium cheap future-salaried young players . . . I would trade the young guys if it was a guy with an OPS of .950 or above, more athletic with higher upside with a faster bat.

Braves starting to cave?

Via Utley4God, Buster Olney apparently told Mike and Mike this morning that the Braves are willing to discuss their top four pitching prospects for Hunter Pence.

Eddie's Farm: July 28

Oklahoma City (47-59)

Oof. Nashville was up 7-0 before OKC got their first run, and the Sounds cruised to a 13-2 win. Nelson Figueroa is working his way towards being released with a 5IP, 12H/10R (9ER), 3K:3BB performance; Wesley Wright and Mickey Storey both gave up 2H/1ER in 1IP, and Casey Fien allowed 3H/1ER in 2IP.

Anderson Hernandez was 4x5, J.B. Shuck and Tommy Manzella had two hits each. Drew Locke had the lone RBI, with a pinch-hit single. Of the RedHawk's 13 hits - only Robinson Cancel had an extra-base hit, with a double.

Man of the Match: Anderson Hernandez

Corpus (41-62)

Corpus got another six-run inning, immediately after giving up four runs to San Antonio, for a 7-5 win. Ross Seaton's struggles continue with a 3.2IP outing, allowing 8H/5ER, 0K:2BB, 2WP. Arcenio Leon allowed 1H/0ER in 2.1IP, and Chris Hicks, Danny Meszaros, and Jason Stoffel threw hitless IPs in relief.

Jimmy Paredes was 4x4 with a double, 2RBI, and was caught stealing twice. Jimmy Van Ostrand was 3x4 with a double and two solo homers, and J.D. Martinez hit a three-run homer. Jon Gaston was 1x3 with a walk.

Man of the Match: Jimmy Van Ostrand

Lancaster (39-64)

Rough second half of the game as San Jose scored nine runs from the 4th-8th innings for a 10-3 win over Lancaster. Zach Grimmett threw 5.2IP, 10H/7ER, 2K:2BB; Bobby Doran allowed 2H/2ER, 1K:2BB in 0.2IP, and Colton Pitkin gave up 2H/1ER in 1.2IP.

David Flores (HR, RBI), Jose Carlos Thompson, and Andy Simunic (2B, RBI) had two hits each. Austin Wates was 1x3 with a double and two walks, and Adam Bailey was 0x2 with an RBI and three walks. The JetHawks were 1x11 w/RISP - Wates and Bailey were on base a total of six times, and did not score a run.

Man of the Match: Going with Austin Wates.

Lexington (47-56)

Lexington was up 7-1, and withstood a late Rome rally, but ultimately took it 7-5. Luis Cruz threw 6.1IP, 4H/3ER, 9K:0BB; David Martinez gave up 3H/2ER, 2K:2BB in 1IP, Jason Chowning allowed a hit and a walk (no runs) in 0.2IP, and Jorge De Leon threw a perfect 9th.

Ben Heath was 2x4 with an RBI, Emilio King got two doubles and an RBI. Jay Austin was 1x2 with two walks, and Roberto Pena was 1x3 with a two-run homer. Telvin Nash was 1x3 with a walk and a solo homer.

Man of the Match: Emilio King

Tri-City (16-23)

Good God. Tri-City got eight runs in the bottom of the first - four earned off of top prospect Stetson Allie before he recorded an out - on their way to a 9-5 win. Euris Quezada allowed 2H/4R (1ER), 1K:4BB in 1.2IP; Dayan Diaz recorded the win with 2H/1ER, 7K:2BB in 3.2IP; Travis Smink gave up one hit in 2.2IP, and Ebert Rosario walked one, striking out two, in 1IP.

Justin Gominsky (2B), Matt Duffy (2B, 3RBI), and Neiko Johnson (RBI) had two hits each; Kellen Kiilsgaard was 1x3 with a walk and 2RBI; John Hinson had an RBI sac fly and a double.

Man of the Match: Matt Duffy

Greeneville (13-24)

Greeneville scored the final five runs of the game for a 6-3 win over Kingsport. Jamaine Cotton allowed 9H/3ER, 1K:1BB in 5IP; Jeremiah Meiners allowed 3H/0ER, 2K:0BB in 3IP of relief, and Zach Dando got his first professional save with a perfect 9th.

Jordan Scott went 3x4, Chase Davidson was 2x4 with a two-run homer, and Ernesto Genoves hit a lead-off solo shot in the 2nd inning, and added another single. Ariel Ovando drew a walk and got an RBI.

Man of the Match: Chase Davidson

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bedtime Pence update

A couple of quick notes before it's beddy-bye time.

UPDATE: Alright, one more. Jim Bowden sources a scout who says that the Astros' asking price is Cosart, Singleton, and Trevor May.
-
Hunter Pence admitted to Brian McTaggart that tonight could have been his final game in an Astros' uniform:

“What can I say? I’m not in control. I love these guys, I love Houston. That’s all I know.”

Where he ends up is of course all speculation. But Jayson Stark has some ideas.

The Phillies are reportedly still building a package around Jarred Cosart and Jonathan Singleton, but the Astros want two more high-end prospects.

The Braves have a package ready built around "highly regarded" pitching prospects, but none of them that go by the name of Julio Teheran.

Stark also mentions the six teams, but not the "three NL/three AL" teams of earlier. Stark's six teams are the Phillies, Braves, Reds, Pirates, Indians, and Red Sox.

Phillies deal still on the table?

As of 10:29pm Jayson Stark says:

Source: #Phillies "still in" on Pence, talking same names reported Wed (Cosart, Singleton, others).

He also says the Astros are thinking over a Braves offer. There's still three days of this left, friends, so settle in.

Is this a feint from the Braves?

MLB.com's Mark Bowman says that Ryan Ludwick is now at the top of the Braves' wish list.

I know what you're thinking: "But doesn't Ludwick kind of suck?"
Ludwick has hit just .238 with 11 homers and a .675 OPS through his first 99 games with the Padres this year. The 33-year-old outfielder will be a free agent at the end of the season, and the Braves could acquire him now without having to part ways with the kind of prospects needed to land Quentin or Hunter Pence from the Astros.

Could be a feint, could be posturing. But it's something we - collectively - felt you should know.

Evening Pence update

Three separate updates from Jon Paul Morosi to fill you in on:

5:41pm:
Source tells FOXSports.com it is now more likely than not that Hunter Pence will be dealt by Sunday.

5:44pm:
Sources say #Phillies and #Braves are on Pence, #Indians still involved. Chances of deal better than 50/50

6:04pm:
#Rangers aren't seriously pursuing Pence -- at the moment -- source says.

What a dramatic turn of events! Whoever could have seen that coming? Seriously, you've got half the MLB reporters out there saying the Astros won't deal Pence, and half saying they will, but the ones who said they won't have been awfully quiet over the last 12-24 hours.

And now the Rangers are being - ever so slightly - mentioned? Interesting.

Astros acknowledge they're thinking about moving Pence

Brian McTaggart says that the Astros are talking to six teams, though a deal is not imminent.

Mark Berman lists the six teams as three we already knew: Reds, Braves, Phillies, and three unknown AL teams.

Let's speculate on the AL teams (do you understand? PURE SPECULATION):

We can guess the Red Sox are one of the teams, since J.D. Drew is out with Suck. I would imagine the Indians were part of the conversation, but they got Kosuke Fukudome from the Cubs today. Doesn't mean they're out, but it's probably less likely than it was today. Could it be the Angels, who are two games behind the Rangers, and a poor-hitting Torii Hunter in RF (.697 OPS)? Could it be the Rays - who have a ton of pitching (and a possible GM) available, and will likely be trying to replace B.J. Upton? Who knows?

What I do know is that I'm ready for Monday.

Interest in Pence "exploding!"

Holy Hannah, it's a veritable fireworks display of interest in Hunter Pence, since Carlos Beltran got traded, says Jayson Stark, with the four teams he lists: Phillies, Braves, Reds, Red Sox.

Earlier, Ken Rosenthal said there were as many as eight teams in on Pence.

And the Astros are listening.

My, how quickly opinion snowballs...

On writing about a bad team

TCB/SBN's David Coleman has a fantastic piece on how to write about a bad team (cough, Astros, cough).

Pence talks "heating up"

Maybe we'll look back and think that Ed Wade played his hand perfectly. It's possible, anyway. Danny Knobler says that Pence is heating up around baseball - "not just Braves," he says - with "more and more chance" he gets moved.

Brewers acquire Felipe Lopez

With a Captip to MLBTR, the Brewers have traded money to the Rays for infielder Felipe Lopez.

The Brewers had been linked to Clint Barmes.

It certainly doesn't mean the Brewers are done, though. In fact, he's being sent to Triple-A.

Pence still at the top of Philly's list

Jon Heyman just tweeted that Pence remains at the top of the Phillies' list, with Carlos Quentin in second place, and that right fielder Dom Brown - who would immediately be slotted in Pence's place should this happen - may not be untouchable, anymore.

This makes perfect sense, because with Pence, the Phillies will have a right fielder for the next 2+ years. I don't understand why Brown would have been a sticking point, anyway.

Afternoon update

Perhaps you're as tired of this as we are. But there's still 3.5 days left!

Jayson Stark says:

*The Phillies have had high interest in Ryan Ludwick and Heath Bell.

*On Pence:
Skepticism has never been higher in the industry that the Astros are seriously interested in trading him before the offseason -- if ever.

*The Braves have interest in three bats, Stark says:
Hunter Pence, Willingham and Ludwick. The Braves looked into Upton, but don't seem prepared to pay a big price for him. We also haven't heard much that suggests the Braves are still bullpen shopping.

*Stark also says the Yankees are a possibility for Wandy Rodriguez.

*On a possible deadline-related note, the Astros announced a Michael Bourn/Jimmy Wynn program at the Urban Youth Academy from August 1-3.

Now the Braves like Carlos Quentin

Ken Rosenthal says that the Braves are looking at Carlos Quentin for outfield help (though Quentin's replacement, Dayan Viciedo, has a thumb issue at Triple-A).

As with all of these posts, "Posturing" is the word to keep in mind.

Astros scouts were busy last night

According to Jon Paul Morosi, the Astros had scouts at the Tigers' Single-A affiliate last night.

Here's a link to West Michigan's stats page.

Phillies giving up?

It may be more Trade Deadline posturing, but Jon Heyman says that:

#phillies seem to have all but given up on pence after big offer rejected. #braves last team in on pence.

Ken Rosenthal update: Josh Willingham is on the Braves' radar screen.

Olney doesn't think Pence gets dealt

In Buster Olney's (Insider-only) column today, we read this:

The Yankees are among the five teams focused on Kuroda, along with Boston, Cleveland, Detroit and Texas. The Yankees are keeping an eye on Kuroda. If Hunter Pence is traded -- and I still don't think he will be -- the bet here is it would be to Philadelphia, which would go all-in.

Also in Olney's post: Prediction! Braves get Willingham.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Philly could include Dominic Brown

Jim Salisbury says that the Phillies may be willing to include right-fielder Dom Brown in a package for Hunter Pence:

Pat Gillick:
“A club like ours will probably have to be prepared to overpay a little."

Charlie Manuel:
“We are in a have-to-win position. It would be tough to turn some guys loose and have them play every day. I don’t mind playing them. But there has to be an understanding that if we’re trying to develop players at the major-league level, it’s hard to win the World Series.”

Houser, Bushue leaving the GCL

In separate tweets, 2nd Round pick Adrian Houserannounced he's heading to Greeneville, and Tanner Bushue is heading...somewhere.

Before you freak out...

You may have seen tonight's lineup for the Cardinals. One that has Jason Bourgeois in right field, and Hunter Pence as scarce as common sense in Washington.

But don't worry, says Zach Levine:

Pence said he was told last night he'd be out of the lineup for a day off. He's still very much here.

Phillies looking into Carlos Quentin

Buster Olney says that the Phillies have done background work looking into Carlos Quentin - a "middle-of-the-order bat they covet."

It's all working according to plan

Ken Rosenthal just tweeted, via a Source, that the Braves are back in on Hunter Pence, but are also showing some interest in Ryan Ludwick.

If the Braves win the Wild Card, the Giants would then be their likely 1st Round opponent come October.

Beltran to San Francisco?

Yahoo's Tim Brown says that Beltran is heading to San Francisco, pending logistical issues. Whatever that means.

So Phillies and Braves, it's your move.

UPDATE: Joel Sherman tweeted that the Phillies still think they're in on Beltran, but the Giants think they have him (though he earlier tweeted that the Giants are as close as you can get), and Buster Olney and Ken Davidoff say it's pretty much done.

The Braves refused to include Mike Minor in a Beltran deal, but the Mets are getting three prospects, with those names changing every few minutes. Doesn't matter, anyway. If the Giants will give up three prospects for 2+ months of Beltran, will/should the Astros get four for Pence? What remains to be seen is if Beltran's trade is the benchmark for the next 96 hours.

What does this mean for the Astros? Well, it means that the Phillies - after reportedly offering Cosart, Singleton, and another prospect for Pence (and were rebuffed) - were apparently willing to move on to a deal involving Beltran. So if the Phillies are the only ones willing to go hard after Pence, they still have that chance.

If Beltran is off the board, the only truly premiere outfielder left is Pence.

Maybe there was a deal for Pence, and maybe Houston backed off

Jayson Stark's Daily Update has this nugget about the Phillies, and Pence:

It's now become clear to clubs that have spoken with the Phillies that if that Big Deal is for a bat, almost all their bullets are being aimed at Hunter Pence.

In fact, over the last 24 hours, two different front-office men -- neither of whom works for the Phillies or Astros -- told us they believed the Phillies "had a deal for him" earlier in the week, only to have Houston back off.

When we ran that scenario past one Astros official, he refused to discuss any specific player. What he did say was that his team is still willing to listen to just about anything, and that it hasn't said no to any specific proposal.


It's believed, Stark says, that the deal was centered around Jonathan Singleton, Jared Cosart, and another prospect, but the Astros want four "sure thing" prospects. There you go. /brain melts

Will McCann's injury force the Braves' hand on Pence?

NOTE: This is pure speculation. We're not ones to come up with thoughts and claim that we have a source.

Last night, Brian McCann was injured and sent to the DL with an oblique injury after skying a ball to Marietta trying to throw out some Pirate.

McCann was hitting .306/.375/.514 behind the plate, and had the highest OPS of any Brave in the starting lineup - hitting 18 homers with a 144 OPS+.

But now he's out for the next two weeks, a stretch where the Braves play (after today and tomorrow's Pittsburgh games) entirely within their division (six with Florida, three with Washington, and three with New York).

The Braves were reportedly not in on Pence talks, but now that they've lost McCann's bat, they could replace it with Pence, hitting .308/.355/.468 (131 OPS+) and try to off-set that loss.

We have always maintained that it makes a heck of a lot more sense to go after Pence than Beltran, and maybe the Braves will come to the same conclusion. Come to Houston, Mike Minor...

Astros want "top pitching prospect" for Pence

Jon Heyman says the Astros want a top pitching prospect in return for Hunter Pence, and the Phillies are "trying hard." Heyman adds that most believe Pence stays in Houston.

Heyman has been saying for 12 days now that the Astros aren't interested in trading Pence.

Cross the Blue Jays off the list for Wandy

The Blue Jays have completed a deal with the White Sox to trade Jason Frasor and Zach Stewart for Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen.

The Blue Jays are apparently likely to spin Jackson to the Cardinals for Colby Rasmus.

Rosenthal said this morning that the Blue Jays were among the teams potentially interested in Wandy. So there.

Eddie's Farm: July 26

Oklahoma City (46-58)

OKC had a 9-5 lead (after a 6-run 2nd inning) on Nashville, but Nashville scored two runs in each of the last three innings (8th, 9th, 10th) for an 11-9 win over OKC. The RedHawks used seven pitchers in the game: Brad Hennessey, who allowed 7H/5ER, 4K:1BB in 3.1IP; Wesley Wright and Casey Fien had your only scoreless outings; Gervacio, Arguello, and Fulchino each allowed an earned run, and Ross Wolf took the loss.

Brian Bogusevic was 3x5 with a 2B, BB, SB and RBI. Wladimir Sutil was 3x4 with a double. Koby Clemens was 1x4 with a solo homer, 2RBI, and 2BB. J.B. Shuck didn't get a hit, but drew three walks.

Man of the Match: Brian Bogusevic

Corpus (40-61)

Early returns on Henry Sosa have been great as Corpus whoops San Antonio, 11-1. Henry Sosa - who came over in the Keppinger trade - threw 7IP, allowing 3H/1R (0ER), 9K:1BB; and has yet to allow an earned run in 14IP for Corpus. Danny Meszaros and Jason Stoffel threw hitless/scoreless IPs.

J.D. Martinez was 3x5 with a homer and 2RBI, and Jimmy Paredes was 3x5 with an RBI and his 28th stolen base; Kody Hinze was 2x3 with a walk and a two-run homer. Jonathan Villar (RBI), Jon Gaston (RBI), and Emerson Frostad (2B, BB) had two hits each.

Man of the Match: Henry Sosa

Lancaster (38-63)

Off.

Lexington (46-56)

Savannah scored two runs in the bottom of the 6th, and that was all they needed in a 2-0 win over Lexington. Ruben Alaniz took the hard-luck loss, throwing 6IP, 3H/2ER, 4K:2BB. Brian Streilein threw 2IP, allowing 3H/0ER.

Delino DeShields, Telvin Nash, Mike Kvasnicka, and Ben Orloff had your hits. Nobody walked, but there were 11 strikeouts by Savannah pitchers. Nash (3K), DeShields (2K), and Ben Heath (2K) struck out multiple times.

Man of the Match: Ruben Alaniz.

Tri-City (15-22)

Off.

Greeneville (12-23)

Greeneville scored three runs in the top of the 9th, but fell short at Johnson City, 8-7. Ricardo Batista allowed 7H/6ER, 0K:4BB, 3WP in 2.1IP; Danilo Del Rio allowed 2H/0ER in 3.2IP, and Steve Martin allowed two runs (one earned) in 2IP.

Jordan Scott (2B, RBI, BB), Ruben Sosa (2B, 3RBI), Jesse Wierzbicki (2B), Chase Davidson (2B, 2RBI), and Jose Monzon (2B) had two hits each. Chan-Jong Moon was 0x1 with 3BB and two runs scored.

Man of the Match: Ruben Sosa

GCL Astros (9-22)

The Astros withstood a late charge and beat the Cardinals for an 8-6 win. Michael Feliz threw 2IP, 3H/2ER, 1K:0BB; Evan Grills came in for 4IP of relief and earned the win by giving up just 3H/0ER. Brad Dydalewicz allowed 2H/1ER in 1IP, Justin Gill allowed 2H/3R (2ER), 0K:1BB in 0.2IP, and Zach Hardoin (0.1IP), and Blake Ford (1IP) didn't allow any hits.

Yonathan Mejia went 4x5 with 2RBI and a stolen base; Javaris Reynolds went 3x6 with a stolen base; Chris Epps (3BB, SB) and Kevin Gonzalez (3B, 2RBI) got two hits each.

Man of the Match: Yonathan Mejia.

Now holding on to Pence is "smart"

Here's a reversal. Ken Rosenthal now says that holding on to Pence - at least until the off-season is smart:

Maybe the Astros will do the smart thing and wait on trading Pence until the offseason, when they can involve more suitors. Or maybe Amaro will entice the Astros with outfielder Domonic Brown and other prospects, and bring the Phillies another major prize.

We also learn that the Blue Jays are interested in Wandy Rodriguez, in addition to every other available player.

Rosenthal:
But what if the Jays or another club could persuade the Astros to pay enough of Rodriguez’s salary to make him, say, a $7 million pitcher? The Astros likely would be willing to make such a deal, knowing it would land them better prospects.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Phillies' "most aggressive" on Pence

Finally, people are starting to put it together that 2+ years of Hunter Pence is worth more than 2+ months of Carlos Beltran. Ken Rosenthal says that the Phillies have been the "most aggressive" on Pence, while mentioning the Red Sox are interested, but are having a hard time finding a match. The Braves, Rosenthal reports, are "not currently involved."

That Xavier Cedeno/bullpen thing is going to happen from here out

Greg Rajan tweeted (and here) that last night's relief appearance for Xavier Cedeno is pretty much how it's going to be over the last six weeks of the season:

Apparently Xavier Cedeno will be working out of the bullpen now, despite leading the Texas League in strikeouts. It's believed the move was made to keep his innings down after not pitching at all last year. From a winning standpoint, doesn't make sense.

Cedeno did not pitch in 2010, and threw 63.2IP in 2009. Currently he's sitting at 114IP, so from a winning standpoint, no, it doesn't make sense. But Corpus is also 39-61 (though 14-16 in the 2nd half, where they differentiate, and five games back).

Wandy heading towards salary dump status

The New York Post's Joel Sherman tweeted that an AL executive said the Astros were asking for a big return for Wandy, even within the last few weeks.

Now it "will take little at deadline to get rid of most of his contract."

What a difference a year makes. 90 minutes before the trade deadline last year, the Astros received offers on Wandy, but "didn't hear anything they liked." Now they're apparently leaning towards dumping his salary less than six months after signing him to his long-term deal.

FanGraphs looks like Nostradmus when they wrote of Wandy's deal:
The odds are long that the Astros will get anything of real value for their money or years.

It's sad that it has come to this.

Not content with running the franchise into the ground over the past five years, Drayton's happy to do it for the next five

Jayson Stark's new Rumblings & Grumblings column:

One long-time friend of Drayton McLane says he thinks McLane's final act as the Astros' owner will be to convince GM Ed Wade not to trade one of his favorite players, Hunter Pence, on McLane's watch

If this is true - then Ed Wade truly is in a ridiculous position. If Crane is inclined to keep Pence, and Drayton is trying to convince Wade to keep him, but Wade wants to trade him, there's nothing he can do. It's career suicide if he pulls the trigger and trades Pence. He's probably going to get fired, anyway, so why not try to keep both bosses happy?

But if Crane wants to trade Pence, and Drayton is pressuring him to keep him, then Drayton is clearly overstepping his bounds, and it makes me want to punch a wall. For all intents and purposes, McLane is no longer in charge of the Astros, and shouldn't try to influence his General Manager either way. On anything. If Drayton wanted to continue to wield influence, he should have held on to the team.

The fact that Selig has dragged his feet on approving this ownership change until mid-August is like Santa not showing up until January 12.

Do you have faith in The Apparatus?

Simple poll: Do you think the Astros' Front Office can do what's best for the organization - regardless of what you think 'what is best' is?


It seems as though we are all in agreement

SBN Houston/Crawfish Boxes' David Coleman has a good piece on Mills and his upcoming tendency to sit Brett Wallace.

Coleman:
We're just seeing a bad side of Brad Mills. Like Jimy Williams, it appears that Mills can't or won't develop young players. That's the only real explanation for why Wallace would lose playing time at this point.

The more I think about this, the more livid I get. The possibility of going from a 110-loss team with Wallace in the lineup to a 100-loss team without him is not enough to justify sitting him. The Astros should be leaving everyone under the age of 26 in the lineup, regardless of matchups/stamina/ability, etc. Have a question about whether or not Chris Johnson can hit? Give him 600 PAs at 3B, and you'll know for 2012. Same thing with Wallace. Take this "opportunity" to see what you have, and use that information going forward.

Heyman insisting Pence won't be traded

Jon Heyman has some trade deadline notes:

Incoming owner Jim Crane has given word to cut the payroll to $60 million. But word is, Crane himself at one point has suggested keeping Pence. If that's true, it's hard to imagine embattled GM Ed Wade taking the chance to trade him.

The Astros are, however (according to Heyman), trying to trade Myers and Wandy, but as one rival GM noted, "No one will touch Wandy."

Brewers interested in Clint Barmes?

According to Bernie's Crew (update: actually Rumor Central), a Brewers blog affiliated with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Brewers have "kicked the tires" on Clint Barmes.

Barmes is currently hitting .250/.318/.387 (.333/.370/.522 in the last 28 days), and would be an upgrade over Yuniesky Betancourt, who is hitting .252/.272/.371, bolstering their lineup.

Bobby Heck thinks Springer will be a deadline deal

Zach Levine's article prepares you to have to wait until mid-August to hear a deal for George Springer.

Heck:
“My sense is that they’re playing this until the end."

And what about 3rd Round pick Jack Armstrong? He intends to finish out the Cape Cod season:
“He told us that he was committed to pitch for the club for the summer and not just use it as a place to showcase himself because he didn’t want to leave the roster short with the regulations."

David Berner released

Lancaster claims another victim as David Berner has been released. In 33.1IP in Lancaster (and 18.1IP in Corpus), the lefty reliever combined - across both levels - for 51.2IP, 77H/42ER, 28K:22BB, allowing hitters to reach at a .341 clip.

Berner was a 2009 14th Round pick, and broke out in 2010, throwing in 50 games in Lancaster, and allowing just 68H/22ER, 62K:22BB, racking up 12 saves.

Eddie's Farm: July 25

Oklahoma City (46-57)

SWEEP. OKC allows two Memphis runs in the top of the 1st, but then scores the next eight runs of the game for an 8-2 win over Memphis. Sergio Perez allowed 5IP, 7H/2ER, 1K:0BB; Mickey Storey gave up two hits and a walk in 0.1IP, leaving the bases loaded for Doug Arguello, who got out of it, and ultimately just allowed 1H/0ER, 2K:1BB in 1.1IP. Ross Wolf threw 1.1 hitless IP, and Jeff Fulchino closed it out with two Ks in the 9th.

J.B. Shuck (3B, 3RBI, SB) and Collin DeLome (2RBI) had two hits each. Luis Durango and Brian Bogusevic (2B, RBI, 2SB) drew two walks each. Anderson Hernandez was 1x3 with an RBI, BB, and 2SB.

Man of the Match: J.B. Shuck

Corpus (39-61)

Corpus got a six-run 4th inning, and rode it out for a 9-3 win over Frisco. Dallas Keuchel threw 6IP, 7H/3ER, 1K:1BB; Arcenio Leon allowed 1H/0ER, 1K:1BB in 0.2IP; Xavier Cedeno returned for 1.1IP, allowing 1BB, and Henry Villar threw the final 1IP, giving up a hit.

Johnathan Villar was a double short of the cycle, going 3x5 with a triple and a homer and 3RBI. Coincidentally, those were your only extra-base hits. J.D. Martinez (RBI), Jimmy Van Ostrand (2RBI), and T.J. Steele (RBI) had two hits each.

Man of the Match: Johnathan Villar

Lancaster (38-63)

The JetHawks had a 4-3 lead going into the 8th, but gave up a run in each of the 8th and 9th innings for a 5-4 loss to Lake Elsinore. Our Boy Andrew Robinson threw 6IP, 6H/3ER, 5K:4BB; Wes Musick allowed an ER in 1.1IP with Kirk Clark giving up Musick's run, Shane Wolf gave up the go-ahead run, and Bobby Doran continued his easing back into pitching, facing the final two batters, and giving up a hit.

Adam Bailey was 2x5 with a homer, 2RBI, and Grant Hogue was 2x3 with a double, walk, and a stolen base. Jonathan Meyer was 1x3 with a double and two walks. Austin Wates also had a hit and two walks.

Man of the Match: Adam Bailey

Lexington (46-55)

Savannah got three runs in the 6th inning to send them ahead of Lexington for good, 5-4. Mike Foltynewicz threw 5IP, 7H/4ER, 5K:0BB; Jason Chowning allowed all three runs in the 6th (two charged to Foltynewicz), getting the BS/L; Jorge De Leon struck out two of the three batters he faced.

Delino DeShields (2B), Mike Kvasnicka (2B, 3RBI), and Roberto Pena had two hits each. Ben Heath hit his 3rd homer of the season, and Tyler Burnett added a double. Telvin Nash and Emilio King struck out three times each.

Man of the Match: Mike Kvasnicka

Tri-City (15-22)

Staten Island got the go-ahead run in the 8th for a 2-1 win over Tri-City. Juri Perez threw 6IP, 4H/1ER, 8K:0BB; Travis Smink allowed 2H/1ER (getting the loss), and Travis Blankenship gave up the hit that scored Smink's run, in 0.2IP.

John Hinson was 2x3, and Justin Gominsky (BB), Miles Hamblin, Zach Johnson, and Drew Muren had your other hits. Matt Duffy had your lone RBI.

Man of the Match: Juri Perez

Greeneville (12-22)

Johnson City scored all their runs in the first three innings, including a 6-run 3rd, for an 8-2 win over Greeneville. Luis Ordosgoitti allowed 7H/6R (5ER) in 2IP; Zach Dando allowed 3H/2ER, 4K:0BB in 4IP, and Paris Shewey gave up 2H in 2IP.

Jordan Scott, Josh Magee, and Jesse Wierzbicki (3B, RBI, BB) had two hits each. Ariel Ovando was 1x4 with an outfield assist.

Man of the Match: Jesse Wierzbicki

GCL Astros (8-22)

Low-scoring affair in Kissimmee as the GCL Astros fall to the GCL Marlins, 2-1. Tanner Bushue made another rehab start, allowing 4IP, 6H/1ER, 2K:0BB; Adrian Houser came in for long relief, allowing 2H/1ER, 4K:3BB, 2WP in 4.1IP, and Juan Mojica got the final two outs.

The Astros only got three hits: Kelvin Vizcaino (BB), Jose Fernandez, and Yonathan Mejia. Jean Carlos Batista drew a walk and got your lone RBI.

Man of the Match: Tanner Bushue

Monday, July 25, 2011

From the Office of the County Clerk - G102: Astros @ Cardinals

Sigh. Astros lose behind weak starting pitching and weak relief pitching, 10-5 to the Cardinals.

*This loss makes the Astros current streak a four-game losing streak. It's the 9th separate losing streak of 4+ games of the season.

*You have to go all the way back to July 7-10 to find the last four-game road losing streak.

*The loss drops the Astros to 2-7 against the Cardinals. The Astros are 15-30 against the NL Central. Only Baltimore (11-24) has a worse inter-division winning percentage, and have obviously played ten fewer games against the AL East than the Astros have played against the NL Central.

*J.A. Happ had himself another Disaster Start (more runs than IP), throwing 4.2IP, 7H/6ER, 1K:3BB. It's his 6th Disaster Start of the season (20 starts).

*In four July starts, Happ has 15K:17BB in 22.2IP. In five of his last six starts, Happ has been pulled with two outs in the inning.

*After starting his ML career with six straight scoreless appearances, David Carpenter has now allowed runs in his last three starts, sending his ERA upwards to 5.68. In these past three games (2.1IP), he has faced 13 batters, allowed 6H/5ER, with 1K:2BB.

*Aneury Rodriguez threw two perfect innings, and since allowing a run against Boston on July 2 (four appearances) - he has thrown 4.2IP, allowing 1H/0ER, 4K:1BB.

*The offense is something of an indictment on the pitching staff. In 33 games the Astros have scored 5+_runs, and have an overall record of 21-12.

*Carlos Lee swung the big bat, getting an 8th inning grand slam. It's his 2nd 8th inning homer in as many days, and the second time this season he's had homers in back-to-back games.

*Of course the story of that homer is the grand slam, the 16th of his career, and the first since June 9, 2010 (at Colorado). Interestingly enough, Carlos Lee has now only hit two homers off of P.J. Walters - both of them grand slams, the first coming on July 21, 2009.

*Jose Altuve was 3x4 with two doubles on the night - the first extra-base hits of his young ML career. It's as many doubles as Brett Wallace - who now sometimes doesn't play - has had since July 4.

*Jason Bourgeois was 2x4 for the other multi-hit game - and his OPS is now .803.

*Hunter Pence was 1x3 with a walk, the first time he has drawn walks in back-to-back games since May 11/13 (Cincinnati and New York).

*Man of the Match: Jose Altuve

*Goat of the Game: J.A. Happ. The Astros are 4-16 in Happ's starts this season.

I read this getting my blood pressure checked at Walgreen's, and officially had a stroke

Zach Levine brings the tough news:

Sounds like Brett Wallace's playing time is going down for a while. Mills will try to get him going w/favorable matchups.

This...I...can't.

Braves still thinking about Pence

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's David O'Brien is tweeting:

#Braves have not ruled out making offer for Hunter Pence, contrary to some reports.

Nobody has any idea what they're doing on Crawford Street

Want to see tonight's lineup?

Bourn
Bourgeois (LF)
Pence
Lee (1B)
Johnson
Barmes
Altuve
Quintero
Happ

This is indefensible. Thirty-five games under .500, and Brett Wallace doesn't get a start. You're probably thinking - well, St. Louis must be throwing a left-handed pitcher. If you're thinking that, you've been Millswashed into thinking that Wallace simply can't start against LHP.

BUT YOU WOULD BE WRONG. Because the Cardinals are throwing Kyle McClellan, who - at last report - threw baseballs with his right hand. The only reason I can think that would result in me not jumping on Mills' shoulders and biting him on the nose is if Ed Wade told him, "Hey, the Angels will trade Mike Trout for Carlos Lee. They just want to see Lee play 1B one more time." That's it.

Nobody is trading anybody

Pardon me for being too reactionary, but the thought of the Astros not selling at a deadline in which they find themselves in the middle of the worst season (so far) in franchise history is too much for me to bear.

Ken Rosenthal says the Astros have had scouts at the D'amo''ba''s and Braves' Triple-A teams in recent days.

The Braves also reportedly like the idea of having Bourn in center field if potential deals with Beltran and "others" (like Hunter Pence?) fall through. A source called that chance "remote."

/sharpens knife

On the rumor that the Astros won't trade Pence

Now that we've had some time to simmer down a little bit about Jon Heyman's tweet that the Astros don't intend to move Pence, let's process it a little bit.

*It's still six days before the trade deadline. It's entirely possible that this information "leaked" in order to create furor amongst teams.

*It's also entirely possible that the Astros do fully intend on keeping Pence. It's our guess that he'll be making about $13m in arbitration next year. If they keep Bourn and he makes $6-7m (as we also expect) in arbitration, it means that - with a $60m payroll - the Astros' outfield could be making $39m.

*We've had a few emails accusing of being a Pence-hater, which is preposterous. We all love Hunter Pence. He plays the game the Right Way: All-out and unorthodox. What's not to like about Hunter Pence? I, personally, just know that Pence is in the middle of a career year, at 28 years old. The Astros should have traded Wandy and Myers last year (as Jon Heyman points out), and by holding on to them for one extra year made them...not untradeable, but certainly harder to trade.

Hunter Pence can impact not just this pennant race, but potentially two after that before becoming a free agent. I think we can all agree that it is unlikely that the Astros will be contending for the pennant before Pence can enter free agency. So if he can be traded for three solid prospects, and the Astros can clear his paycheck from the books, why would they not do it?

Keeping Pence while at the same time adhering to Jim Crane's payroll expectations simply can't happen. Pence is the only player the Astros could trade without having to pay the receiving team to take him next year.

*A lot can change before the Trade Deadline.

Springer to Independent League team?

Good God. It seems as though 1st Round pick George Springer has checked in with playing for the Long Island Ducks - an Independent League team.

George Springer's dad, George:
“Obviously, whatever discussions are going on with the Astros are going to be kept between us and the Astros, and hopefully we can reach some agreement. We have to prepare for all contingencies if that doesn’t happen. I don’t want anybody to read into it more than that.”

While Ed Wade had no comment - and he never has a comment - George, Sr. put the onus (whatever that is) on the Astros:
“I do think he is prepared, and it’s been told to the Astros, that he’s prepared to start his professional career."

If the Astros screw this up, I don't know what I'll do with myself.

Astros keeping Pence

Jon Heyman tweeted out that the Astros will not be trading Hunter Pence at the deadline, as he is the face of the franchise (more info coming later, links, etc.).

Reaction coming later as well, as we are all currently unavailable for a 2,000 word rant.

Paul Hagen: Phillies need Pence

The Philadelphia Daily News' Paul Hagen says that the Phillies might as well go ahead and get Pence:

The Phillies are hooked, addicted to going to the World Series sellout crowds and the regular-season sellouts that result. Teams don't construct a roster with a $170 million payroll just to make it to the playoffs. For the Phillies, just making the first round is so 2007.

In for a dime, in for a dollar...

...But there's no doubt who Plan A should be: Hunter Pence, of the Astros.

Eddie's Farm: July 24

Oklahoma City (45-57)

Andy Van Hekken is pitching like he wants to play in Houston, and the Astros beat up Memphis, 7-0. AVH threw 7IP, 3H/0ER, 8K:2BB for a well-deserved win; Wesley Wright threw 2IP, allowing 2H/0ER, 2K:0BB.

J.B. Shuck was 3x5 with an RBI, and Luis Durango was 2x5 with a triple and RBI. J.R. Towles had a hit and a walk, and Van Hekken got a hit and two walks.

Man of the Match: Andy Van Hekken

Corpus (38-61)

Rare power outage for Corpus as of late, getting one run on ten hits, yet losing to Frisco 2-1. Erick Abreu threw 6.1IP, 5H/2ER, 8K:0BB, and Chris Hicks got five outs in five batters faced.

The Hooks got ten hits, yet only had five ABs w/RISP. Johnathan Villar (BB, RBI), Jake Goebbert, Chris Wallace, and Brandon Barnes had two hits each. Kody Hinze got an 0-fer for the first time in his last (at least) ten games.

Man of the Match: Erick Abreu

Lancaster (38-62)

Lancaster got three runs in the bottom of the 1st to take a 3-2 lead, but lost to Lake Elsinore, 5-4. The Storm did all their damage off Jake Buchanan, who allowed 7H/5ER, 4K:1BB, 3HR. Shane Wolf, Wander Alvino (3BB), Wes Musick, and Kirk Clark combined for 3IP, 0H/0ER, 3K:3BB of relief.

Austin Wates picked up where he left off in his first game since coming off the DL, going 2x3 with two doubles and an RBI. David Flores was 1x4 with 2RBI, Jonathan Meyer was 1x4 with an RBI.

Man of the Match: Austin Wates

Lexington (46-54)

Savannah doubled up Lexington with a 4-2 win. Alex Sogard allowed 8H/4ER, 4K:0BB in 4.2IP, and Gabe Garcia threw 3.1IP, 3H/0ER, 3K:0BB.

The Legends only got three hits - two from Roberto Pena, and one from Mike Kvasnicka. Tyler Burnett got the lone RBI.

Man of the Match: Gabe Garcia

Tri-City (15-21)

Great game from Nick Tropeano, who got his first professional win - ValleyCats win 2-0. Tropeano threw 6IP, 2H/0ER, 9K:1BB with seven groundouts and one flyout. Mitchell Lambson gave up a hit and two walks in 2IP, and Ryan Cole allowed a hit in 1IP.

The ValleyCats got 11 hits, went 1x11 w/RISP, but still managed to get it done. John Hinson (1st pro HR), Justin Gominsky (2B), Matt Duffy (2B, RBI), and Drew Muren (2B, BB) had two hits each.

Man of the Match: Nick Tropeano

Greeneville (12-21)

Johnson City scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the 8th for a 4-3 win over Greeneville. Chris Lee allowed 5H/3ER, 4K:0BB, HR in 5IP; Jeremiah Meiners took the loss with 2H/1ER, 3K:0BB, WP, HBP in 2.1IP, and Matison Smith closed it out with the final 0.2IP allowing 1H/0ER - but gave up the ER charged to Meiners.

Luis Alvarez was 2x3 with a triple; Jorge Sosa, Garen Wright (2B), and Darwin Rivera had your RBIs.

Man of the Match: Luis Alvarez

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Tranzactionz

Some tranzactionz for you:

Released

July 22: The Astros released Yordany Ramirez

Ramirez game to the Astros' organization in 2008 as a shortstop, but was moved to pitcher in 2010, where he posted a 4.76 ERA/1.94 WHIP for Lexington in 5.2IP. In 2011, between Lexington and Lancaster, he had a 10.41 ERA/2.28 WHIP in 32IP, allowing 45H/37ER, 20K:28BB.

Sent Down

July 23: OKC sent Brandon Barnes to Corpus
July 23: Lexington sent Murilo Gouvea to Tri-City
July 24: Corpus send Kyle Greenwalt to Lancaster

In 71 games for OKC, Barnes hit .197/.294/.402, with 69K:29BB.
In 27 games for Corpus, Greenwalt allowed 90H/58ER in 66.2IP, with 44K:17BB for a 7.83 ERA/1.61 WHIP, allowing 2.0 homers per 9IP.

DL Moves

July 23: Corpus placed Jose Vallejo on DL
July 24: Lancaster activated Austin Wates

From the Office of the County Clerk - G101: Astros @ Cubs

Astros take a 4-3 lead in the top of the 8th, give up the tying run less than ten minutes later, and lose it in the 10th, 5-4.

*So the Astros have lost their 68th game of the season, in their 101st game. Previous years when they lost their 68th game: 2010 - G121; 2009 - G130; 2008 - G148; 2007 - G124; 2006 - G128; 2005 - G145.

*The Astros are 16-32 on the road and 17-36 at home. They're now 2-5 in extra innings.

*The Astros are now 4-5 against the Cubs, so the only teams they are .500 or better against are: Milwaukee and New York (3-3), and Toronto and Washington (2-1).

*Jordan Lyles remains winless, after 10 starts. In his ten starts the Astros have scored 33 runs. Total. He threw 6IP, 9H/3ER, 5K:1BB - with three doubles allowed.

*67 of Lyles' 102 pitches (65.7%) were for strikes, and taking his previous start (the 8.1IP outing against the Nationals), he has thrown 147 of 215 pitches for strikes, for a 68.4% strike rate. Coming into today's game, FanGraphs had Lyles strike rate at 66.7% - highest among all starters. J.A. Happ brings up the rear, at 52.9%.

*Wilton Lopez gave up the tying run in the 8th, for his 5th blown save of the season. It's his second in July, and third since June 26.

*David Carpenter took his first Major League loss after giving up a leadoff triple to Marlon Byrd, striking out Geovany Soto, and intentionally walking the next two batters. He gave up the walkoff single to Jeff Baker. It was Baker's first hit since July 7, a span of 13 PAs between hits.

*This is incredible: The Astros drew seven walks. They've had 7+ walks three times this season, and are 1-2.

*The Astros were 0x8 w/RISP (Pence: 0x3, Lee: 0x2). In the three-game series, the Astros were 3x30 w/RISP, and left 28 men on base.

*The top four in the lineup (Bourn, Barmes, Pence, Lee) went 6x16 with 4K:3BB, 4RBI, 2HR. Five-through-eight in the lineup (Johnson, Wallace, Downs, Quintero) went for a combined 1x16 with 8K:1BB.

*Matt Downs had an especially awful day at the plate, going 0x4 with 4Ks.

*Brett Wallace was 0x3 with a walk (his first since June 22 - and had 20Ks in between walks) but his OPS fell to .745, marking the first time since April 19 that his OPS has been under .750. He hasn't had an extra-base hit since he got a double on July 10 - 29 PAs. He's had three doubles in 55 PAs in July.

*Carlos Lee hit a two-run homer in the 8th to give the Astros the briefest of leads. So how about some homer facts: It was his first homer since June 30, his first road homer since April 23, his first homer in the 8th inning or later since September 12, 2010, and his first go-ahead homer in the 8th inning or later since September 4, 2010 off Aaron Heilman. It was Lee's 36th homer against the Cubs. Next highest on the list are the Royals and Indians - whom Lee has tagged for 19 each.

*From 2003-2008, Lee hit a homer every 20.4 PAs. 2009-2010, he hit a homer every 26.2 PAs. In 2011, he's hitting a homer every 51 PAs.

*Michael Bourn is playing like he's fine with getting traded, going 3x5 on the day. It's his 12th three-hit game, and his 33rd multi-hit game of the season. He had 31 multi-hit games in all of 2008.

*Man of the Match: Gotta give it to Carlos.

*Goat of the Game: Pence gave it to himself, but it's going to Clint Barmes.

Astros, D'Backs getting friendly?

Jon Paul Morosi says that the Astros and Diamondbacks have talked about a trade for Wandy, but nothing is imminent.

Here is FanGraphs' Top 10 Diamondbacks prospects (as of Feb 2011). See anything you like?

Last Boston media/Pence rumor of the morning

Alright, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald agrees that Pence isn't currently on the block - but speculates on what the Astros could get in return, if he was:

With new ownership expected to be on board officially as soon as next month, the bottom-of-the-barrel Astros are not currently shopping Pence, according to a baseball source. If they were, considering that the 28-year-old Pence is still two years away from free agency, he would command a haul closer to the kind the Padres got from the Red Sox for Adrian Gonzalez.

Could the Red Sox give up that package? Red Sox Farm Director Mike Hazen:
"We have plenty of good players to make a deal like that happen, especially with players in the high levels, and there are some interesting guys in the lower levels as well.”

/sighs

Now the Astros are holding on to Pence

Nick Cafardo's Sunday column has a quick note about Hunter Pence:

Checked again with an Astros source and the word again was, “We’re going to hold on to him." All bets might be off in the offseason when there’s new ownership and possibly a new GM in place, but for now the outfielder most perfectly suited for the Red Sox won’t be out there.

So there you have it - for now, at least.

Also, on Brett Myers:
Surprisingly, little activity on him. “We’ve had a couple of bites from National League teams, but not much else,’’ said an Astros official. The Myers market may heat up closer to the deadline, but so far it’s slow for a guy who has pitched in the tough Philly market and could help a team at the back of the rotation or in the bullpen.

Also, Cafardo mentions Red Sox Assistant GM Ben Cherington as a possibility for Houston if Ed Wade gets the pink slip.

Eddie's Farm: July 23

Oklahoma City (44-57)

Down 2-0 going into the bottom of the 6th, OKC blew up for seven runs in the 6th and 7th, on their way to a 7-4 win over Memphis. Nelson Figueroa threw 6IP, 4H/2R (1ER), 5K:4BB; Doug Arguello threw 1IP, 2H/0ER; Casey Fien allowed two unearned runs, and Sam Gervacio closed it out with a perfect 9th inning.

Anderson Hernandez was 3x4, J.B. Shuck was 2x5 with an RBI, Brian Bogusevic was 2x4 with 2RBI, and Oswaldo Navarro was 1x1 with 3RBI.

Man of the Match: Nelson Figueroa

Corpus (38-60)

Corpus scored a run in the 2nd, two in the 3rd - but Frisco answered with double the runs each time - winning 9-5. Ross Seaton allowed 9H/7R (3ER), 2K:2BB in 5.1IP; Blake King threw a scoreless 1.2IP, and Jason Stoffel allowed his first two Hooks runs, with 3H/2ER in 1IP.

Jon Gaston was 2x4 with an RBI, while Jonathan Villar (SB) and Kody Hinze matched each other with a 1x2, 2BB, solo HR each.

Man of the Match: Hinze and Villar

Lancaster (38-61)

A three-run 6th inning propelled Lake Elsinore to a 4-3 win over Lancaster. Robby Donovan threw 6IP, 3H/4ER, 9K:3BB, getting the loss to fall to 2-12; Mike Ness threw the final 3IP, allowing 1H/0ER.

Adam Bailey and Erik Castro were 2x4 with an RBI, Castro's RBI coming on a solo homer. Miguel Arrendell was 1x4 with a walk, and David Flores was 1x2 with 2BB.

Man of the Match: Erik Castro

Lexington (46-53)

Crazy one in Savannah - Lexington was up 6-1, but Savannah scored the final six runs for a 7-6 win over the Legends. Carlos Quevedo gave up 7H/3ER, 2K:1BB in 5.1IP; David Martinez and Brian Streilein each threw 1.2IP, 3H/2ER.

Mike Kvasnicka was 3x5, Jay Austin (BB, RBI), Bryce Lane (HR) had two hits each. Telvin Nash was 1x2 with 3BB.

Man of the Match: Mike Kvasnicka.

Tri-City (14-21)

Staten Island jumped out to an early 5-0 lead, and rode it out for a 6-1 win over the ValleyCats. Murilo Gouvea allowed 6H/5R (3ER), Adam Champion threw 2H/1ER, 0K:2BB, Ebert Rosario allowed two hits and a walk in 2.2IP; Joan Belliard got the final out.

Miles Hamblin and John Hinson each went 2x3 with a walk, Bubby Williams had your lone RBI - the ValleyCats struck out 11 times in the game.

Man of the Match: Miles Hamblin

Greeneville (12-20)

Brutal night for the pitching staff as Bristol jumped all over Greeneville, 11-4. Jamaine Cotton threw 2IP, 4H/1ER; Rodney Quintero allowed 4H/5ER, 2K:1BB, 2HBP, in 1.2IP; Brad Propst allowed just one hit, striking out five in 2.1IP; Mark Jones allowed 4H/5R (4ER), 2K:2BB, 2HR, HBP, WP in 3IP.

Jorge Sosa and Jose Vargas (2 2B, RBI) had two hits each; Jose Monzon was 1x3 with 2RBI and a walk.

Man of the Match: Brad Propst