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Monday, July 7, 2008
Updated: July 9, 12:49 AM ET
More moves out there to be made

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AP Photo/Tony Tribble

Ken Griffey Jr.'s name could come up in trade discussions as the July 31 deadline approaches.

LET'S MAKE A DEAL

By Steve Phillips, ESPN

As usual, a lot of teams need pitching. The Tigers, Marlins, Cubs, Phillies, Dodgers, Yankees and Cardinals are all among a group of teams that need help in the rotation. The Brewers got theirs by going out and getting CC Sabathia. It's going to be a unique market because it seems the most intriguing starting pitchers who will be available are going to be guys who have had some history of health issues.

Greg Maddux is a guy who could move. The Cubs are in the market not just for any starter, they are looking for someone they could slide in between Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster. I'm not really sure Maddux fits. I think they are looking for more of an impact player. Maybe A.J. Burnett could go to the Cubs. The story goes that if the Blue Jays try to move Burnett, he'd exercise the opt-out in his contract at the end of the year, then make a deal with a new club. The first reason is to get out of Toronto. The second is to try to get a couple more years added on to the back of the deal. The Blue Jays supposedly want a shortstop in return. Would the Cubs' Ronny Cedeno satisfy their needs? That is unknown right now.

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Paul Byrd might move from Cleveland in a deal, and there has been talk about Oakland's Rich Harden getting traded. If A's general manager Billy Beane gets his socks knocked off by an offer for Harden, he might consider making a deal. The problem he has is that Harden's health history diminishes his value somewhat. He's a premium guy when he's healthy, but you have to discount a little bit because there is risk when you take him that he might end up getting hurt.

The Phillies have to get a starting pitcher. Eighteen of the Phillies' 48 wins have come from their bullpen. They have the most bullpen wins in baseball. I think they need someone of impact to go with Cole Hamels. Whether they'll go after Harden or Burnett, I'm not sure. Some people like Burnett; some people don't like him at all. He's that guy who shows flashes of brilliance, and other times doesn't get it done. Now, Erik Bedard is a guy who might end up being available, and general manager Pat Gillick is a guy who has some ties to Baltimore, where Bedard used to play. Gillick kind of likes those guys who he's had before or knows better. But Seattle gave up a lot for Bedard, so it's going to take a premium to get him. And the question is do they want another left-hander to go with Hamels?

In the end, Sabathia might be the biggest name to move. Still, I think you could see the Reds move Ken Griffey Jr. or Adam Dunn. Griffey is a tougher deal to make. He has a $16.5 million option. My guess is that in order to accept a trade, because he has the right to veto any deals, he'd demand that somebody pick up that option. I think it would be tough for a team to take on that option.

The Yankees are another team in need of starting pitching. Then you look at their offense and realize they need help there, too. Who could be available?

Mark Teixeira might end up moving if the Braves continue to fall out of it. Now, maybe the Yankees could look at that, depending on the status of Hideki Matsui's knees. They could move Jason Giambi to DH and add Teixeira to first base, especially because there is thought they'd have interest in Teixeira in the offseason anyway.

There is talk that Matt Holliday might become available. He's got one year left on his contract. Scott Boras is the agent. The question is whether or not the Rockies can re-sign him. Right now, Colorado is only 6½ games out despite being 14 games under .500. The Rockies might think they are going to make a run and get back in the division race.

Oakland needs offense, but I don't know if they can afford to go get it. The Mets could use a left fielder if they are not going to count on Moises Alou. Arizona could use an offensive player. The question they'd probably have: Where do they play him? They have young guys at almost every position and they'd need to trade one of the young guys to do it. They need offense desperately, but where does it fit? One option could be moving Mark Reynolds at third. He's got some power, but the strikeouts are killing them.

The Dodgers need offense, and maybe a starting pitcher. They also need a shortstop, but they have a similar problem to the Diamondbacks. Where do they play the young guys? They've got Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Juan Pierre. Plus, Andruw Jones is back. They could add some offense at shortstop or third base. David Eckstein might move. There has been talk about the Orioles having interest, thinking they might be in it. But the Dodgers need to do something at shortstop because I'm not convinced Nomar Garciaparra really is a shortstop anymore.

Tampa Bay could probably use a right-handed hitter in right field and a little more support for its bullpen. There's talk about a move to get Brian Fuentes from Colorado. The Rays have also talked about adding the Pirates' Xavier Nady.

I think Tampa and Boston are both going to compete for Fuentes, but I fully expect both of them to make a deal of some sort at some point. For Tampa, this is the year to go for it. They haven't been in this position -- ever. The Red Sox need help in middle relief. Relief pitching generally comes at a better value than does starting pitching. Other names that might pop up are Washington's Jon Rauch and Pittsburgh's Damaso Marte.

One thing about the Rays … if I'm them, I don't go out and get a star. This is a team of young guys who could become stars down the road. But throwing a star in the mix there could change the entire chemistry and dynamic of the team. Still, you'd like to get some playoff experience on the roster for the stretch run, but not at the risk of disrupting what's been so special about the team this year.

Past Baseball Tonight Clubhouses: July 6 | July 3 | July 2 | July 1 | June 30 | June 29

ALMOST PERFECT

By Mark Simon, ESPN Research

Hiroki Kuroda came within six outs of the first perfect game by a rookie since Charlie Robertson tossed one for the 1922 White Sox. Kuroda helped the Dodgers move into a tie for first place in the National League West with Monday's win against the Braves.

The Dodgers are coming strong at the Diamondbacks, and Kuroda's efforts figure to be a major factor as the two teams head into the All-Star break going in significantly different directions.

Hiroki Kuroda, 2008
First 12 Starts Past 4 Starts
W-L 2-5 3-1
ERA 3.93 1.98
BA against .262 .162
K-BB 37-23 20-5

FORWARD THINKING: TUESDAY

Scott Kazmir • Rays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. ET: After running off six consecutive victories, Scott Kazmir (7-3, 2.63 ERA) is just 1-1 over his past four starts. His ERA has jumped nearly a run from 1.74 during that stretch. The Rays have faced Andy Pettitte (9-6, 4.22 ERA) three times this season and are hitting .362 against him.

Cole Hamels • Cardinals at Phillies, 7:05 p.m. ET: Cole Hamels (9-5, 3.22 ERA) is 4-1 over his past six starts and has struck out 41 hitters against 10 walks during the run. Joel Pineiro (2-4, 4.52 ERA) won't be looking forward to facing Chase Utley or Ryan Howard. Lefties are hitting .298 against Pineiro this season.

CC Sabathia • Rockies at Brewers, 8:05 p.m. ET: CC Sabathia (6-8, 3.83 ERA) makes his Brewers debut. Sabathia has faced the Rockies four times and is 0-1 with a 9.82 ERA. Mark Redman (2-3, 7.05 ERA) has given up 15 hits in 8 2/3 innings since being recalled from the minors.

Complete list of pitching probables for Tuesday's games

BBTN ON THE AIR: TUESDAY

TIME WHO'S ON?
10 p.m. ET
ESPN
Host: Steve Berthiaume
Analysts: John Kruk, Peter Gammons, Eric Young, Buck Showalter

Midnight ET
ESPN
Host: Steve Berthiaume
Analysts: John Kruk, Eric Young, Buck Showalter

BBTN MINUTE: SABATHIA'S BREWER DEBUT

RED SOX HAVE ISSUES

The Boston Red Sox are 14 games over .500 and, while they're four games behind the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East, the Red Sox currently are leading the wild-card race. However, Boston appears to have lost some of its mystique, its swagger. And there are several reasons why:

• When they do win, the Red Sox still struggle. Daisuke Matsuzaka is a perfect example. He's 9-1, but it's the ugliest 9-1 record in baseball. (Matsuzaka pitched well against Minnesota on Monday, tossing 7 1/3 innings of shutout ball in a no-decision.) He's averaging fewer than six innings per start, which has put a tremendous amount of pressure on the bullpen. That leads to the second problem.

• The bridge from the starters to closer Jonathan Papelbon is broken. Hideki Okajima's numbers might look good, but he has struggled with his breaking pitches, leaving them up in the zone. (Okajima did work out of inherited trouble Monday and picked up the win). Boston's young arms of Manny Delcarmen, Craig Hansen and David Aardsma have yet to prove they can be effective and consistent in late-inning situations.

• You can't overlook the injury to David Ortiz and what his absence does to a lineup. The main thing -- other than missing the late-game heroics -- is what it's doing to Manny Ramirez and the pitches he's seeing. With Ortiz and Ramirez in the lineup, pitchers couldn't really afford to pitch around one or the other. But with Ortiz out of the order, pitchers have the option of pitching to (or around) Ramirez. As a result, he's had fewer pitches to hit and has expanded the strike zone. That's put him in a tailspin right now. Hitters use a term called "in between," which can mean several things: in between being aggressive and thinking; in between taking pitches or swinging; in between looking for your pitch or hitting what's thrown. From what I've seen, Ramirez right now is "in between." A good example of that happened Sunday, when he took three straight strikes from Mariano Rivera in the ninth inning against the Yankees. There are so many reasons he wants to get a hit there; you can't just chalk it up to him not trying. As an ex-teammate of his, I'm sensitive to chalking everything up to "Manny being Manny." I can guarantee you he's working hard even though he's in a slump.

Having a homestand will be good for the Red Sox, who are 32-10 at Fenway this season, but they do need to fix some holes. There's a different mindset when a team walks up the tunnel after a win and feels like everything clicked, as opposed to struggling and winning. Manager Terry Francona and GM Theo Epstein know the baseball probabilities are not going to work in their favor if Boston continues to win with inconsistent production.

MONDAY'S NOTEWORTHY PERFORMANCES

GOOD
Francisco RodriguezFrancisco Rodriguez picked up his 35th save of the year, the most before the All-Star break since saves became an official stat in 1969.
BAD
Tony Armas• Relievers Tony Armas, Aaron Heilman and Billy Wagner gave up seven runs as the Mets nearly sacrificed a 10-1 lead in their 10-9 win against the Phillies.
UGLY
Runelvys HernandezRunelvys Hernandez was hammered by the Pirates, giving up 13 hits, 10 runs and four walks in just four innings of a 10-7 loss.

"TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME"

Ballgame It's the 100th anniversary of baseball's most famous tune, and "Baseball Tonight" has asked nine popular musical artists to record a rendition of the song to be used in a battle of the bands. The field has been trimmed to three. Take a listen and vote on your favorite one. The winner will be announced on July 13.

FANTASY: PREVIEW OF TUESDAY'S GAMES

Will Harris examines the pitching matchups in store for the 15 games on Tuesday's schedule.

Fantasy Harris also looks at injuries and details player reports that could help shape the way you put together your roster for Tuesday. Daily Notes

NEWS AND NOTES

Carl CrawfordCarl Crawford stole his 300th base, becoming the ninth player in history to reach that mark before his 27th birthday. The other eight are Rickey Henderson, Ty Cobb, Tim Raines, Vince Coleman, Cesar Cedeno, Clyde Milan, Eddie Collins and Sherry Magee.

David OrtizDavid Ortiz, out since May 31 with a wrist injury, took live batting practice for the first time. Later, he said he felt "good." Ortiz was hitting .252 with 13 homers before suffering the injury.

THIS DATE IN MLB HISTORY (JULY 8)

1941: With a dramatic two-out, three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth by Red Sox outfielder Ted Williams, the AL All-Stars defeated the National League 7-5 at Briggs Stadium in Detroit.

1949: Hank Thompson became the New York Giants' first African-American player. The former Kansas City Monarchs' standout broke into the majors 12 days after Larry Doby's American League debut with the Indians in 1947.

2000: The Yankees swept their crosstown rivals in the first two-ballpark doubleheader since 1903 with identical scores, winning 4-2 in an afternoon tilt at Shea Stadium and 4-2 in an evening contest at Yankee Stadium. It proved to be quite an interesting day in New York, as Mike Piazza was hospitalized after being hit by a pitch from Roger Clemens, Dwight Gooden got his first Shea win since 1994 and a bizarre obstruction call on Mets first baseman Todd Zeile caused the first game to be played under protest.