July 2005 - Baseball Wiretap
Cubs Get Matt Lawton
the Chicago Cubs went dealing again with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday, acquiring outfielder Matt Lawton just before the trade deadline. The Cubs sent outfielder Jody Gerut -- whom they obtained in a trade with Cleveland on July 18 -- to the Pirates. "I just hope it works out like it did in '03," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said Sunday. "I think it makes sense for both clubs. I have a good relationship with [Pirates GM] Dave Littlefield and he's a smart guy who had to do it under difficult circumstances financially." In July two years ago, the Cubs worked a trade with the Pirates to acquire Aramis Ramirez and Kenny Lofton and they helped lead Chicago to the National League Championship Series and mere outs from the World Series. The Cubs are just 53-52 after losing for the third time in four games on Sunday to the Arizona Diamondbacks, but are still hopeful of winning the NL wild card. Lawton was 0-for-4 Sunday, including a game-ending strikeout as the Pirates lost in Atlanta. He was batting .273 with 10 homers and 44 RBI for the Pirates and has also played for Twins (1995-01), the Mets (2001) and the Indians (2002-04). His on-base percentage of .382 was especially appealing to the Cubs. Manager Dusty Baker said he didn't know until talking with Lawton if he would bat leadoff, but was glad to have his bat. "Matt's a good ball player and we're doing whatever we can to shore ourselves up. Hopefully he can come over here and rejuvenate our offense," Baker said. Lawton left the Pirates clubhouse in Atlanta still waiting for official confirmation of the deal, but seemed resigned to moving on. "I just love to play baseball," Lawton said. "I'll be going to a contender. You can't ask for more than that. It's the best of both worlds."
Farnsworth Goes To Atlanta
ESPN is reporting that the Detroit Tigers have traded Kyle Farnsworth to the Atlanta Braves.
Marlins Acquire Ron Villone
The Florida Marlins acquired Ron Villone from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for two minor leaguers.
Baker Denies Report That He Wants Dodgers' Job
The Los Angeles Times quoted sources saying that Dusty Baker wants to take over the Dodgers if Jim Tracy doesn't return in 2006. The Times quoted a source saying, "[Baker] would love the Dodgers to come calling and then hope the Cubs would let him go." Baker, 56, played for the Dodgers from 1976-82. He's in the third year of a four-year deal with the Cubs, and in 2003-04, led the team to back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1971-72. The Cubs were 53-50 entering Sunday's game. "I don't know where these things come from," Baker said Sunday about the report. "I've got a year and some change on my contract [with the Cubs]. I've never not honored a contract in my entire life. I don't renegotiate contracts. I've never done that. Only one time have I ever signed before the end of the season, only one time. This is the first time since I was a player that I've had a contract over two years, and most of the times that was at my choice. "I didn't sign here for four years thinking about going somewhere else," Baker said. "I signed here for four years because I thought it might take that long, No. 1, and, No. 2, because I wanted to make sure we saw this thing through. LA, that's kind of out there. Sources, there's always a source saying something. It seems like I'm in more rumors than somebody in Hollywood."
Texas No Longer Shopping Soriano
ESPN.com's Jayson Stark has learned the Texas Rangers notified teams interested in All-Star second baseman Alfonso Soriano that they won't trade him. The New York Mets were rumored to be an early suitor, but the derby Sunday appeared to be down to two teams -- the Minnesota Twins and Chicago Cubs -- after the Mets backed off. But one baseball man who had spoken with Texas brass estimated that the odds were down to one in 100 that Soriano would be moved at all. The Cubs were unwilling to part with pitcher Rich Hill or their top prospect, center fielder Felix Pie. Texas was asking for both.
White Sox Acquire Geoff Blum From San Diego
The Chicago White Sox, looking to strengthen their infield depth and add a reliable backup for third baseman Joe Crede, acquired infielder Geoff Blum from the San Diego Padres on Sunday for minor-league pitcher Ryan Meaux. Blum, 32, batted .241 with five home runs and 22 RBI in 78 games with the Padres this season. Blum, a switch hitter, has played second base, third base, shortstop, first base and the outfield. "Geoff is a very versatile player who is comfortable at a number of positions on the field," White Sox general manager Ken Williams said in a statement. "With his ability to hit from either side of the plate, Geoff also gives Ozzie Guillen additional options in making out his lineup and managing the game."
Moyer Blocks Trade To Houston
Veteran left-hander Jamie Moyer refused to be included in a trade to the Houston Astros on Saturday according to a published report on the Houston Chronicle's Web site. Moyer has the right under the collective bargaining agreement to block a trade to the Astros, and chose to do so. Moyer broke into the major leagues in 1986 and has a 201-148 record with a 4.16 ERA. Moyer is 9-3 this season with a 4.33 ERA in 21 starts, but sports a 6.79 ERA in 10 starts away from pitcher-friendly Safeco Field in Seattle. The Chronicle reported Astros GM Tim Purpura hasn't given up on a deal to find a pitcher to help in the rotation or the bullpen. "There could still be some minor or lesser situations that could clear," Purpura said.
Strained Relationships Lead To Manny's Request
A source close to Manny Ramirez, authorized to speak for the slugger, presented Ramirez' side of the story on a number of issues, including his strained relationship with manager Terry Francona and a midweek run-in with Curt Schilling ``They don't talk, they haven't spoken since the first day Ramirez came,'' the source said of Francona and Ramirez. ``He's had it for Manny for a while. The friction's been there for a while. Manny's not his kind of player - Francona has one way of thinking and there's one type of player he wants on his team and that's not Manny.'' Said Francona: ``I'm not going to lower myself by responding to that.'' The source said Ramirez was disappointed about what happened when bench coach Brad Mills asked Ramirez before Wednesday's game in St. Petersburg, Fla., if he still needed a day off. Ramirez answered yes, without knowing the Sox needed him to play because Trot Nixon was hurt. If asked to play for that reason, the source said Ramirez would have played. Also, the source said that before that game, which was started by Tampa Bay's Seth McClung, David Ortiz said aloud to Schilling, ``Man, that guy's got some nasty stuff,'' to which Schilling supposedly responded, ``Yeah, that's why Manny took the day off.'' Ramirez then supposedly said to Schilling, ``Screw you, I can hit anyone in baseball, including your ass.''
Boston Acquires Jose Cruz, Jr.
The Boston Red Sox acquired outfielder Jose Cruz Jr. from the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night in exchange for minor league infielder Kenny Perez and minor league right-hander Kyle Bono. The Red Sox, who were going into Sunday's trade deadline trying to deal outfielder Manny Ramirez also received cash in the deal, the team said. Cruz is a career .248 hitter and Gold Glove-winner in nine seasons with the Mariners, Blue Jays, Giants, Devil Rays and Diamondbacks. He had back-to-back 30-homer seasons in 2000-01, joining the 30-30 club with 34 homers and 32 steals for Toronto in '01. He was designated for assignment by the Diamondbacks on Thursday after hitting .213 with 12 home runs and 28 RBI in 64 games.
Giants Give Up Foppert For Winn
The Seattle Mariners traded center fielder Randy Winn to the San Francisco Giants on Saturday night for backup catcher Yorvit Torrealba and minor-league pitcher Jesse Foppert. Winn, 31, was in his third season in Seattle after coming to the Mariners in an Oct. 28, 2002, trade with Tampa Bay that was contingent on manager Lou Piniella signing as the Devil Rays' manager. Winn is hitting .275 with six home runs, 37 RBI and 12 stolen bases this season. A career .283 hitter, he was an All-Star in 2002 when he hit a career-high .298 with 14 home runs, 75 RBI and 27 stolen bases for Tampa Bay. Giants manager Felipe Alou said Winn would report to the Giants on Monday and be the team's starting center fielder when the Giants play the Colorado Rockies in San Francisco on Tuesday. He was the Mariners' regular left fielder this season after playing in center last season. "I saw him play a lot when he was with Tampa Bay and I was impressed," Alou said. "I think he will be a very good addition to our team."
Manny And Baez To The Mets In A Three-Way
The Red Sox, Mets and Devil Rays are talking a blockbuster three-way trade. Ramirez and Baez would go to New York, Huff and Cameron would go to Boston and the Devil Rays would get prospects.
Rockies Trade Byrnes To Baltimore For Bigbie
The Rockies, looking to get younger and add power, shipped Byrnes to Baltimore on Friday night in exchange for outfielder Larry Bigbie.
Padres Trade Nevin Again, This Time To Texas
The Texas Rangers plan to trade pitcher Chan Ho Park to the San Diego Padres for slugger Phil Nevin, a deal that awaited approval from the commissioner's office.
Big Hurt Done For The Season
Chicago White Sox slugger Frank Thomas is likely to miss the rest of the season because of a fracture in his surgically repaired left foot, his doctor said Friday.
Yankees Acquire Shawn Chacon
The New York Yankees acquired pitcher Shawn Chacon from the Colorado Rockies for a pair of minor-leaguers on Thursday night, filling the opening in their injury-ravaged rotation.