On Wednesday, the Pirates traded first baseman Adam LaRoche to Boston for Minor League pitcher Hunter Strickland and shortstop Argenis Diaz. Last season, LaRoche's younger brother Andy was traded from the Dodgers to Pirates as part of the deal that sent Jason Bay to Boston.
The Pirates have been busy and they might not be done dealing. Earlier this summer, the club sent Nate McLouth to Atlanta and Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett to Washington. Recently, the club cut off contract talks with infielders Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez after the pair rejected offers to extend their contracts and neither submitted a counter-offer. The club plans on listening to offers from teams interested in acquiring the players and is said to be seeking Major League-ready or close to Major League-ready infielders.
Additionally, Pirates relievers John Grabow and Matt Capps have drawn interest from the Dodgers, according to reports.
"We feel like this is the best offer we had to date," Huntington said. "We felt like this was the right time and was the right return for us. We're still in the talent-accumulation mode, and with the deals we had on the table, these were the players we liked the best."
The deal was bittersweet for the brothers LaRoche.
"It was incredible to play with your brother," Andy said. "It's been great to have him as a mentor, having him there to kind of guide the way. I never took anything for granted. Every day we played like it could be our last day together. I guess yesterday happened to be that day. It was a great ride. It was so much fun."
As for Boston, LaRoche will provide depth at first base behind All-Star Kevin Youkilis and at third base behind Mike Lowell.
"One of the things that we liked about today's acquisition is that it was at a relatively reasonable acquisition cost, especially in terms of our prospect inventory, so that there's no real opportunity cost lost with this move," Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said. "We'll still continue to pursue further upgrades to the club."
In another deal Wednesday, the Red Sox traded Julio Lugo to the Cardinals for outfielder Chris Duncan. Duncan, whose father Dave Duncan is the pitching coach in St. Louis, will join Triple-A Pawtucket. The Red Sox are still interested in acquiring Cleveland catcher Victor Martinez, according to SI.com.
Around the league:
Arizona: The Rockies and Phillies are among the several teams that have shown interest in closer Chad Qualls but The Arizona Republic said such a trade seems unlikely. The D-backs want a starting pitching prospect in return. Also, there have been reports the D-backs would like to sign Doug Davis rather than trade him, and the left-hander was drawing little interest in the trade market. Foxsports.com reports that teams do not want to take on the salaries of Davis or D-backs right-hander Jon Garland, and the pitchers are not considered difference-makers.
Baltimore: The Baltimore Sun reported that teams have inquired about closer George Sherrill, but the Orioles are seeking a closer in return. The paper also reports right-hander Danys Baez, first baseman Aubrey Huff and third baseman Melvin Mora are available for trade.
Boston: The acquisition of LaRoche will allow Lowell to rest his surgically repaired right hip more often. Youkilis would play third on days Lowell sits. Duncan will start the season in the Minor Leagues and provides depth in the outfield.
Cincinnati: The Reds are still seeking a bat to improve its offense, currently ranked 14th in the 16-team NL, and have not become sellers on the market -- yet.
"Nothing's changed," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. "We're still trying to improve the club. We're not looking for any short term fixes. I think if we do anything, it would probably be closer to the deadline because that's where these things seem to develop. I'm going to try and do something that's going to improve the club for the long haul."
The Dodgers are scouting Reds relievers Francisco Cordero, David Weathers, and Arthur Rhodes. There is some speculation that Bronson Arroyo and Aaron Harang could become available if the team falls out of contention.
Cleveland: The Phillies, Rays, Brewers, Rangers and Dodgers are interested in acquiring starter Cliff Lee, Foxsports.com reports. Martinez was pursued by the Red Sox before the club traded for LaRoche and is still an option for Boston, according to SI.com.
Colorado: The Denver Post has linked the Rockies to Qualls and to Houston's LaTroy Hawkins. The paper also reported the Blue Jays asked for Ubaldo Jimenez and prospects in exchange for
Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay but Colorado thought the price was too high.
Detroit: The Boston Globe speculated the Tigers could be a player in the Halladay sweepstakes because of owner Mike Ilitch's recent track record for spending lots of money to try to win. However, the Tigers' lack of top-level prospect depth available for such a trade could be a problem. The Tigers could be interested in Matt Holliday but any trade does not seem imminent..
"Normally if [president/general manager] Dave [Dombrowski] gets something going, he'll fill me in on it," manager Jim Leyland said Wednesday about Tigers dealings in general. "But we haven't had any conversations about that."
Florida: The Miami Herald reports the Marlins believe the salary of Holliday is too steep for the club to acquire him. However, if the Marlins reach a point where they believe playoffs are an unrealistic goal, Florida could begin to dump salary and become players on the market. Some options would be Dan Uggla (making $5.35 million this season), Jorge Cantu ($3.5 million), Jeremy Hermida ($2.25 million) and Cody Ross ($2.225 million).
Kansas City: The Royals are building for the future and are not looking to part with pitchers Zack Greinke, Luke Hochevar or Joakim Soria, first baseman Billy Butler or third baseman Alex Gordon.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: The Angels have expressed interest in Sherrill, according to the Los Angeles Times. The Orioles are asking for two top prospects from the Angels, likely Brandon Wood and lefty Trevor Reckling, but the club might not be willing to depart with young players.
Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers scouted Lee Tuesday night, according to Yahoo Sports and the Toronto Sun and have been watching Halladay. Additionally, the club is keeping an eye on Reds relievers Cordero, Weathers, and Rhodes along with Sherrill. The Los Angeles Times reports the Dodgers are interested in Grabow and Capps.
Milwaukee: SI.com reports the Brewers are seen by baseball executives as a "new serious player" for Halladay, and could be a threat to land the righty because of their well-stocked farm system and aggressive nature. Last season, the Brewers acquired CC Sabathia from Indians for top prospects. This season, the club could put together a package that includes Manny Parra, the report said.
New York Mets: Mets appear to be out of the race for Halladay but general manager Omar Minaya has not ruled out pursuing players before the July 31 deadline.
"Right now we do not envision [being a seller]," Minaya told the New York Post. "If we're 6 ½ [back] in the wild card with a couple of teams in front of us, we are still kind of trying to find out how we can improve this team, if we can improve it through trades."
Oakland: There is talk the A's tried to move Holliday and shortstop Orlando Cabrera to the Braves for Yunel Escobar, but Holliday's remaining salary, estimated at $6 million, might have been too expensive for Atlanta. The Cardinals and the Giants might also be players in the Holliday sweepstakes but the teams would also have to part with premium prospects. A's relievers Brad Ziegler and Michael Wuertz might also be available.
Philadelphia: Blue Jays scouts scoured the Phillies' Minor League system and there were rumblings that the Phillies were the leading candidate to acquire Halladay. SI.com reports that Phillies are not willing to include prospect Kyle Drabek in a deal for the Blue Jays pitcher. Additionally, the club scouted Lee earlier this week in Toronto and there are reports the Phillies are interested in Qualls.
Pittsburgh: LaRoche is the most recent Pirates player to be traded but he might not be the last. The Pirates cut off contract talks with infielders Wilson and Sanchez after the pair rejected offers to extend their contracts and neither submitted a counter-offer. The club plans on listening to offers from teams interested in acquiring the players. The Pirates are seeking Major League-ready or close to Major League-ready infielders. The Mariners are believed to be a potential trading partner for either player.
San Diego: The Padres are not looking to trade first baseman Adrian Gonzalez or closer Heath Bell but could be willing to move pitcher Kevin Correia, third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff or second baseman David Eckstein. The club has been busy, having already traded Cla Meredith to Baltimore and Scott Hairston to Oakland.
St. Louis: The acquisition of Julio Lugo from Boston for Chris Duncan gives the Cardinals additional infield depth, especially at shortstop. Earlier this week, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa brushed off speculation that the club was interested in acquiring third baseman Scott Rolen from Toronto. The Cardinals traded Rolen to the Blue Jays in 2008 after a falling out between the third baseman and La Russa.
Texas: The Rangers have inquired about Halladay and Lee but Halladay has made it clear that he will not approve of a trade to Texas and the Indians have told the Rangers they aren't likely to trade Lee. The club could be seeking an additional bat but is limited in its ability to take on significant payroll with a possible sale of the club by owner Tom Hicks still pending.
Toronto: Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi said it is unlikey he will trade Halladay and has a set a July 28 deadline for any potential deal. The The Phillies, Dodgers, Brewers, Cardinals, Rangers, Twins, Red Sox, White Sox, and Yankees have all reportedly expressed interest in acquiring the pitcher.
Washington: Foxsports.com reported that the Nationals were among the teams that scouted Giants left-hander Jonathan Sanchez earlier this week. The Giants also have interest in Nationals first baseman Nick Johnson, the report said. The Giants and Phillies are said to be interested in Josh Willingham.