Closing Time: Halladay deadline passes, another looms

Andy Behrens
July 29, 2009
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Well, the fake deadline to trade Roy Halladay(notes) has passed and he has not been dealt. The actual MLB trade deadline is still over two days away.

Halladay has been linked to every team at every level. By Friday he could be a member of the Rangers, the Phillies, the Dodgers, the Red Sox, the Yankees, the Beloit Snappers or the Newark Bears. Everyone is interested, no one has yet blinked. Halladay is scheduled to throw his usual complete game five-hitter against the Mariners tomorrow, and it could very well be the final start of his 12-year Toronto career. He trails only Dave Stieb as the team's all-time leader in wins, Ks and shutouts.

The fantasy trade spin is essentially written; we just need to fill in the city and the mascot. Halladay's situation will improve if he's moved. The Jays' schedule in murderous in August and September, with 32 games against four of the A.L.'s five best lineups (New York, Los Angeles, Tampa Bay, Boston). There's almost no way for Halladay to find a situation that presents a greater degree of difficulty. Thus, it's not such a bad time to acquire him for fantasy purposes. If you're a Toronto fan that's a reasonable hedge -- unsatisfying, but reasonable.

Let's hit two more trade rumors, then sift through the Tuesday action...

The News Tribune's Ryan Divish reports that aging Seattle prospect Jeff Clement(notes) was removed from a Triple-A game in the third inning on Tuesday, and a deal seems imminent:

My source told me that Clement isn't sick either. So obviously something is going on. And if you recall, Clement was also given yesterday off. So there's something being discussed or in process of being finalized. How it involves Clement we aren't certain.

Obviously, we heard the talk of the three-way trade earlier this week, in which Clement and Brandon Morrow(notes) would go to the Indians, Cliff Lee(notes) and possibly Victor Martinez(notes) would go to the Rays and then Scott Kazmir(notes) and Reid Brignac(notes) would come to Seattle.

While it's fun speculation, a three-way deal involving multiple all-stars is not the simplest thing to pull off (especially when Cleveland gets fleeced). Clement shouldn't be a difficult piece to move, though. Stay tuned. Refresh the Buzz.

Freddy Sanchez(notes) could soon be a former Buc. This from Yahoo!'s Gordon Edes:

The San Francisco Giants were on the verge of closing a deal for Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Freddy Sanchez on Monday, and are still committed to pulling it off, but want to satisfy lingering health concerns. Sanchez was scratched from Monday’s starting lineup with a sore left knee, the second time in four games he’d sat out with soreness.

Not great news for those of us who are desperate for steals, and need that Sanchez-for-Eric Young thing to happen.

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Scott Downs(notes) pitched another messy ninth (0.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB), taking the loss against the Mariners. He's allowed seven runs (six earned) in his last 4.2 innings and hasn't converted a save since July 10. Speculators can grab Jason Frasor(notes) if they didn't have him already, but note that Cito Gaston didn't quite sound ready to make a change.

Here's Cito, discussing Ichiro's(notes) game-ending single:

"I think (Downs is) going to be okay," Gaston said. "If he threw that pitch to just about anyone else in this league, he's going to strike out."

Check the location via Gameday. Not a bad pitch at all, just a ridiculous hitter.

The Angels have apparently been pursuing bullpen help via trade, and Brian Fuentes(notes) hasn't given them any reason to cease those efforts in recent days. He followed Monday's terrible line (0.0 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 2 HR) with another brutal turn (0.0 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 BB). This was his manager's take, from the Los Angeles Times:

"His last couple outings, he's been struggling with everything," Scioscia said of Fuentes. "It didn't look like he was comfortable. Obviously, his release point was off. I don't know if he's getting a little tired. The ball has not been coming out of his hand the way we know it can."

Jason Bulger(notes) bailed out the Angels against the Tribe, earning his first save. It required a nifty double-play, but the 30-year-old Bulger shut the door and likely earned some trust. Fuentes is relatively safe, assuming he can still record outs.

Leo Nunez(notes) and Rafael Soriano(notes) both allowed ninth inning runs in the Marlins' 4-3 win. Soriano declined to answer questions, but he offered one of his own: "I’ve been doing this all year, like you guys have seen, and nobody has come to me. Why do you guys come today?"

Adam Dunn(notes) left the building in Milwaukee. Video here. Commentary understatement: "That fastball was not in the location that Jason Kendall(notes) wanted it."

Brad Lidge(notes) had another adventurous ninth, picking up a save while allowing a two-run bomb to Mark Reynolds(notes). ("Bomb" doesn't quite do it justice). Philadelphia can't go into October with Lidge throwing this way, right? Sure he's got 20 saves, but he's also carrying a 7.11 ERA and 1.79 WHIP. That bullpen may need more help than Brett Myers can provide.

Mark Buehrle(notes) followed up last week's perfect game with another perfect 5.2 innings on Tuesday, setting a major league record for consecutive outs. It's an astonishing accomplishment, though he obviously would have preferred to simply win. The Twins ultimately beat the Sox 5-3. The first runner to score for Minnesota was the first runner Buehrle allowed, Alexi Casilla(notes). He drew a sixth inning walk on a miserable criminal close but fair call by the home plate ump.

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Orioles catcher Matt Wieters(notes) began a streak of four-hit games on Tuesday. No one can say where it will lead; we only know that it will be special. Don't forget, he's catching Chris Tillman(notes) on Wednesday.

Shortstop Everth Cabrera(notes) went 3-for-4 and stole two bases in the Padres' 3-2 win over Cincinnati. That makes 13 steals in 14 attempts through 42 games. San Diego's bullpen was simply lights-out. Luke Gregerson(notes), Mike Adams(notes) and Heath Bell(notes) all pitched clean innings, striking out seven in three frames.

Kendry Morales(notes) did not homer, and he did not get two hits (just one). At this point, it's news when he has a quiet night. Also not homering: Garrett Jones(notes). Just a weird day all around.

News of the injured: Roy Oswalt(notes) left his start in the second inning due to a lower back issue, and the early reports don't rule out a DL trip. This from the Houston Chronicle: "It’s unclear if Oswalt must head to the disabled list, but he acknowledged Tuesday night that he likely will miss at least one start. 'I’m not going to do anything strenuous, but moving around, it’s not too bad,' Oswalt said." ... Ryan Dempster(notes) (toe) returned for the Cubs, though not effectively. ... Randy Johnson(notes) has "slight tearing" in his left rotator cuff, and he won't pick up a ball for at least three weeks. ... Chris Snyder(notes) was activated, but there's no benching Miguel Montero(notes). ... Ryan Church(notes) returned to action, going 1-for-3 with a walk. ... Daric Barton(notes) (hamstring) hit the DL, so Tommy Everidge gets a callup (not interesting, except in the deepest of leagues). ... There's a chance that Adrian Beltre(notes) (shoulder) could return during the M's upcoming road-trip. ... Chien-Ming Wang(notes) is out for the year, due to shoulder surgery. ... Ian Kinsler(notes) checked out early with a "mildly strained left hamstring." ... Nate Schierholtz(notes) heads to the DL with a strained hip. ... Matt Lindstrom(notes) could return by the end of the week. According to MLB.com, Fredi Gonzalez "would like to ease the hard-throwing 29-year-old right-hander back before possibly giving him the ninth inning again."

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