If you're looking for talk about Wednesday's trading flurry, we're ready for you: go here for the Cliff Lee(notes) spin, head over here to talk about the Ian Snell(notes)/Jack Wilson deal, and this is your click for all things Freddy Sanchez(notes). Once you're done there, boomerang back and we'll discuss Wednesday on the sandlots.
Joba Chamberlain(notes) admitted he was nervous pitching in front of George Steinbrenner on Wednesday night, but he looked like a confident star on the mound. Chamberlain toyed with the Rays over eight scoreless and dominant innings, and he's really hit his stride over his last three turns, all victories (21.2 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 8 BB, 19 K). "He's growing up before our eyes," said Mark Teixeira(notes), who offered a home run and a dazzling web gem to the cause. "I love seeing the progress he's made." Pitching coach Dave Eiland removed a hitch from Chamberlain's delivery over the past two weeks and he's also encouraged Chamberlain to bring a quicker tempo to the mound. So far, so good.
The Jays reportedly wanted Chamberlain, Phil Hughes(notes) and something else from New York as part of a Roy Halladay(notes) package, but it's very unlikely Brian Cashman would consider that crazy price, especially with his team cruising right now. The Yanks are a snappy 11-2 since the All-Star break, pushing their AL East lead to 3.5 games over the Red Sox and 7.5 games in front of the Rays. Can you find 12 American League starting pitchers that you trust more than Chamberlain the rest of the way? I can't.
• Some things just don't make sense, like Yusmeiro Petit(notes) blanking the Phillies over six-plus innings. Let's forget that happened and start fresh on Thursday. Jon Rauch(notes) worked the eighth inning for Arizona and picked up a couple of strikeouts (the three pitches he threw to Raul Ibanez(notes) were borderline unhittable); keep Rauch on your radar on the chance that Arizona trades Chad Qualls(notes). Rauch was a mess in the early part of the year, but he's rebounded nicely over the last eight weeks (21.2 IP, 4 BB, 12 K, 2.07 ERA, 1.02 WHIP).
• Fausto Carmona(notes) returns to the Cleveland rotation now that Lee is headed out of town; Carmona is already back in the majors and will start this weekend against Detroit. His five starts at Triple-A showed promise (3.55 ERA, 6 BB, 27 K over 33 IP), but there's no way I'm letting him near any of my rosters – even AL-only formats – until I see something with my own eyes.
• Rain washed out the Rockies and Mets, setting up a Thursday doubleheader (and a good chance to catch up on at-bats if you've got a deficit). Of course most of the available hitters from these teams leave a lot to be desired, but my esteemed colleague Andy Behrens decided to make a short-term rental on Daniel Murphy(notes).
• Brad Penny(notes) allowed five runs right out of the chute against Oakland and by the end of the night his season ERA had swelled to 5.07. Penny's stayed healthy enough to make 20 turns but he really hasn't put up fantasy-relevant stats for our purposes, and while his FIP is almost a run lower than his true ERA, this isn't a story I'm going to personally invest in. Right-handed batters are hitting .310 against Penny, he's yet to work a full seven innings in any of his starts, and he's averages a modest 3.6 strikeouts per appearance. The Red Sox made a reasonable spec play when they signed Penny to a one-year, $5 million flier in December, but he's been a disappointment to this point.
• The Josh Geer(notes) batting practice experiment has ended in San Diego; Edward Mujica(notes) is stepping into the Padres rotation with Geer (27 homers allowed) heading to the bullpen. Mujica's role change bears watching in deep leagues as he's been a solid reliever for the Friars this year (3.29 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 40 K in 52 IP), but keep in mind bullpen stats are borderline irrelevant when we try to project what someone will do in the starting rotation. I'm going to give a long look at anyone pitching half of the time at Petco Park, but Mujica isn't going past the "monitor and wait" list at the moment. He'll be on a limited pitch count this weekend as he gets his arm stretched out.
Perhaps Mujica will never develop into a starter Padre fans can get excited about, but that's not the case with 21-year-old wunderkind Mat Latos(notes). The stud righty brought the goods in his third start at Cincinnati on Wednesday, allowing just a solo homer and one walk over seven sparkling innings (4 K, 86 pitches). Latos got away with a mistake pitch here and there and he also got away with 11 fly-ball outs in a cozy park but all of that is nitpicking – he's passed the eye test in all three of his turns. Latos is in line for two home starts next week, drawing the Braves and Mets.
Injury Blog: Alexei Ramirez(notes) sprained an ankle late in Wednesday's game and didn't play the last couple of innings. … Brandon Inge(notes) didn't start at Texas (perhaps to rest his sore knee), but Jim Leyand gave him a late at-bat and had him play the field at the tail end of Detroit's 13-5 victory. I don't see the logic to that, skip. … Shane Victorino(notes) suffered a bruised knee at Arizona and left after three at-bats. It's not clear if the injury was related to the diving catch Victorino made early in the game. … Jim Thome(notes) (back) is angling for a Thursday return. … If Tim Hudson(notes) (elbow) is ready to rejoin the Atlanta rotation later this summer, it will likely be at the expense of Kenshin Kawakami(notes). The Marlins knocked Kawakami around for seven runs and six hits Wednesday, hitting three homers along the way (Hanley, Uggla, and hey, Josh Johnson(notes)). … Roy Oswalt(notes) received an injection in his ailing back Wednesday and might be able to make his Sunday turn according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. … With LaTroy Hawkins(notes) (shingles) on the DL, Alberto Arias(notes) becomes more important in the Houston bullpen and might fall into a save chance here and there if Jose Valverde(notes) needs a night off. Arias has been fortune to post a 1.91 ERA against a 1.22 WHIP, but he's also averaging about a strikeout per inning and the league is hitting just .216 against him. … A sore forearm knocked Francisco Liriano(notes) from his scheduled turn Wednesday, although an MRI didn't reveal any structural damage. Given how Liriano has pitched this year (5.50 ERA, 1.56 WHIP), it's hard to accept that he's fully healthy.
Speed Round: Yeah, Kyle Blanks(notes) packs a wallop. I don't think this homer has landed yet. … Aramis Ramirez(notes) and Alfonso Soriano(notes) both homered as the Cubs threw up 12 runs in a laugher over Houston. Ramirez must be feeling pretty good these days, as he's on a 15-for-29 blitz with four round-trippers. … We discussed it in the Sanchez trade breakdown but it's worth another mention here – Lastings Milledge(notes) is set to join the Pirates on Friday. In any medium and deep mixer, I'd go get him now if you can. … Ron Gardenhire continues to play Carlos Gomez(notes) over Delmon Young(notes), citing defensive considerations (Gomez's range in center field does border on ridiculous). … Vin Scully reportedly is considering a return for one more season, a gift to baseball fans everywhere. … Better days are ahead for Baltimore's Chris Tillman(notes), but his debut against Kansas City was a pedestrian one (4.2 IP, 7 H, 3 solo HRs allowed). He rang up 93 pitches in the appearance, and struggled to locate his fastball early in the count. His next turn comes at Detroit. … Dodgers prospect Scott Elbert(notes) was scratched from his scheduled Triple-A start Wednesday, which fuels speculation that he could be headed to LA or possibly involved in a trade later this week. The Dodgers have been mentioned as potential suitors for both Doc Halladay and Jarrod Washburn. … I don't have my exact Andruw Jones(notes) preseason projection in front of me but I'm sure it wasn't anywhere near 17 homers. Heck of a comeback, big guy. … There are some territorial rights in the CT Blog World that you may or may not know about. Andy owns Howie Kendrick(notes), I'm the Garrett Jones(notes) guy, we share joint custody of Milledge. Nonetheless, I'll step over the line and mention to you that Kendrick is smoking hot right now, off a 3-for-4 night with a homer and five RBIs. He's hitting .444 over the last two weeks, scoring 10 runs and driving in 14. Kendrick is still free in some very shallow leagues, for some reason.