MLB Splinters | July 31, 2009

ortizfansBy now, it’s pretty much old news that the New York Times reports that David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez were on the list of 104 Major League Baseball players who tested positive for performance-enhancing substances in 2003. I’m not sure what this proves, except that absolutely nothing is sacred in this tarnished era, not even the “holier than thou” Red Sox. One thing it probably does prove is that Ortiz, while possibly the most likable among the players whose legends have been scarred by this ongoing controversy, is quite likely the most hypocritical of all.

The Phillies didn’t land Roy Halladay, but they have officially declared themselves the team to beat in the National League with Wednesday’s signing of reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee. The Phils now have the unusual problem of having too much starting pitching, with Lee and the also recently acquired Pedro Martinez joining Cole Hamels, Jamie Moyer and Joe Blanton in the rotation, with J.A. Happ and Rodrigo Lopez likely moving to the bullpen.

Speaking of Halladay, according to Toronto General Manager J.P. Ricciardi, trade talks involving the Blue Jays right-hander are dead, but the club remains willing to listen to offers. So, did we learn anything new from that statement? Most likely not, but with today’s trade deadline of 4 p.m. ET fast approaching, it appears that the Jays are unlikely to move him, with the only real contenders for his services being the Red Sox and the Dodgers.

Halladay may be staying put, but Jarrod Washburn isn’t, with the Tigers acquiring him from the Mariners today in a move that improves their status as the favorite to win the AL Central, although the Twins and White Sox still might have something to say about that. Washburn appears to have resurrected his career this year, posting an 8-6 record with a 2.64 ERA, and is well on his way to his best season since he was the ace of the 2002 World Series champion Anaheim Angels staff.

The Red Sox may not get Halladay, but it seems unlikely that they’re not going to add another bat by the deadline, with the rumor mill saying that they’re close to a deal with the Indians that would bring Victor Martinez to Boston, in exchange for Clay Buchholz. Martinez has split time between catcher and first base for Cleveland this year, but it’s unclear how much the Red Sox would plan on using him behind the plate. The deal would make Adam LaRoche expendable, however, so the word is that they’re looking to find a taker for him as well.

The Twins, in dire need to improve upon a weak offensive middle infield, have worked out a deal with the Athletics to bring Orlando Cabrera to Minnesota. He’ll likely replace Nick Punto (.208 BA, .568 OPS) at shortstop, with Brendan Harris already pushing Alexi Casilla (.171 BA, .474 OPS) out of second base duties.

In a couple of smaller, but not insignificant deals involving left-handed relief pitchers, the Dodgers bolstered their bullpen by acquiring George Sherrill from the Orioles, and the Pirates dealt John Grabow to the Cubs.

By the time you read this, of course, a few of the questions regarding potential trades will already be answered. What are your opinions on these recent developments in Major League Baseball? Please share with the bench and let’s get the discussion started.

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