July 14, 2006


Sox-y offer to Mets: As Pedro ails, Javy available (ADAM RUBIN, 7/14/06, DAILY NEWS)

The Mets may have found a partner willing to deal a starting pitcher after all, which could be even more pressing as Pedro Martinez is about to miss his third straight start.

The White Sox have been calling around to clubs - including the Mets - letting it be known that Javier Vazquez or Freddy Garcia would be available. The price: top-notch relief help, which would allow the Sox to fortify their bullpen leading to closer Bobby Jenks, sources told the Daily News. Chicago has 23-year-old Brandon McCarthy ready to step into its rotation.

The Phillies, also looking to add to their rotation in a thin market, are willing to give up closer Tom Gordon in a deal with the Sox, according to a source. [...]

Omar Minaya has long been fond of Vazquez and pursued the former Expo last winter, before he was sent from the Diamondbacks to the White Sox for current Met Orlando Hernandez as well as reliever Luiz Vizcaino and outfield prospect Chris Young. He's 9-4 with a 5.07 ERA this season, while Garcia is 10-5 with a 4.91 ERA.

If the Phillies can get Brandon McCarthy for Tom Gordon it's a no-brainer (may as well swap Rowand for Brian Anderson too), but Aaron Heilman is a better starting pitcher than Vazquez. Indeed, he's better than El Duque, but that didn't stop Omar Minaya from making an awful trade.

Meanwhile, the cream of the Yankee system sinks, Duncan can't hide from expectations (M.A. MEHTA, 7/13/06, Newark Star-Ledger)

[Eric] Duncan could easily be a 21-year-old ball of stress, succumbing to the pressures that have swallowed recent Yankee bonus babies. The Florham Park native earned a $1.275 million signing bonus after the Yankees selected him in the first round (27th overall) of the 2003 amateur draft.

But the former Seton Hall Prep star has learned to live with the heightened expectations and scrutiny that comes with playing in your backyard, where anonymity isn't an option.

"It's not just that he's a Jersey kid playing professional baseball," Hal Duncan says of the ever-present spotlight on his son. "It's a Jersey kid playing for the Yankees. If he were in Kansas City, who cares?

"But the pressures never bothered him. I think it would have bothered me, but it doesn't bother him."

So the father wasn't surprised how his son dealt with his most recent challenge. Duncan was demoted to Double-A Trenton earlier this season after struggling at the start and then hurting his back at Triple-A Columbus, a stark reminder that, beyond the up-front cash, nothing is promised.

"He knew there would be setbacks on the way up," Seton Hall Prep coach Mike Sheppard Jr. says. "The road would be bumpy at times."

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 14, 2006 7:35 AM

(1) The Sox won't trade Mac for Gordon. They'd be fools to do so, and Kenny Wms isn't a fool. Thw whole pt is to trade the dead wood at the back of the rotation, particularly the truly awful Vazquez, to free up a spot for Mac.

(2) Omar is a fool if he thinks the truly awful Vazquez will be anything other than an anchor dragging the team down. And good luck pitching him in the playoffs.

(3) Yes, Heilman should've been in the Mets rotation May 1.

(4) Duncan the cream? No. As we've seen in previous years, Duncan is the prospect that the Yankees hype for a year or so and turn into trading deadline help. See Claussen, Brandon et al. The cream is Hughes and Tabata, both of whom recently made (unlike any Red Sawx) Baseball America's top 25 prospects. Followed by Clippard, Jackson, etc.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at July 14, 2006 11:42 AM