Tots Thoughts: Rumors, Rumors and Rumors

This is sort of an exciting time of the year, with trading deadline and all, except, of course for the players who keep being names in the projected "trades." And it really isn't the deadline exactly, teams can slip players through on waivers now and again after the cutoff date.

Rumor Central
Rumors and rumors of rumors are thicker than photographers around Ms. Spears and are gleaned from many different sources. So with no claim that any of them are legitimate and in no particular order:

A number of clubs are approaching Seattle with third baseman Adrian Beltré in mind. The Dodgers were apparently one of the suitors until they found out that Beltré's no-trade list specifically blocks his return to Chavez Ravine. You don't suppose being pretty much ignored by the Dodgers when he became a free agent has anything to do with that do you?

Some have said that Pittsburgh was perfectly willing to trade shortstop Jack Wilson to the Dodgers and only asked for Matt Kemp and Chad Billingsley. The Pirates vehemently deny that was what they had asked for.

You can add the Dodgers to the list of teams interested in 34-year-old Cleveland third baseman Casey Blake.

The White Sox may be interested in reacquiring Alex Cora at least part-time at second and trade shortstop Orlando Cabrera, possibly to the Dodgers for right-hander Derek Lowe. A straight-up trade would favor the Sox since Cabrera (33) is on the down elevator.

Los Angeles balked at the price for Juan Uribe and failed to acquire the Nationals' Cristian Guzman, so Cabrera could be their best remaining alternative, unless they traded for a third baseman instead.

Several sources say the Dodgers are aggressively shopping Lowe, who is a free agent at the end of the season. Cabrera also is eligible for free agency, and the ages and 2008 salaries of the two players are comparable — Cabrera, 34, is earning $9 million, while Lowe, 35, is making $10 million.

Lowe, a sinker-baller, would be well-suited for hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular Field. Cabrera would improve the Dodgers at short, and Los Angeles also could boost its offense by trading for Blake, who currently has a higher OPS than the Angels' Vladimir Guerrero, Red Sox's Dustin Pedroia and Mariners' Raul Ibanez.

Right-hander Brad Penny, recovering from mild tendinitis in his right shoulder, should soon be available to replace Lowe in the Dodgers' rotation. The Dodgers even could trade for Padres right-hander Greg Maddux, who would probably waive his no-trade clause only to a National League contender in the western part of the country.

The Toronto Globe and Mail reports that the Blue Jays have begun scouting the Phillies' and Dodgers' minor league teams in preparation for a potential A.J. Burnett trade. Burnett has pitched poorly of late, but remains one of the better starters rumored to be on the market. According to the newspaper, the Blue Jays seem more likely to deal with the Phillies and "covet" their outfield prospects.

But if the Dodgers are willing to trade Lowe, why would they attempt to make a deal for another pitcher?

The Newark Star-Ledger says Roy Halladay is unhappy in Toronto and has let management know it, and management has apparently responded by doing some quiet surveying of teams (such as St. Louis and the Dodgers) in an effort to see what it could get for the 2003 Cy Young Award winner.

And lastly, the Yankees, with Jorge Posada (shoulder) no longer an option behind the plate and Jose Molina sporting a .560 OPS, the Yankees are said to be interested in veteran catcher Paul Lo Duca.

"And now," as Monte Python once said, "for something completely different."

Dodger Scouting Guru Logan White reports that they have signed #11 selection LHP Nathan Eovaldi from Alvin high school in Texas. "I'm excited we signed Eovaldi," he told us. "He has a quality arm. We have had him up to 96 [on the gun,]".

That gives them 14 of their first 15 picks and 15 of 18.

White also mentioned that they would not sign #10 - RHP Chris Joyce out of Dos Pueblos high school, Goleta, CA. He had mentioned earlier that he was skeptical about signing either of the two high school youngsters.

On the International front, White signed RHP Yohanse Morillo from the Dominican Republic. White reported he is very is projectable and loose with a 86-90 with a fair breaking ball. "His arm action and delivery is pretty good for a young kid" he said.

Perception, Perception
If you watched the final Dodger-Rockies game of the series, you must have noticed Andruw Jones and Andy LaRoche swinging at third strikes in the dirt with the tying runs on base in the eighth inning.

"He was looking for something; he had a plan and swung at a bad ball with two strikes," Torre said of Jones. Nothing was said about LaRoche, but he is the now leading candidate in nearly every trade mentioned.

It proves again that a] life isn't fair and b] if you pay $18 million for a hitter, you don't give up on him very quickly.

It's too bad that LaRoche, poised for a real shot at the third base job, was injured in the spring. One would hope that either he and/or Blake DeWitt would stick around long enough to get a shot at the second base next year. No one is counting on Tony Abreu to come back, at least not very quickly.

Back to Jones: Scouts are dumbfounded that Jones, now hitting .166 with 13 RBIs, is the same one who had 41 homers and 129 RBIs only two seasons ago. He is 4-for-51 (.078) with runners in scoring position and has only four RBIs on hits.

Torre said that Jones is able to implement changes suggested by Mattingly and Pentland during batting practice, but can't take the changes into the game, instead falling back into his bad habits.

Asked how the outfield will line up when Pierre returns from the disabled list, Torre offered no guarantees.

Jones claims he isn't concerned. "Not at all," he said. "That is up to Joe, and that is a decision he will be making. There is nothing else I can do."

In other items Infielder Luis Maza, who had been designated for assignment, passed waivers and was optioned to the 51s. Las Vegas lefty Greg Miller and outfielder John-Ford Griffin were placed on the disabled list, infielder Ramon Martinez was released and infielder Rex Rundgren was activated.

And we leave you on a faux headline from the brilliant parody site, The Onion:

"Appealed Strike Call Taken To Supreme Court"

The Onion reviewed the history of Supreme Court baseball decisions -- including this little-known blockbuster:

"A 2006 decision in the case of Rodriguez v. The Fans of New York cemented the legal precedent established in the 1940 case of Williams v. The Fans of Boston, which made it clear that baseball fans are free to boo, no matter how nonsensical it may seem, players on their home team."

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