Now we’re rolling. The Philadelphia Phillies and the San Francisco Giants have finished a deal to send Hunter Pence to the Giants for major league-established outfielder Nate Schierholtz and two prospects, catcher Tommy Joseph and pitcher Seth Rosin. (Now, there’s a name for a pitcher!)
The Giants were looking for an upgrade in the lineup and in the outfield, which Pence—who’s signed through this season and could earn over $13 million in 2013—would bring with the 17 homers and 59 RBI he has so far in 2012. The deal comes right on the tail of the Phillies sending Shane Victorino to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
For Pence, it’s his second non-waiver deadline move in as many seasons: the Phillies landed him near the deadline last year from the team named later to complete the deal that sent the Milwaukee Brewers to the National League.
The Phillies, meanwhile, are said to have stopped all talk involving trading Cliff Lee despite Lee’s struggling. The Texas Rangers, whom Lee helped lead to a World Series in 2010, were thought to be interested in bringing him back, but various reports point to the Rangers not wanting to surrender quite the package the Phillies sought in return even if the Rangers were willing to work with the Phillies on Lee’s remaining salary.
The Phillies aren’t looking (yet) for a downright organisational overhaul, but they are trying to rehorse for a run in 2013 after injuries and inconsistencies drove them to the bottom of the National League East this season. At this writing, the Phillies are still said to be in serious discussion with the Baltimore Orioles on a deal to send the Orioles pitcher Joe Blanton, with the Orioles going far enough to request a look at Blanton’s medical records. Blanton would be just one move for the Orioles; they’re said to be looking for bullpen help as well.
MEANWHILE, BACK IN THE JUNGLE . . .
EMPIRICAL MOVES?—The New York Yankees aren’t being as quiet as a lot of people thought in the past fortnight, the Ichiro Suzuki deal to the contrary: they’re now said to have eyes for Ryan Dempster while possibly looking for a little third base help with Alex Rodriguez down for the count for six weeks at least. San Diego’s Chase Headley—whom most analysts think the Padres must move if they want to get rebuilding in earnest—is thought to be on the Yankee radar. What might make the Yankees think they have a shot at Dempster, who’s being pretty finicky in invoking his no-trade clause? Easy enough: Two men Dempster respects, former Cubs GM Jim Hendry and former Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild, are in the Yankee organisation now. However, a few reports indicate the Yankees and Cubs are merely talking—for now.
TEXAS SHIELDS?—At this writing, it’s believed the Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays are talking about Rays pitcher James Shields, formerly thought to be on the Los Angeles Angels’ radar until they pulled the proverbial trigger on the Zack Greinke deal. Right now, that’s all it is, according to a few reports: talking.
SNAKES IN THE GRASS?—The Arizona Diamondbacks may be making a move in their quest to land a major league-established starting pitcher: they’re said to have pulled minor league pitching prospect Patrick Corbin from a scheduled start in Sacramento (AAA), indicating a possible deal in the works in which Corbin would be included, though nobody’s saying just whom the Snakes have as their target. On the other hand, it’s also possible that they could move a major league starter (as yet unnamed) in a deal. The Diamondbacks are widely thought to be trying to move two other players, infielder Stephen Drew and outfielder Justin Upton.
UH-OH . . . There’s a snag in the speculation on Ryan Dempster as a Dodger target. Fox’s Ken Rosenthal tweets it this way: the Dodgers’ position “is that they have made deals without moving any of top 7-8 prospects. Will not move any of them for rental like Dempster.” Which could mean the Dodgers may back away from Dempster unless there’s a fair chance they can sign him beyond his current deal that expires at season’s end.