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Phillips: Pirates/Indians Keep Working on Jason Bay Deal

Steve Phillips:

The Pirates and Indians are talking about a potential Jason Bay trade. Pittsburgh would get catcher Kelly Shoppach and left-hander Cliff Lee for the two-time All-Star.

Why would the Pirates do this? Shoppach will be 28 early next season and hasn't put up an OBP above .310 in the majors. Lee has had a couple nice seasons in the past, but he was miserable last year and isn't assured a starting rotation job if the Indians still have him when the season starts. He's older than Bay, and he's owed over $10 million in the next two years. Shoppach and Lee are both interesting players, but they're not nearly interesting enough or young enough to make this trade a smart idea for the Bucs.

-P- From the same blog, Keith Law reports that the Nats have acquired Elijah Dukes from the Rays for a player to be named. Typical Nats deal, taking on a toolsy, talented outfielder with an attitude problem. Dukes is probably a bigger jerk than Lastings Milledge, and he's not quite as promising, but he's still got a shot at being a very productive starter in the big leagues. Would anyone be shocked if the Nats took a run at Milton Bradley next?

UPDATE: The excellent Nats blog Capitol Punishment's comments on the differences between Milledge and Dukes are eye-opening, and make me wonder if there's some point where you just have to overlook Dukes' talent and say, "Forget it, he's not worth it."

Also, because I forgot to mention it before, thanks to Slick for posting the Bay-to-Cleveland-rumor diary in the sidebar.