7:05 PM, FSNP, WPGB
John Van Benschoten (0-4, 8.17) vs. Jamie Moyer (8-8, 5.01). Well, this should be fun. We'll see if Van Benschoten has figured anything out since his last two terrible starts. I'm sure Ryan Howard, who has seven homers in his last nine games, is licking his chops. Here's the box; I'll be in the comments for the first part of the game.
-P- Yet another paper reports that the Pirates have shown interest in Wily Mo Pena.
-P- The Rangers have traded Kenny Lofton to the Indians for High-A catcher Max Ramirez. David Dellucci is on the DL for the Indians, so after Grady Sizemore, they've had to make two outfielders out of Trot Nixon, Jason Michaels, Franklin Gutierrez and Ben Francisco. Nixon probably has little left and Michaels is a fourth outfielder who hasn't played well recently. Gutierrez and Francisco have played well, but both are unproven and Francisco isn't very likely to keep it up. So the Indians definitely can use Lofton, who's still an on-base threat. The Tribe optioned Francisco to Class AAA Buffalo. They will presumably play Lofton
in a corner and let Gutierrez play in the other corner most of the time.
The Indians acquired Ramirez, 22, last year for Bob Wickman. He has shown pretty much every offensive tool you could hope for this year - power (32 extra-base hits), contact (.303 batting average), plate discipline (53 walks against 63 strikeouts) - and has steadily improved as he's moved up the chain. He's not great defensively, and there have been rumblings that he may move to another position, but his bat may well be good enough to use at third base, say. He's a high price to pay for a complementary player like Lofton, but as the Scott Linebrink deal showed, it's a seller's market.
The Pirates really need to trade some of their veteran players, if the trades so far are any indication of what they can get - Ramirez is far from a sure thing, but he would be one of the top five prospects in the Pirates' system.
-P- The Braves have supposedly offered Jarrod Saltalamacchia, pitching prospect Matt Harrison and high-upside shortstop prospect Elvis Andrus for Mark Teixeira. Whew.