THE NEWBERG REPORT — JULY 17, 2007
I had this dream last night that the Rangers were nursing a two-run lead over the Angels, with the bases loaded and Vlad at the plate. Someone fired a fastball up and away, and Vlad tomahawked it on a line the opposite way, and the right fielder scrambled in to snare it, only to have the ball dive under his glove and bound all the way to the fence, clearing the bases as the right fielder chased it down.
It was then that I saw the name on the back of the right fielder’s Texas jersey: “Vizquel.”
Setting aside the idea that Omar Vizquel would be playing right field (doubt I was tucking his ninth-inning appearance in right on August 31, 1999 away for just the right time), I guess it wasn’t all that surprising a dream, with all the national columns the past few weeks insisting that teams are no longer willing to trade their prospects at trade deadline time. Several of the most prominent baseball writers in the country have based entire columns on the premise that teams aren’t making their best minor leaguers available in July for overpriced veterans any more.
I guess subconsciously I was getting prepared for the Rangers to trade their key veterans this month for declining 40-year-old infielders.
But I was glad to see one of the national columnists I respect the most, Ken Rosenthal, write yesterday that there’s a growing sense that some teams are going overboard in overvaluing their own prospects, given the attrition rate of even the most highly regarded kids.
Rosenthal points out that the Dodgers could have traded righthander Edwin Jackson and lefthander Greg Miller to the Yankees for Alfonso Soriano shortly before New York traded Soriano to Texas, and that they could have traded Jackson alone to Cincinnati for Adam Dunn. But Los Angeles branded both Jackson (who is 1-9, 7.14 for Tampa Bay this year) and Miller (who has yet to reach the big leagues due to arm problems) as “untouchable.”
There are a hundred other examples of untouchables who never made it, and of blue-chip prospects traded in July who eventually bombed.
Rosenthal’s article centers on Mark Teixeira, suggesting that the supposed trend of teams refusing to trade key prospects for players like him is just silly.
Rosenthal concludes: “Enough about prospects. Enough industry paralysis. Let’s see some deals.”
Hope he’s onto something. Hope there are GM’s who recognize this market overcorrection and are prepared to step up with meaningful trade offers over the next couple weeks.
Stunningly, Texas might even field an offer or two for Jamey Wright, who is 3-1, 2.28 in his last four starts, with a ratio of 39 groundouts to 20 flyouts.
Edinson Volquez has been promoted to Oklahoma, according to multiple reports.
This is interesting: Frisco second baseman German Duran has appeared at shortstop twice in the last five days, including a start there last night. Wouldn’t be surprised to learn Texas is trying to assess his possibilities as a utility player.
Bakersfield third baseman Chris Davis singled in the fourth inning last night to extend his hit streak to 34 games, one short of Brent Gates’s 1992 California League record.
Davis hit a grand slam on Sunday, his sixth of the year. No big leaguer has ever had more than six grand slams in a season.
Supplemental first-rounder Tommy Hunter’s signing bonus was reportedly $580,000-$585,000, which is right at slot. He’ll join the Spokane bullpen.
Righthanders Omar Beltre and Alexi Ogando are still unable to get into the United States but are pitching for the Dominican Republic in the Pan Am Games in Brazil.
Here’s hoping that some legitimate trade talk starts to heat up.