THE NEWBERG REPORT — NOVEMBER 30, 2007

What a compelling football game. Good, old-fashioned prize fight.

Good, old-fashioned baseball trade the other day, too, when Minnesota sent righthander Matt Garza, shortstop Jason Bartlett, and closer prospect Eduardo Morlan to Tampa Bay for outfielder Delmon Young, shortstop Brendan Harris, and outfielder Jason Pridie. Not a sniff of a contract issue involved. Straight talent for talent, the kind of trade that used to be made in the days of three baseball card companies and the pre-Brett Favre Packers.

(Speaking of Favre, Red Sox reliever Hideki Okajima can get away with that head tuck on delivery. Favre can’t. Amazingly bad fundamentals from the all-timer on the Ken Hamlin pick.)

Back to the Rays. Sure would make me happy if trading for Garza (someone we could have drafted in the first round in 2005) was an indication that Tampa Bay might entertain trading lefthander Scott Kazmir (someone we should have drafted in the first round in 2002).

Longshot, I know, but c’mon: Are the Rays really going to threaten for so much as a Wild Card in that division the next three years, when Kazmir will pull down arbitration salaries before leaving after the 2010 season?

Eric Hurley, Taylor Teagarden, and Tampa Bay’s choice of Joaquin Arias or Omar Poveda.

The Rays won’t do it. Would you?

Back to Boston. So the Sox reportedly want some combination of C.J. Wilson, Hurley, Luis Mendoza, and a lower-level prospect for Coco Crisp, huh?

Yeah. Right.

I’m particularly enjoying the Mendoza part.

New names reportedly in the Rangers’ center field scope: Rocco Baldelli, Jim Edmonds, and Juan Pierre.

Interested. Interested. Not interested.

(Yeah, I know Edmonds isn’t really a good fit given the career stage he’s in and this team’s timetable for gearing up to contend. But he’s always been a favorite of mine.)

Jon Daniels told Jim Reeves of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that there’s a chance the Rangers don’t do much at next week’s Winter Meetings. Fine with me. My baseball adrenaline is always amped up this time of year, but the construction momentum is more important than a quick December fix. Better to wait until the right moves present themselves — even if that means July or 12 months from now — than to do something major (if not smart) just to make headlines.

Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman includes Texas as one of the teams that has made a pitch for Florida slugger Miguel Cabrera.

The New York papers say the Mets and Rangers continue to discuss Gerald Laird.

According to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com, Texas is interested in righthander Jason Jennings, but probably only if Vicente Padilla can be moved.

ESPN’s Jayson Stark thinks teams will call the Rangers about Padilla.

ESPN’s Keith Law thinks Hurley projects as a number two or three. Blake Beavan, too. Law likes Kasey Kiker (whose “curveball is one of the best in the minors”) and Michael Main, however, as potential number one or two starters.

This Newark Star-Ledger headline encapsulates one of the only things I really hate about our game: “To get Santana, Yanks would lose an impact player.”

Well, boo-stinkin’-hoo. What a crime, that New York would have part with an impact player for the best pitcher in baseball.

Pass interference in the NFL. Star calls in the NBA. And the birthright of the Yankees and Red Sox to end up with every single superstar in the game when they’re in their prime. I’ll never give those sports up, but if I ever did it will probably have been those things that pushed me right to and over the edge.

MinorLeagueBaseball.com, in the midst of ranking baseball’s top 50 prospects, pegs Hurley at number 25 and Elvis Andrus at number 38.

Outfielder Terrmel Sledge signed a two-year, $2.85 million contract with the Nippon Ham Fighters.

Minnesota signed righthander R.A. Dickey to a minor league deal and are making noise that there’s a real chance of the 33-year-old bringing his knuckleball to the big club at some point.

The Shreveport Sports of the independent American Association signed lefthander Trey Poland.

The latest in an increasingly entertaining bag of quotes from Torii Hunter: “I would have signed [with the Angels] for less. . . . [Even if they had offered less than the Rangers, White Sox, and Royals, whose offers were reportedly $15-20 million short of the Los Angeles package,] I still would have taken it!”

Bet that makes his new club real happy.

You can read more from Jamey Newberg at www.NewbergReport.com.

1 Comment

I liked the Garza/Young deal too, but I’m surprised the Rays didn’t trade Crawford instead. If I were him I’d have to leave that team when I’m a free-agent, as you said they are years away from competing in the AL East.

I’d take Pierre over either of the other two CFs.

I don’t see the Red Sox trading Crisp unless its part of a deal to get Santana, Peavy, Bedard, etc. Theo allegedly learned his depth lesson in ’06. Figure at any time Manny (being Manny) could be out for a month with a hangnail; Drew just came off two straight 140 game seasons, so either his injuries are behind him or he’s due for a big one; and Ellsbury is only a rookie. They need better than Kielty or Podsednik as a 4th outfielder.

http://mikemac.mlblogs.com

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