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Recent struggles could force D-backs to trade Haren

07.19.10 at 8:48 am ET
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The Diamondbacks could press harder to trade ace Dan Haren after the team’s struggles as of late, according to CBSSports.com’s Scott Miller. Arizona is just 2-10 in its last 12 games and has dropped to 20 1/2 games back in the NL West behind first-place San Diego. If Haren (7-8, 4.60 ERA) were to become available, he would join Roy Oswalt of the Astros and Ted Lilly of the Cubs as the best pitchers on the trade market heading into the July 31 deadline. Interim general manager Jerry DiPoto has said, “We’re not to the point right now where we’re aggressively seeking [a Haren trade].” However, Miller says that if the D-backs were continue to keep Haren off the market, they’d be “guilty of malpractice.”

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Monday’s Morning Mashup

07.19.10 at 7:43 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Athletics, 10:05 p.m. (NESN, WEEI)


Michael Jordan was asked about LeBron James situation Sunday, and he said he would never do what James did in an effort to win a title. “There’s no way, with hindsight, I would’ve ever called up Larry [Bird], called up Magic [Johnson] and said, ‘Hey, look, let’s get together and play on one team,’ ” Jordan said. “But that’s … things are different. I can’t say that’s a bad thing. It’s an opportunity these kids have today. In all honesty, I was trying to beat those guys.” Ken Berger at CBSSports.com analyzes those comments and looks at Dwyane Wade‘s criticized reference to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

♦ Also at CBSSports.com, Gregg Doyel writes about Pete Carroll and calls the Seahawks coach “shameless” and a liar.

Tim McCarver said the Yankees “bungled” the Joe Torre situation and compared them to “despotic leaders in World War II” because they “airbrushed his legacy.” The New York Post has the story.

Bob Wieneke in the South Bend Tribune has the report on the arrest of eight Notre Dame football players, including sophomore quarterback Nate Montana (son of Joe).

♦ The Charlotte Observer reports on the declining mental health of North Carolina coaching legend Dean Smith.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On July 19, 1933, for the first time in major league history, brothers on competing teams homered in the same game when the Red Sox played the Indians. Who were the players? Read the rest of this entry »

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LEEInks list: Most accomplished non-champions

07.19.10 at 7:15 am ET
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When LeBron James made the televised “Decision” on July 8 that he was headed to South Beach to join forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to play for the Heat, he left millions of devastated Cavs fans renouncing their love for the King and a few other disappointed franchises who were hoping LeBron would help lead them to a title.

“Winning is a huge thing to me,” he said to Jim Gray in the ESPN special watched by 7 million viewers.

After weeks of nationwide scrutiny and speculation about where James would end up, it didn’t come as such a shock to many questioning the King’s star status without a single title to his name.

James, a two-time NBA MVP who has yet to capture an NBA championship in his seven seasons with Cleveland, left over $30 million on the table in his decision to head south and play with former gold medalist Olympic teammates Wade and Bosh in a Miami power trio.

“The major factor was this is the best opportunity for me to win and win now and in the future. The No. 1 thing with me is to help my teammates get better and to win,” he said explaining his “Decision.”

Here’s a list of the most accomplished athletes without a title in sports history. Though they’ve graced the record books and their respective games as some of the best players to touch the field, court, or ice, they can never call themselves champions.

King James can win all the accolades around, but he’ll stay stuck in a category with these guys until he adds an NBA crown to that list.

MLB: Ty Cobb

Since Cobb took the field in 1905, he has been etched in MLB record books as one of the greatest baseball players of all time and still maintains the record for the highest career batting average (.367). Many of his other professional records, including most career hits, most career runs, most career runs, and most career games played, he held for a half-century or more. Read the rest of this entry »

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Yankees could go after Lilly

07.19.10 at 1:26 am ET
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The Yankees suffered a major blow to their starting rotation when they lost All-Star lefty Andy Pettitte for the time being to a groin strain. One name floated by ESPN has been Ted Lilly, who is no stranger to the Yankees organization.

At 42-51, the Cubs are currently 9.5 games behind the Cardinals, so Lilly would appear to be a movable piece for general manager Jim Hendry. The report says that Lilly is being “Actively pursued” by the Tigers,Twins, Mets, and Dodgers.

Lilly, who will be a free agent at the end of the season, has gone 3-8 in 16 starts this season with a 4.06 earned run average. Last season with the Cubs, he posted a 12-9 record with a career-best 3.10 ERA in 177 innings. Lilly spent parts of three seasons with the Yankees from 2000-2002, pitching both as a starter and out of the bullpen.

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Padres looking to add

07.18.10 at 10:25 pm ET
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Forget about the Adrian Gonzalez to Boston pipe dream. If the Padres are going to do anything at the trade deadline, they will likely be adding.

San Diego leads the NL West by four games and according to Tim Sullivan of the San Diego Union Tribune, manager Bud Black wants Brewers outfielder Corey Hart in the fold. Black is also reportedly very high on Cody Ross, Miguel Tejada, and Milton Bradley.

The 28-year-old Hart is hitting .295 with 22 homers and 70 RBI. He boasts a .354 on-base percentage.

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Rumor: Uggla trade unlikely for Marlins

07.18.10 at 2:13 pm ET
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MLBtraderumors.com reports the Marlins will likely keep two-time All-Star second baseman Dan Uggla and might even sign for him in 2011 — his final year of arbitration — according too MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro.

Since Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki broke his wrist in June, sources say Colorado has been interested in picking up Uggla, and although the Marlins will likely keep him, Frisaro says Florida is open to listening to offers for any of their players.

Tracy Ringolsby of Inside the Rockies tweeted Sunday that the Rockies haven’t been interested in Uggla for months, writing: “Amazing how media can create a rumor and keep feeding it. Rockies have NOT been in pursuit of Fla 2B Dan Uggla since last winter.”

The Braves, on the other hand, might be interested in right-handed Marlins outfielder Cody Ross, and the Yankees may have their eye on corner infielder Wes Helms.  Marlins infielder Jorge Cantu also will likely switch teams when he becomes a free agent this winter.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports says Ricky Nolasco is also a focus for the Rockies, who need a right-handed bat that will put runs on the board — though he is another player Florida is unlikely to give away.

The Rockies, Twins, Red Sox and Padres all demand infield additions, making these franchises likely places for these Marlins to end up.

President Larry Beinfest said the Marlins, 10 1/2 gamees behind the Braves in the NL East, will be active in roster changes.

In a statement before Florida’s game against the Diamondbacks Sunday, Beinfest said, “Change is always possible. … I think we need to be more open to everything at this point, because we haven’t had that run.”

Trade conversations are ongoing with the Marlins, who, Frisaro reports, have no financial limitations to clear salary from owner Jeffrey Loria.

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Rumor: Kovalchuk close to decision

07.18.10 at 2:11 pm ET
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Mark Everson of NYpost.com says a source close to Ilya Kovalchuk indicated the Russian free agent is, again, close to making a decision about where he’ll lace up his skates next season.

The Kings, Devils, St. Petersburg of the KHL and a silent NHL bidder have shown interest in the left winger, who was the No. 1 pick in the 2001 NHL draft by the Thrashers — the first Russian to be drafted first overall.

Kovalchuk, considered by some as the best NHL unrestricted free agent ever, was nominated for Rookie of the Year in his 2001-02 season (51 points in 65 games) in Atlanta and played eight seasons there before being traded to New Jersey, choosing free agency at the end of his 2009-10 season.

He was the first Thrashers player to ever score 50 goals in a season when he returned to Atlanta from Russia following the 2004-05 lockout and finished the season scoring 52. In 2007-08 he completed his second 52-goal season in three years.

Last season, in the final year of Kovalchuk’s contract with the Thrashers, the two parties could not make an agreement over a contract extension, as Kovalchuk reportedly denied 12-year, $101 million and seven-year $70 million proposals. The Thrashers traded him to the Devils on Feb. 4 with Anssi Salmela for Niclas Bergfors, Johnny Oduya and Patrice Cormier plus a first-round pick and a swap of second-rounders.

The Kings say they believe their chances of scoring Kovalchuk are 50-50. On July 5, Kovalchuk appeared ready to sign with New Jersey when he reverted back to talks with Los Angeles unexpectedly.

The Devils have offered him $60 million over seven years, $100 million over 17 — to revitalize their left wing where Patrik Elias will take over with Jason Arnott available for the center spot. Zach Parise, up for restricted free agency next summer and unrestricted the summer after that, and Brian Rolston and Dainius Zubrus, are also available to play wing in New Jersey.

NYpost.com reported July 5 that the Devils had $6 million in cap space available, with 16 certain roster players, but would have to cover six roster sports with $4 million, turning $2 million over to Kovalchuk, spilling over the $59.4 million cap by $5.94 million until the regular season starts.

Kovalchuk made $7.5 million last season, and recorded 27 points in 27 games with the Devils.

Referring to Kovalchuk as the NHL’s “Jamesian free agent,” the New York Post wrote that one of Canada’s national outlets officially proposed a one-hour prime-time special announcing his decision after LeBron James‘ “Decision” on ESPN.

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Yankees making a play for Soria?

07.18.10 at 1:57 pm ET
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According to the New York Baseball Digest, there are indications that the Yankees are ready to get in the hunt for Kansas City closer Joakim Soria. Writes Frank Russo:

I spoke with my main Yankees source down in Tampa on Sunday morning who informed me that the team is in the midst of ongoing discussions with Kansas City over the availability of Joakim Soria. “KC is very adamant with their demands in wanting at least one major league ready player and several prospects. I think that it’s a deal that ”Cash” has to make. “They’re not winning another championship with the way the bullpen is currently constructed. Brian has to do something soon. Other than Mariano, the bullpen has been a total “crap shoot.”

Soria is making $3 million this season, and $4 million in 2011, with the Royals holding club options of $6 million, $8 million, and $8.75 million, respectively, over the following three seasons.

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Sabres, Islanders after Savard?

07.18.10 at 9:25 am ET
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According to this report, both the Sabres and Islanders are “in the hunt” for Bruins center Marc Savard. The 33-year-old has been rumored to be on the block as the Bruins look to sort out an ugly salary cap situation. Though Savard’s deal (just over a $4 million cap hit for the next seven seasons) is by no means a problem contract, getting him off the books would facilitate the signings of both Blake Wheeler and Tyler Seguin.

Another interesting possibility the report brings up is the idea — which is backed by sources — that if free agent winger Alexander Frolov does not have a deal in place soon, he “could pull a [Marion] Hossa and play a year on the wing with Sidney Crosby.”

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Report: Yankees interested in acquiring Marlins’ Helms

07.17.10 at 6:10 pm ET
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According to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, the Yankees are interested in acquiring Marlins third baseman Wes Helms. Helms this season is batting .243 with three homers. Yankees manager Joe Girardi managed Helms in Florida. He is respected in the clubhouse and has postseason experience with from his days with the Braves and Phillies. Helms is a free agent after this season.

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