It's a sticky night here at the Stadium, and looking at the weather forecast, a delay seems likely at about 9:00.
Here's what I know...
--It's looking increasingly likely that the Diamondbacks will trade Dan Haren by July 31, which - to me and others smarter than me - screams "Financial distress!" If you look at Arizona's roster, I think it's quite reasonable to conclude that the Diamondbacks don't need to blow up their team. But that's what they'd be doing by trading Haren, whose peripherals show that his 2010 season isn't going as poorly as you might initially think.
The Yankees are in on the Haren sweepstakes, which further reflects their uneasiness with their current starting rotation. There are doubts about Haren's ability to pitch in the American League East; yes, he pitched very well as a member of the A's, but if you're playing your home games in pitcher-friendly McAfee Coliseum, you're still a few steps away from the AL East.
Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi report that the Yankees are the front-runners for Haren. I asked someone in the loop today whether acquiring Haren - who is under control through 2013 - would clog the Yankees' roster moving forward. After all, they already have CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes under control, Andy Pettitte does the year-to-year thing and the Yankees want Cliff Lee this winter.
The person said that wouldn't necessarily be an obstacle _ they could always trade from excess over the winter _ but, at the same time, that it would be contemplated.
The Tigers, Phillies and Cardinals are also reported to be in talks for Haren, although doubts look over how much St. Louis can spend, as Albert Pujols is up for a "largest contract in the game" extension after 2011 and Chris Carpenter's deal concludes after 2012 (when there's a team option for $15 million).
The Yankees have kicked the tires on the other starting pitchers out there _ Roy Oswalt and Jake Westbrook, for instance _ but don't seem particularly interested. Whereas it's growing increasingly apparent that Arizona has to trade Haren, that doesn't appear to be the case with Houston and Oswalt. The bet remains that Oswalt remains in Houston.
Really, the Yankees' top needs lie with their bench and bullpen. They have nothing hot, yet a look at the trade market would lead you to believe that they'll have more luck importing a reserve player than a reliever.
--The Mets? In his team meeting Wednesday night, Jerry Manuel told his players, "I've got everything I need right here." Manuel of course isn't going to say, "We need help!" in a team meeting, but the comment does speak to the Mets' situation. They're not likely to give up any high-end prospects for what's left on the market, and I'm not sure that's a bad thing, given their longshot status for this year's playoffs.
--Much talk about Alex Rodriguez, of course. Please don't tell the competition, but I'm going to start off writing tonight that A-Rod's numbers are just as legitimate as any others. I spoke with Steve Hirdt, executive vice president of the Elias Sports Bureau, and I like how he put it:
"I'd rather it (illegal performance-enhancing drugs) not have happened, but it did happen. The phrase 'It is what it is' was born to be deployed at times like these."
--Thanks to JE for this link, which shows the average number of pitches per game is rising.
--Have a good night.