Starling Marte's big start boosts Pirates' trade options
The outfielder homered on the first major-league pitch he received and could be traded by Pittsburgh.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Starling Marte made a tremendous first impression Thursday with the Pirates, homering on the first major-league pitch he saw from Houston's Dallas Keuchel.
But some think the Pirates called up Marte to showcase him for a trade to get more experienced outfield help. They have been going with a platoon of Alex Presley and Drew Sutton in left.
Among their likeliest targets are Shin-Soo Choo of Cleveland and Hunter Pence of Philadelphia.
The Pirates, in the rare position of trade-deadline buyers, have already made one trade, acquiring pitcher Wandy Rodriguez from the Astros.
That deal shows that the Pirates are willing to spend money as they chase their first playoff appearance since 1992. They are responsible for half of Rodriguez's remaining $3.4 million salary this season, and a sizable chunk of his $13-million salary next season.
A's strike out on Ramirez
The A's came close to landing Hanley Ramirez before he ended up with the Dodgers. The A's were only willing to absorb about half of Ramirez's remaining $38 million on his contract, while the Dodgers picked up all of it. So the A's remain in the market for a shortstop before Tuesday's trade deadline, with Toronto's Yunel Escobar a possible option. The Jays would likely target Oakland pitcher Brett Anderson.
Detroit going for broke
The Tigers' trade of top pitching prospect Jacob Turner and two other prospects to Miami for Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante is another sign that Detroit is going all out for a title this year.
Sanchez gives them a more proven arm in the rotation, while Infante should improve a major problem area for the Tigers. At the time of the trade, their second basemen were hitting a combined .201 with two homers and 25 runs batted in. Infante was hitting .287 with eight homers and 33 RBI in Miami.
Notes and quotes
• The Rangers went hard after Zack Greinke and will continue their pursuit of a frontline pitcher (James Shields? Josh Johnson? Cliff Lee, part deux?) after Greinke ended up with the Angels. Part of the urgency sprouts from Colby Lewis' need for season-ending surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow.
• Not that the Angels are phasing out Vernon Wells, but his giant banner in front of the stadium was recently replaced with one for All-Star Mark Trumbo.
Wells has returned from the disabled list — he's been out since May 20 with a thumb injury — but has no role on the team. Not with the emergence of Mike Trout and Trumbo, and the resurgence of Torii Hunter, hitting .322 since moving into second in the order between Trout and Albert Pujols on June 8.
Oh, did we mention the Angels still owe Wells the remainder of his $21 million salary for 2012, as well as $21 million in 2013 and '14? It's Tony Reagins' gift that keeps on giving.
• The Twins' need for retooling was driven home during a three-game sweep by the White Sox in Chicago in which they lost by a combined 26-10 margin. The Twins could be an active seller at the deadline, with teams inquiring about Denard Span, Josh Willingham and Francisco Liriano.
Even Justin Morneau could be in play, but teams are leery because of his concussion history and the $20 million still owed him between now and the end of 2013.
• When Ichiro was traded to the Yankees, he joined Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez in a trio that, at the time of the deal, had a combined career total of 8,613 hits.
That ranks seventh for a trio of teammates. The record is 11,012 hits by the threesome of Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker and Eddie Collins for the 1928 Philadelphia A's.
• On Tuesday, Detroit right fielder Brennan Boesch initiated an unusual play that resulted in a 9-3-5-6-3 putout against Cleveland. Someone checked, and found out that 93563 is the ZIP code of Pearblossom, Calif., population 2,435.
• The final straw for the Brewers, forcing them into full seller mode, was a three-game sweep by the Phillies. In each game, they squandered a lead in the final inning and lost 7-6. That capped an 0-6 trip and ended any hope of getting back into the race. It also wiped out any trade value for Francisco Rodriguez, who had replaced John Axford as closer but blew two of the games against the Phillies.
Larry Stone: 206-464-3146 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On twitter @StoneLarry