The Nationals still seem intent on pursuing Cliff Lee and will need to overpay (again) to give this rumor any credence but it's very tough to see Lee going to a non-contender at this stage of his career.
It will be interesting to see how serious the Yankees become with news that Andy Pettite possibly retiring and with the Red Sox acquisition of Adrian Gonzalez.
The Prince Fielder trade rumors have seemingly fired up again; the latest has the Dodgers as being serious suitors for the big man and have initiated talks by offering RHP Jonathan Broxton and 1B James Loney along with a possible marginal prospect.
I did like the acquisition of Shaun Marcum to help stabilize their rotation next season for the cost of a top prospect seemingly blocked by a group of young and effective positional players. For the Brewers to contend next season it's important that they add another pitcher in the backend who could be effective in eating up innings but if they trade Fielder then things could become tricky. Last season, the Brewers saw a resurgance in players like Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart which was necessary in giving them a quality all-around offense. It's become accepted that this will be Fielder's final season and with him not interested in signing a long-term deal until after the 2011 season, he becomes very diffiult to trade since he becomes nothing more than a one season rental.
I've always felt that the Brewers would be better served to keep Fielder as their cleanup hitter since no quality trade package could be expected. If Fielder stays and the Brewers find a few suitable pitchers (so far, one has been acquired) then it would serve this team both competitively and financially to prepare themselves to go deep into next season's playoffs. If they flip Fielder for James Loney and Jonathan Broxton, obviously their offense should take a noticeable hit since having a powerful left-handed bat is vital since this team tends to lean a bit far to the right.
Loney is a good linedrive hitter and is able to make consistent contact but his lack of power and average walk rate limits him. At best he projects as a quality #2 or #6 hitter.
Broxton is coming off a disappointing season and the Dodgers do seem eager to unload him. I think Broxton still has the stuff to close and would be a great addition on a number of teams but on the Brewers he would be more of a luxury than a necessity. Also, his status as a free agent after next season must be taken into account since he may not be too excited if expected to time share closing opportunites with John Axford.
More notes on the way...