It's been an interesting day of rumors. In a surprising twist, the Cardinals are back in discussions for Jason Bay, George Sherrill may be unavailable after all, and MLB.com's Mark Bowman thinks Will Ohman will be a Cardinal. More after the jump.
First, the Bay news. The Tampa Bay Rays are having ongoing discussions for Jason Bay, with Reid Brignac as a critical piece. The Cardinals are going to have a tough time matching that package, but Pittsburgh writer Dejan Kovacevic says the Cards are still in it:
The Cardinals are interested in Bay, but not John Grabow (which surprised me to learn), according to a source there. They absolutely, positively will not give up outfielder Colby Rasmus, one of the best prospects in the game, but the Pirates probably would be able to pick off the list of pretty much any pitching prospect they have. But that is not nearly as enticing as it might sound: The Cardinals' system is basically Rasmus. Chris Perez, their No. 2 prospect, is a reliever in Class AAA Memphis. The top starter is the No. 4 prospect, Jaime Garcia, also in Class AAA. ... Be very sure that the Pirates would prefer to make a deal with Tampa, as it will be quality rather than quantity that they want in return for Bay, their biggest trading chip in years.
Remember, Jason Bay is signed for $7.5 million in 2009, so this wouldn't be a rental. It looks like the Tampa Bay discussions are going to dictate the Cardinals', but the Rays have been hard to deal with in the past and a Pittsburgh-Tampa deal is no sure thing. I could see this one going down to the wire. It'd be tough to give up Chris Perez and Jaime Garcia and, I'm assuming, someone else, but Bay is a bona fide bat. (Note: I take strong exception to the "system is basically Rasmus" comment, though. The Cardinals have certainly one of the top 15 systems in the MLB, with a plethora of outfield and pitching prospects.)
Joe Strauss has a related blip in his chat today:
That said, the Pirates may not be done making moves. The asking price for Jason Bay apparently has dropped within the last 48 hours. LH reliever John Grabow is also available. Colby Rasmus is not on the table for Bay.
The other surprising twist is the Cardinals are not interested in John Grabow, per Dejan. Either the asking price is too high or they have their sight set on another reliever, such as Will Ohman. Quoting Mark Bowman:
OK now back to the selling mode. Left-handed reliever Will Ohman will come to Turner Field as a member of a fourth-place team on Wednesday and find himself with a postseason contender by the time Thursday concludes. He will definitely be traded and the best guess now is that he'll land with the Cardinals.
The Braves might find a projectable starter like Tyler Herron attractive, but that's a guess. Signs are pointing towards a possible match here. The Braves are packing it in for the 2008 season, given Chipper's injury and the Teixeira sell-off. Ohman is definitely going somewhere.
The Orioles aren't finding the ML-ready shortstop they want, so it's looking like George Sherrill is off the market. They really have no reason to trade him other than selling high, but it's not selling high if you can't get players you value.
Finally, one last tidbit from the Joe Strauss chat:
Given the Atlanta Braves' looming purge, LH reliever Will Ohman will come cheaply. Asking prices for players can drop dramatically between now and tomorrow. I've already discussed Bay. The Colorado Rockies remain a major player if they come to their senses and position themselves as sellers. Fuentes fits what the Cardinals need and the Rockies are among the organizations who have appreciation for the Cardinal's minor-league system. Sherrill would be a nice contractual fit but I don't know if there's a fit there. The Orioles want a shortstop; I don't believe the Cardinals are going to kick T. Greene loose.
The Rockies like the Cardinals farm system and the Pirates are perpetually intrigued by some of our players, with the Braves having some outside interest too; three teams that could all match up well with the Cardinals. I think they are probably our best bets.