MLB Trade Rumors: Are the Rays willing to trade B.J. Upton?

Seattle Mariners catcher Josh Bard throws back the baseball after the Tampa Bay Rays B.J. Upton got a called strike during the third inning of their MLB American League baseball game in St. Petersburg, Florida September 26, 2010. REUTERS/Scott Audette (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

I’ve put together a small buffet of latest MLB trade rumors for your reading pleasure. So bon appetit, douche bag. (That wasn’t very nice.)

Rays listening to offers for Upton?
ESPN’s Buster Olney believes that the Rays “will listen to just about every trade proposal thrown their way” in regards to centerfielder B.J. Upton. The 26-year-old is hitting just .237 on the season and is due $4.825 million before hitting free agency. He has yet to match his output from 2007 when he slugged .508 as a 22-year-old, but he’s entering the prime of his career and his defense is solid. The problem is that the centerfield market is relatively strong this year compared to other positions. Coco Crisp and Marlon Byrd are viable options and David DeJesus sometimes passes as a Major League Baseball player. If Colby Rasmus and/or Michael Bourn become available as well, contenders won’t feel the need to pay big for Upton.

Mets 100 percent certain to keep Reyes?
Olney tweets that the Mets are now “100 percent certain” that they won’t trade shortstop Jose Reyes before the deadline. A couple of months ago it seemed like a slam-dunk that the Mets would trade the 28-year-old, but obviously their stance on the topic has changed. Even though they’re are a long shot to win the NL Wild Card this year, it appears as though they don’t want to anger fans by trading away one of their beloved players. Now they’ll have to figure out how they’re going to pay Reyes the Carl Crawford-type money that he’s allegedly seeking.

Beltran given a list of possible trade suitors
Tim Brown and Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports are reporting that the Mets gave Carlos Beltran a list of possible trade suitors to consider. It’s unclear what teams are on that list but Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Cleveland have all been mentioned as potential landing spots over these last couple of weeks. That said, I want to officially go on record as predicting that the Giants will eventually bow out of the Beltran sweepstakes. New York sports radio was abuzz last week with the possibility of the Mets landing top prospect Zach Wheeler in exchange for Beltran. But New York sports radio is also drunk. The Giants aren’t going to give up Wheeler or Brandon Belt in any deal, so unless the Mets want to settle for a package centered around Johnny O. Sanchez (which is highly doubtful), I don’t think San Fran and New York will be a fit.

Pirates looking at the A’s Willingham, Breslow
It looks like the first place Pirates will be buyers at the trade deadline this year. I don’t know what alternate universe I’ve stepped into to start a paragraph by saying the “first place Pirates will be buyers” but I’ll go with it until I wake up. According to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Bucs are mulling a potential trade with the A’s for outfielder Josh Willingham and left-hander Craig Breslow. I, along with other media members, believed that the offseason additions of Willingham, Hideki Matsui and David DeJesus would give the pitching-stacked A’s enough offense to win the AL West this year. But I, along with other media members, am not that bright. Biertempfel also speculates that Garrett Jones would likely be “out the door” in a potential swap with Oakland.

Reds targeting James Shields?
Olney tweets that James Shields is on the Reds’ radar right now, noting that the Rays’ scouts have been scouting Cincinnati’s minor leaguers this week. Shields signed a four-year extension with the Rays in 2009, but his contract is flexible in that he has club options for 2012, 2013 and 2014. The 29-year-old has been solid this season, compiling a 2.60 ERA with 145 strikeouts over 148 2/3 innings, so he won’t come cheap in terms of prospects. MLBTradeRumors.com speculates that other teams that may be interested are the Indians, Rangers, Pirates, Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Rangers.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Andy Reid willing to “evaluate” all offers for Kevin Kolb

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb (C) runs between San Francisco 49ers William James (L) and NaVorro Bowman during their NFL football game in San Francisco, California, October 10, 2010. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Eagles coach Andy Reid told the media on Friday that teams have shown “a little interest” in quarterback Kevin Kolb and noted, “we’ll sit back and we’ll evaluate.”

Read between the lines and it’s clear that Reid and the Eagles are willing to listen to offers for Kolb, but teams better be willing to meet their demands because they’re not going to give him away. The Eagles are reportedly seeking a first round pick for the 26-year-old signal caller, which might be too lofty an asking price for quarterback-needy teams like the Bills (#3 overall), Bengals (#4), Cardinals (#5), 49ers (#7), Titans (#8) and/or Redskins (#10).

Earlier this month, I sized up Kolb’s trade suitors and at the top were the Seattle Seahawks, who own the 25th overall selection. The Cardinals were No. 2, the Vikings were No. 3 and then I also listed the 49ers, Titans and Redskins as “other possibilities.” I didn’t mention the Bengals but Carson Palmer is pretty adamant that he won’t return to the ‘Natti so I guess you have to consider the Bungles a possibility for Kolb as well.

Without a CBA, talking about Kolb’s potential destinations is just mental masturbation at this point. But it is interesting that Reid said the Eagles would “evaluate” the situation.

Charles Barkley vs. Billy Packer [video]

A few weeks ago, longtime NCAA Tournament announcer Billy Packer sounded off about the plans by CBS to cover the 2011 tournament on four networks: CBS, TNT, TBS and TruTV.

ESPN would be better, he says, partly because it has announcers doing college games all season. He likens using NBA announcers to when he used to turn down requests to work NBA action by saying, ” ‘I’m not qualified, it’s a different sport.’ ” This, he says, is like CBS’ Verne Lundquist calling SEC football all year “and then having somebody who just did the pros come in to call the SEC title game.”

But with CBS’ old regionalized coverage now gone, isn’t it good for viewers who want to see a specific NCAA game to not have to worry about missing it because they’re in the wrong local TV market? “What percentage of the total audience does that represent,” says Packer. “Has all this been changed for the .01% of viewers who really want a specific game?”

And viewers, warns Packer, will miss the old system of being switched to the hottest action. Recalling working regional sites where “none of the games were really good,” he says the old way “enabled the product to never have to show them (widely) by going to exciting buzzer-beaters instead.”

One of those “NBA announcers” Packer refers to is Charles Barkley, who didn’t take the criticism very well:

I’m picturing Packer sitting on his porch in an 80s-era jogging suit, nursing a watered down iced tea and every so often yelling at the neighborhood kids to get off his lawn. He was grumpy 10 years ago, can you imagine how grumpy he is now?

I don’t know if CBS plans to bounce around to the best action on the main CBS feed, but I like the fact that I can switch to any of the four games on the four different channels, so I guess I’m in Packer’s .01% of viewers who want to be able to watch whichever game they want. I’m not exactly sure where he got that number — it sounds like he pulled it out of someplace very, very dark — but clearly the guy is old school, so he’s used to the days when a program director decided which game the audience would see instead of giving the audience that choice.

I would like to see CBS start with a game but then go to better action if the game gets out of hand. This would appease those viewers who don’t want to flip around on their own, while the rest of us would still have the option of watching whichever game we wanted.

As for Charles Barkley providing commentary for NCAA action — I don’t have a problem with it. Sure, he’s not going to be as educated as a Seth Davis or Clark Kellogg, but those guys will be providing their own commentary as well. Barkley is nothing if not entertaining, and he can bring a ton of levity to what otherwise has been a pretty humorless production.

Kobe says he was fouled

Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant waits as officials review a call during fourth quarter NBA basketball action against the Miami Heat in Miami, Florida March 10, 2011. REUTERS/Hans Deryk (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

I know, I know…when doesn’t Kobe think he was fouled? (ESPN)

“[Dwyane] Wade fouled the s— out of me,” Bryant said with his feet dipped in a bucket of ice water after the game. Bryant was referring to the 3-pointer he attempted with 1:06 left and the Lakers down 90-88.

“It was clearly evident,” Bryant said. “They missed it. … He fouled the hell out of me, they just missed it.”

“I couldn’t make that, he hit my whole arm,” said Bryant, who had made his previous two 3-point attempts at the time, including a long 28-footer to tie the score at 88. “That’s why I went so short. … I should have been shooting three free throws.”

Even with all of his other personality quirks, the thing that most drives me nuts about Kobe is his constant interaction with the officials. Nine times out of 10 if he loses the ball or misses a shot, he’ll have something to say or a nasty look for the ref. It’s almost as if he thinks he’s too good to fail on any particular possession without the defender doing something illegal to stop him.

The league has tried to cut down on all of the griping this season by implementing new “respect the game” rules for technicals, and for the most part I think it has worked. But Kobe is still Kobe and these comments prove that.

Maybe I’m being too nostalgic, but I don’t remember Michael Jordan or Larry Bird constantly complaining to (or about) the officials.

Is Chris Bosh justified in complaining about role?

Miami Heat Forward Chris Bosh (1) during 1st half action against The New York Knicks at the American Airlines Arena, in Miami Florida, December 28,2010. The Miami Heat beat the New York Knicks 106-98.. UPI/Susan Knowles…

After the Heat’s loss to the Blazers on Tuesday, Chris Bosh grumbled about the types of shots he’s getting. (ESPN)

“I just have to get it where I’m effective. I’m a big man. I can shoot the ball but I’m a big man. So I have to get it where big guys get it. Then I feel I can start helping out this team more.”

“I’ve got to get back in my comfort zone, I haven’t been in my comfort zone,” Bosh said. “A lot of things are new for me. I just have to be more aggressive in demanding my [the ball] comfort zone, you know I’ll take the fault for that… I’m effective down in the low post area, so that is where I need to start getting the ball. I need to be assertive in demanding it.”

“I’m saying what I need to do as a player, a closed mouth doesn’t get fed,” Bosh said. “I’m uncomfortable now so you might as well do something else. If there’s a disagreement or something, that’s fine, we can talk about it. If they don’t want that, that’s OK, but I just feel that I have to be my normal self. I’m not there right now. I haven’t been there many times this season.”

All right, so he’s a big guy and he wants the ball on the post. That’s all well and good, but he said this back in October…

“I never really like to bump against people that are a lot, lot bigger than me,” Bosh said in October. “I’m not the biggest guy in the world. Coach is going to put him in that position sometimes. He’s not going to hang me out to dry. He’s going to put me in there when we have an advantage.”

That sure doesn’t sound like a guy who wants to be fed the ball on the block. I always thought that he was more effective at the mid-post or the elbow, where he could hit the little jumper or go by the defender.

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