The Latest MLB Buzz

Despite up to 6 teams showing interest in Jason Bay, many MLb insiders feel Jason Bay isn’t going anywhere because of owner Bob Nutting. There is speculation from outsiders that Nutting nixed a trade to Cleveland last winter which would have brought Cliff Lee to Pittsburgh and according to insiders outside of the “local media”, Nutting was involved in the process of nixing a trade Monday afternoon that would have sent Jason Bay to Atlanta. Despite the growing assumption around the league that Bay won’t be moved, teams are still approaching the Pirates: OAK, TB, ATL, ARI, PHI, LA Dodgers.

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Inside analysis: Nutting does have a involvement in approving or nixing any trade but any input he receives, is going to be coming from Frank Coonelly and Neil Huntington. He lets those two handle the day-day to operations of the team. Maybe Bob Nutting really wants to keep Jason Bay, but if the Pirates receive the 4 for 1 swap they are seeking, Bay will be moved. At this point there has been no such offer.

The Tampa Bay Rays are the perfect suitor for Jason Bay but their interest has cooled the past couple weeks due to the Pirates high demands. The two sides have had discussions but the Rays continue to indicate pitching prospect Wade Davis is off limits. Davis is the primary player the Pirates are seeking from Tampa Bay.

The same can be said about the New York Mets. The Pirates have asked about pitcher Jon Niese but the Mets continue to indicate time after time, Niese is not available. Sources do indicate both teams could still make a play for Bay in the next 36 hours.

The Braves are looking towards next season but are still interested in acquiring Jason Bay before the deadline.

The A’s have been targeting Bay, which doesn’t make sense to a lot of insiders.

The Dodgers are a interesting team. They showed a interest in Bay a few weeks ago but then acquired Casey Blake. Some thought the acquisition of Blake ended their pursuit of another bat but in the past couple days, the Dodgers have had discussions with the Red Sox about Manny Ramirez and have also been keeping tabs on Jason Bay.

The Diamondbacks are interested but talks have never come close to even being characterized as “serious”. If the Pirates receive the 4 for 1 swap they are seeking, Bay will be moved. At this point there has been no such offer.

Teams showing significant interest: Oakland, Atlanta,
Teams showing moderate interest: Arizona, LA Dodgers, Philadelphia
Two sleepers: Tampa Bay and New York Mets
Longshot: Minnesota Twins

  • The Latest MLB Buzz
  • Jon Heyman writes the Philadelphia Phillies are the front runners to acquire Manny Ramirez. If the Phillies acquire Ramirez, that ends their pursuit of Jason Bay. If this trade were to happen, a source expects the Mets to pursue Jason Bay again.
  • Despite reports that the Dodgers were in heavy discussions with the Red Sox about Manny Ramirez, Ken Rosenthal says the Dodgers are no longer interested in Manny Ramirez
  • For now, the Dodgers have ended their pursuit of Jack Wilson. Today, the Dodgers had serious discussions with the Pirates to acquire Wilson but sources indicate the Pirates have not come off of their asking price.
  • There is a lot of interest in John Grabow. I have the Phillies, Red sox, Angels, Rays, Brewers, Marlins, Tigers, and Twins showing some kind of interest in Grabow. The Phillies and Angels have shown the most interest. The Rays and Marlins are possibilities. Although both teams are doing a lot of talking, they seem reluctant to give up elite prospects to acquire top relievers on the market like Brian Fuentes and George Sherrill. I don’t see the Pirates getting much in return.
  • Brian Fuentes could be back on the market with the Rockies losing two straight to the Pirates. A week ago the Rockies made it known they were going to be buyers but unless they can acquire some starting pitching, they may become sellers again.
  • The Mets and Diamondbacks remain suitors for Raul Ibanez.
  • I’m not as high on Mark Teixeira as others, but he is a great addition to the Anaheim Angels. The Angels are 19th in runs scored and have lacked that big bat to in the middle of the lineup to off-set Vladimir Guerrero. Now they have one.

Day 2 – Afternoon session; Bentley a possibility?

According to a source, the longer the Kemoeatu situation drags out, the more the probability rises on LeCharles Bentley. The line has not looked great, according to this source.

Day 2 of training camp saw the Steelers lose their punter, Daniel Sepulveda for the season with a torn ACL in his right (non-kicking) leg.The team signed Paul Ernster, most recently of Detroit, to replace Sepulveda on the roster and Ernster will be in Latrobe Wednesday.Sepulveda tore the same ACL in college at Baylor and will have surgery sometime this week.

It was status quo at center on Tuesday, with Sean Mahan taking the majority of the snaps at center with the first unit. Mahan was beaten badly by Chris Hoke today. First team O-Line in afternoon session: LT Smith, LG Essex, C Mahan, RG Simmons, RT Colon

In the battle for the No. 3 receiver, incumbant Nate Washington and rookie Limas Sweed both scored points Tuesday. Sweed made a beautiful divingcatch on a deep ball down the sidelines that had the crowd cheering. Not to be outdone, Washington made a great leaping catch in the back of the end zone to end the first two-minute drill, beating William Gay and James Farrior. Sweed scored for the second unit, catching a fade pass from Charlie Batch while working against Anthony Madison.

James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley looked very good again today. The same can be said for Rashard Mendenhall. He’s going to be a special player.

Willie Colon and Max Starks did not perform well in the afternoon session.

A Steelers insider I talked to, indicates If you’re looking for a sleeper to make this roster, keep an eye on tight end Cody Boyd, who displayed the best run blocking skills in one-on-one drills at that position Tuesday. Boyd was in camp with the Steelers last year, but was cut. Word is Boyd seems to have taken his blocking to another level and with Jerame Tuman gone, the team may be looking for a third tight end who can block well.

Steelers punter Sepulveda out for season with knee injury

The Steelers have announced Steelers punter Daniel Sepulveda is out for the season with a torn ACL in his right knee. To replace Sepulveda, the Steelers have have claimed punter Paul Ernster off waivers from the Detroit Lions. Ernster played for the Browns in 2007.

Training Camp Update: Day 2 Morning & Afternoon Session

Afternoon session
  • 3:32 p.m. Anthony Smith and Bryant McFadden are not practicing today. Both are believed to be hindered by a hamstring or groin pull. This is a good chance for William Gay to step up as he will get reps against the 1st team.
  • 3:00 p.m. first unit (O-Line) for afternoon session – LT Smith, LG Essex, C Mahan, RG Simmons, RT Colon are running with the first team for the second consecutive day.
Morning Session
The Steelers worked on special teams this morning. Running back Mewelde Moore appears to be the #1 kick returner going into the season. Insiders have been raving about him since the OTA’s. Willie Reid also returned kicks and Rashard Mendenhall will get a strong look in camp to return kicks.
Santonio Holmes stated throughout the off-season that he wanted to return punts. Holmes got his wish yesterday and was returning punts but this morning he hinted to people that he may just want to concentrate on pass catching.
Chris Kemoeatu will be out until next week. I’m hearing he should return by next Wednesday. Kemoeatu suffered the injury three weeks ago lifting weights and believed the injury was more serious that it appears now.
Yesterday during the 11 on 11 drills, Holmes, Ward, Washington and Reid were 1-4 on the depth chart. That won’t last for long.
Jim Wexell is reporting Casey Hampton showed up to camp weighing 365 lbs.
A Insider has told me he believes the Steelers may have one of the games top linebacking corps.
Check back in the evening for a indepth update from the afternoon session.

Big East Media Day: Pitt picked to finish 3rd

 Today is Big East media day and Pitt has been picked to finish third for the upcoming season. West Virginia is picked to finish 1st and South Florida has been picked to finish 2nd. Pitt did receive 1 first place vote. Experts are predicting Pitt to finish with 8-9 wins this season.
2008 BIG EAST FOOTBALL PRESEAON MEDIA POLL
1) West Virginia (22) 189 points
2) South Florida (1) 149 points
3) PITT (1) 128 points
4) Rutgers 110 points
5) Cincinnati 98 points
6) Connecticut 97 points
7) Louisville 69 points
8) Syracuse 24 points
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Penguins sign Matt Cooke;updates appear at the bottom of the page

The Penguins have agreed to a two-year contract with free-agent forward Matt Cooke. TIOPS first reported on Wednesday that the Penguins were in discussions with Cooke. Cooke is a gritty forward and will be a ideal replacement for Jarkko Ruutu. Cooke had 10 goals, 13 assists and 91 penalty minutes in 78 games with Vancouver and Washington last season. Correction — my numbers were off. Early reports indicate Matt Cooke signed for 1.2 million per season. That is a great signing by Ray Shero. Indications are Cooke took less money to sign as I’m being told he had offers in the 1.6 million per season range.

More to come — Later tonight I’ll have some updates on the latest Sydor/Scuderi trade rumors and some whispers coming out of the Windy City

Clarification on Jeff Taffe. He did sign a 2 year two-way contract last summer but had a clause in it that he exercised to become a UFA– Pittsburgh is looking to bring him back and Taffe wants a 1way contract around 550k per season. As I wrote earlier, Florida, Nashville and LA have inquired about him.

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The Latest Penguins/NHL Buzz

3:20 p.m. The latest on Todd Bertuzzi— there isn’t a huge lineup for his services. This will be his fifth team since the lockout and his agent is taking the time to find the right situation for him because this is his last chance to revive his career. Talking to some outsiders today, they believe Pittsburgh would be a great fit for him if the price is right. The Penguins broke off talks with Bertuzzi on Wednesday because he was asking for 2.75 million per season. I’m hearing there are two teams who interested in Daryl Sydor if the Penguins include Rob Scuderi and a pick. My main source was very brief on this so I don’t have any more details….. More to come later tonight.

According to a source Shero has Chuck Fletcher trying to work deals with some depth forwards. A lot of calls were placed asking what the players want and that was completed Wednesday. Now the staff is going over the list trying to figure out the best fits. A lot of these players will hold out hoping for a better offer later in the summer. The Penguins have had discussions with Matt Cooke, Jason Williams, and Brad Isbister. Pittsburgh would really like to sign Matt Cooke but Cooke along with Williams are likely to get more money elsewhere. Brendan Shanahan has been a hot topic since I reported he has a interest in Pittsburgh. I’m hearing as of right now there have been no contract discussions between the Penguins and Shanahan. Shanahan made 2.5 million per season last year. He’s willing to play for a contender for 1.5-1.8 million per season. Sid has a very good relationship with Shanahan and there are some whispers that he may be pushing for the Penguins to give him a look. Well see where this goes but I don’t see it happening.

Sources tell TIOPS the Tampa Lightning, LA Kings Chicago Blackhawks, Florida Panthers, Ottawa Senators have inquired about Rob Scuderi but I don’t know if there’s any interest in Daryl Sydor right now. I’m sending out a lot of emails about Sydor so I should get something on him today.
I still believe the Tampa Lightning are the front runners to sign Jason Smith. Smith has also been talking to the Ottawa Senators, Buffalo Sabres and Chicago Blackhawks but the Hawks need to move some salary.
Damian Cristodero of the St.Petersberg Times reports on the possbility of the Lightning shopping a forward naming Jussi Jokinen and Michel Ouellet as possibilities for a shutdown defenseman.
I’m hearing Sergei Federov has a agreement in place to sign with the Washington Capitals. Believed to be a 1yr deal worth close to 3.25 million per season.
David Staples of Edmonton Journal sent me this yesterday about Jagr. Don’t know if anybody saw it http://communities.canada.com/edmontonjournal/blogs/hockey/archive/2008/07/04/jaromir-jagr-to-milbury-kiss-my-ass.aspx
Ritch Winter is telling people that the Oilers offered 85 million over 9 years to Marian Hossa.
About 6-8 teams are in pursuit of Pavel Demitra. I’m hearing Florida, Vancouver, Buffalo, NYR, Edmonton, Atlanta, Columbus and Washington have had discussions with Demitra.
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