Batista’s versatility is impressive. He has reinvented himself as a long-winded starter after spending 2005 in Toronto’s bullpen. Guys like that are invaluable in the postseason, when rotations are compacted, because they can handle a variety of roles. Of course, the Diamondbacks still have plans to be there, too.
Pitching-shoppers aren’t yet taking Kansas City’s Mark Redman seriously; it’s almost like they expect the 32-year-old lefty to come undone every time he takes the mound. But he just keeps digging his groove deeper, and teams should be fighting over him before the deadline.
Especially National League teams, since Redman has virtually dominated the stronger AL for six weeks, and he knows the NL from his experiences with the 2003 Marlins and the 2005 Bucs. Since opening the season 0-5 with a 6.88 ERA through May, Redman has lost once in nine starts — and that was the complete game he dropped, 1-0, Tuesday in Boston.
As long as Julio Lugo keeps talking of a four-year, $35 million free-agent payday — he hasn’t stopped and, really, based on his performances, no reason he should — the Devil Rays will move him before the deadline. Tampa Bay is not in the habit of carrying players in their walk years to the wire.
Lugo and the Blue Jays are a perfect fit. One of the things that has held back the Jays is an inexperienced double-play combination that hasn’t clicked as hoped. Russ Adams’ light bat (.227) and heavy glove (10 errors) at short have kept that key position in flux all season. Aaron Hill settled in better at second, but Adams’ problems have forced John Gibbons to play him on both sides of the bag.
A Lugo at short would anchor Hill at second. Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi says he can’t afford Lugo, either, but that’s just posturing, hoping for a better deal. However, this is a given: Ricciardi can’t move on something like this until he has worked out a trade for Shea Hillenbrand — designated for assignment last night — and gotten most of his salary (about $2.5 million remaining of his $5.8 million deal) off the payroll.