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Sources: Twins, Giants still keen on 2B Sanchez

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Jon Paul Morosi

Jon Paul Morosi is a National MLB Writer for FOXSports.com. He previously covered baseball for the Detroit Free Press and Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He began his journalism career at the Bay City Times in his native Michigan. Follow him on Twitter.

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The Pirates weren't close to dealing Freddy Sanchez as of Thursday night, sources said, although the Giants and Twins have maintained a consistent level of interest in the second baseman. Amid the flurry of reports about Sanchez's trade status, it's important to remember one fairly significant detail: He has not appeared in Pittsburgh's last six games because of a lower back problem. After an absence of that length, scouts will probably want Sanchez to demonstrate his health over a period of several games before recommending a move. And only three days remain before the All-Star break. While the Rockies have been reported as one possible suitor, sources indicated that they don't appear to have serious interest. Clint Barmes has played well at second base for Colorado, batting .284 with power numbers that project to career highs. The Pirates' asking price is high at the moment, one source said, and teams have yet to approach it. But that could change over the course of one telephone call. Interested clubs, particularly the Twins, appear wary of the salary commitment involved. If Sanchez makes 600 plate appearances this year — as he is on pace to do — his $8 million contract option for next year will become guaranteed. "That's where the hang-up is," one executive said. "With this economy, no one wants to commit for next year until they have to." Similarly, the budget-conscious Pirates would benefit if their 2010 payroll did not include Sanchez's $8 million. So, it's still very possible that he will be moved at some point before the July 31 non-waiver deadline.
The Giants have also shown interest in Baltimore's Aubrey Huff, as they look to upgrade their offense.

Briefly

One of the most intriguing pitching performances on Thursday came in Milwaukee. Left-hander Manny Parra struck out seven and walked one in seven shutout innings, as he returned from the minor leagues. Could Parra help provide the rotation stability that the Brewers have lacked for much of this season? Perhaps. The 26-year-old has always had promise, but an inconsistent track record is reason for pause. In multiple ways, Parra could be the key to Milwaukee's trade-deadline plans. He might diminish the team's need to deal for a starter. Or he could be a primary trade chip. The Blue Jays had a scout at Miller Park on Thursday afternoon, likely to begin determining whether the teams could match up in a trade for Toronto ace Roy Halladay. The Mariners and Brewers have maintained steady contact regarding potential trades, which is no surprise considering the close relationship between general managers Jack Zduriencik and Doug Melvin. Both teams are currently in contention — with identical 44-41 records — so it's hard to imagine one team "selling" to the other, at least in the near term. But a swap of major-league talent remains possible. There is a natural fit, in the sense that each club has what the other needs; Milwaukee needs pitching, Seattle needs infield help. Scouts continue to say that the Mariners' best defensive infield would include Jose Lopez at third base. That would become realistic with the acquisition of a shortstop. But it doesn't appear that Melvin is willing to trade J.J. Hardy now, even with Alcides Escobar demonstrating his big-league readiness at Class AAA. Meanwhile, it's no secret that the Brewers would like to add a veteran starter, such as Erik Bedard or Jarrod Washburn, a Wisconsin native and resident. Zduriencik should know more about his team's status by the end of this weekend's series against first-place Texas. The Mariners won Thursday night, to pull within 3 1/2 games of the American League West lead.
  • The Cardinals have been mentioned as one possible suitor for Halladay, but it's important to keep something in mind: Their farm system will lose one trade chip when they part with the player to be named later in last month's Mark DeRosa deal. The Indians are currently evaluating the possibilities, which include minor league right-handers Jess Todd and Francisco Samuel. And amid the Halladay talk, here are two statistics to keep in mind: 0-2 and 4.50. That would be Halladay's record and ERA in three starts since returning from the disabled list with a groin strain.
  • Tagged: Giants, J.J. Hardy, Rockies, Orioles, Aubrey Huff, Blue Jays, Mark DeRosa, Indians, Jose Lopez, Clint Barmes, Manny Parra, Roy Halladay, Brewers, Twins, Erik Bedard, Freddy Sanchez, Mariners, Pirates, Cardinals

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