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Giants Roundup

Bull Durham

According to ESPN's Jayson Stark, the only Giants' player teams have shown interest in is Jason Schmidt. The Giants have repeatedly said no to moving him, however. And after this past Tuesday's performance by Schmidt, the Giants appear to have taken the correct stance on the issue.

Schmidt's line won't wow anyone -- 7 IP, 3 ER -- but those who saw the game know the real story. He reached double-digit strikeouts for just the second time in 2005, but more importantly, his fastball reached 96 MPH and the sharp break on his curve ball made it appear like an electromagnetic field underneath home plate was pulling it down.

A player the Giants are far more interested in unloading is 2B Ray Durham. And while the market for the 33-year old is decidedly tepid, this writer can't quite figure out why. Despite a handful of nagging injuries since arriving in San Francisco 2+ years ago and a contract that pays him $7 million in 2006, Durham would constitute a worthwhile upgrade at the keystone contender for several teams with postseason and World Series aspirations.

5. St. Louis Cardinals
Granted, with their two zillion game lead over both the Cubs and Astros in the NL Central, the Cardinals could switch places with their Memphis affiliate and still win the division comfortably. However, it doesn't mean they shouldn't be looking to find someone better than Mark Grudzielanek. While Grudzielanek comes cheap -- $1 million -- he doesn't walk, he doesn't hit home runs, and he doesn't move well around second base.

4. San Diego Padres
Blasphemy, you say. It's just bad form to trade with division rivals. Well, in order to not ruffle the rapidly growing machine of the religious right, let me say hooey! Like the Cardinals, the Padres are going to run away with their division. The difference is that the Cardinals are going to do so because they're very good; the Padres are going to because their competition is very bad. Mark Loretta has returned to the team after a 2-month stint on the DL with torn thumb ligaments, but has yet to take the field. That leaves the Padres with a tandem of Geoff Blum and Damian Jackson to pick up the slack. Let's just say there's still a lot of slack right now.

3. Los Angeles Angels
Let's stop and consider just how stupid the name Los Angeles Angels really is. How could Disney not realize their name means "The Angels Angels"? Maybe owner Artie Moreno is just a fan of that Eddie the Echo guy (the stupid McDonalds' commercials).

Either way the Angels-squared could use a guy to play 2B everyday. Chone Figgins isn't a bad player, and anyone who's at least half a foot shorter than all of his teammates, deserves to be rooted for. However, Figgins has and always will be more useful in the super-utility role. With the ability to swipe bases, hit for a reasonable average and play a handful of positions adequately, he can be a real asset off the bench. Unfortunately, he lacks two of the most important skills needed to be a full-time starter, power and plate discipline.

2. Minnesota Twins
More than any other team in all of baseball, the Twins need Ray Durham. Quite simply, this team does nothing well offensively. They don't hit for a high average; they don't get on base; they can't even hit it out of the Metrodome.

Yet somehow they've managed to stay atop the AL Wild Card race. Adding a healthy Durham to the Twins lineup would be a monumental upgrade over the washed up Bret Boone. In fact, once you've adjusted for home ballparks Durham's OPS of .804 would make him more productive than anyone on Minnesota's roster. Unfortunately, the Twins have never been a team renowned for lavish spending on their players. With Durham signed through next year for a pretty big number, the Twins may elect for prayer rather than making the trade.

1. New York Mets
With a bottomless pocket book, taking on Durham's salary is of little consequence to the Amazin's. And one has to believe that the Queens is growing mighty tired of the Kaz Mastui experiment. Omar Minaya has shown little in the way of critical thinking, but even he has to see that Marlon Anderson and Miguel Cairo aren't leading them to the playoffs. Furthermore, he's just delusional enough to think an upgrade at a position of need might be enough to leapfrog three teams in the standings and grab the coveted division title. Like their crosstown counterparts, the Mets aren't flush with prospects, but they have shown a propensity to give away talented youngsters for proven veterans. If Sabean could fleece Minaya along the lines of the Scott Kazmir-Victor Zambrano swap of last year, he'd begin the long road back to regaining credibility.

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