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Thursday Morning Rockpile:

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The offense, particularly Matt Holliday, had much needed breakout in yesterday's finale of the San Diego series, just in time for today's start of a crucial set against LA. The above linkied Troy Renck article also indicates that Tigers scouts have been looking at Ian Stewart and Joe Koshansky. It doesn't indicate who we would be expected to receive in return for our two best corner infield prospects.

Our rivals continue to make bigger whispers and in San Diego's case, some actual deals as well. Scott Linebrink brought back a haul of quality minor league arms, even though the Padres continue to be players in the playoff race. That was the type of dealing from strength and fearlessness that has kept the San Diego afloat for several seasons despite a relatively weak farm system and I'm not altogether happy to have to add Will Inman to the list of future pitching opponents our team will have to face in the coming years. The Dodgers are rumored to be looking in on several Pirate pitchers to help their ailing bullpen, and are consistently brought up in the Mark Teixeira rumors, although the Braves seem to be the leading horse in that derby at the moment.

Still, unless Teixeira does put on Dodger Blue next week, all these potential moves in the NL West, including ours, amount more to sticking fingers in the dam to plug some leaks or forward looking deals rather than getting real high impact players for this year. I think that plays slightly in our favor, as we were the team least likely to make a big play at the deadline, and incremental moves by the opposition will keep us in the race.

Randy Holtz of the RMN has an article about MLB GameDay which features Dan Fox, who we frequently link to at his Dan Agonistes site as well as his articles for Baseball Prospectus.

Both Ryan Spillborghs and Aaron Cook have had some surprisingly potent bats this season. Cook's ability to add offense makes him just a step or two below an extra middle infield bat in his starts, which is a very nice luxury to have. Of course, Chris Iannetta's slump sort of mitigates that effect.