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Trade Rumors - New York Yankees, Milwaukee Brewers, Texas Rangers, Houston Astros

Rangers' centerfielder Kenny Lofton is a free agent at the end of the season.  In the midst of another good season (309/391/447 with 20 SBs), the 40-year-old is in much demand on the trade circuit.  This morning's Dallas Morning News reports that scrap heap find, Marlon Byrd, will used in center whever possible.  With lofton ont he Rangers, that will occur when Lofton rests.  If Lofton is dealt, more frequently than that.  The implication of the Rangers annoucement of contigent centerfield plans is Lofton is drawing enough trade interest to assure the front office that he will be moved.

The New York Post reveals the Yankees still want Dodgers utilityman Wilson Betemit, but the Dodgers are sour on relievers Kyle Farnsworth and Scott Proctor.  This looks like a much better avenue for the Dodgers in their pursuit of a third quality reliever to slot behind Takashi Saito and Jonathan Broxton.  Also revealed is the desire of Yankees' GM to deal both players and fill their spots with AAA relievers Chris Britton and Sean Henn.  Why not send both relievers to LA then?

With the bad news that ace Ben Sheets will miss 4-6 weeks with a finger injury, Brewers' GM Doug Melvin says he will not make a trade unless the player acquired is a better option than rookie Yovani Gallardo. From this morning's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

"We're not going to make a deal just to make a deal," said Melvin. "You'd have to say you're going to get somebody better than Gallardo."

Given the poor negotiating position the Sheets' injury places him, I would expect nothing less from Melvin.  However, relying on a rookie to pitch big innings late in the season may not be the wisest position.  After throwing 145 last season, Gallardo is currently at 106.1 IP.  By the time Sheets returns, Gallardo is likely to be at his career-high innings-pitched with September, and hopefully, October, to go.

Astros' owner Drayton McLane tells the Houston Chronicle that closer (du jour?) Brad Lidge will not be traded nor are general manager Tim Purpura or manager Phil Garner in danger of losing their jobs.

"It's been disappointing.  I still feel we have a much better team than we've been playing for the last month. I'm still hopeful that we can have another surge as we've had in the last three years."

Excuse me, Ner...um, Mr. McLane, what's that burning?