Otsuka continues to interest many clubs, but the Rangers need him both short- and long-term. Gagne is a free agent after this season. Otsuka is under the team's control through 2009. Perhaps the only way the Rangers would trade him is if they could get a young center fielder in return.
Rather than trade Lidge, the Astros want to restore his confidence. Their plan is to give him more opportunities to face hitters, perhaps even in multi-inning appearances. "He'll get back to where he was before. He's just not at that point yet," Astros G.M. Tim Purpura says. "Mentally, physically, emotionally, it's all wrapped up together. There's probably a lot of frustration there, too." Trading Lidge isn't as simple as it might appear. His salary this season is $5.35 million, and he stands to get a raise in his final year of arbitration before becoming eligible for free agency.
Few teams figure to be out of contention by the July 31 non-waiver deadline, perhaps leading to limited trade activity. One player who does figure to be available, Nationals closer Chad Cordero, continues to draw mixed reviews. "Boston made a very wise decision not pursuing him as a closer," one rival scout says. "He could not get through good American League lineups easily."