White Sox's Williams made another bold move in acquiring Rios (cont.)
It'll be interesting to see how the Nationals' surprise eight-game winning streak that just ended Tuesday affects the statuses of interim manager Jim Riggleman and acting GM Mike Rizzo. Riggleman looked like only a caretaker when he took over for Manny Acta, but the team's improved play would seem to make him a candidate for the permanent job.
The Nats have been conducting a GM search, which doesn't seem to bode well for Rizzo. But the club-owning Lerners are nothing if not unpredictable. The field has apparently been narrowed to Rizzo plus two well-respected assistant GMs, Boston's Jed Hoyer and Arizona's Jerry DiPoto. There is some thought a permanent GM could be named by the end of the month.
Some execs are critical of the Nats for worrying too much about their present record. But they did make worthwhile deals in shipping off Lastings Milledge, Nick Johnson and Joe Beimel, and the reviews on the Milledge trade are almost universally positive. "A terrific trade,'' one competing exec said of getting Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett.
Adam Dunn is likely to clear waivers since he has a $12 million salary for next year, but the Nats have shown no inclination to trade him. Cristian Guzman has cleared waivers, "which shows you his value,'' says one competing exec. Even so, Guzman would represent an upgrade for Boston over journeyman Nick Green, who's filled in ably but appears to be running out of steam. Boston has been optimistic about Jed Lowrie's wrist condition, but it may be time for them to get serious about a shortstop. Scutaro is unlikely to reach them in the waiver process. Jack Wilson, who's already been traded to Seattle, would also seem to be a longshot.
Most execs believe John Smoltz is more likely to go to a National League team (the Dodgers are a fit if he consents to going west) than accept a demotion from the Red Sox with possible hopes to work into a relief role for them. But Boston may try to sell him on trying relief.
Jamie Moyer's complaint that he was "misled'' by Phillies people after being replaced in the rotation by Pedro Martinez is disappointing for such a consummate pro. He has the highest ERA (5.47) of any qualified starter in the NL.
A lot of folks don't have expectations for Pedro. But I do. I wouldn't put anything past him.
Mark Reynolds has taken the next step to stardom. He has been putting on a show almost daily, with 11 home runs in 14 games.
Thanks in part to Reynolds, the Diamondbacks have the highest OPS since the All-Star break, even with uber-talented Justin Upton on the disabled list. Their outfield, which was supposed to be Conor Jackson, Chris Young and Upton, is currently Alex Romero, Gerardo Parra and Trent Oeltjen. Oeltjen is a particularly interesting story. A minor league pickup from the Twins last year, the Sydney, Australia product had three home runs in his first four games, then nearly hit for the cycle in his fifth game, garnering everything but the homer on a four-hit night. He is now 12 for 24.
The complaints about the allegedly unqualified new manager A.J. Hinch have died down as the D-backs are starting to play excellent baseball.
The idea that the Mets are going outside for a big-time expensive new GM like Billy Beane is far-fetched. The embattled Omar Minaya remains favored to hold onto his job. But if he is replaced, as has been mentioned here a few times, loyal assistant John Ricco is the logical candidate for the full-time job.
The more I look, the more I like the Indians' sale. Nine of the 11 prospects they acquired in trades are pitchers, all are under 24, nine were ranked among the trading teams' top-10 prospects, and five are rated in the top-100 prospects in baseball by Baseball America.
At age 35, Derek Jeter is having a terrific season. His contract negotiations should be interesting in that his $189 million deal is up after 2010.
Best of luck to great guy Aaron Boone, who has returned from offseason heart surgery and is back playing.
Best wishes to another great guy, Scott Schoeneweis, who was placed on the disabled list with depression. Schoeneweis lost his wife suddenly earlier this season. He has four children.
Despite the recent outages and a trip to northern Wisconsin to go fishing (no surprise, I caught nothing) for a twitter/work break, I'm continuing to tweet at: http://twitter.com/SI_JonHeyman.
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