Strasburg signing tops off Nats' recent run to respectability (cont.)
Around the majors
There are signs the Nats may be close to making a decision on their GM search. Some suggest they may be leaning toward Diamondbacks exec Jerry DiPoto, but Mike Rizzo has been handling duties on an interim basis, and things have been improving in Washington. Well-regarded Boston exec Jed Hoyer is also in the mix. Yahoo.com said multiple sources say it will be DiPoto.
If there's a switch in GMs, interim manager Jim Riggleman's chances would be fairly minute.
The Cardinals look like the likely landing spot for Cooperstown-bound right-hander John Smoltz, who can sign anywhere for the minimum today. Hard to believe he'd turn down St. Louis, a strong bet for October.
Billy Wagner could be a good trade candidate. The Cubs, Marlins and Dodgers could all make sense for him.
For $500,000 and a couple "mid-tier" prospects, the Rangers did well to bring back former Rangers star Ivan Rodriguez, who won 10 Gold Gloves and made 10 All-Star Games in Texas. The Rangers suddenly found themselves short at catcher, and Pudge is expected to catch two-to-three days a week. They hope Jarrod Saltalamacchia (shoulder fatigue) will be back in early September. T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com was first to report Texas was closing in on a deal for Pudge.
Texas was the other team that failed to sign its No. 1 pick. Matt Purke will head to TCU after his request of $6 million wasn't met. The Rangers offered $4 million.
The Mets played it cautiously with David Wright by placing him on the disabled list with a concussion. Can't blame 'em for that considering what's gone on there.
Mets manager Jerry Manuel goofed when he inadvertently drew former Met Ryan Church into a verbal dispute. Manuel and Church never saw eye to eye, an obvious issue both denied while together. But Manuel was wrong to suggest that Church's messed-up 2008 season had anything to do with the way Church handled things, which was what he did when he claimed that the Mets' Mr. Perfect David Wright and Church are "different" in comparing the two concussion victims. Manuel said he meant no offense, but the remark did seem fairly offensive, especially considering the issue was the way in which the team handled the situation.
Lou Piniella is hearing abuse from the very Cubs faithful that loved him at the start of the year. No way the Cubs fire Piniella, whose 2010 option for $4 million was exercised at the end of the 2008 regular season. Which is exactly when the disappointment began. As Cubs star Derrek Lee noted, Piniella isn't being treated quite as harshly as predecessor Dusty Baker yet. But it's been a very rough year for Piniella, who's had issues with a couple key players, as well (Milton Bradley, Carlos Zambrano). There's no evidence Piniella might walk away yet. But he's done it before, first in Seattle and later in Tampa.
Piniella finally removed Kevin Gregg as closer. Not to add to the abuse, but he took a bit too long there.
Not to pile on Dusty Baker, either. But he is not exactly working magic in Cincinnati.
Bobby Abreu quietly has put together an excellent year for the Angels. He didn't complain about his $5 million deal, and did what he always does, which is to produce.
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