Lee, Oswalt and Fielder headline summer trade candidates (cont.)
6. Adam Dunn, Nationals 1B: There's a split as to whether the Nats will move Dunn, but one GM said if they're still in striking distance of .500, they'll probably keep him. That GM also pointed out that the one-dimensional Dunn didn't prove very marketable last time.
7. Kevin Millwood, Orioles SP and Jake Westbrook, Indians SP: Both pitchers make $11 million, will be free agents and are made to be rent-a-pitchers. Both are performing decently, better than their records indicate.
8. Gil Meche, Jose Guillen, Scott Podsednik and David DeJesus, Royals quartet: Now that GM Drayton Moore has admitted that it's an "eight to 10 year'' plan, maybe he will commence rebuilding.
9. Dan Haren, Diamondbacks SP: One GM said he could see the Diamondbacks trying to do a reverse of the deal they made to get Haren. But other GMs point out the Diamondbacks have an impressive young nucleus and a continuing hope to contend soon. Plus, Haren has a long and reasonable contract. Long shot to leave.
10. Adrian Gonzalez and Heath Bell, Padres headliners: One GM said, "The Padres are playing over their head, and there's a long way to July.'' But most others see the Padres keeping their marquee men. As another GM said, "Nobody in that division is running away with it.''
Stephen Strasburg's current target date for his debut is June 8, but things could change. The buildup has been enormous, and the Nats said on their Web site that they will provide the public about six days notice. It's too late for some who thought June 4 was going to be the date, though.
Agent Dan Lozano's decision to leave the Beverly Hills Sports Council means he will take Pujols with him, and probably also Jimmy Rollins and Michael Young, among others. Lozano, a longtime partner as BHSC, has been responsible for Pujols in a system whereby each of the four partners concentrated on different clients. "We wish him well in his future endeavors,'' partner Jeff Borris said. It's a financial hit for BHSC, as Pujols is due to become a free agent after the 2011 season and will be in line for a salary at least comparable to Alex Rodriguez's $30.5 million per year. But BHSC still has several huge clients, and at one recent All-Star Game had as many as 11 players. Tim Lincecum and Jayson Werth are among their other clients.
The Red Sox look like a threat again. And David Ortiz's resurgence is no small reason. Ortiz has nine homers and 23 RBIs this month, and is hitting .361. Meanwhile, Kevin Youkilis (7, 17, .355 in May), Adrian Beltre (5, 25, .340), J.D. Drew (2, 18, .356) and Jon Lester (4-0, 1.95 ERA) also have played big roles.
One scout also said Daisuke Matsuzaka "looked the best he's looked since going to the Red Sox'' in one-hitting the Phillies.
The unstated reason why Jacoby Ellsbury is reclaiming his center field job once his ribs heal is that he will be an everyday player while free-agent pickup Mike Cameron might be sharing time with Jeremy Hermida in left field.
Despite the White Sox's unexpected early struggles and some small rumor of change in the manager's office, one person familiar with that team's setup said, "Ozzie [Guillen] isn't going anywhere.''
Ozzie probably deserves a fine from MLB, though, after going quite a bit too far in his expletive-laced tirade against umpire Cowboy Joe West, who himself could be in hot water after again talking about his position regarding the slow play of the Yankees and Red Sox after being warned about exactly that. West's balk calls on Mark Buehrle seemed highly questionable, and so was the quick decision to eject Buehrle (Guillen, though, got what he deserved). But what gets MLB is that West can't stop talking about the Yankees-Red Sox issue after he was told to pipe down. MLB is especially annoyed West has hired a publicist who's finding interviews for West to promote his new country CD and tells interviewers he'll answer all questions.
The Reds have homered in 16 straight games through Thursday, the longest such streak in the majors.
While it's a bit of an embarrassment, the Rangers had no choice but to file for bankruptcy. It was the only result that made sense with no end in sight in the negotiations and the lending company (Monarch Alternative Capital) unwilling to forgive any of Hicks' extraordinary debt. Now a bankruptcy court judge will decide. MLB seems hopeful there could be a resolution that will move the team to prospective buyer Chuck Greenberg in about two months. But someone else familiar with the case said it could drag on all season.