Assessing trade market for Lee, Oswalt (cont.)
They appear to have only a passing interest, if that, in Oswalt, but love Lee after seeing him up close in the World Series. Plus, CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett are both close to Lee, Sabathia from their time together in Cleveland and Burnett as a fellow Arkansas native who is also represented by agent Darek Braunecker.
A long shot for Oswalt, since their rotation is pretty solid as it is, and they don't often add dollars (though they showed a willingness to do so last summer when they acquired Scott Kazmir). With Kendry Morales' injury, first base is now their biggest need.
They've made some shocking additions in recent years, like Scott Rolen and Aroldis Chapman. There's been little suggestion they're involved yet, though they do look like a clear contender at this point. They have a chance at both Lee and Oswalt.
10. Red Sox
They can never be counted out, but they've already spent $82.5 million on John Lackey and don't appear to have an obvious hole in their rotation. They do like Lee, but there's no sense chancing an NL switch by getting Oswalt.
The reason they traded Lee in the first place last December is because they didn't have the money to keep him, and they surely want to try to retain free-agent-to-be Jayson Werth, so it's tough to see them getting Oswalt. To go get Lee back might be tantamount to admitting an error. But he definitely thrived there, going 7-4 with a 3.39 ERA in the regular season and 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA in the postseason. As hard as it is to believe, their offense appears to be the immediate issue.
One person who's familiar with the skirmishes between White Sox general manager Ken Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen said even before their latest blowup, "Kenny would like to fire him if he could.'' Of course, club owner Jerry Reinsdorf is such a loyal leader it would be just about impossible to fire Guillen. According to people in the know, Guillen simply doesn't take direction well -- no surprise there. The latest blowup, as first reported in the Chicago Sun-Times, was over Guillen's dissatisfaction with the $50,000 offer the White Sox made to his son Ozney, whom they drafted in the 22nd round. Like a lot of parents, Ozzie figured his son was a top-10 round talent. Of course, logically, the other 29 teams passed through 21 rounds, so it made no sense to take it out on Williams. Ozzie's other son Oney quit his do-nothing job already (officially, he was a video coordinator, but people around the team say he didn't do very much of anything) under pressure after he tweeted inappropriate opinions about White Sox players. This is getting ugly.
Cubs manager Lou Piniella would not have gotten where he is if not for his feistiness. So it should be no surprise he jumped ugly on opinionated White Sox broadcaster Steve Stone for criticizing Piniella multiple times for not playing rookie outfielder Tyler Colvin as often as Stone apparently thinks he should. Piniella's tirade was nothing new. "I'm not some damn dummy,'' was a typically entertaining defense, though Piniella conceded within a couple days he would begin playing Colvin more. Stone's guts are admirable, but this isn't even his team, so it's funny he would harp on this issue. The Cubs are stacked in the outfield, and a trade of Xavier Nady seems likely. That could help the reduce the logjam. While Piniella seems to have the same energy, it's being heard that his new bosses are concerned about his health, even though he's only in his mid-60s.
Bobby Valentine interviewed for the Orioles managerial position on Friday and is not likely to be affected in his thoughts about them by just how ineffectual and dysfunctional they are at present (they're 17-46, same as the '62 Mets). The Orioles can pay, but it wouldn't be a shock to see Valentine wait to see whether a more desirable job became available. The Cubs job would probably appeal to him (or anyone else). A lot of folks see Cubs legend Ryne Sandberg as the heir apparent. But one competing GM said if the Cubs do part ways with Piniella, their best solution would be to hire Valentine to manage and make Sandberg the bench coach, where he could apprentice for the job.
As for rumors Diamondbacks ace Dan Haren might have some sort of small hip issue, a D-backs executive joked that, if anything, he needs to stop running the bases. Haren is 6-for-6 against his old Cardinals team and batting .436 overall. Despite the fact that Haren, who is 7-4 with a 4.61 ERA after going 14-10 with a 3.14 ERA in 2009, isn't pitching up to his usual standards, there is no evidence of a real hip concern, though.
The Phillies, who are 12-15 since binocular-gate, have tried everything, and the latest thing was a players only meeting. Personally, I think the slump is just a coincidence coming after their bullpen coach was spotted with the binocs.
The Mariners, losers of five straight, also had a players-only meeting. And the unusual thing about theirs was that it was reportedly led by newcomers Chone Figgins, Milton Bradley and Cliff Lee. They have a young team, but Figgins is struggling mightily, batting just .228, Bradley isn't ready to lead anyone and Lee appears to be a short-timer. Anyway, it worked, as the Mariners ended their five-game slide Sunday by beating the Padres 4-2.
The Angels are 12-3 since Kendry Morales' freakish leg/ankle injury. They aren't ruling out a return for Morales this year, but that would really be miraculous on his part, considering the damage to his fibula and high ankle area. He'll be fine by next year, however.
It's hard to believe but the Reds' Jonny Gomes -- who is making just $800,000 this year -- is the NL RBI leader.
Red Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan has to get credit as Boston is second in the American League in runs scored, a surprise to most folks considering their offseason emphasis on run prevention.
Red Sox rookie Daniel Nava certainly didn't look like a novice on Saturday, when he hit a grand slam on the first pitch he saw in the major leagues, making him just the fourth player ever to hit a slam in his first at-bat and the second, after Kevin Kouzmanoff, to do it on the very first pitch.
The Mets' sweep in Baltimore over the weekend was their first road series victory since July 2009, when they took two of three in Houston Yes, even though it was the Orioles, it still counts.
Marlins sophomore Chris Coghlan, who had no extra-base hits in April, is hitting .526 in June, as noted by the MLB Network.
For the Stephen Strasburg debut, as Tim McCarver mentioned on Fox, the usual 14,000 TV viewers for Nats games (the league low average) became 160,000. It also overshadowed the recent debuts of Giants sensation Buster Posey and Indians slugging catcher Carlos Santana. Both hitters have had very nice starts. Posey is batting .368 in his first 15 games, while Santana had three hits, including a home run, in his first three games.
Jimmie Lee Solomon, who supervised the umpires among other things with a seven-figure MLB job, was demoted. The umps had some rough moments over the past year but another issue for the aloof Solomon was his failure to form alliances in baseball. His duties will be absorbed by Frank Robinson and John McHale Jr. now.
As Bill Madden of the New York Daily News pointed out, White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski could make sense for the Rangers. Pierzynski becomes a 10-and-5 player with veto rights as of Monday, though.
One NL scout on Scott Rolen, who is batting .313 with 14 home runs and 45 RBIs: "I haven't seen him this good in years.''