Minaya could be in danger (cont.)
Expect Manny Ramirez to be claimed by some team when he likely goes on waivers before the Aug. 31 waiver deadline. "He can still swing the bat," one scout said. He just got back from the disabled list for the Dodgers, but he may prefer to DH at this point. The White Sox were interested before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, are still very much in the race and feel they still need a hitter for the middle of their order. The sides didn't come close to working out a deal last time (a person with ties to the Sox said they made two offers and received no counters, but the Dodgers apparently didn't like the idea of paying most of the money when they were in the thick of the race). The Dodgers have fallen back a bit now, and a waiver claim would save them more than $3 million.
New Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who has gone 12-8 since taking over in Baltimore, has almost done too well. Because of the Orioles' immediate improvement under him, they are now behind the deserving Pirates in the race for next year's No. 1 draft pick.
The Diamondbacks say they will interview manager and GM candidates. But it would be a surprise if Kirk Gibson isn't retained as manager. He's the fiery type they were looking for following intellectual A.J. Hinch, and it can't hurt that as a player he was the leader of the Dodgers, the team where D-backs president Derrick Hall was P.R. director. The explanation given by some for the dismissal of former GM Josh Byrnes is that it was a case of two good people (Hall and Byrnes) just not seeing eye to eye, including over Hinch (Byrnes wanted to keep him). Interim GM Jerry Dipoto also has a decent chance to retain his job, though Towers and Yankees scouting director Damon Oppenheimer are seen as candidates there.
The Padres seem like a logical fit to hire the well-respected Byrnes for their front office. He worked for owner Jeff Moorad in Arizona and with GM Jed Hoyer in Boston. Several teams have called Byrnes already.
Lou Piniella is a strong Hall of Fame candidate, despite a bad tenure with the hometown Rays and two bad years with the Cubs (following two good ones). He mostly did great work, especially with the Mariners, and his 1990 World Series title with the Reds is one of the most improbable ever. My unofficial Twitter poll found 144 people think Piniella deserves a spot in Cooperstown and 73 say he doesn't.
The Mariners probably make the most sense for Valentine. Padres bench coach and former catcher Ted Simmons reportedly is under consideration, which makes sense since he worked in Milwaukee when GM Jack Zduriencik was there. Simmons is a very smart man and it's a wonder he hasn't been given more managerial opportunities already.
The Giants' claim of Cody Ross looks a little bit like overkill after they'd already added Pat Burrell and Jose Guillen in-season. It was very likely a block to prevent Ross from going to another contending team and they still need offense. Ross could help but the Blue Jays' Jose Bautista, who became the first player to reach 40 home runs this season, would have helped a lot more. Many people agreed that San Francisco shouldn't give up starter Jonathan Sanchez for a big hitter, but with Bautista under contract for 2011 at a reasonable $6 million, he would have been worth a steep price, especially with the Giants having such strong and deep starting pitching.
Carlos Delgado , who signed a free-agent deal with the Red Sox but was batting just .231 with no home runs in five games, should maybe consider retirement. He hasn't played in the majors since May 2009 and is now on the minor-league disabled list. The time for him to go to the Red Sox was 2004, when they had a trade for him but he vetoed it, not now. It didn't hurt Boston to give it a shot, though. This isn't the year for the Red Sox to have traded their best prospects; better to try a patch job and hope for the best. They've somehow remained in the race.
Based on his 2010 performance, Todd Helton is another who should consider retirement. He is batting just .257 with four home runs and 23 RBIs in 85 games.
MLB's other owners are finding entertainment value in the divorcing McCourts' constant sniping and countercharges, and while MLB bigs would like a change in ownership there, it's hard for them to force it. It could come with the divorce, though, if the party that wins the team doesn't have the money to keep it. You have to wonder whether legal bills could be a factor. The divorce trial is set to start Monday, providing more entertainment fodder for other owners.
The Pirates admitted to making $34.8 million over the last three years, according to the Pittsburgh Review-Journal in anticipation the Associated Press was about to report similar findings. The Pirates are in a bit of hot water with MLB for this. But they are just one of a few small-market teams that needs to stop using baseball as a piggy bank. In no other business is bad performance rewarded like this. The Marlins, whose baseball people must be brilliant, actually made about $50 million in one year. You could look at this as good business. But the big-market teams that are subsidizing them don't see it that way.
Congratulations to commissioner Bud Selig, who joined hall of Famers Hank Aaron and Robin Yount with a statue at the home plate plaza at Miller Park. A host of big names, including Yount, Paul Molitor, Rollie Fingers, Al Kaline and Frank Robinson and old friend Joe Torre, the Dodgers manager whose team is in town, were expected to attend Tuesday's ceremony in Milwaukee.
Glad to see Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully, 82, will be back for yet another year of superb announcing, which will be his 62nd season. He's still at the top of his game and his profession.