Early trade market for hitters (cont.)
11. Wilson Betemit, Royals INF. The ascension of top prospect Mike Moustakas leaves Betemit with less playing time. He's had a nice start (.287) but has whiffed 51 times in 188 at-bats.
12. Vladimir Guerrero, Orioles DH. He's pretty pricey ($8 million) for his current DH production (.290, six home runs)
13. Coco Crisp, A's CF. Teams in need of a speedy centerfielder might look his way. Not exactly a bargain at $5 million though. He's batting .262 this year.
14. Jim Thome, Twins DH. He's been hurt a lot this year. But if he regains his health and the Twins decide to sell, he could be a power threat for a contender.
15. Carlos Peña, Cubs 1B. He's a free agent at year's end, but he'll need to get hot to bring any interest, what with his $10 million salary and a batting average that's creeping up but still at just .220.
16. Melky Cabrera, Royals OF. He's come back with a nice year after rededicating himself and is a bargain at $1.25 million with nine homers, 42 RBIs and a .275 batting average.
17. Ryan Ludwick, Padres OF. At PETCO, nine home runs and a .259 batting average isn't considered so bad.
18. Kosuke Fukudome, Cubs OF. His $11-million salary is ultra-high considering he's never shown to be the hitter he was in Japan. But he is a very good outfielder and carries a high on-base percentage (.404), so if the Cubs pay the majority of his contract, it isn't out of the question they find a suitor.
19. Jeff Francoeur, Royals OF. He's never going to be an on-base machine, but he's showing improvement this year, with nine homers, 43 RBIs and a .263 batting average.
20. David DeJesus, A's OF. Another good hitter eaten up by Oakland Coliseum (.230 average).
21. Hideki Mastui, A's DH. Not much demand for a DH hitting .223 with six home runs. But maybe someone will figure it's the hitting environment.
22. Aramis Ramirez, Cubs 3B. He's said he would invoke his no-trade power, so it appears the Cubs and Ramirez have a few more months together.
23. Roger Bernardina, Nationals OF. There's a sense the Nationals aren't sold on him, though he's coming on lately (.281 average) and has talent.
24. Carlos Lee, Astros OF. A team would have to be pretty desperate to take the rest of Lee's $100-million contract, which runs through 2012, or even a part of it.
Edwin Rodriguez's resignation as Florida's manager was said to come as a total surprise to Marlins honchos. One said it hit the organization "like a ton of bricks.'' Though of course, they all understood that the fact the team had just one win in June put Rodriguez's job in peril, if not immediately then in coming days. By resigning, Rodriguez isn't entitled to his salary (which was said to be about $400,000, lowest in the majors among managers), so unless owner Jeffrey Loria, an E-Rod fan, wants to cut him a break, Rodriguez forfeited about $250,000 with his decision to quit.
Jack McKeon, who accepted the job to replace Rodriguez, is Loria's alltime favorite. The owner loves to tell the story about how he hired McKeon as interim manager in 2003 at an interview at the iconic Rascal House restaurant in Sunny Isles and how McKeon at first called him "Jerry'' upon meeting him. As we all know, it turned out to be a stroke of brilliance, as McKeon led the Marlins to the World Series championship that year. McKeon is under contract as a Marlins consultant, so it would be an easy transition. The announcement is expected Monday. Brandon Hyde managed Florida in Sunday's 2-1 defeat to Tampa Bay (the Marlins' 18th loss in 19 games in June). For next year, Ozzie Guillen and Bobby Valentine make sense, though Guillen is under contract with the White Sox.
Word is, Frank McCourt doesn't have the money to make the Dodgers' June 30 payroll. He can't quickly sell one of his many mansions, either, as his claim has been that his soon-to-be ex-wife Jamie is the owner of the mansions, while the Dodgers belong to him (according to him, anyway). Commissioner Bud Selig is also unlikely to approve the Fox TV deal that could save the team for Frank McCourt. The McCourts' divorce agreement is contingent on the Fox deal, which is estimated to be worth $3 billion. MLB decisionmakers are tired of McCourt using the team as a piggy bank and spending future team revenues on themselves.
Some people close to the situation believe the Rockies' Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez have been putting too much pressure on themselves, leading to so-so starts by their standards. Both stars are up to .277, but even more was expected of them in terms of production.
It's been a rough year for hitting coaches. The Indians, who weren't even expected to contend, fired Jon Nunnally in a move that upset some players, including struggling star Shin Soo-Choo. Bruce Fields, who's well respected, took over.
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