Early trade market for pitchers (cont.)
21. Mike Pelfrey, Mets SP. He's better than his 4-5 record and 4.70 ERA, and maybe a change of scenery would help.
22. Paul Maholm, Pirates SP. The free-agent-to-be is having a very nice year (3-8, 3.29). But there's real doubt as to whether the Pirates would risk any chance at getting to .500 for the first time in almost two decades for a prospect or two.
23. Chad Qualls, Padres RP. He's been resurrected in San Diego, with a 2.43 ERA this year after a 7.32 ERA last year. The Padres' bullpen has been great, as usual.
24. Bruce Chen, Royals SP. The late-blooming lefty could be a back-of-the-rotation consideration once his lat heals (he's on the DL after a promising 4-1, 3.59 start).
25. Jon Garland, Dodgers SP. He probably doesn't have the stuff to pitch effectively in the AL East, but he could be a consideration elsewhere after he returns from a rare stay on the DL with shoulder trouble.
26. Michael Wuertz, A's RP. Yet another valuable Oakland reliever. He's a hard thrower with a 2.95 ERA.
27. Kevin Gregg, Orioles RP. Baltimore's closer is versatile, though not at all low-priced with a $5.8 million salary next year.
28. Randy Choate, Marlins RP. A situational lefty with another year to go on his contract. His $1.5 million 2012 salary looks reasonable, especially with a 0.66 ERA and .108 batting average by opposing lefthanded hitters.
29. Carlos Zambrano, Cubs SP. The Yankees are said to not be interested, making one wonder if anyone wants part of his $17.875-million salary ($18 mil next year). Still an effective starter (6-4, 4.50) but nobody is likely to touch that contract, even though he says he would consider waving his full no-trade this time.
30. Jeff Francis, Royals SP. He's battled back from surgery, but strictly a bottom-of-the-rotation type at this point (3-7, 4.73).
31. Brett Myers, Astros SP. That $11 million 2012 salary will discourage many, and his so-so start (3-6, 4.75) doesn't help. Neither will the $3 million buyout for 2013.
32. Tom Gorzellany, Nationals SP. Solid lefty who is better than his numbers (2-5, 4.53).
33. Kevin Slowey, Twins RP-SP. He's been on the block since spring, and on the DL since early May with an abdomen issue.
34. Joe Beimel, Pirates RP. Situational lefty is out with an elbow issue right now
35. Ryan Dempster, Cubs SP. Big contract includes a high option for next year. His 5-6 record and 5.46 ERA isn't as bad as it seems considering he had a 9.58 April ERA. But that $14 million player option for '12 could preclude any serious trade talk.
36. John Grabow, Cubs RP. Lefty has a $4.8 million salary for next year that would have to be offset.
37. Brian Fuentes, A's RP. Got off to a rough start under Bob Geren this year, but he remains a gutsy reliever despite weak numbers so far (1-7, 4.73).
38. Mike Gonzalez, Orioles RP. Things haven't gone well in Baltimore, and his salary is on the high side, too, especially considering his early 6.37 ERA.
39. Javier Vazquez, Marlins SP. Someone would have to love him at this point with a $7 million salary and 6.37 ERA (and 1.69 WHIP).
Jack McKeon was the logical choice for interim manager of Jeffrey Loria's Marlins but Ozzie Guillen is most likely the man in mind for 2012 --- if the White Sox would let him go. Last year, Chicago is said to have brought up the name Logan Morrison when the Marlins inquired about Guillen, but Guillen's stock within the Sox organization has dipped a bit with their surprisingly weak start. Sources indicate team owner Jerry Reinsdorf isn't necessarily thrilled by Guillen's public talk about his possibility of getting fired, either. His outspokenness isn't quite as amusing or endearing when his team isn't performing. However, with the Sox picking up Guillen's 2012 option early, outsiders say they believe he remains a long shot for the Marlins in 2012.
It's no surprise that Jose Reyes doesn't want to take an offer from the Mets now and prefers to become a free agent, as superstars on the cusp of free agency almost never make a deal with their current team. Reyes probably also correctly sensed that the Mets wouldn't come close to what he could get on the free market (three competing execs said they believe he can match Carl Crawford's $142 million deal with Boston). "If he's a free agent, I'd rather have Reyes, and I would think most would take Reyes,'' one NL exec said.
Dodgers owner Frank McCourt does not have the money to make the June 30 payroll, people familiar with the situation say. MLB's hope is that once it begins making the team payroll it can ease McCourt out. With commissioner Bud Selig rejecting McCourt's plan to take a $385 million loan as part of McCourt's proposed Fox deal, he appears to be low on options. MLB objected because $175 million of the $385 million was targeted for McCourt's pocket in what amounted to advance payments from two, three, four years and more into the future. McCourt's likely last hope would be a long-shot lawsuit, but he has only himself to blame after using the team as a personal piggy bank for years, as his divorce revealed. He is already in court with his wife and ex-lawyers, so folks are expecting him to take baseball to court (though he signed paperwork upon taking ownership that he wouldn't sue baseball, few expect him to abide by that). McCourt's unpopularity in Los Angeles hurts him in any court case there, too.
The conventional wisdom is that No. 1 draft choice Gerrit Cole and No. 2 choice Danny Hultzen will get about $10 million apiece (Hultzen is known to be seeking $13 million plus school from the Mariners while Cole's asking price with the Pirates isn't known). Cole would be expected to beat Hultzen as the slightly higher pick, but some execs see multitalented Bubba Starling possibly beating them both after being picked fifth by his hometown Royals, considering he is seen as a huge football talent as well (he has a University of Nebraska scholarship to play quarterback). Righthanded pitcher Trevor Bauer, Cole's UCLA teammate who went third to the Diamondbacks, isn't expected to press for as much money as the top two picks and is seen as being more particular about having a say in his development. The D-backs' second pick, which was No. 7 overall, righthanded pitcher Archie Bradley is expected to beat the $5.25 million the Dodgers gave Zach Lee last year, as Bradley is a "bigger football prospect'' than Lee was. He is a University of Oklahoma recruit. He is seen as getting $6-to-7 million, with No. 4 pick Dylan Bundy, who went to the Orioles, receiving in that range, as well. Scouts say Bradley is a terrific young man but one scout said he thought Bundy might be even more successful because "he has a little edge to him.''
Bob Melvin is already doing a terrific job managing the A's, who have won seven straight. He will surely become their permanent manager eventually, not just their interim.
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