Stark On Royals, Phillies, Holliday

ESPN.com's Jayson Stark asks some thoughtful baseball people why we're not greeting Manny Ramirez like the "team-wrecking, alibi-distorting, female-fertility-drug-popping scoundrel he is." And, of course, Stark has piles of rumors. Here they are:

  • The Mets were never willing to move Bobby Parnell or other top young arms for Mark DeRosa, so they weren't as close to acquiring him as the Reds and Cubs were. The Phillies, Marlins and Giants were also in the mix.
  • The Indians are more interested in dealing Rafael Bentancourt than Kerry Wood, whose contract ($15MM remaining) would be hard to move.  
  • The Royals will listen on anyone but Zack Greinke, but that doesn't mean they're looking to deal starters. They're "reluctant" to deal Brian Bannister, Kyle Davies or Gil Meche, who has a no-trade clause.
  • The Phillies were looking at Juan Cruz, who the Royals say they'd only deal for an upper-tier prospect ready to make a big-league impact.  
  • The Reds will wait it out and ramp up their pursuit of a bat if they're in the race later in the month.  
  • One executive says Pedro Martinez didn't look bad in last month's workout; Pedro's just demanding too much money. 
  • The Phillies haven't given up on pursuing Cliff Lee, Erik Bedard or Roy Oswalt 
  • The Braves are trying to deal Jeff Francoeur everywhere, but no one's interested. One front-office guy says his team would be interested if Francoeur's non-tendered.  
  • Officials are divided on whether Yunel Escobar could be dealt, but a trade is unlikely at best.  
  • Rangers GM Jon Daniels says he is now looking to bolster his rotation.  
  • As expected, Daniels confirmed that the Rangers will have "limited" ability to take on salary at the deadline. 
  • The A's will want "two prospects with tremendous upside" for Matt Holliday if they deal him. It's unclear how much of the $6.75MM remaining on his contract the A's would pick up.
  • Could Josh Willingham be the next-best bat on the market? One exec says he might be if Russell Branyan and Miguel Tejada don't become available.  
  • Another official says Willingham's unappealing because of his back issues.  

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