Jon Heyman covered a number of topics in his latest piece for SI.com, and here are a few of the hot-stove highlights…
- While Dontrelle Willis' "$12MM salary is one impetus to take him north," Heyman writes that the left-hander has pitched very well this spring and could earn a spot in Detroit's rotation on his own merit. Heyman didn't discuss Willis' future with the club, but it would take a huge season for Willis to earn anything close to $12MM in a free-agent contract this winter. Even if he does have a big rebound year, his first two seasons in Detroit were probably enough to close the door on him remaining a Tiger past 2010.
- Heyman writes that the Nationals have told Adam Dunn that he won't get a contract extension from them (no matter his offensive numbers) unless he proves that he can play a decent first base.
- Elijah Dukes' release from Washington is "a shame." Heyman says "while there was no one incident that triggered his release, the Nationals felt it would improve clubhouse chemistry for him to be gone."
- Heyman praises the Astros for not giving in to the "public pressure" that Lance Berkman put on the club to pick up his 2011 option. Houston's decision looks wiser, Heyman says, in the wake of Berkman's recent minor knee surgery that may keep him on the DL for the first few weeks of the season.