Odds & Ends: Downs, Soriano, Dodgers, Guillen

Here are a variety of news items as baseball wraps up another Jackie Robinson Day…

  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that the Phillies can't take on any extra salary right now and the presence of two Philadelphia scouts at Blue Jays games is just "normal coverage."  Rosenthal adds, however, that Jays reliever Scott Downs "makes sense" for Philly's relief needs.
  • ESPN's Rob Neyer believes "there's a 50/50 chance" that the Cubs will release Alfonso Soriano before his contract expires at the end of the 2014 season and the club will simply eat what is left of the $90MM owed to the underachieving outfielder.
  • The Dodgers are satisfied with rookie A.J. Ellis as their backup catcher and will likely not look to acquire another backstop in the wake of Brad Ausmus' back surgery, reports Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
  • Tom Van Riper of Forbes Magazine tears down the myth that players step up their production in the last year of their contracts.
  • Jose Guillen was the subject of trade rumors over the winter, but the Royals outfielder had a much more traumatic offseason experience as he tells The Kansas City Star's Bob Dutton about a life-threatening health scare.
  • Barry Bloom of MLB.com reports that Hal Steinbrenner (unsurprisingly) wants Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter and Joe Girardi to remain Yankees, but isn't willing to break the club's policy of in-season contract negotiations to work on extensions.  "I hope everybody is reasonable and we can work it out easily. But there's no doubt I want them here," Steinbrenner said.
  • As we approach the 50th anniversary of the infamous Rocky Colavito/Harvey Kuenn swap, Terry Pluto of The Cleveland Plain Dealer looks back at the trade that infuriated Indians fans.

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