Odds & Ends: Pirates, Astros, Castro, Crawford

Let's start this Friday off with some links…

  • Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com feels that Neal Huntington's rebuilding plan has yet to yield results. 
  • Olney tweets that rival executives feel that both Oswalt and Lance Berkman would have trade value, but only if Houston was willing to eat a lot of money and accept secondary prospects in return. Yesterday we learned that Berkman would be willing to waive his no-trade clause.
  • SI.com's Melissa Segura hears that MLB will announce a pilot program that will allow international amateurs to register before the July 2nd signing period begins, which should streamline age investigations and signings (link goes to Twitter).
  • Meanwhile, MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez chatted with MLB's Dominican office consultant Sandy Alderson about what he hopes to achieve regarding how he hopes to improve the international market.
  • ESPN's Enrique Rojas tweets that the Cubs have called up top shortstop prospect Starlin Castro. The 20-year-old was rated as the 16th best prospect in the game by Baseball America prior to the season, and was hitting .376/.421/.569 in 121 Double-A plate appearances. Chicago has already pushed his free agency back a year, but he can still qualify as a Super Two after 2012.
  • Richard Justice of The Houston Chronicle mentions that the Astros have only $44MM in salary commitments for next season, most of which is tied up in Roy Oswalt and Carlos Lee. I respectfully disagree that Oswalt's $16MM salary "can easily be traded." How many teams have that much room in their budget?
  • ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that Carl Crawford has put himself in a pretty good position going into free agency. The Rays' left fielder is hitting .343/.408/.571, but is only 7-for-11 in stolen base opportunities, and there's still 83% of the season left the play.
  • ESPN's Keith Law and Jason Churchill go back and redo the 2004 draft. Both see Justin Verlander and Dustin Pedroia going 1-2 in a redraft.


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