With the trade deadline still off in the distance, and few names remaining on the free agent market, May generally isn't one of the most exciting months for baseball's hot stove. However, as the month progresses, the standings will continue to take shape, and buyers and sellers should begin to emerge. With a look back at May 2009, let's predict the sort of stories we can expect this May….
- Underachieving teams will often show their managers the door around this time of year, with a few weeks of action in the books. Last season, the Diamondbacks fired Bob Melvin and the Rockies parted ways with Clint Hurdle. This year? A recent hot streak eased the pressure on the Mets' Jerry Manuel a little, and the Orioles' Dave Trembley is likely hoping for a similar run. His O's completed a sweep of the Red Sox yesterday, but are still just 7-18.
- A few deals that eventually took place prior to July's trade deadline were foreshadowed in May: the Phillies, reeling from the loss of Brett Myers, were aiming for a high-impact starter and would later land Cliff Lee. The Red Sox were considering moving Brad Penny, and ultimately released the right-hander in August. And, of course, Jake Peavy nixed a blockbuster deal that would've sent him to the White Sox, but eventually ended up in Chicago anyway.
- Speaking of Peavy, he was baseball's most-discussed trade target last May, an honor that this year could go to another Padre: Adrian Gonzalez.
- Occasionally, we'll see an under-the-radar early-season trade that ends up making an impact. On May 9th last year, the Athletics' acquisition of Adam Kennedy didn't turn many heads, but Kennedy enjoyed one of his best seasons, hitting .289/.343/.410 and stealing 20 bases for Oakland.
- We were already speculating last May about what Joe Mauer's next contract might look like, though Mauer didn't sign an extension until the spring of 2010. Cardinals fans hoping to hear good news about an Albert Pujols extension in the near future, take note. Your patience may be tested.
- The case of David Ortiz provides an explicit case of history repeating itself. A year ago, there was speculation that the Red Sox would have to explore other options to replace Ortiz's dwindling production. Big Papi turned things around in 2009, but similar opinions are being expressed this season after the 34-year-old once again started slowly.
- Don't forget that June's First-Year Player Draft is right around the corner. Last May, Stephen Strasburg dominated pre-draft coverage, while this year it's Bryce Harper's name that keeps popping up.