Odds & Ends: Cardinals, Mariners, Red Sox

Four years ago today, the Rays sent Aubrey Huff and cash to the Astros for Ben Zobrist and Mitch Talbot.  The Astros finished 1.5 games out in '06 despite Huff contributing 13 home runs, and GM Tim Purpura chose not to offer arbitration after the season.  On to today's links…

  • ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Yankees have no plans to acquire a starting pitcher – "Cliff Lee was a special case."  Speaking of Lee, he told MLB.com's Todd Zolecki that the trade from the Phillies did not sour him on the team, and he's not opposed to any club once he reaches free agency. 
  • The Blue Jays had a scout at this weekend's Cardinals-Astros series, reports Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  Strauss wonders if shortstop Alex Gonzalez could be a match for the Cards, and he notes that the Jays have had previous interest in Brendan Ryan.
  • Mariners president Chuck Armstrong and CEO Howard Lincoln weren't aware of the full extent of pitcher Josh Lueke's 2008 trouble with the law, reports Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times.  Lueke went to Seattle as part of the Lee trade.
  • Talking to WEEI's Alex Speier, Red Sox GM Theo Epstein explained that in the case of Casey Kelly and other prospects, he'd rather challenge them against advanced competition than allow them to compile numbers and trade value at more age-appropriate levels.
  • In the same article, Speier notes that the Red Sox have agreements, pending physicals, with a pair of international free agents.  One is a righthanded pitcher, the other an outfielder.
  • As part of an extensive Q&A with Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times, Commissioner Bud Selig says he would not consider contracting the Athletics or Rays if their ballpark situations are not resolved.

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