Stark On Astros, Damon, Jimenez, Rockies

There's now almost no chance that MLB will expand the playoffs by next year, according to Jayson Stark of It's far from a lock that the postseason will expand under baseball's upcoming collective bargaining agreement, despite heavy rumblings about expanded playoffs. The union views postseason changes as part of a series of related possible changes, which is why we won't necessarily see more playoff teams by 2012, according to Stark. Here are the rest of his rumors…

  • Incoming Astros owner Jim Crane has told commissioner Bud Selig privately that he wants to keep the Astros in the NL Central. However, MLB might look to move Houston to the AL West to even out baseball's divisions.
  • Johnny Damon cleared waivers and can now be dealt to any team, according to Stark. Rival teams say Damon didn't draw heavy trade interest last month.
  • Stark hears that the MRI the Indians took of Ubaldo Jimenez came back "remarkably clean."
  • Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail, who has often been mentioned as a possible successor to Selig, isn't lobbying to become the next commissioner, according to a longtime associate. "If he did it, he'd do it out of loyalty to the game. But I wouldn't say he has a burning passion to do it."
  • The Rockies are saying they'd like to swap Ian Stewart for another player who could use a change of scenery. However, other clubs recognize that Stewart is a non-tender candidate, so his trade value is not high.
  • The Rockies could take a flyer on J.C. Romero, according to Stark.
  • One NL scout says Dontrelle Willis looks as good as he has in three or four years.

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