Central Notes: Royals, Konerko, Gregg, Pirates

Baseball's central divisions have four clear sellers in the Cubs, Brewers, White Sox, and Twins.  At seven games out, the Royals are on the bubble.  The team sees "a winning record as an important secondary goal even if they don’t reach postseason," according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star, so they may stand pat.  Meanwhile, the Tigers, Indians, Cardinals, Pirates, and Reds are the five central division buyers.   Links from both divisions…

  • In a Q&A mailbag, a reader asks Dutton how hot the seat is under Royals GM Dayton Moore.  Dutton writes that despite fan criticism for the team's longtime decision maker, there's nothing to suggest his job is actually in jeopardy.  Elsewhere in the mailbag, Dutton notes that there is no indication the team is shopping starter Ervin Santana, and that he does not expect the team to reduce payroll next year.
  • "We ought to know and be right on the first couple of picks. But it's those middle-round guys that your scouts push and say, 'We need to get this guy,' who make your organization," Royals senior advisor to the GM Mike Arbuckle told ESPN's Jerry Crasnick in regard to former 10th round draft pick Greg Holland, now the team's All-Star closer.
  • "Trying to think like another team, usually the guys who are traded are going better than I am," White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko told Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune on his minor league rehab assignment in the Southern League.  Konerko, 37, is battling a back injury in the last year of his contract with the White Sox.
  • Cubs closer Kevin Gregg is on the trading block alongside starter Matt Garza, and Gregg seems ready to jump to a contender.  "Garza’s a headline piece, but I think that in the baseball world, people are looking for relievers.  I hope I’m on that list," Gregg told Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times recently.  The 35-year-old has enjoyed an improbable rise back to prominence and the Cubs' closer job, though he has a 7.36 ERA over the last month.
  • Speaking to Tom Singer of MLB.com, Pirates GM Neal Huntington explained that his strong farm system gives him the confidence to make trades without depleting it.  Huntington didn't rule out rental players, saying, "We've never gone in with a premeditated view on rentals, whether we want or don't want them.  We've gone into the Deadline to impact that year's club as best we could. Now, while it does not make a ton of sense for us to give up an elite prospect for a two-month rental, you've always got to have the majority of attention on today."

Zach Links contributed to this post.

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