The nuances of this year’s interleague schedule could impact the playoff picture, as ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark explains. In the AL West, for example, the Rangers play the Astros (owners of the worst record in baseball) six times, while the A’s play the first-place Giants six times. Stark also delivers a number of rumblings from around the league. Here they are:
- There are no signs that the Yankees have really considered releasing Jorge Posada, but at least one scout thinks the switch-hitter could easily find another job if the Yankees cut him loose.
- Cubs GM Jim Hendry says he hasn’t discussed next year’s spending plans with owner Tom Ricketts, since he’s focused on turning the 2011 team around.
- Don’t count on seeing Aramis Ramirez’s name on MLBTR much this summer. Not only can the third baseman veto any trade, a deal would guarantee him $16MM in 2012 (though he could still opt out).
- Ryan Madson seems ready to test the open market after the season. Since taking over for Jose Contreras and Brad Lidge, Madson seems like a possible long-term closer, but he figures to generate interest as a free agent after the season.