A few notes from around MLB's Central divisions, where the Indians and Cardinals will enter first place entering Sunday's action …
- The White Sox could look to trade one of their four left-hander relievers if they fall out of contention later in the season, writes Scott Merkin of MLB.com, particularly Matt Thornton and/or Will Ohman. Thornton's contract calls for a $5.5MM salary in 2013 and includes a $6MM club option for 2014, while Ohman is a free agent at season's end.
- Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan is becoming a likelier trade candidate with so many relievers suffering injuries, writes Tom Singer of MLB.com. Hanrahan, for his part, is aware of the possibility but hopes to remain in Pittsburgh, mentioning the Bucs' decision not to sell off players at last year's deadline. The right-hander is slated to become a free agent after 2013.
- The Indians seriously scouted Yoenis Cespedes but were never close to signing the outfielder, who eventually inked with the A's, writes Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.
- In an interesting piece for the New York Times, Tyler Kepner writes how Reds shortstop prospect Billy Hamilton's blazing speed is indicative of a trend in scouting and player development. With run production declining, speed is once again highly valued. Said Bill Bavasi, Cincinnati's vice president for scouting and player development: "We’re seeing the game go through a renaissance right now. We’re going to see some different bodies playing the game, and a premium is going to be placed on speed, on range and on doing all the little skills that were so important in baseball …"