In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that MLB is working to address the lack of African-American participation in baseball, both on the field and in the stands. While the RBI program [Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities] has seen more than 200 of its kids drafted to major league teams, Cafardo writes that it hasn't sparked the kind of interest that leads to a kid getting his friends together and playing an informal game at the park. Here's more from today's column..
- The feeling is that if the Twins aren’t in the race in early July, Josh Willingham would become available. “He’s a power righthanded bat that any contender could stick right in the middle of their lineup and get outstanding production,” said one National League GM. “You’d have to give something up, but he’d be worth the expenditure. He can really hit.”
- Scouts and GMs say Chase Headley could be the most sought-after player at the trade deadline. Part of it is that the Padres star plays third, is a good hitter, and teams in contention believe he would really thrive if he played for a winner.
- The Pirates really wanted shortstop Jose Iglesias in the Joel Hanrahan deal as their scouts felt he would eventually hit. For now, it looks like his offense has improved. “The Pirates really wanted a young shortstop they could build around and Iglesias was the guy they earmarked,” said one baseball executive. “The jury was out by some teams’ evaluations on him, but there was no denying his defense and no denying that he had a chance with the bat as he matured. Maybe that time has come.”
- One scout who watched the Red Sox's Triple-A affiliate recently gave high marks to the club for their haul in last year's mega-deal with the Dodgers. "If Ben Cherington never makes another trade he can rest assured that the two kids he got from the Dodgers [Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa] have tremendous arms." The scout added that he would like to see the Red Sox continue to extend De La Rosa as a starter.
- There’s a feeling among Astros personnel that Chris Carter, who was acquired from the A’s, could emerge as a 30-home run guy. Carter has been hot after a 1-for-19 start to the season.