Whispers

A's and Angels poised to challenge in AL West

November 21, 2010|By Phil Rogers

The Diamondbacks are making every player, including Justin Upton (right), available in trades. The Red Sox and Yankees are interested but Boston has a lot more to give up for the supremely talented right fielder. … While the Rangers can return their World Series team essentially intact, the A's and Angels figure to make an AL West repeat problematic. The A's have a wealth of pitching and are working to pry away third baseman Adrian Beltre from the Red Sox, with an opening offer of five years, $64 million. … Don't be surprised if Vlad Guerrero winds up back with the Rangers. … Here's an amazing stat on free agent first baseman Carlos Pena: His .196 batting average was the lowest for a player with 502 plate appearances (the level to qualify for a batting title) since the Brewers' Rob Deer hit .210 in 1993. Despite an alarming drop in batting average, Pena has remained a productive player and wouldn't be a bad two-year gamble for either the Cubs or White Sox. … Brandon Belt is a guy White Sox fans should embrace. A fifth-round pick of the Giants' in 2009, the first baseman has hit himself into big-league consideration in one year as a pro. Arkansans' Andy Wilkins, a fifth-round pick of the Sox in 2010, stood out in the Pioneer League and will come fast if he continues to combine power hitting and plate discipline. … Can't recommend the Mickey Mantle biography by Jane Leavy highly enough. Leavy's book on Sandy Koufax is as good as sports biographies get. … Is it a good thing when your first-round pick hits .163 in the Arizona Fall League? Probably not. That was the final average for Jared Mitchell, the White Sox's 2009 first-rounder who missed all of 2010 after surgery for a torn tendon in his left ankle, an injury he suffered in a split-squad game necessitated by the cash-grab the Cubs and White Sox make to play a March series in Las Vegas. … Bryce Harper, yes! The Nationals' first-round pick would have been a high school junior in 2010 but he hit .343 in the AFL. … The Red Sox are talking trade with Marco Scutaro, and it's easy to see him going to the Twins for one of their bullpen arms. Scutaro is Nick Punto on figurative steroids. … Dusty Baker probably would have won the NL Manager of the Year over Bud Black if ballots had not been allowed to be returned until after the season. The BBWAA historically only considers the regular season in its awards but shouldn't require ballots to be back by the end of the season. A better date would be three days after season's end, as lazy voters submit early.

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