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At the moment, it looks like it'll be a tough trade market for teams (such as the Yankees) that want to add a top-flight starting pitcher in July. Too many teams are in contention, although there's plenty more time for things to unfold.
What can be said with more certainty, however, is that this coming offseason's free-agent market will be plentiful. The Yankees' CC Sabathia can opt out of his contract, Texas' C.J. Wilson will be out there, and the White Sox's Mark Buehrle and Edwin Jackson.
One underreported potential member of this club: Roy Oswalt. The Phillies' righthander has a mutual option for $16 million with a $2-million buyout. As long as he produces a characteristic season -- and he is so far -- bet heavily on Oswalt, who turns 34 in August, forgoing the option year and shopping himself for one more big score.
Oswalt has spoken often of retiring young. Eh. Let's believe it when we see it. There's more money to be made and more statistics to compile.
It's hard to see the Phillies, already committed long-term to Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, working too hard to retain Oswalt, who -- because of his age -- probably won't be in position to get a five-year contract but should get significant dollars.
Former Yankees bench coach and third-base coach Don Zimmer, now the Rays' senior adviser, was discussing the Jorge Posada-Joe Girardi situation with me Tuesday, when the Yankees played at Tropicana Field.
"It's easier for the manager when the player himself realizes that he no longer can do the same things that he could do," Zimmer said. "You ain't supposed to do the same things at 39 years old that you did when you were 32 years old."
That hasn't occurred with Posada or Derek Jeter. But it did occur in 1994, the year before Jeter and Posada first earned promotions to the Bronx.
"Donnie had come in [to my office] earlier and saw the grief that I was taking about hitting him third and said, 'Take me out of the three-hole. It's all right. It's no big deal,' " Buck Showalter, now the Orioles' manager, recalled of his days leading the Yankees. "I actually said to him, 'How dare you come in here? I'll let you know when I'm hitting you somewhere other than third.' "
Showalter ultimately heeded his captain's advice, dropping Mattingly to fifth and promoting Paul O'Neill to third.
When I asked Showalter how challenging it was managing Mattingly's fade, the manager responded: "It really wasn't, because of the way Donnie handled it . . . Everything with Donnie was about the team."
"That's exceptional," I said to Showalter, who disagreed with the semantics: "I'd say it's rare."
Albert Pujols is off to a terrible start, but odds are he'll wake up and put up a season worthy of a huge extension from the Cardinals. Pujols isn't the only St. Louis player due for a raise. Lefthander Jaime Garcia, enjoying a fantastic campaign, will be eligible for arbitration for the first time.
So how much did the Rays wind up paying Manny Ramirez before he retired following a failed drug test? About $70,000. They tried to capitalize on Manny's presence by selling jerseys and wigs, but it's believed they didn't turn a profit there, due to leftover inventory.
Ron Hunt, a Met from 1963-66, will no longer conduct a fundraiser at Brooklyn's MCU Park, but he loves New York and Mets fans and wants to stay in touch. Anyone interested in contacting Hunt can e-mail me at email@example.com.
The 2010 film "The Other Guys'' features a police captain, played by Michael Keaton, who shares the name of what famous baseball manager? (answer below)
Three starting pitchers who could be available
Francisco Liriano, Twins. A free agent after next year, has pitched better lately after an awful beginning to the season.
Jon Garland, Dodgers. Steady as ever, he provides innings and keeps his team in most games.
Three contenders that could be financially limited
Rays. They never spend a lot at the trade deadline.
Marlins. Because they're the Marlins -- although they do have the new ballpark coming next year.
Indians. Attendance hasn't picked up yet.
Quote of the week: "It's a situation created by Jorgie, and it can be explained only by Jorgie.'' Yankees general manager Brian Cashman on Jorge Posada's decision to pull himself from the lineup an hour before the May 14 Red Sox-Yankees game.
Pop quiz answer
Gene Mauch. Thanks to Chip Namias, president of Athlete & Event Sports Public Relations, for the suggestion.