Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Around the division

Even after last night's whupping at the hands of the lowly Mariners. the Twins still have the largest lead of any division leader.

And that's hardly unnoticed elsewhere in the AL Central. The blogs I keep an eye on have essentially conceded that it will take some sort of disaster for the Twins to lose the division title, or even for there to be a serious race in September.

The Chicago White Sox are the subject of multiple trade rumors, particularly surrounding A.J. Pierzynski, who (a) is in the last year of his contract; (b) gains automatic no-trade status on June 14, when he becomes a 10-and-5 players (10 years of service time, five year with his current team; and (c) as a well-used 33-year-old catcher may be at the point where his current .217 batting average is not a mere slump.

The Detroit Tigers, to the surprise of almost everybody, found a market for Dontrelle Willis. They shipped the troubled former all-star to Arizona for pitching quasi-prospect Billy Buckner, who at 26 and with more than 130 major league innings isn't much of a prospect anymore. But the Tigers got something for Willis, and Buckner strikes me as a reasonable replacement (eventually) for Zach Miner, who is out with ligament replacment surgery.

The Tigers have installed Carlos Guillen (above) as their regular second baseman — or, perhaps more accurately, he'll play second until he gets hurt again. He had played second in a dozen major league games before this — all of them in the previous century.

I would assume they're not expecting quality glovework from him. This is about getting another bat in the lineup.

The Cleveland Indians are seeing their season roil down the toilet. Grady Sizemore needs surgery for a bone bruise in his knee, and there's talk of more surgery ahead for their roster centerpiece.

Meanwhile, there's this: They drew 1.7 million last year; factoring in the economy, they budgeted for an attendance of 1.5 million; they're on pace to draw 1.1 million.

The Kansas City Royals aren't just a bad team, they're an uninteresting bad team. But Rany Jazayerli sees hope in a burgeoning farm system.

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