-- John Perrotto of Pirates Report has another rumor to monger:
"The most interesting one is the reincarnation of a deal that could have been made at the winter meetings 2005 that would have the Pirates sending left-hander Paul Maholm to Toronto for right fielder Alex Rios.They can say they're not dumping salaries, but Rios' contract is way too rich for the suits to pick up. He's a right-handed Nate McLouth in our eyes, a nice ballplayer but not a $10,000,000 man.
He has a .262 batting average with 10 homers and 46 RBIs in 88 games this season.
The Blue Jays would have to eat a sizeable portion of Rios’ contract before the Pirates would even consider making this deal. There is approximately $62 million remaining on the seven-year, $69.835-million contract Rios signed prior to last season with a $13.5-million club option for 2015.
Maholm is in the first year of a three-year, $14.5-millon contract with a $9.75-million option for 2012."
-- 42 year-old Tim Wakefield (11-3, 4.31 ERA) became the oldest first-time All-Star selection since Satchel Paige, who was 46 in 1952.
-- To break the streak and finish at 82-80, the Pirates need to roll up a 44-30 second half record, playing at a .594 pace. Not impossible, but Vegas would love to book your bet.
-- According to a Harris Poll, the Pittsburgh Pirates are the 22nd most popular team in baseball. Not too bad, actually, considering the streak.
-- Hey, they can stop laughing at the Bucco foray into India now. LHP Rinku Singh (1-0, 12.00 ERA) struck out the only batter he faced in the Bradenton Pirates' 10-5 victory over the little Tigers to earn the W. He is thought to be the first Indian born player to ever win a professional baseball game in the US.
-- The Miguel Sano saga should end this week, when MLB's investigation into his age is expected be complete. The money has been flying around the Caribbean; we'll soon see how much of it sticks to young Mr. Sano.
And don't be surprised if the league offices try to rein in the costs at some point. Some Latino kids are getting way above comparable draft slot money, and without a background of high school or college ball to judge them by.
They're getting signed on rep, not performance. In this year's Futures game, there were only two Latin players under 26 years-old playing; there are no guarantees.
Three recommendations are to throw them in the draft, cap international signing budgets, or to get the Latin Leagues under the MLB umbrella to replace the buscone tryout system.
-- And from Yahoo Sports: When the Red Sox chose Casey Kelly in the 2008 draft, Kelly said he would turn down a scholarship to play quarterback at the University of Tennessee and sign with Beantown under one condition: He gets to play shortstop.
So even though the Red Sox (and almost every other team) viewed him as a potential top-of-the-rotation pitcher, they offered a compromise: play shortstop in 2008, then pitch the first half of 2009 before returning to shortstop in the second half.
He hit .215/1/13 in 130 at-bats in 2008. Kelley's pitching line this year was 7-5 with a 2.08 ERA and WHIP of .853. He's shut down now and in training camp taking grounders to get ready for the second half of the season.