I didn't watch the Home Run Derby spectacle last night, but it's my understanding that the hometown crowd in Kansas City lustily booed A.L. captain Robinson Cano after he backpedaled from his publicly stated notion to select a Royals slugger to his team, and that the incident triggered an abundance of media indignation that has spilled over into the daylight hours of today, with Jon Paul Morosi, in particular, calling out the Royals faithful "foolish" for potentially leaving a bad impression with future free agents that they might pursue. Groan. It's the Home Run Derby; shouldn't we be celebrating moments like these for breathing some actual interest into this indisputably stale marketing spectacle, rather than condemning them and the parties responsible?
● Though the Rangers have scouted both the Phillies' Cole Hamels and the Brewers' Zack Greinke, sources suggest that the Rangers' preference between the two is Hamels; on Sunday, ESPN.com's Buster Olney indicated that the prevailing belief among the baseball officials he had spoken to was that if Hamels was to move at all in the next three weeks, he would be moved in a deal sending him to Texas; the Rangers, for their part, continue to downplay the likelihood of serious involvement on either Hamels or Greinke (Ken Rosenthal, FOXSports.com)
[I'll have a post going up on the Hamels/Greinke trade rumors tomorrow that takes more of a penetrating look at the discussion, but, for now at least, the largest-looming question appears to be something along the lines of "okay, you've got Hamels -- now, who do you send packing from the starting rotation to make room?" And, yeah, that's a pretty challenging question to work through, because, barring further injury, your only apparent options are (a) Derek Holland, who got the big off-season extension, (b) Roy Oswalt, who assuredly didn't sign here under the assumption that he might have to move to the bullpen, (c) a six-man rotation, or (d) trading somebody.
There's also that slight outstanding issue of the Phillies reportedly seeking four to five prospects in exchange for Hamels, including a couple of blue-chippers (though I imagine there was an sizable element of chest-puffing there and that the final selling price will only vaguely resemble the exaggerated asking price), and, of course, the Phillies also seeking to re-sign Hamels themselves -- although you tend to greatly doubt the likelihood of that coming to pass based on history itself and the Phillies' enormous future payroll obligations, including a $110-plus million commitment to Ryan Howard that doesn't expire until after the 2016 season at the very earliest.]
● The Diamondbacks are willing to move outfielder Justin Upton -- who is owed roughly $47-48 million over the remainder of the 2012 season and through the duration of his contracted 2013-15 window -- even if they should remain in contention; however, sources indicate that Arizona general manager Kevin Towers would need to be "dazzled" for him to squeeze the trigger on any such deal (Rosenthal)
[On the one hand, this idea makes some sense, because Upton would represent a controllable star corner outfielder that could neatly fit in Josh Hamilton's place after his probable departure this coming fall, and that's one of the very few types of players that the Rangers could conceivably load up the wagon for; on the other hand, the price in talent is going to be prohibitive Upton has continually vacillated between borderline elite (2009) and good (2010) and superstar-caliber (2011) and mediocre (2012), and he has also suffered from a major perception problem in Arizona that may or may not play well in the view of the Rangers' front office, their fans, and/or the press.]
● To the surprise of absolutely nobody on this earth, Josh Hamilton told the All-Star Game media assemblage on Monday that he and the Rangers had mutually agreed to suspend contract talks until after the conclusion of the season, and, after reiterating that the Rangers would get the first shot at signing him, cryptically added: "[Texas] had a shot earlier this year and didn’t really take it"; on a related note, Mike Napoli said that he would love to stay in Texas, but also added, "If something doesn't get worked out it's my time to be a free agent" (Richard Durrett, ESPNDallas.com; Jon Heyman, Twitter)
[I assume "a shot" constitutes something along the lines of "offer me $150 million and I might think about it."]