Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano rejected trade to the Giants


The San Francisco Giants seriously were interested in Alfonso Soriano and might have traded for him rather than Philadelphia’s Hunter Pence if Soriano had not told the Chicago Cubs the Dodgers were the only West Coast team he would waive his 10/5 rights to join.

Although the Cubs discussed trades for Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney, they would have to get a lot to trade either of their middle infielders. Manager Dale Sveum loves what he is getting from both of them defensively.

There has been some souring on Josh Hamilton in Texas, and the next two months could determine whether the Rangers try hard to re-sign him (to a four- or five-year deal) or let him leave after the season.

Melky Cabrera could wind up being the most heavily pursued free-agent hitter if Hamilton stays with the Rangers. The Giants would like to keep Cabrera but he seems headed to the market.

Josh Willingham has a chance to become the first Minnesota player to hit 40 home runs in a season since Harmon Killebrew in 1970. The fact that no one did that at the Metrodome in the steroid era is evidence of how the Twins never paid top dollar for sluggers.

According to Bill Arnold of Beyond the Box Score, there were no players named Brandon in the big leagues until Brandon Villafuerte in 2000, and there have been 34 since then, including seven who play in the Bay Area this year.

The Milwaukee Brewers have been so impressed by Corey Hart at first base that Manager Ron Roenicke wants to make the move from right field permanent.

The St. Louis Cardinals don’t have much margin for error in their effort to reach the playoffs without Albert Pujols, which is why they’re really sweating recent injuries to Lance Berkman (knee), Rafael Furcal (back) and Yadier Molina (thumb). They can’t afford to lose any of those guys for extended stints, and the situations with Furcal and Berkman are especially troubling.

With Craig Breslow joining Ryan Lavarnway, the Boston Red Sox are the first big league team with two Yale guys on the roster since the 1949 Red Sox, who had Frank Quinn and Sam Mele.

Evan Longoria could rejoin the Tampa Bay Rays soon.

If Mike Trout is selected American League most valuable player and rookie of the year, the Angels could become the first team to sweep all three BBWAA player awards since 1967, the first year the Cy Young was given for both leagues. It’s early to forecast these things but Trout’s biggest competition for the MVP could come from Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera.

The Baltimore Orioles just can’t catch a break with Brian Roberts. He has played only 115 big league games over the last three years and will sit out the rest of the season because of a hip injury. He is signed through 2013.

If the Houston Astros already had moved to the AL West, they would have dropped 171/2 games in the standings to the Oakland Athletics in July. The A’s were 19-5 and the Astros were 3-24, working to wrap up the first overall pick in the 2013 draft.

—Phil Rogers