Link-O-Rama: Brewers, Dodgers looking at Padilla?

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* Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Dodgers and Brewers are “kicking the tires” on Vicente Padilla, who was designated for assignment by the Rangers.
* Picking up Russell Branyan on the cheap was one of rookie Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik’s first moves and has turned out brilliantly, as the perennial part-time player has hit .255/.354/.535 with 27 homers through 99 games in a full-time role. Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times writes that the Mariners face a decision on whether to re-sign Branyan now that his value is rising.
* Bill Chastain of MLB.com has a very interesting article about the Rays allowing B.J. Upton to play the shallowest center field in all of baseball.
* Now that he’s starting to hit better and play more Magglio Ordonez is closing in on the 540 plate appearances required to trigger his $18 million option for next season. Obviously the Tigers want to avoid paying him that much in 2010, but benching him down the stretch in a pennant race may prove tricky.
* Daniel Herrera is 5-foot-6 on a good day and is one of the few pitchers to regularly throw a screwball, so it’s easy to see why he’s among my favorite players.

Tony Clark: Universal DH ‘gaining momentum’ among players

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Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark met the press late this morning and covered a wide array of topics.

One of them: free agency, which he referred to as being “under attack” based on the slow market for free agents last offseason.

“What the players saw last offseason was that their free-agent rights were under attack on what has been the bedrock of our system,” Clark said. He added that they “have some very difficult decisions to make.” Presumably in the form of grievances and, down the road, a negotiating strategy that seeks to claw back some of the many concessions the union has given owners in the past few Collective Bargaining Agreements. CBAs, it’s worth noting, that Clark negotiated. We’ve covered that territory in detail in the past.

Of more immediate interest was Clark’s comment that the idea of a universal designated hitter is, among players, “gaining momentum.” Clark says “players are talking about it more than they have in the past.” We’ve talked a lot about that as well.

Given that hating or loving the DH is the closest thing baseball has to a religion, no one’s mind is going to be changed by any of this, but I think, practically speaking, it’s inevitable that the National League will have the DH and I think it happens relatively soon. Perhaps in the next five years. The opposition to it at this point is solely subjective and based on tradition. People like pitchers batting and they like double switches and they like the leagues being different because they, well, like it. If the system were being set up today, however, they’d never have it this way and I think even the DH-haters know that well. That doesn’t mean that you can’t dislike a universal DH, but it does mean that you can’t expect the people who run the game to cater to that preference when it makes little sense for them to do it for their own purposes.

Anyway, enjoy convincing each other in the comments about how the side of that argument you dislike is wrong.