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Whoa. That deal's HOT!

According to national columnist Jon Heyman (formerly of the Sporting News, now of Sports Illustrated), the Los Angeles Angels of Pine Tar are hot for Alfonso Soriano. Cool; they've got lots of young players!

Well . . .

There's just one problem. For Soriano, the Nationals requested a bona fide prospect plus John Lackey or Ervin Santana, exactly the sort of cost-efficient pitchers teams don't consider trading nowadays.

Oh . . .

Well, actually two problems. The Angels are reluctant to dig into their superb stash of prospects -- Jered Weaver, Kendry Morales, Howie Kendrick, Brandon Wood, Joe Saunders, Jeff Mathis and Dallas McPherson -- for a three-month rental. They'd prefer to lock up Soriano if they can make a trade. But like just about everyone else, they view Soriano as an outfielder. But the question is: does Soriano?

Hmmm . . .

This is going to be a big test for the Angels' practically pulse-less general manager, Bill Stoneman. (Isn't it great when the surname describes the man?) Historically, Stoneman has treated prospects like a father would a first born. Yet that's no excuse to be shut out of the Soriano derby considering the Angels have prospects to match almost any team (only Arizona arguably has a better farm system).

Still . . .

Nationals GM Jim Bowden has never been afraid to deal, so his talks with the perpetually reticent Stoneman would make for great reality TV. When Bowden was retained by Washington's new ownership group, he went from lame duck to baseball's key man in deadline trade talks. Beyond Soriano, Bowden has Livan Hernandez, Tony Armas Jr., Jose Guillen and maybe Nick Johnson to offer.

Yeah, I have no idea if Heyman actually has something or if he's just talking for the sake of talking, either.

Make no mistake, though----the Angels would be a sweet trading partner, perhaps as good as it gets (outside of another Heyman nugget, Lastings Milledge, perhaps). Stoneman would be nuts to trade Lackey, pretty dumb to trade Santana, and utterly psychotic (at this point) to deal Jer. Weaver.

And that's not even mentioning Howie Kendrick.

* * * *

Not to be outdone, Robothal is on the scene, though with a decidedly different angle:

Abreu remains available. The Orioles will listen on Tejada. The Diamondbacks' Shawn Green is another possibility. Further opportunities will arise as the July 31 non-waiver deadline approaches ? the Brewers might shop Carlos Lee, and the price for the Nationals' Alfonso Soriano figures to drop. Both Lee and Soriano are potential free agents.

Hey, why you gotta play us like that, dawg?

Whatever involving Soriano is dropping, it sure isn't his batting average. Since bottoming out at .261, he's raised his average thirteen points in the past three games.

* * * *

And, finally, since I'm in the blockquoting mood:

Rockies second baseman Jamey Carroll, a career utility player who suddenly is thriving as a regular, could find himself in an interesting predicament this off-season. Carroll's salary likely will jump from $700,000 in arbitration, but his inflated number would be too high for teams that view him as a utility man. A multi-year deal with the Rockies at a slightly higher salary probably is the best solution. Carroll's .897 OPS at second is the highest in the majors.

Imagine that---sold for $300,000 (No, we don't want a player in return; just a little cash, thanks.) and on track for multi-year job security. Good guys don't always finish last.