Trading season is still weeks away, but a flurry of transactions is likely around June 1. A number of veterans on minor-league contracts can ask for their releases if they are not promoted to the majors by that date. They then would become free agents, available to any team.
The players with June 1 opt-outs include:
Alfredo Amezaga, IF/OF, Cubs. Super-utility type who has played six positions at Triple A Iowa, including pitcher. Batting .301 with a .786 OPS.
David Bush, RHP, Phillies. His contract is a little different: The Phillies must promote Bush on June 1 or trade him within 72 hours if another club wants to add him to its 25-man roster. Would Bush qualify for one of the 150 starting jobs in the majors? Well, he’s 4-3 with a 2.73 ERA at Triple A, and has a streak of 16 consecutive scoreless innings.
Jeff Francis, LHP, Reds. Still does not appear to be pitching well enough to hold a spot in a major-league rotation. Francis had a 3.18 ERA in his first three starts at Triple A Louisville, but a 5.02 ERA in his next six.
Chuck James, LHP, Mets. Could surface somewhere; left-handed relievers always are in short supply. In 11 appearances for Triple A Buffalo, James has a 1.93 ERA.
Ross Ohlendorf, RHP, Red Sox. Not exactly pressing the issue: Ohlendorf is 3-3 with a 4.64 ERA in eight starts.
Oliver Perez, LHP, Mariners. Impressive strikeout rate of 13.1 per nine innings as a reliever, but as usual the rest of his game is suspect. Perez also is averaging 6.1 walks per nine, and his WHIP is a whopping 1.887.
Doug Slaten, LHP, Pirates. The Pirates, leading the NL in bullpen ERA, might not need Slaten, but some other team almost certainly would want him. Slaten, the closer at Triple A Indianapolis, has a 0.40 ERA and 0.806 WHIP and has yet to allow an extra-base hit in 22 1/3 innings.
— Ken Rosenthal