Truth & Rumors: Oct. 29, 2004
Posted: Friday October 29, 2004 12:02PM; Updated: Friday October 29, 2004 4:18PM
Red Sox GM Theo Epstein has told friends that if Pedro Martinez pushes too hard for a four-year deal, he'll look elsewhere and, in his words, "I'll just find two pitchers who at least show up on time." It's that kind of resolve that has the Yankees worried.
Still, the early guess is the Red Sox will let Derek Lowe walk and keep free-agents-to-be Martinez and Jason Varitek.
The Mets have been discussing the viability of acquiring World Series MVP Manny Ramirez as the antidote to their offensive woes. But if they can't work out a deal with the Red Sox -- and Ramirez's Series heroics are a serious setback to their chances -- the Mets might consider Sammy Sosa instead.
Wally Backman canceled his Thursday interview with Mets brass, and the sparkplug from the '86 World Series championship team is expected to be named manager of the Diamondbacks.
Though Willie Randolph appears to be the Mets' front-runner, Rudy Jaramillo also could be selected. Jaramillo appears likely to return to the Rangers as hitting coach if he isn't named the Mets' manager. Should he be named manager, Randolph likely will push for Chili Davis to be the hitting coach.
White Sox GM Ken Williams would like to add a starting pitcher, and the name that keeps surfacing in rumors is Arizona's Randy Johnson. Magglio Ordonez filed for free agency, moving one step closer to leaving the Sox. Williams still has not heard from Ordonez or his new agent, Scott Boras, regarding Ordonez's health status.
Frank Thomas and Carl Everett exercised their options for 2005. The Sox also picked up the option on reliever Shingo Takatsu while declining the option on catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. Looking for a shortstop, the Sox are interested in Cleveland's Omar Vizquel and perhaps Minnesota's Cristian Guzman.
Pending free-agent shortstop Edgar Renteria said he would "wait and see" what the Cardinals might do to retain his Gold Glove services.
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa does not have a contract for next year and would be an attractive option for any team looking for a new manager.
La Russa, however, called his return for his 10th season in St. Louis "a slam dunk." He is expected to sign a two-year contract before his current deal expires at year's end.
The Cubs declined to pick up the options on outfielder Moises Alou and second baseman Mark Grudzielanek. While GM Jim Hendry said there is "a chance" either or both could return, the likelihood is they will seek out other teams while the Cubs pursue replacements, including Carlos Beltran. The Cubs also will decide whether to bring back Nomar Garciaparra or look at other free-agent shortstops, including Boston's Orlando Cabrera and Renteria.
Popular broadcaster Steve Stone shocked Cubs fans by announcing his resignation as the team's color analyst. Stone never has hid his desire to be a GM or team president. With the Expos moving to Washington and seeking a GM, Stone becomes a contender for that job -- though he has no front-office experience.
Pat Gillick almost certainly won't be the Expos' GM. Several former GMs could be considered, including Dan Duquette, who ran the Expos and later the Red Sox; Jim Bowden, who served as GM of the Reds for more than 10 seasons; and former Dodgers GM Kevin Malone.
The Angels have expressed no interest in retaining Troy Percival, and the popular closer expects to play elsewhere next season.
Astros GM Gerry Hunsicker announced the club was picking up Craig Biggio's $3 million option for 2005, while choosing not to exercise Jeff Kent's $9 million option.
On the day he filed for free agency, Dodgers third baseman Adrian Beltre had arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle Thursday to remove two large bone spurs.
While the Yankees are planning a big (and most likely successful) free-agent push for Beltran, the personnel meetings focused on pitching. Names such as Johnson, Martinez, Eric Milton and even David Wells were thrown around the boardroom tables.
If the Twins can't reach agreement with free-agent starting pitcher Brad Radke, Jon Lieber is available because the Yankees have declined their $8 million option on him for next year. The Yankees have earmarked that money for Milton.
Terry Pendleton, who has never managed before, interviewed for the Phillies' managerial vacancy Thursday and seemed to impress the Phillies' front office. The Phillies could name Larry Bowa's successor before the end of next week, with Jim Leyland, Charlie Manuel and Jim Fregosi seeming to be at the top of their list.
Blue Jays slugger Carlos Delgado filed for free agency and may wind up in Baltimore.
Armando Benitez, who set a Marlins record with 47 saves while posting a 1.29 ERA, infielders Damion Easley and Wil Cordero and right-handed reliever Rudy Seanez all filed for free agency Thursday.
The Rockies and third baseman Vinny Castilla are not speaking the same contract language. "I don't want to break the bank, just a little raise for my season," Castilla said. "I am still hoping that we can work something out."
Isiah Thomas called Phil Jackson an "attractive candidate" Thursday night before quickly reminding reporters that the Knicks' head coaching job is currently held by Lenny Wilkens.
Charles Barkley might not be long for TNT's NBA studio. "I'm going to be a GM sooner or later," Barkley said. "There is no rush for me.'' Where might it be, Sir Charles? "Anywhere I want to," Barkley said. "I'll tell you what, I could do a lot better than some of the [expletives] who are running teams right now.''
They're talking behind Nate McMillan's back in Seattle and wondering how long Mark Cuban will support Don Nelson if the Mavericks can't win some important games at the defensive end.
Eddie Jordan may be in trouble if the Wizards don't reach the playoffs. His hiring was a shotgun wedding enforced by owner Abe Pollin; he's not really Ernie Grunfeld's man.
Blazers management thinks Maurice Cheeks is not demanding enough from the players, saying he prefers to be one of the boys vs. their boss.
Sonics forward Danny Fortson filed a defamation suit against Suns chairman and CEO Jerry Colangelo, the New York Post and columnist Peter Vecsey after they referred to him as a "thug" following a November game.
With a partial ligament elbow tear less than a week before Tuesday's season opener in Detroit, Yao Ming faces the possibility of missing a game for the first time in his NBA career. The Rockets hope to put Yao through a workout Saturday and test his ability to return to full practices by Sunday.
In the first major step of an inspirational comeback, Alonzo Mourning was a physical presence before fouling out with 12 points, five rebounds and two blocks in 19 minutes. Mourning is back, and the question is how long does he want to remain with the Nets? He reiterated he'd rather be playing for a contender than a dismantled team.
Jason Kidd, who was highly annoyed by the Nets' offseason moves, particularly the giveaway of Kenyon Martin, declined to address his future.
The T'wolves are still interested in a trade with New Jersey if Kidd's knee is 100 percent.
GM Kiki Vandeweghe announced the Nuggets won't pick up the $3.69 million 2005-06 contract option on Nikoloz Tskitishvili.
Cleveland declined to pick up the option on Dajuan Wagner's contract for the 2005-06 season.
Keith Bogans is safem but DeShawn Stevenson appears to be the odd-guard out as the Magic finalized their opening-night roster. The Magic are looking to trade Stevenson, a fourth-year guard acquired from the Jazz last season for Gordan Giricek.
Bulls forward Eddie Robinson could rejoin the team this weekend, but only if he agrees to accept a lesser role off the bench and not create a distraction.
It will be interesting to see whether the Raptors give a tryout to Rick Rickert, released by the Timberwolves on Monday. Raptors GM Rob Babcock was player personnel director when Minnesota drafted Rickert two years ago.
Vikings head coach Mike Tice made his most telling comment yet regarding his inclination to remain with Minnesota. "This is my team," Tice said. "We've got a mission, and we're going to stay on our paths."
Steelers head coach Bill Cowher has not yet said Ben Roethlisberger will remain the starting quarterback even after Tommy Maddox recovers from his elbow injury.
With Steve McNair struggling with a sternum injury, chances are Billy Volek will get his third career start Sunday against the Bengals.
The Ravens could look into reworking the contract of linebacker Ray Lewis, whose deal is through 2008.
Redskins rookie safety Sean Taylor will be inactive for Sunday's game against the Packers after his arrest on a driving while intoxicated charge.
Pro Bowl offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden signed a seven-year contract extension Thursday, securing the future for him as well as the Ravens.
The Eagles signed Greg Lewis to a five-year contract extension yesterday that gives them the rights to the wide receiver through the 2011 season.
An Eagles source said other such deals could be in the offing, but probably would not involve high-profile players such as defensive tackle Corey Simon and starting guard Jermane Mayberry, who become unrestricted free agents this winter, or running back Brian Westbrook.
NHL VP Bill Daly says the league was willing to give the players about 53 percent of $2.1 billion in revenues before the lockout started. He says that would have meant an average salary of $1.3 million -- down from the current $1.8 million. But that figure may get even lower if the lockout lasts too long, because the pie will be smaller to divide.
Canadiens center Mike Ribeiro said a newspaper report that said he was not opposed to a cap and was in favor of controlling free-agent salaries was not true. "I am not at all in favor of a salary cap,'' Ribeiro said. "I don't believe that will solve the problem.''
Swedish Elite League champion HV-71 has scheduled a press conference for Friday when it's expected they'll confirm Maple Leafs defenseman Bryan McCabe is signing with the team.
Manchester United's ongoing feud with Arsenal will escalate next week when Red Devils officials dump an explosive dossier on the Football Association chronicling the Battle of Old Trafford. United is collating evidence from Sunday and when their findings are handed over, it will also include a so-called "Tape of Tackles," which will highlight Arsenal indiscretions during the game and could yet lead to Gunners players suffering the same fate as suspended United striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy.
United is furious over Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger's persistent denials of a tunnel bust-up involving his players following Sunday's stormy Premiership encounter, even though Sir Alex Ferguson was forced to change clothes to conduct postmatch TV interviews after being splattered by pizza and food thrown from the visitors' dressing room.
Just when you thought the dark days were over for good, they came back with a vengeance. The graphic scenes repeated on television in the aftermath of Liverpool's visit to Millwall on Tuesday evening and Chelsea's meeting with West Ham on Wednesday were unquestioned proof that if anybody in football was growing complacent about the hooligan curse, they were horribly wrong.
Chelsea sacked striker Adrian Mutu after he failed a random drug last month, terminating his £12million contract on the grounds of gross misconduct. They made the decision after Mutu's positive test for cocaine and his admission that he took the drug.