Hot Stove Truth & Rumors: Nov. 16, 2004
Posted: Tuesday November 16, 2004 12:28PM; Updated: Tuesday November 16, 2004 4:48PM
Baseball's Hot Stove is heating up with a flurry of rumors and gossip. To keep you up-to-date, we've created a special edition of Truth & Rumors. To check out the other sports, click here.
Adrian Beltre said he and agent Scott Boras would meet soon with Dodger owner Frank McCourt and GM Paul DePodesta, perhaps by the end of the week. Said Beltre: "The Dodgers are going to have the first option. I'm happy with the organization. Now is the time I have the choice to stay or go, but I'm not thinking about leaving yet."
A high-ranking official within the Players Association confirmed yesterday that it is "little more than a formality" that the union would not fight a request by Sammy Sosa's agents to have an $18 million triggered option in his contract dropped to clear the way for a trade.
The Mets and Cubs could pull off a Sosa-for-Cliff Floyd swap, potentially in the next week.
"This story is one of the more overblown stories I have ever seen," said Sosa's agent Adam Katz, responding to a flurry of reports that Sosa might waive his guaranteed 2006 $18 million salary if the Cubs trade him. Katz admitted seeking the opinion from the players association weeks ago, but he has been involved "in no discussions" with the Cubs about that matter, adding, "It's all hypothetical at this point. I expect him not to move [from Chicago]."
Trading Mike Piazza might clear salary out for the Mets to pay Sosa. Piazza would be willing to waive his no-trade clause to play for the Angels. He is a huge fan of manager Mike Scioscia, a former teammate with the Dodgers in 1992, and still has a home in the Los Angeles area. But the Angels didn't seem too enthusiastic during the GM's meetings.
One of the juicier rumors on baseball's hot-stove circuit has Alfonso Soriano returning to New York. As a Met. Playing right field.
Soriano said he would not move to right field to come back to New York in a deal with the Mets.
Even though the Yankees still owe Jason Giambi most of his seven-year, $120 million contract and appear intent on signing a relatively inexpensive backup player because of Giambi's health, Yankees GM Brian Cashman met with the agent for Carlos Delgado last week.
The Mariners have Delgado at the top of their winter wish list and he seems to hold Seattle in similar regard.
The Yankees' No. 1 priority is the same as it was last summer -- making a trade for Randy Johnson. It's possible that their rotation in 2005 would have Johnson at the top, followed by Mike Mussina and Jon Lieber, with free-agent lefties Eric Milton and Al Leiter.
The Yankees would consider trading Javier Vazquez for Johnson and kick in some money for the Diamondbacks to pay Vazquez.
White Sox GM Ken Williams would not comment on his team's supposed interest in Johnson.
Both the Yankees and Eric Milton's agent strongly disputed speculation that the Yanks were close to inking a three-year pact with the pitcher.
The Phillies are expected to make an offer to lefty Leiter, whom the Mets paid a $2.1 million buyout and granted free agency to keep from paying him his $10.2 million salary due next season.
Even with signs pointing toward the Carl Pavano sweepstakes coming down to a bidding war between the Red Sox and Yankees, the Phillies have jumped into the mix, making Pavano an offer.
Third baseman Mike Lowell said the Marlins won't be as competitive as they were in 2004 unless the team retains Pavano and Armando Benitez or finds veteran pitchers who can replace them.
The Orioles are continuing their attempts to bring Pavano to Baltimore for a grand tour, but they might have to wait until later in the month or early December.
"There are a couple of Japan teams out there that are really looking good," Pavano joked. "I love sushi."
Pavano plans to begin a tour of the top cities on his list in Boston to take advantage of an opportunity to chat with Curt Schilling.
Reports of the Red Sox interest in Troy Glaus appear to have been overstated, since his signing would necessitate the team dealing either Bill Mueller (for Glaus to play his natural position, third base) or both first basemen Kevin Millar and Doug Mientkiewicz, whose combined $7.25 million next season could cover most of Glaus' salary demands.
Indians GM Mark Shapiro seems to be focusing on free-agent starters Matt Clement and Jon Lieber.
Troy Percival has narrowed his list of potential new employers down to six. The Indians, Tigers, Indians, Cubs and Giants are among them. The Tigers have picked up the $4-million option on their closer from last year, Ugueth Urbina. It's possible Urbina could set up for Percival, or the Tigers could deal Urbina.
The Tigers are interested in free-agent power hitter Jeff Kent -- and by virtue of his visit to Detroit on Monday, he's interested in them.
The Orioles haven't made a decision on whether they will pursue Richie Sexson. But should they enter the bidding, they would need evidence that Sexson was healthy.
The Mets are expected to speak to Sexson's agent soon.
The White Sox could go after Minnesota free agent Cristian Guzman but more likely will settle for someone like Placido Polanco, who most teams see as a backup shortstop.
Washington GM Jim Bowden has targeted a pair of Twins free agents -- third baseman Corey Koskie and Guzman and also has his eye on power-hitting third baseman Vinny Castilla of the Rockies.
After crunching the salary numbers, the Angels picked up the $3-million option on Bengi Molina's contract for 2005 and declined to renew a $5.5-million option on Ramon Ortiz.