Hot Stove Truth & Rumors: Nov. 18, 2004
Posted: Thursday November 18, 2004 11:52AM; Updated: Thursday November 18, 2004 4:59PM
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.
No sooner had the Tigers introduced Troy Percival on Wednesday as their new closer than the subject turned to the next former Angel in whom the Tigers are interested -- Percival's friend, Troy Glaus.
Percival had other offers but was so impressed with everything he encountered in Detroit that he telephoned his agent in California to tell him to get a deal done. "There was no need to go anywhere else. I turned down more money to come here," he said.
The Tigers will look to trade Ugueth Urbina -- probably to one of the other 12 teams that called Percival. A starting pitcher would be nice, too. The Yankees and Red Sox are interested in Carl Pavano. It's one thing to keep Percival away from Chicago and Cleveland, quite another to keep Pavano away from GE and Microsoft.
First Omar Vizquel, then Percival. Chicago's baseball teams are suffering some big losses -- and it's only November.
The Cubs are expected to pursue a trade with the Tigers for Urbina. And shortly after hearing the news on Percival, who had been scheduled to meet Friday with the Cubs, GM Jim Hendry got an unexpected overture from free agent Matt Mantei, who made a sales pitch for a one-year deal.
Urbina is expected to be traded soon, probably to the Giants. The Cubs have very little interest in him, which means they still are looking for a bullpen closer.
Sources said the Giants are not involved in any talks to acquire Urbina. The Giants appear to be focusing on their incumbent closer, Dustin Hermanson, who has attracted interest from Cleveland. Hermanson and Armando Benitez are the only two free- agent closers left.
Benitez would have to lower his desire for a three- or four-year contract for the Cubs to have interest. It is possible they will try Ryan Dempster in the role.
They're so sure that Sammy Sosa will be traded, the Cubs are said to be looking for two starting outfielders this offseason -- one to replace left fielder Moises Alou, the other to replace Sosa. The team is leaning toward letting second baseman Todd Walker leave via free agency. The Cubs plan to pursue free agents Edgar Renteria and Orlando Cabrera before getting serious with Nomar Garciaparra.
The Cubs have grown tired of right-handed reliever Kyle Farnsworth. The Rockies are said to be interested in Farnsworth, but the Cubs are not interested in reliever/starter Shawn Chacon or veteran catcher Charles Johnson, two players being peddled by Colorado. The Tigers also are seeking a hard-throwing setup man.
The Red Sox literally flew into action yesterday following Pedro Martinez's surprise meeting with Yankees owner George Steinbrenner one day earlier. GM Theo Epstein and team president Larry Lucchino flew to Florida yesterday to attend a meeting with Martinez and John W. Henry at the principal owner's home in Boca Raton.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman wasn't invited to the Steinbrenner-Martinez meeting and didn't learn of it until Tuesday. Cashman was still upset yesterday over the development.
If the team is doubtful that Martinez will be sticking around, Pavano will become the Red Sox' clear priority and could receive a multi-year offer as early as today. The Sox are also expected to make a pitch for Twins right-hander Brad Radke, while maintaining their efforts to acquire another veteran hurler. It is believed that Epstein discussed trade possibilities with Oakland GM Billy Beane during last week's meetings to try to land either Barry Zito or Tim Hudson.
Are the Blue Jays planning to use some of the money they saved with Carlos Delgado's expected free agent departure to try to sign Jason Varitek? No chance. As much as Varitek's skills appeal to him, Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi needs to focus his limited resources (a $53 million budget for next season) primarily on upgrading his pitching.
Varitek planned to renew talks no later than tomorrow with the Sox on a multiyear deal that would extend his career in Boston. The Sox were weighing contingency options by offering a two-year deal to A's catcher Damian Miller.
Contrary to rumors, the Red Sox are not close to signing second baseman Mark Bellhorn. In fact, the team has had no negotiations with him but plans to do so after the free-agent madness dies down.
The Yankees still seem more excited about the idea of trading for Randy Johnson than signing Martinez, and they've been exploring ideas for three-way deals involving right-hander Javier Vazquez. But they don't know if they have enough to give the Diamondbacks for Johnson.
There has been plenty of speculation about where Johnson will end up. So much so, in fact, that Diamondbacks GM Joe Garagiola Jr. requested a teleconference with the Big Unit's agents yesterday to try to clear up his intentions. Now it's believed that Johnson would accept a deal to teams other than the Yankees, with the Cardinals, Angels and White Sox among the more interested parties.
One source familiar with Johnson's situation said he wouldn't be surprised if the lefty doesn't get traded until January, because the Diamondbacks will use every last bit of leverage they can to elicit the best deal.
The Yanks have interest in free-agent lefty reliever Steve Kline, but the former Cardinal had surgery on his left index finger last week and would be surprised if he signs with any team in the near future. He would, however, like to be closer to his Pennsylvania home.
Kris Benson indicated yesterday that he was close to signing a contract that would keep him in the Mets' starting rotation. A contract could be completed this week. The Mets desperately need a first baseman, and Richie Sexson may be the best one available.
Sexson, who recently rejected a three-year offer from Arizona, also has garnered interest from Seattle and Baltimore. Another baseball source said the Mets have made no contact yet with the representatives for Delgado.
Despite predictions Delgado would end up with the Marlins, his agent said he had not heard from the team.
As Pavano prepares to embark on a continental tour that could stretch into January, the Marlins are compiling a list of fallback options. From early indications, however, the list isn't very long. Left-hander Glendon Rusch is the only free-agent starter in whom the Marlins have definitely expressed interest. There may also be mutual interest between the Marlins and veteran right-hander Jon Lieber.
Jose Lima's agent said about six clubs had called about his client and hoped the Marlins would call because "it would be a good place for [Lima] to play."
The Dodgers have yet to make a contract offer to Adrian Beltre, but the free-agent third baseman and his agent did meet with owner Frank McCourt and GM Paul DePodesta this week.
White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said he has no problem with agent Scott Boras, despite a report that Sox GM Kenny Williams doesn't expect to sign any of Boras' clients. ''I think what Kenny was trying to say was that Boras has some grand ideas about what his players should be making, and it's going to drag out a long time,'' Reinsdorf said. ''And we're not going to sit around and wait.''
Astros GM Tim Purpura is close to re-signing shortstop Jose Vizcaino and outfielder Orlando Palmeiro. He also has been exchanging e-mails with Jeff Kent's agent.
The Rockies are focusing on adding a veteran closer and reserve outfielder, with Robb Nen and David Dellucci topping their list of options. They also have discussed signing starter Pedro Astacio, now recovered from labrum surgery. He will pitch in the Dominican Republic within the next two weeks, allowing the Rockies a better read on his condition.
Twins free agent Corey Koskie said he hasn't received offers from any other teams, although several expressed interest last week. Seattle and Toronto are expected to be two of his strongest pursuers, and he confirmed that Detroit has contacted his agent.
The Twins have offered Koskie a $7 million, two-year contract. Twins GM Terry Ryan said he definitely will try to sign second baseman Luis Rivas to a multi-year contract before he goes to arbitration.