Hot Stove Truth & Rumors: Nov. 24, 2004
Posted: Wednesday November 24, 2004 10:23AM; Updated: Wednesday November 24, 2004 4:47PM
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 Hot Stove Truth & Rumors. To check out the other sports, click here.
The Yankees and Diamondbacks had discussed a deal that would send Javier Vazquez to the Diamondbacks for Randy Johnson. But the Diamondbacks also appear to be negotiating with other teams, and they have some financial reservations about Vazquez. The Diamondbacks' plan has been to strike the best deal, then ask Johnson if he'd agree. Other interested teams include the Cardinals, White Sox, Angels and Dodgers.
The Mets have joined the table in the hunt for Pedro Martinez. Over the weekend, the Mets conveyed to the free agent that they had significant interest in signing him.
Over dinner last Thursday in Miami, Martinez listened to Alex Rodriguez pitch the Yankees to the free-agent hurler. Martinez becoming a Yankee is gaining steam even if many believe it's a ploy on both sides to drive up the price on the Red Sox.
The Red Sox have offered Jason Varitek about $36 million over four years and have asked Doug Mirabelli to return next season for about $1.5 million.
Could Damian Miller's replacement be in Oakland be Jason Kendall? Kendall's agent, Dan Lozano, said the no-trade clause wouldn't present an obstacle for the right team. -
If the Pirates trade Kendall, they should receive offense in return -- and maybe a pitcher like Oakland's Mark Redman who could bolster their rotation.
Expect center fielder Steve Finley to sign with a club other than the Padres. Finley has drawn interest from Detroit, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Texas and Arizona.
The Phillies are among the teams interested in Matt Morris, but only if he receives a clean bill of health. The Cards haven't made proposals to free-agent second baseman Tony Womack and catcher Mike Matheny. Womack was believed close to signing with the Chicago Cubs before negotiations stalled earlier this week while the Cardinals have not modified their one-year offer to Matheny.
Rockies manager Clint Hurdle has been attempting to lure closer Bob Wickman and outfielder David Dellucci. Looking for rotation depth, the Rockies will scout starter Pedro Astacio in the Dominican winter league and have held preliminary discussions with representatives for Darren Oliver.
Another pitching name that interests the Mets is Cubs free agent Matt Clement.
It appears Al Leiter is through pitching in Flushing, with the Bronx the veteran southpaw's most likely destination.
"I had conversations with Al [Monday] night and I had conversations with the agent [Tuesday] and we pretty much decided to explore our options," Mets GM Omar Minaya said. "Both parties want to explore those options and maybe we'll revisit after the holidays."
Carl Pavano's agent, Scott Shapiro, said yesterday that he called Minaya earlier this week and is hopeful of getting together in early December when Pavano visits the Yankees, but Pavano appears to be a longshot.
Shapiro said he believed the Red Sox could sign Pavano and Martínez to support Curt Schilling at the front of the rotation.
The Phillies yesterday increased their contract proposal to free-agent left-hander David Wells from what was believed to originally be $5 million for one season.
The Twins agreed to terms with Cincinnati free agent shortstop Juan Castro, who will replace Cristian Guzman. They're also expected to announce they've reached agreement with Florida free-agent catcher Mike Redmond, which would cut their ties with Henry Blanco. They also heated up negotiations to keep free-agent pitcher Brad Radke, fielding a counterproposal from Radke's agent for a three-year contract.
Look for the Twins to offer manager Ron Gardenhire, signed through next season, a contract extension before Jan. 1.
Orlando Cabrera's agent said the Red Sox had yet to express any interest in re-signing the shortstop. The Cubs, Cardinals, and White Sox are among the teams shopping for an elite shortstop.
Edgar Renteria has not yet been contacted by the Red Sox but he remains a viable one- or two-year option, although again, like Cabrera, he would likely cost too much.
The market for Nomar Garciaparra is hard enough to determine on its own merits, but the presence of Renteria and Cabrera make it doubly so. The Cardinals would like to re-sign Renteria, who made $7.25 million this year, but are also interested in Cabrera as a fallback. The Cubs are interested in re-signing Garciaparra but like both Cabrera and Renteria, meaning somebody is going to be left out.
A wild card in the shortstop sweepstakes are the White Sox, who have money to spend and do not intend to give it to Jose Valentin.
Either Braves free agent Jaret Wright already has one foot out the door, or his agent is just posturing in hopes of getting a better offer from Atlanta and other teams. "Atlanta is not going to happen; they don't have the resources," Craig Landis said. "[Wright] did like it there, but it's not really even a possibility. They just don't have the financial resources.
Rangers officials continue to say second baseman Alfonso Soriano won't be traded. The Mets tried to get him for Mike Piazza, but the Rangers weren't willing to take on Piazza's $15 million salary next year in exchange for one of the top second basemen in the game.
The Rangers are talking to the Rockies about pitcher Shawn Chacon. But the Rockies are asking for good young pitchers, and the Rangers aren't willing to give up the likes of right-hander Josh Rupe.
Free-agent infielder Todd Walker might be in Dallas over the Thanksgiving to visit family, and a face-to-face visit with Rangers officials is a possibility. Walker and Tino Martinez are two free agents the Rangers have targeted to fill their designated-hitter position. Mo Vaughn is looking for a job and is willing to come into somebody's camp as a non-roster player on an incentive-laden contract. The idea has intrigued the Rangers.
Though Orioles VP Mike Flanagan listed Jay Gibbons as a possibility in right field during the GM's meetings, the club remains interested in Magglio Ordonez and also can sift through second-tier choices such as Jermaine Dye, Richard Hidalgo and Moises Alou. The Twins are willing to part with Jacque Jones rather than pay about $6 million in arbitration.