Hot Stove Truth & Rumors: Dec. 3, 2004
Posted: Friday December 3, 2004 11:02AM; Updated: Friday December 3, 2004 11:02AM
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.
One way or another, Jason Giambi's career with the Yankees likely is over. A day after Giambi's grand jury testimony in the BALCO case, in which he admitted using steroids and human growth hormone, appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Yankees didn't come running to their troubled first baseman's defense. MLB and the Yankees plan to argue that Giambi broke his Yankee contract by taking steroids -- possibly voiding the multi-million-dollar pact, or leading to some type of buyout.
The Yankees have options at first base. Before yesterday's news on Giambi, they had discussions with the agents for Carlos Delgado and Richie Sexson. And they remain interested in bringing back John Olerud. After that, the market is thin, with Tino Martinez and Travis Lee bringing up the rear.
Grand jury testimony is supposed to remain confidential, and the person who leaked the transcript of Giambi's comments to the BALCO grand jury to the San Francisco Chronicle broke federal law and violated the troubled slugger's rights. "Somebody leaked it and they should go to jail," said New York sports lawyer Robert Kheel, who represents MLB in some matters.
With a trade for Sammy Sosa still under discussion this week, the Mets were shaken by Giambi's bombshell, knowing the dark cloud of suspicion that hovered over Sosa last season. The parallels between Giambi and Sosa are impossible to ignore, and those similarities are giving the Mets second thoughts about falling into the same trap as the Yankees.
The Marlins are closing in on a deal with pitcher Al Leiter. Barring a last-minute snag or a surprising change of heart, Leiter is expected to sign a one-year deal worth at least $6 million.
Barring an unexpected hitch, the Phillies will announce today that free agent catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. has signed as a back up Mike Lieberthal. It is also believed that the Phillies could soon complete a deal with the Yankees that would bring centerfielder Kenny Lofton in exchange for righthanded reliever Felix Rodriguez.
Free agent Todd Pratt, who spent the last two-plus seasons with the Phillies, will not be back. There have been reports that he could sign with the Florida Marlins.
The Phillies have expressed interest in free-agent centerfielder Steve Finley, but have found his demands to be too much. They also have kept their eye on Marquis Grissom, who could be available if the Giants sign Finley.
The Indians are trying to push the pace in their pursuit of a free-agent starter, but progress is slow. Both Matt Clement and Jon Lieber have received offers, but it's believed their agents are waiting to see what happens with high-profile pitchers Johnson, Martinez and Pavano.
Both sides seemed optimistic that keeping Tim Hudson in an A's uniform beyond the 2005 season isn't an impossibility, never mind that Hudson said Wednesday that a new deal must be reached by March 1 to keep him in Oakland.
Orioles owner Peter Angelos and MLB had not reached an agreement late last night on a financial package designed to offset the impact the Washington Nationals will have on the franchise. That means Angelos likely will vote "no" when baseball's 29 owners gather for a 1 p.m. conference call today to approve the relocation. Although negotiations could continue after the vote, Angelos has privately told associates that he intended to take legal action against MLB if the two sides could not reach a deal. Sources close to Angelos said he has put together a legal team to prepare for a fight.
While the Phillies are definitely interested in David Wells, they are far from the only team. At least it appears unlikely that the Padres will offer arbitration. There's also a new wrinkle in any negotiations with Wells. He has fired his longtime agent, Gregg Clifton, and is now representing himself along with his wife, Nina.
The Tigers offered Carl Pavano a four-year, $40 million contract. The Yankees aren't likely to bid that high for him, but Pavano's professed desire to pitch for a contender could mean they don't have to.
The Yankees continue to close in on a three-year contract with free-agent left-hander Eric Milton.
The Mets and the Yankees were closing in on a trade that would swap left-handed Mike Stanton and Felix Heredia.
Yesterday's reports that the Yankees had stopped talking to the Diamondbacks about Randy Johnson because the Diamondbacks were being unrealistic didn't spur Arizona to call the Bronx with a new offer.
One day after a Red Sox official described contract negotiations with catcher Jason Varitek as "very solvable," details began to emerge about the latest proposal being discussed. The Red Sox would have the right to void the proposed five-year contract after four years if injury prevented Varitek from playing in a specified number of games (or achieving a certain number of plate appearances). This seemingly addresses Red Sox concerns about giving a five-year contract to a catcher who will be 33 years old at the start of the 2005 season.
Dodgers GM Paul DePodesta said embattled outfielder Milton Bradley has agreed to remain in right field should the Dodgers sign or trade for a center fielder. The Dodgers are not ruling out a multiyear offer for free-agent center fielder Steve Finley, but DePodesta said the team would not pursue top-echelon free-agent center fielder Carlos Beltran.
The Dodgers have made a two-year offer to outfielder David Dellucci, who prefers to re-sign with the Rangers. The Rockies and Diamondbacks are also interested in him.
GM Jim Bowden declined to name specific pitchers he's targeting, but sources said the Nationals have made offers to Atlanta right-hander Jaret Wright and Los Angeles left-hander Odalis Perez in the last week.
The Dodgers are considering re-signing Perez. "He's open to coming back," DePodesta said.
In his ongoing search for an experienced catcher who can provide guidance to the pitching staff, DePodesta has expressed interest in Mike Matheny. One fairly cheap alternative might be Adam Melhuse, who is destined to be Jason Kendall's backup in Oakland.
The Twins haven't given up on bringing Kirby Puckett back to their organization, and they talked again with the hall of famer this week.