Hot Stove Truth & Rumors: Dec. 6, 2004
Posted: Monday December 6, 2004 12:13PM; Updated: Monday December 6, 2004 4:22PM
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 A's are so serious about improving their lineup and maintaining payroll flexibility that they're preparing to deal Tim Hudson despite his success and popularity, and that a trade could be consummated at the winter meetings.
The Cubs are optimistic that by Tuesday night it will have re-signed the double-play combination of shortstop Nomar Garciaparra and second baseman Todd Walker.
While trade talks regarding Sammy Sosa between the Cubs and Mets have died down in recent days, the topic will be revisited in Anaheim. Only two other clubs besides the Mets have shown an inclination to be serious about pursuing Sosa. Colorado has been rumored to be one, but the Rockies aren't among the suitors. With so little interest in Sosa, the Cubs are prepared to welcome him back and find a way for manager Dusty Baker and Sosa to come to an understanding that won't put team unity in jeopardy.
Cubs GM Jim Hendry likely hasn't given up in his pursuit of Brewers closer Dan Kolb.
Hendry plans to offer arbitration Tuesday to pitcher Matt Clement, but the Cubs expect Clement to sign a multiyear contract elsewhere.
The Orioles took their turn yesterday courting free-agent pitcher Carl Pavano. Visits already have been made to Boston, Detroit and New York, where the Yankees arranged for Pavano to dine with Reggie Jackson and treated him to a Broadway show. Pavano will board a 4:55 p.m. flight today for Seattle after checking out Camden Yards. His tour will end later this week in Anaheim, where baseball's winter meetings begin Friday. The Red Sox and Yankees are considered the favorites to sign Pavano.
The Marlins are waiting. Al Leiter is waiting. And the question is why. George Steinbrenner, that's why. A last-minute Yankee swoop-down shouldn't be discounted.
Agent Scott Boras has "the top-tier players," former Mets GM Steve Phillips said last week, referring to the likes of Carlos Beltran, Adrian Beltre, J.D. Drew, Jason Varitek, Kevin Millwood, Derek Lowe and Magglio Ordonez. "When Boras' players come off the board, I think everybody will see a lot of quick movement," Phillips said. "Everybody else is waiting."
The Rangers love the possibility of having Ordonez fill the need they have for a corner outfielder with a big bat. And there is no denying Lowe's sinkers would play well at Ameriquest Field. But owner Tom Hicks isn't going to wait on Boras to realize the economic bubble -- which reached its zenith after the 2000 season when Boras negotiated the Alex Rodriguez $252 million deal with Hicks -- has burst.
The Angels are so enthralled with Beltran that they are not getting involved in any Randy Johnson trade talks just so they can have more cash to throw at Beltran.
The Rangers' reluctance to offer outfielder David Dellucci a two-year contract could drive him to another team.
The Devil Rays still are talking about acquiring veteran catcher Charles Johnson from Colorado. And they have to decide by Tuesday's deadline whether to try to retain any of their five remaining free agents: first baseman Tino Martinez, backup catcher Brook Fordyce, infielder Rey Sanchez and pitchers John Halama and Todd Ritchie.
Twins GM Terry Ryan didn't say for sure that he wouldn't offer arbitration to free agents Brad Radke and Corey Koskie if they don't sign by the deadline Tuesday, but he gave a number of reasons why he wouldn't do it. "Obviously, these two guys want to come back here -- I think that's important to know," Ryan said. "Whether or not we can get it done moneywise, I think, they're going to get their money, whether it's here or someplace else."
Koskie has heard from the Jays about employment for the 2005 season. If the Manitoba native can be signed, the Jays would move Eric Hinske to first base should free agent Carlos Delgado not be re-signed. Besides Toronto, the Mariners, Brewers and the Twins are in the hunt for Koskie.
Ryan added that assistant GM Bill Smith is in Venezuela, and that Smith talked to Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana. The Twins are hopeful that a multiyear contract can be worked out.
Mets special assistant Tony Bernazard and GM Omar Minaya each personally placed phone calls to Delgado a few days ago to let the free-agent slugger know that the Mets are interested.
The Rockies have had several informal discussions in the past year with pitcher Denny Neagle's agent about a buyout on the final year of the left-hander's contract. The talks will get serious this week.
The Yankees are expected to make a push in the next couple of days to sign Eric Milton, and the left-hander has allowed the Yankees to examine his surgically repaired left knee. The Phillies expressed interest in Kevin Brown during the GM meetings, but the Yankees currently believe Brown won't waive his no-trade clause to go to Philadelphia. The Braves, located only 80 miles from Brown's home in Macon, Ga., have no interest in him for now.
Determined to dump disgraced slugger Jason Giambi, the Yankees are assembling a murderer's row of outside lawyers to tackle his contract.
The Cardinals remain interested in a trade for Hudson or Randy Johnson. GM Walt Jocketty has remained in touch with Diamondbacks GM Joe Garagiola Jr. but characterized the chances for a deal as "on life support."
The Diamondbacks have serious interest in Atlanta's Russ Ortiz to lead their staff once they lighten the load by trading Johnson to the Yankees. The D'backs, though, have yet to come to grips with the cost of acquiring Ortiz, who has the most wins over the past four years of any free-agent pitcher on the market. The Reds also are interested in Ortiz.
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