Hot Stove Truth & Rumors: Dec. 16, 2004
Posted: Thursday December 16, 2004 11:18AM; Updated: Thursday December 16, 2004 7:15PM
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 and Rumors. To check out the other sports, click here.
With the Mariners having spent $50 million to make first baseman Richie Sexson the biggest addition ever made to their lineup, they are thought to be close -- or possibly already have reached agreement -- on a deal worth $60 million or more to third baseman Adrian Beltre. There is suspicion the Mariners might consider withdrawing its offer to Carlos Delgado, unless he suddenly agrees to an deal thought to be about $60 million and crimp what could be the likely signing of Beltre.
Agent Scott Boras' discussions with other clubs about outfielder Carlos Beltran could bear an impact on whether Seattle winds up filling what GM Bill Bavasi described yesterday as, "a need for one more offensive weapon" with Beltre or Delgado. David Sloane, who represents Delgado, began discussions last week with the Yankees about the former Toronto slugger. But the New York club is thought to be focused on trying to sign Beltran before turning another direction, such as first base.
The Astros are prepared to go significantly higher to retain Beltran than the numbers attached to a reported five-year, $70 million offer. While the Yankees remain the favorite to eventually land Beltran, the Astros aren't going to let the jewel of the free agent class leave Houston without making a serious effort to retain him.
It's becoming apparent that Boras, is either trying to build up the market or narrow the field of suitors for Beltran. Astros owner Drayton McLane said, "It's putting us and other teams in kind of a bind, because if we don't get Carlos, we have to move on. We're anxious to kind of move forward. Hopefully in the next week something will materialize. We need to start moving aggressively." Astros GM Tim Purpura and McLane wouldn't confirm or deny if Boras is weighing a six-year, $81 million offer or parameters of an offer for Beltran. The longer the Beltran sweepstakes last, the better chance the Cubs have of dumping Sammy Sosa to make a run at him.
The Braves also have had discussions with the Cubs regarding not only Sosa, but also hard-throwing reliever Kyle Farnsworth.
One rumor making the rounds is that the Cubs are close to dealing Sosa to the Baltimore Orioles for closer Jorge Julio and outfielder-infielder Jerry Hairston Jr. The Cubs and the Orioles have talked, but a deal is not close to happening.
The Orioles have no interest in acquiring Sosa unless the Cubs were willing to pay "about 80 percent" of the $35 million he'll make over the next two years.
The Orioles lost Sexson and have been reluctant to meet Delgado's contract demands. They are now considering other deals, which include a trade for Marlins pitcher A.J. Burnett.
The Marlins are interested in trading Burnett only if they can acquire Tim Hudson from Athletics.
The Braves continue to wait for a decision on a possible trade for Hudson, who could cost Atlanta at least two top prospects but would provide it with a second elite starter to team with John Smoltz.
With their hopes of acquiring Arizona left-hander Randy Johnson slipping away, the Yankees are focusing on a renewed effort to trade for Hudson.
The Yankees believe they are still "50-50" to land the Big Unit in a trade with the Diamondbacks.
Diamondbacks managing general partner Ken Kendrick said that Johnson's status will be resolved by the end of the year -- either with a trade or a decision to keep him for 2005.
The Red Sox continue to have productive discussions with the Athletics about acquiring Hudson, but they have been unable to meet the demands of GM Billy Beane
Red Sox GM Theo Epstein has been talking with the Marlins about Burnett.
The Red Sox have an offer on the table for Matt Clement, who is expected to choose from among seven teams in the next 24 hours.
Clement spent several hours in Anaheim on Wednesday, meeting with Angel GM Bill Stoneman and Manager Mike Scioscia. Clement met with Dodger co-owner Frank McCourt and GM Paul DePodesta in Los Angeles on Tuesday night and with Arizona Diamondback officials in Phoenix on Tuesday.
All-Star shortstop Edgar Renteria, who signed with the Red Sox for four years at $40 million, said. "I know the St. Louis team and fans wanted me to stay, but [management] didn't try hard to keep me -- that's what I felt in the negotiations." -- Boston Globe
The Cardinals' last offer included significant deferred money with interest, which could have brought the package up to $39 million. The Red Sox's bid did not include deferrals and includes a club option for 2009. "I think we went beyond reasonable for us," Cards manager Tony La Russa said. "There is a figure that doesn't make sense for us to pay. ... I thought $8 million was at the top of where we should be. He indicated he wanted to stay. It still wasn't enough."
Renteria was "seriously considering" the Tigers, his agent said last weekend. But Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski said Wednesday that he felt the Tigers "never were close" to signing Renteria.
The Mets are waiting on an offer to Delgado and have also offered a contract to outfielder Moises Alou. If the Mets don't get Delgado, they'll likely turn to a lighter-hitting first baseman who is more defensively inclined, such as Boston's Doug Mientkiewicz or free agent John Olerud.
It doesn't look as if Orlando Hernandez is going to return to the Yankees. El Duque, who is searching for a two-year deal, has drawn interest from the Braves, Red Sox and Dodgers.
Benito Santiago could officially be in the Pirates' fold as early as today, pending the results of his physical.
The Rangers moved closer to re-signing outfielder David Dellucci, but they've hit a stalemate with infielder Jose Valentin.
The Marlins are one of three finalists for Dellucci, along with Texas and Arizona, his agent Gregg Clifton said.
The Red Sox are said to be interested in catcher A.J. Pierzynski.
Will the Nationals play in Washington next season? The D.C. Council has until Dec. 31 to reach an agreement with MLB on stadium funding. If that doesn't happen, it appears increasingly likely that the team will go elsewhere next season. If the team leaves Washington, where would it go? Las Vegas and Portland, Ore., are probably the best possibilities, although officials in other candidate cities are putting themselves back in the hunt as well.
The Rockies trade of catcher Charles Johnson to Tampa Bay could happen this week. Johnson is seeking a $1.5 million extension to waive his no-trade clause.
Placido Polanco is an appealing choice for the Cardinals at second base, but a source said his asking price has gone up in recent days. Two other second-base candidates, Cleveland's Ronnie Belliard and Hairston Jr., who will become free agents next week, if, as expected, they aren't tendered a contract offer by their teams.
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