Hot Stove Truth & Rumors: Dec. 20, 2004
Posted: Monday December 20, 2004 10:11AM; Updated: Monday December 20, 2004 4:27PM
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.
Commissioner Bud Selig will review a formal trade agreement to review among the Yankees, Diamondbacks and Dodgers that would put the Yankees one step closer to obtaining Randy Johnson. The 10-player trade must pass through Selig because more than $1 million is included in it; the Dodgers will send the Yankees about $3 million to help pay for the contract of the left-hander Kazuhisa Ishii. After approving the trade, Selig is expected to grant the Yankees and the Diamondbacks 72 hours to negotiate contract extensions for Johnson and Shawn Green, who would go from Los Angeles to Arizona. Johnson and Green have no-trade clauses, giving them leverage in contract talks.
The deal involves the Dodgers sending Green and pitchers Brad Penny, Yhency Brazoban, Kazuhisa Ishii and Brandon Weeden to the Diamondbacks. Johnson and Ishii would go to the Yankees, who would send to the Dodgers pitcher Javier Vazquez and two top prospects -- catcher Dioner Navarro and third baseman Eric Duncan. The Dodgers also would get Diamondback reliever Mike Koplove. It's only the beginning for Dodger GM Paul DePodesta in his first offseason as GM. He is like a chess player thinking three moves ahead and will only make the trade if he is certain that the next several moves can be completed without a hitch.
Green will not waive his no-trade clause without receiving a contract extension. Green said, "I always expected to finish out my contract with the Dodgers and hopefully finish my career in L.A. It's pretty obvious now the team is starting to go in a different direction. If that's the case, then I won't stand in the way as long as it works out for me as well."
The Dodgers are believed to be nearing an agreement with free-agent right fielder J.D. Drew and has entered into 'intense' negotiations with free-agent pitcher Derek Lowe.
If the Dodgers are willing to offer Drew $11 million-$12 million a year for five years, why wasn't that money spent to re-sign third baseman Adrian Beltre? Bottom line is the Dodgers should have topped Seattle's offer to Beltre, if only to show owner Frank McScrooge cares about winning.
Tigers officials have acknowledged they have interest in Drew.
It's not clear whether the Tigers have made an offer to Lowe.
The Yankees are bracing for Johnson to ask for a two-year extension for about $32 million that will carry him through the 2007 season. Added to Johnson's $16 million salary for this coming season, that will be a $48 million investment for a pitcher who will be 44 in the final season of the deal and already requires synthetic gel injections to lubricate his right knee.
Carlos Beltran will join his agent, Scott Boras, at a meeting with Yankees' principal owner George Steinbrenner and other officials this week in Tampa. It will be the Yankees' first meeting with Beltran after beginning talks with Boras last week in Anaheim. The Astros consider themselves strong contenders to retain Beltran, but because he rejected their offer of salary arbitration yesterday, the Astros will lose negotiating rights with him after Jan. 8.
Contrary to reports out of New York, Astros owner Drayton McLane says he and Boras, do not have a meeting scheduled for today in Houston. However, McLane would love to meet with Boras and Beltran any time this week all the way "up to Friday," he said.
The Tigers could try to turn around their free-agent frustration by diving into the off-season's biggest poker game, the one for Beltran.
If the Cubs fail to land Beltran, two viable and less expensive options remain on the free-agent market. They are Drew and Magglio Ordonez, the former White Sox star.
Though the Cubs were hoping to complete a Sammy Sosa deal by the end of this week, they have gained some time in the Beltran derby thanks to the Yankees. Boras will wait to sign a deal for Beltran until after Jan. 8, the last day the switch-hitting, five-tool star must either re-sign with the Astros or lose negotiating rights with them until May. The Yankees prefer to wait until Jan. 8 to make their move. Boras knows having the Yankees involved pushes up the price, so he can afford to be patient. That gives the Cubs almost three weeks to deal Sosa or decide to expand their payroll enough to accommodate Sosa and Beltran. The Mets and Orioles also are lurking in the Beltran derby, with each team listing Sosa as its Plan B.
Sunday's New York Daily News reported that a much-talked-about trade of Sosa to the Mets is "on the radar." but that Mets GM Omar Minaya was not staying in the Dominican Republic after attending the ceremony in which Sosa renewed wedding vows with his wife to finalize a deal. Cubs GM Jim Hendry may hear again from the Orioles, but he won't give Sosa away, nor will he subsidize a possible monster year by Sosa in a different uniform.
The Red Sox are involved in the Carlos Delgado bidding.
The Red Sox' window for signing free-agent catcher Jason Varitek grew smaller Sunday night when Varitek declined the team's offer of salary arbitration. The Sox retain the right to negotiate with Varitek until Jan. 8. If no deal is struck by then, the club would not be allowed to negotiate with him until May 1. Boras said, "Talks are ongoing."
The rumors persist that the Angels are interested in Mets slugger Mike Piazza.
The Nationals received a bit of good news when free-agent pitcher Odalis Perez -- GM Jim Bowden's top offseason target -- declined arbitration with his old club, the Dodgers.
Outfielder David Dellucci has finalized a two-year deal to remain with the Rangers and expects to sign the contract today.
With an eye to securing two draft choices when infielder Placido Polanco signed elsewhere, the Phillies offered him salary arbitration despite having his positions -- second and third base -- apparently occupied by top prospect Chase Utley and veteran David Bell. Now, though, the cash-conscious Phillies might be on the hook for a $5 million utility player. Polanco said last night he would accept the Phillies' arbitration offer.
Norfolk is considered a primary alternate home for the former Expos franchise if the Washington baseball deal falls through.Norfolk is attractive because it is in the same time zone as Washington and is more easily accessible to other NL East division cities than such other candidates as Las Vegas and Portland. Will Somerindyke, chief executive of Norfolk Baseball Co., said yesterday that Norfolk will wait to see what happens to the District's deal before renewing its bid.
With slim prospects of being a full-time starter for the Red Sox in 2005, Dave Roberts hopes GM Theo Espstein can accomodate him with a trade.
Catcher A.J. Pierzynski, released by the Giants last week, might be of interest to the Rangers.
If the Twins doesn't tender Jacque Jones, the projected payroll drops to $51.3 million, leaving room to maneuver. But it also leaves a significant hole in the starting outfield now that highly regarded prospect Jason Kubel has been lost for the season due to major knee surgery.
To check out Truth & Rumors in other sports, click here.