Posted: Wednesday December 6, 2006 11:41AM; Updated: Thursday December 7, 2006 2:26AM
By Jon Heyman, SI.com
Dodgers land Schmidt, eye Gonzalez
The Dodgers were in agreement on Wednesday with star free-agent pitcher Jason Schmidt on a three-year, $47 million contract, sources said.
Los Angeles beat the Mariners, Cardinals, Cubs and Brewers for the right-hander, who went 11-9 with a 3.59 ERA for the Giants in 2006 and is 127-90 for his career. Los Angeles general manager Ned Colletti had a connection with Schmidt from their days together with the Giants, but it's interesting San Francisco appeared to make no move to retain Schmidt beyond offering arbitration.
Schmidt, 34, was handicapped in negotiations by the perception that he wanted to remain on the West Coast, which was reinforced when he declined to talk to the Yankees. While he's had occasional shoulder trouble, he is a No. 1 pitcher when healthy.
The Dodgers previously signed Randy Wolf to a one-year, $8 million deal.
By breaking the $15 million mark, Schmidt probably helps Barry Zito, the top free-agent pitcher on the market. Zito is being courted by the Rangers, Mariners, Mets and others.
The Dodgers were also close to a one-year deal with outfielder Luis Gonzalez worth about $7.3 million, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity because talks were ongoing. The ex-Arizona slugger could help replace J.D. Drew's offense in Los Angeles' outfield.
Mets to meet with A's, pursue Harden
The Mets are expected to meet with Oakland today about acquiring right-hander Rich Harden or possibly another of the A's top starting pitchers, SI.com has learned.
A's GM Billy Beane is due to arrive here Wednesday night. The Mets are seeking to add a No. 1 pitcher, possibly Zito, but there have been five or six trade options discussed as well, including with Oakland.
Harden was limited to 46 2/3 innings last year because of an elbow injury and a muscle strain in his back. In 2005, he went 10-5 with a 2.53 ERA and 121 strikeouts in 128 innings. He struck out 167 batters in 189 2/3 innings in 2004 while winning 11 games.
The A's sought a package of Aaron Heilman and Lastings Milledge at the trade deadline last season when the Mets inquired about Zito. The A's believe Heilman can be a starting pitcher, though the Mets view him strictly as a reliever because he features only two pitches, fastball and changeup. There is a mix of opinions regarding Milledge within the Mets organization, although other teams say the asking price has been high when they have inquired about his availability.
Padres ace Jake Peavy is another top starter who could be of interest to the Mets.