LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Mariners and Dodgers have been viewed as co-favorites for Jason Schmidt, who already has turned away the Yankees and is thought to want to remain on the West Coast. The Padres had looked into Schmidt but are probably out of that derby assuming they finalize a Maddux deal. The Cubs, who are also chasing Ted Lilly, also have shown interest.
But the real surprise team in the Schmidt derby is the Brewers. A person familiar with the talks told SI.com that Milwaukee inquired about Schmidt's willingness to come there and hasn't been told no yet so it may also make an offer.The Schmidt sweepstakes is not expected to drag on too much longer.
Interestingly, the Giants, who have money to spend, don't appear to be as aggressively pursuing Schmidt as the others.
Bonds, Giants still talking
The Giants were locked in negotiations with their star Barry Bonds as talks appear to have intensified since Bonds' agent Jeff Borris signaled his intention in a USA Today story to have Bonds signed somewhere by the end of the week.
Even though the animosity between Bonds and his bosses is obvious, they may be finding it difficult to divorce. Like with the older married couple that stays together for the kids, they may wind up staying together for the fans. While Bonds is reviled in other quarters, Giants fans still love him and will follow and fill seats for his chase of Hank Aaron.
There's been a lot of rhetoric on both sides of these negotiations. But neither side has given up hope of getting something done. As Borris was telling a throng of reporters late Monday night, "We're talking, we've been talking a lot,'' his cell phone rang. He looked down, and sure enough, it was Giants president Larry Baer calling. The talks continued.
Rays called about Bonds
The A's, once serious about Bonds, don't appear to be involved with him now and are instead concentrating on trying to sign Mike Piazza. But that doesn't mean there's nobody else who's shown interest.
One person connected to the Devil Rays said yesterday they'd called with an offer to sign Bonds. However, Bonds didn't seriously weigh the idea of going to Tampa Bay.
Mets, Royals swap pitchers
The Mets have agreed to trade righthanded pitcher Brian Bannister to the Royals for righthanded reliever Ambiorix Burgos, SI.com has confirmed.
Bannister was 2-1 with a 4.26 ERA in limited action during a rookie season mostly spent on the disabled list with hamstring trouble. Burgos was 4-5 with a 5.52 ERA for the Royals in 2006, his second season. Overall, he is 7-10 with a 4.81 ERA.