GM meetings: Boras won't take short-term offers for Manny
Jake Peavy is getting used to the idea of being traded by San Diego
The White Sox are listening to offers for pitcher Javier Vazquez
The Angels would be open to signing two high-priced free agents
SI.com's Jon Heyman reports all week long from baseball's general manager meetings in Dana Point, California.
Multitalented free-agent shortstop Rafael Furcal is said to be looking for a four-year deal, which is surely more than the Dodgers want to offer. Furcal, 31, has been productive after signing a $40-million, three-year deal after the 2005 season but suffered a back injury early this season that limited him to 36 games. Furcal hit .357 for the year, and he looked healthy when he returned to play in the playoffs, but a source said the Dodgers were concerned after he took longer to return than was originally projected. The Tigers and Orioles seem like logical alternatives for Furcal.
One reason the Dodgers haven't yet made their official offer for superstar free-agent outfielder Manny Ramirez is that his agent, Scott Boras, apparently isn't fielding offers that aren't in the ballpark of the five or six years that Manny wants.
As SI.com reported two weeks ago, the Dodgers intended to offer Ramirez a short-term deal at a high annual salary, perhaps $55-$60 million for two years. (Dodgers GM Ned Colletti confirmed their interest in a shorter deal here the other day and also expressed his belief that they any possible deal would take time.)
But Boras pointed out that he and Colletti negotiated a five-year deal for Barry Bonds back in 2001 when Colletti was the Giants' assistant GM, when Bonds was 37 years old (Ramirez is 36). Ramirez has said publicly that he wants a six-year deal (but probably would take five, or perhaps four) after hitting .396 with 17 home runs and 53 RBIs for the Dodgers. It apepars that if the Dodgers don't change their stance, the Yankees and others (the Phillies and Blue Jays are possibly interested) may battle for Ramirez without them.
The Rangers have fielded interest in one or more of their many catchers from the Marlins, Reds, Astros, Rangers, Royals and Red Sox. Texas has an extreme catching glut, with Gerald Laird, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Max Ramirez and Taylor Teagarden. Texas, which has plenty of offense, is hoping to deal one of them to find some pitching help. It's quite a melange of catching choices. Laird's the most experienced and accomplished, Teagarden is excellent defensively and Saltalamacchia should be a hitting star.
A.J. Burnett's emergence onto the free-agent market following his decision to opt out of the remaining two years on his Blue Jays contract is expected to create another classic Yankees-Boston battle. Burnett is both a Yankee killer and a Red Sox killer. He is 5-0 with a 2.56 ERA vs. Boston lifetime, and 6-3 with a 2.43 ERA vs. the Yankees. If he signs with either team, he will miss one of his favorite pushovers. The Maryland native also will likely draw interest from the Orioles and Nationals, which would be more convenient for him. And the Jays also haven't completely give up, either. Burnett's decision to opt out of the remaining two years and $24 million on his contract isn't a reflection on them. But it may be tough to compete with the Yankees and Red Sox here.
The Nationals' attempts to acquire a slew of superstars apparently is serious. A Nationals person said they have interest in Rockies star outfielder Matt Holliday plus free agents Mark Teixeira, Adam Dunn and A.J. Burnett. "They're trying to become the new Detroit,'' one baseball person said, referring to the Tigers' quick turnaround that was ignited by the signings of catcher Ivan Rodriguez before the 2004 season and Kenny Rogers before 2005 and Magglio Ordonez one year later. Still, there is legitimate skepticism here as to whether big-time free agents would join a 100-loss team, especially Teixeira or Burnett, who will have several other monster offers awaiting them. One person said the team-owning Lerners are about to become more involved to try to remake the team with the puniest broadcast numbers in baseball history.
While the Yankees are expected to make the highest offer for superstar free agent pitcher CC Sabathia, and money normally talks at this time, at least two prominent agents (not his own agents) predicted Sabathia would pick either of the two Los Angeles teams. Sabathia is believed to prefer going home to California (from Vallejo, in Northern California). However, he'd likely have to forego tens of millions of dollars to play in his home state. The Yankees are going to beat Johan Santana's $137.5-million offer, as reported here on Tuesday.
Andy Pettitte told Houston's KRIV-TV that he'd like to come back and pitch for the Yankees. The Yankees, who have several holes in their rotation, appear to have some interest in bringing him back, though they don't seem as enthusiastic as in past years. One Yankees person called Pettitte a "possible No. 5 starter,'' which shows you how far Pettitte has fallen in their eyes. Historically a strong finisher, Pettitte went 4-7 in the second half last year when opposing batters hit .302 against him.
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