This winter's biggest movers and shakers (cont.)
16. Arn Tellem, Adam Katz, Paul Kinzer, etc., agents. The combined Wasserman group has a pretty nice stable this time, with Wolf, Pineiro, Vicente Padilla and Matsui among the free agents remaining after Omar Vizquel signed very early with friend Ozzie Guillen's White Sox. Matsui is an interesting one, a World Series MVP caught in a tight DH market.
17. Michael Hill and Larry Beinfest, Marlins executives. Hill made clear on the 790-AM in Miami that star pitcher Josh Johnson will be back next year even though discussions for a long-term deal fell through, and that shouldn't surprise anyone. There's no evidence yet they'd entertain a trade for Hanley Ramirez, either (one executive with an interested team said they've been told flat out the Marlins are keeping Ramirez, too). But the resourceful, dollar-conscious Marlins still have some players who could be dealt, starting with Dan Uggla, Jorge Cantu, Ricky Nolasco and Matt Lindstrom.
18. Kenny Williams, White Sox GM. The White Sox weren't expected to do much, but they've already traded Chris Getz and Josh Fields for Mark Teahen, and signed Andruw Jones and Vizquel, two big-time former stars. Williams surprised folks by forging a deal with Boras for Jones, whom he has coveted for years (they tried many years ago to pry him away from the Braves). Boras, who's had a sticky relationship with Williams, also tried to sell him on signing Crede rather than trading two young players for the talented unproven Teahen. But apparently détente has its limitations.
19. Jed Hoyer, Padres GM. The new GM has a tough call whether he wants to potentially alienate the fan base by trading superstar first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. He is a major bargain, as he's under contract for two more years at $10.25 million and a proven slugger in pitcher friendly Petco Park. The Red Sox would be a major player, but the Mets have decided they'll patch together first base since top prospect Ike Davis should be ready by 2011.
20. Levinson Bros. The Brooklyn-based group has Figgins Polanco and Fernando Rodney, who had a nice year with the Tigers. Figgins should top the $30 million, three-year deal Rafael Furcal got with the Dodgers last winter.
Around the majors
The Tigers apparently asked for young Mariners pitchers Brandon Morrow and Shawn Kelley in trade talks involving Edwin Jackson. Seattle said no. The Tigers like Jackson but have money issues. They also may have some concern about Jackson tailing off in the second half (his ERA went from 2.52 in the first half to 5.07 in the second) but apparently still seem to value him highly.
The Tigers aren't anxious to trade Curtis Granderson, but at least one Tigers decision-maker was concerned about an alleged range issue last year. With $25.75 million and three years to go on his contract, Granderson's contract is far from onerous. Yet, he would represent a chance to save some money. The Tigers showed surprising interest in Mike Cameron last summer, and Cameron is now a free agent, so perhaps they could sign him if they do trade Granderson.
As for speculation that Detroit might shop Miguel Cabrera, one executive with a big-market team said, "At that price, who'd want him?" Cabrera, who makes about $21 million a year, obviously had an excellent offensive season and showed he can play a decent first base, as well, but he certainly didn't help his marketability by taking a powder the final weekend.
The Jays are interested in star prospect Casey Kelly from the Red Sox and big-time hitting prospect Jesus Montero from the Yankees in any Halladay deal. Obviously, they'd need to get pitching any such deal, as well, and the prime targets should be Clay Buchholz from Boston and Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes from the Yankees.
At least 12 teams are showing interest in Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman. Since he listened to Kendry Morales in switching agents and going to the Hendricks brothers, it will be interesting to see whether the Angels could have any sort of edge in the competition for Chapman based on Chapman's respect for Morales.
Jermaine Dye could emerge as a fine right-handed hitting alternative to Milton Bradley and Vladdy Guerrero for the Rangers.
The leading contenders to buy the Rangers appear to be groups headed by former superagent Dennis Gilbert and Pittsburgh sports attorney Chuck Greenberg. Current owner Tom Hicks reportedly has his own group, but knowing that MLB had to cover Hicks' expenses some months this year, one baseball source said it's unlikely Hicks will be involved in the new group.
Nothing's been announced regarding Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd, but it appears he's staying. O'Dowd, whose contract recently expired, was named Executive of the Year by his peers.
Commissioner Bud Selig surely means it when he says he intends to retire after 2012, but he's tried these far-in-advance retirement announcements before (as he did again this week in the Chicago Tribune), and they never seem to stick -- he has always bowed to the wishes of the owners that he stay. Why don't we just wait until 2012 and see how he feels at that time?
My initial thoughts about the Hall of Fame ballot are to include Roberto Alomar, Barry Larkin, Jack Morris, Dave Parker, Don Mattingly and Andre Dawson on my ballot, and know, too, that five or six others are very close "no's." I'll take a closer look on Wednesday.
I know Mark McGwire hopes to make it to Cooperstown one day. But I am going to wait to hear what he has to say before changing my consistent "no" vote to a "yes" for him. The former hermit is supposed to talk sometime in December.
MLB Truth & Rumors