Mariners posing threat to Angels in Hot Stove season (cont.)
Around the majors
Some could actually see the Red Sox pressing harder for Lackey than Halladay. While owner John Henry is believed to have a keen interest in Halladay, there seems to be a sense that some Red Sox people would rather use the prospects on an impact offensive player such as Adrian Gonzalez than Halladay.
The Red Sox are still thought to have some interest in Bay, who rejected their $60 million, four-year contract, but some competitors could see them switching gears and taking Holliday. Red Sox officials like the comfort of Bay's past performance in their division, but most still believe Holliday is the better hitter. They have no worries about Bay's defense despite some defensive metrics suggesting he is deficient (they believe those metrics could be the result of a quirk of playing left field in Fenway Park). And as one scout pointed out, "Bay played center field at one point. So how bad can he be?"
Ivan Rodriguez, who is drawing interest from the Royals, Rangers and Giants, would like to finish his career in Texas but appears disinclined to accept arbitration with Texas since he'd only be a backup there with Jarrod Saltalamacchia expected to get the bulk of the playing time assuming his shoulder isn't hurt worse than believed.
Rafael Soriano has gone back and forth about whether to accept arbitration, but as of late Sunday night, he appeared to be leaning toward accepting it despite interest shown from the Yankees, Orioles and Astros. He made $6.3 million last year and probably could earn $7 million or so via arbitration. The Braves don't expect him to accept, but if he does, the back end of their 'pen is awfully strong.
Mike Gonzalez, who's being considered by the Red Sox and at least 10 more teams, is expected to reject the Braves' offer of arbitration.
Marlon Byrd is drawing interest from the Braves, Cubs and Mariners.
Execs expect star closer Jose Valverde to wind up back as Houston's closer. He could even decide to accept arbitration.
John Smoltz is thought to like the idea of going back to the Cardinals. While he'd prefer to start, he's open to relieving. The Nationals, with former Braves president Stan Kasten in charge, would love him to come there.
The Yankees are offering a little more than $10 million to begin negotiations with Andy Pettitte, who told them he wants to pitch in 2010 and is known to prefer to stay with the Yankees. The Yankees also will make a play for Halladay here.
Johnny Damon is another Yankees priority and they are expected to offer about $20 million over two years to keep him. Yankees' backup plans are: for pitcher, Pineiro and Wolf; and for outfielder, Mike Cameron, Jermaine Dye, Curtis Granderson and possibly Byrd.
The Mets remain interested in Bengie Molina, and it appears the game plan is to wait it out and try to get him on a contract for one year and an option. The Mets figure that the other teams seeking a catcher are unlikely to spend as much they have (Kansas City and Toronto need starters, while San Francisco, Kansas City and Colorado need backups), so maybe they'll get Molina on a bargain. If not, they may have to go to $12 million over two years.
The Dodgers are trying to trade Juan Pierre, who has two years and $18 million left on his contract.
MLB Truth & Rumors