Daily Scoop (cont.)
9. Adam Dunn: Cubs. He swears he won't DH, which is his obvious natural position. The Nats are giving it what seems to be a lukewarm effort, as their GM Mike Rizzo seems to like defense. The A's, White Sox, Orioles and others would consider him for DH, but he has publicly stated that he much prefers to play the field.
10. Rafael Soriano: Angels. It's hard to imagine Angels owner Arte Moreno dealing so much with agent Scott Boras (who also represents Beltre) after being so upset to have lost Mark Teixeira. But Moreno is also unhappy to have let the Rangers pass them by. The Angels look like the most logical fit right now. The Red Sox could make sense if they trade Jonathan Papelbon.
11. Jorge de la Rosa: Rangers. In this weak starting pitching market, he might look better than his record would indicate. He has talent and youth on his side. He could go to any of the Lee also-rans.
12. Carl Pavano: Twins. They love him in the Twins clubhouse. He shouldn't leave, but he hasn't always used the best judgment in the past.
13. Carlos Pena, Nationals. The Nats are going for some huge scores and like Pena's slick defense. He won't hit as many home runs as Dunn, but he'll hit a bunch.
14. Joaquin Benoit: Yankees. The Yankees go for the best, and he was arguably baseball's best setup man last year.
15. Aubrey Huff: Giants. Players usually like to return to the site of the championship. There are plenty of examples of that not happening (Johnny Damon last year), but the Giants' title was particularly compelling.
The Padres and agent John Boggs both have handled the Adrian Gonzalez situation well. Gonzalez asked to be paid in the category of Mark Teixeira (and also Joe Mauer and Ryan Howard, who, Boggs pointed out, "signed as a controlled player" for $25 million a year) in a recent meeting with Padres' higher-ups, and nobody can blame him for that. But the Padres plainly told him that they won't do that. GM Jed Hoyer said he never made an offer, as the two sides were nowhere close. "Why throw something out there you know is going to be rejected?" Hoyer said in a phone interview. "It's so clear we're so far apart in what we're thinking. He really does want to take a shot at a Teixeira contract."
While that isn't a deal, everyone at least knows where they stand.
Rather than sugarcoat things for Padres fans, Hoyer took the unusual step of plainly stating that they will not be extending Gonzalez and that he might even entertain trade offers, and no one can blame the Padres for that, either. There's no sense stringing fans along when the chances are next to nil of Gonzalez staying in San Diego beyond 2011. "I don't want to perpetuate [false hope]," Hoyer said. San Diego may be a little mellower than most places, but Hoyer's honesty played as well as could be expected. In other words, there was no uprising.
Hoyer expects Gonzalez to begin the season with the Padres and hoped that he could keep him all year. But he made no promises. "I think he'll be here to start the season," said Hoyer. "And hopefully, he'll be here at the end, because that would mean we had another good season." If not, he will be one whopper of a July prize for someone. The Red Sox long have eyed Gonzalez, but he would also work well for the Mariners and many others. The Padres had extensive talks with the Dodgers a couple of years back, as well.
Though the $22 million that Gonzalez is seeking is a lot, it is in line with the category of elite hitter that Gonzalez has been. Though coming off his fourth straight 30-plus homer, 99-plus RBI season, Gonzalez will be vastly underpaid at $5.9 million this year without complaint. He didn't say it aloud but he has told people that he also doesn't want to repeat the Jake Peavy scenario, in which Peavy signed a big deal that quickly became an albatross. The Padres are believed to be have been willing to pay Gonzalez a total contract for about half the Teixeira and Mauer deals (both were eight for $180 million), maybe something around $90 million for six years -- though Hoyer wouldn't confirm that.
"They said they're not in a financial position to [pay close to what was requested], or let's put it this way, they chose not to," said Boggs. The Padres, whose $40 million payroll is expected to rise only slightly this season, are one of the small-market teams that intend to not commit a large percentage of their payroll to one player. And that makes sense, too.
The Orioles, Nationals and Pirates are said to be aggressive players early in free agency. Good for them.
Jorge Posada was told in a face-to-face meeting by Cashman that he's going to DH, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The Yankees hope that Francisco Cervelli or Jesus Montero can be the main catcher. They are very deep in catching prospects, with also Austin Romine, Gary Sanchez and J.R. Murphy as well.
Any thought that Sabathia might opt out after next year are out the window after seeing his New Jersey spread in Architectural Digest this week. The detail is unbelievable in this home. Can't see the family picking up and leaving.
Padres GM Hoyer said he tried to keep top exec Paul DePodesta but knew from the start that DePodesta couldn't refuse the Mets' new GM, Sandy Alderson, a longtime friend. DePodesta, the Mets' new VP of player development and scouting, reached an agreement to remain living in San Diego and is thought to be receiving a salary of close to $1 million a year from the Mets (Alderson's salary is rumored to be close to $3 million in what is thought to be baseball's most expensive front office). Mets holdover Wayne Krivsky, who has a year to go on his contract, and the newly-hired J.P. Ricciardi also are former GMs. Omar Minaya, the outgoing GM is still being paid more than $1 million for two more years, but hasn't decided what he'll do. Minaya's friends are being fired or leaving, but he has affection for Fred Wilpon and doesn't' appear to have completely ruled out a role with the Mets. John Ricco was seen as a future GM but it's unclear where he is on the depth chart now.
While the Mets are loaded with front office people, they are down on scouts, with Russ Bove and Duane Larson fired and Bob Johnson bolting for the Braves. Scouting director Rudy Terrasas has a year to go on his contract.
Terry Collins looks like a possible favorite for the Mets' managerial job, but Clint Hurdle, Don Wakamatsu and Bob Melvin all have major league experience and seem to fill the requirements. Alderson has interviewed several others without big league managing experience, but those seem less likely. (Just look at his front office. Nearly everyone has been a GM.) Alderson has ruled out Bobby Valentine as a candidate. Fan favorite Wally Backman is getting a second interview, reported Bob Klapisch and Steve Popper in the Bergen Record. My take is that Alderson understands that the fans and his bosses love Backman. He also wants to be as fair as possible to someone who has worked their way back after some unfortunate publicity. But one Alderson associate said, "I'd fall out of my chair if Sandy hires [Backman]."
Hurdle is seen as the favorite in Pittsburgh if he doesn't get the Mets job. But if things don't work out there, either, the Pirates are likely to turn to interim bench coach Jeff Banister.
Hisanori Takahashi is gone, and one person said there's a sentiment among some Mets people that Pedro Feliciano is "worn out," (if he is, you couldn't really blame him after leading the league in appearances the past three seasons, with 86, 88 and 92, respectively), so he may go, too. That means that the only proven entity in the Mets' bullpen may be embattled closer Francisco Rodriguez, whom the Mets would likely avoid using to finish 55 games, as that would trigger a $17 million option.
It appears likely that the Mets will wait to see Jose Reyes play a large chunk of this coming season before getting serious about a long-term deal.
Word is that Brad Penny is in "the best shape of his life." That shouldn't be a surprise since the free agent is engaged to Dancing with the Stars dancer Karina Smirnoff.
Oakland's bid for Hisashi Iwakuma was about $17 million for someone whom one scout described as an "unexceptional pitcher." The A's have made good pitching choices before, so perhaps opinions should be reserved for now, though.
Star infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka of the Chiba Lotte Marines is expected to post soon. He hit a career-best .346 this year, raising his lifetime average to .293. He was also very impressive in the WBC in 2006. One Japanese scout said, "His talent will translate," though suggested that Nishioka's productivity may depend to some degree on his being in the right environment.
The Gold Glove awards weren't perfect again. While Derek Jeter deserved his fourth award last year, Elvis Andrus or Alexei Ramirez probably would have been better choices this year. Jeter was very solid (only six errors, 94 DPs) but doesn't have the range of those other two now. In any case, Jeter gets more ammunition for his contract talks. UZR aficionados were flabbergasted at the choice, but don't blame the writers. These awards are voted on by managers and coaches.
Edgar Renteria told Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes that he's willing to play second base to continue his career, Though a World Series MVP would have been a nice way to go out, it appears that the World Series got Renteria's competitive juices flowing. Renteria was also hurt much of the year, so perhaps he wasn't at his best. Not until the end, anyway.