Despite the Blue Jays' nosedive from wild-card contention, Toronto general manager Gord Ash says manager Jim Fregosi's job is secure. Fregosi came under fire earlier in the season after he ripped Carlos Delgado for not being a leader and then got into a pair of bar incidents (a fight in June and a loud tirade two weeks ago). "Fregosi is not in any kind of tenuous position," says Ash. "Overall we've done well, and I think Jim has done a lot of positive things."
...The Marlins are annoyed with shortstop Alex Gonzalez, who went from All-Star and National League Rookie of the Year candidate to benchwarmer. Gonzalez had not only hit just .261 in the season's second half but also had angered manager John Boles by not running out ground balls. "I don't believe in doghouses," says Boles, "but if I did, this one could house Marmaduke."
...Although he has declared lefties Mike Sirotka (10-13, 4.13 ERA) and Jim Parque (9-13, 5.03) untouchable, White Sox general manager Ron Schueler says he won't hesitate to trade some of his other young pitchers for offensive help this off-season. Chicago's $24.6 million payroll at the start of the season will be increased to $36 million next year....
The Reds are negotiating with closer Mel Rojas, 32, who's out of baseball after getting released by the Expos in July. Cincinnati general manager Jim Bowden, who considers the once-dominant Rojas (36 saves for Montreal in 1996) a prime candidate for reclamation, wants to sign him to a minor league deal.