Dodgers Draw Ever Closer to Arizona

The Arizona Republic reports that the Los Angeles Dodgers are negotiating a deal with the city of Glendale to relocate their spring training operations from Vero Beach, to a new publicly financed stadium in that could be shared with the Chicago White Sox. In other news, the Houston Astros announced they signed former Dodger pitching coach and General Manager Dave Wallace as pitching coach.

Glendale city officials were still working out the stadium agreement in a closed-door meeting, but financing and other details will not be made public until later this week.

A Cactus League stadium would give Glendale a professional sports lineup that includes an arena for the Coyotes hockey team and the Arizona Cardinals' University of Phoenix Stadium, which will host college football's championship in January and the Super Bowl in 2008.

But things are not cut and dried just yet.

The Glendale City Council will insist the Dodgers and White Sox execute formal agreements with the city and perhaps a private developer; and state funds could be difficult to come by.

The Republic reported that Dodgers officials met with Indian River County officials to discuss the team's proposal to relocate from Vero Beach, Fla. to Glendale.

"We're saddened by this," said Joseph Baird, Indian River County Administrator. "We've had a great relationship with the Dodgers for 58 years. Unfortunately, they have had to make a business decision."

The Dodgers are not discussing their plans publicly other than to confirm talks with Glendale over a memorandum of understanding to move to a new stadium. The team will "explore all options," said Camille Johnston, the Dodgers' senior vice president of communications.

The Dodgers have held spring training at Dodgertown since 1948, a year after Jackie Robinson became the first African-American major leaguer and nine years before the team moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles.

The Dodgers' stadium lease with Indian River County does not expire until 2021. However, the Dodgers have the option of opting out of the lease if the team buys the stadium or pays off the county's bonds.

Dave Wallace Signs with Astros-- Dave Wallace, who wore many hats for the Dodgers -- including pitching coach and general manager, signed to become the pitching coach in Houston to replace Jim Hickey.

Wallace, 59, had been Boston's pitching coach since 2003. He previously served in the same capacity with the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1995-97 and the New York Mets in 2000.

Wallace served as a minor league pitching coach for the Dodgers from 1981-94, including stints with Single-A Vero Beach (1981-82), Double-A San Antonio (1983), Triple-A Albuquerque (1984-86), and as the organization's minor league pitching instructor from 1987-94.

Wallace also spent several seasons in the Dodgers' front office, including a brief stint as interim general manager from April to October 2001. He also served as a special assistant to the general manager in the offseason of 2000 and as the senior vice president of baseball operations during the 2002 season.

$oriano Courted-- The Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have made slugger Alfonso Soriano an offer, possibly for six years and about $80 million. At least six other teams -- the Dodgers, Cubs, Phillies, Orioles, Mets and Padres -- are also expected to make strong bids for Soriano, who hit .277 with 46 home runs, 95 runs batted in and 41 stolen bases for Washington this year.

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