It is believed that the Angels may not be willing to meet the contract demands of Carlos Beltran. They may concentrate on Nomar Garciaparra instead. They have had ongoing discussions with the Mets, believed to be regarding Mike Piazza. Carl Pavano is planning on visiting Anaheim in the near future although the Angels aren't necessarily high on his list.
"Carlpalooza" is set to make a stop in Baltimore some time in the coming week. The O's would like to sign Pavano but may have to settle on Brad Radke or Eric Milton. Dan Wilson is on the list as a potential target. The O's would like to make him their backup catcher. The Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles are not interested in Adrian Beltre because they would like to leave Melvin Mora at third base.
Boston Red Sox:
The contract signed by Mirabelli includes incentives that would give him more money if he were to become the starting catcher. The Sox and Jason Varitek are still far apart but the recent offer by Boston includes an extra year. They will not add a no-trade clause which is hurting the negotiations. The Mets have made an offer to Pedro Martinez and at the moment, the Sox are not interested in topping it.
Chicago White Sox:
The Sox have expressed interest in Jermaine Dye as a replacement for free agent Magglio Ordonez and Nomar Garciaparra for Jose Valentin. If they are unable to land Dye they will turn their attention to Danny Bautista, Richard Hidalgo, and Jeromy Burnitz. Matt Clement has said that he'd like to remain in Chicago and the White Sox may attempt to take advantage of that. They remain one of the primary contenders for Randy Johnson.
With Brad Radke losing interest in Cleveland, the Tribe has turned its attention to Matt Clement and Jon Lieber with Clement the top priority. They have signed various players to minor league contracts with invites to spring training. Some of the invites include Andy Abad, Jeff Liefer, Ernie Young, and Jake Robbins.
The Tigers have turned the heat up on Troy Glaus. With his friend Troy Percival on board they have an advantage. If he were to sign he would remain at third base which is his preference. They have received calls from a few teams regarding the availability of Ugueth Urbina. Carl Pavano is expected to make a stop in Detroit in the near future.
Kansas City Royals:
Mark Teahen, acquired in the Carlos Beltran deal last season, will open the season as the everyday third baseman. The speculation that they would make a big offer for Austin Kearns has quieted down for the moment but as spring training nears, that may become an option again.
The agent for Brad Radke recently made a proposal to the Twins for three years and around $9 million per season. The Twins countered that with a contract worth about $20 million over three years. Even though the two sides are far apart, they are making progress. It appears that Radke wants to be back in Minnesota.
New York Yankees:
While some outlets are reporting that the Randy Johnson deal to the Yankees is currently "dead," some sources including Peter Gammons believes that the deal will be made some time next week. The Bombers have not focused solely on RJ though. They currently have a trade in place aside from the Lofton one. Felix Heredia may soon be sent to the Mets for Mike Stanton in an attempt to bring back some of the pen that helped them win the World Series in the late 90s.
The latest talks involving Oakland involve Tim Hudson. He has stated that if he is not given a contract extension by March he will demand a trade. It will be difficult for the A's to afford Hudson but panic hasn't set in yet. Reports indicate that the A's have interest in signing Placido Polanco.
If you have a pulse, the Mariners are likely interested in signing you. They have been connected in some way with virtually every free agent this side of Carlos Beltran. They are far enough along in their discussions with Carlos Delgado that they have asked the long time cleanup hitter to bat third in the lineup and Delgado quickly obliged. Recent reports have them interested in signing Richie Sexson as well as Delgado but the chances of that happening are unlikely. Once Delgado is aboard they may shift their attention to Troy Glaus and Adrian Beltre.
Tampa Bay Devil Rays:
The Rays have contacted the Rockies regarding the availability of Charles Johnson but it is believed that trade talks have broken off for the time being. If Johnson is acquired, Toby Hall would become trade bait. With BJ Upton in the majors full-time, Julio Lugo may be available and the Cardinals, Red Sox, and Cubs may be interested.
The Rangers had been in contact with the Rockies regarding Shawn Chacon but talks broke down because of Erik Thompson's shoulder, whom the Rockies were seeking in return. They have emerged as a serious contender for the services of Todd Walker and possibly Jeff Kent. What is being done with Alfonso Soriano has yet to be determined.
Toronto Blue Jays:
In the most expensive move of the winter thus far, the Blue Jays acquired the Sky Dome for a reported $25 million. They may abandon the artificial turf that has been in place for years. They have almost given up their hope of re-signing Carlos Delgado. Matt Clement has been identified as their top priority but they may have trouble matching the offers he will receive from other teams.
For the time being, New York has broken off talks with Arizona regarding Randy Johnson. They said that Arizona is simply asking for too much. The D' Backs have made a new offer to Richie Sexson, believed to be worth an average of $10 million per season but lacks the guaranteed dollars Sexson is seeking. The deal still has injury provisions which Sexson turned down initially and GM Joe Garagiola, Jr. may turn his attention to Troy Glaus.
Some sources have said that both the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox have had discussions with the Braves regarding the availability of Andruw Jones. The Yankees have reportedly offered Kevin Brown. With Jaret Wright and Russ Ortiz likely leaving Atlanta, it is likely that John Smoltz will return to the rotation next season. They may be looking at Ugueth Urbina as a replacement.
The Cubs have discussed re-signing Todd Walker but appear to be more interested in signing Tony Womack from the Cardinals. If Nomar Garciaparra can't be brought back with a one-year deal they will likely turn their attention to Edgar Renteria or Orlando Caberra. Sammy Sosa trades rumors have quieted down thanks in part to the ongoing steroid reports involving Jason Giambi and Barry Bonds. It was never proven that Sosa took anything illegal but many have speculated it.
The Reds have reportedly asked for the moon for Austin Kearns and Adam Dunn. They asked for Rich Harden from the A's for Kearns and Josh Beckett from the Marlins for Dunn. Neither deal is close to being done nor is it likely, specifically the one involving Dunn. They will need to resolve their crowded outfield situation by spring training.
Countless teams have inquired about the availability of Shawn Chacon and the Rangers seemed to come the closest but talks broke down. Charles Johnson is still being shipped and will likely be dealt to the Devil Rays or Pirates. If Robb Nen is able to complete his comeback the Rockies will likely be interested in signing him.
If the Marlins are not satisfied with Guillermo Mota as their closer they may attempt to trade for Ugueth Urbina. Mota has been dominant in recent years so a deal for Urbina isn't very likely. Reports indicate that they are close to signing Al Leiter to a one-year contract worth around $6 million. They have signed Lenny Harris to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training. He'll likely find a way to make the team even if it isn't deserved.
One of the best players that may be non-tendered this year is Wade Miller. Miller is as talented as Carl Pavano but if he were to hit the market he would not receive nearly as much money. His potential non-tender is fueled by concerns over the shoulder injury that kept him out for most of 2004.
Los Angeles Dodgers:
Milton Bradley isn't helping his chances of staying with the Dodgers with the negative publicity he has been receiving of late. The Pirates remain very interested and will likely include Arthur Rhodes in a deal. Talks with Adrian Beltre are continuing but the Dodgers are keeping tabs on Troy Glaus should Beltre not be re-signed.
Signed Damian Miller, three-years, $8.75 million
The Damian Miller signing was announced last week but was not finalized until recently because they were unable to give him a physical. He has since been checked out and passed so he is a member of the Brewers. They are interested in Troy Glaus but are a long shot to land him. If they manage to sign him they will keep him at third base.
New York Mets:
The Mets have made a three-year offer to Pedro Martinez believed to be worth $39 million. That is the best offer Martinez has received to date but the Sox may soon counter with a similar one. Earlier reports indicating that they have broken off talks with Al Leiter appear to be true as Leiter is close to signing with the Marlins. They have been and will continue to be one of the busiest teams this winter.
The trade of Felix Rodriguez all but assures that Ryan Madson will return to the pen for 2005. They have made an offer to David Wells but appear to be more interested in Carl Pavano. If Pavano can't be brought in they will consider bringing back Eric Milton. The acquisition of Lofton may signal an end to the Carlos Beltran in Phlly speculation.
The Pirates may have interest in bringing in Esteban Loaiza or Aaron Sele to fill their rotation. If they are unable to land Charles Johnson from the Rockies they will likely turn to Toby Hall from the D-Rays. Arthur Rhodes, recently acquired from Oakland, may soon be on the move again, possibly to Los Angeles in exchange for Milton Bradley.
St. Louis Cardinals:
The Cards may have upped their offer for Randy Johnson. They originally offered Rick Ankiel, Dan Haren, and Kiko Calero but the D-Backs passed. Jason Marquis and Daric Barton is said to be their current offer. With the Yankees currently out of the running their chances of landing Johnson have improved dramatically. They are expected to make a four-year offer to Edgar Renteria worth in the neighborhood of $32 million.
San Diego Padres:
The Padres may have some serious competition for the services of David Wells. Although they would like him back and are the frontrunners to land him, the Phillies have offered Wells a contract and are waiting to hear back from him. They have apparently dropped out of the running for Steve Finley but may still be a sleeper for Carlos Beltran.
San Francisco Giants:
The contract Benitez signed with the Giants is heavily backloaded. $7.4 million is a signing bonus that is owed yearly through 2009. The remaining $14.1 million will be paid in increasing amounts: $2.5 million in 2005, $4 million in 2006, and $7.6 million in 2007. They are interested in bringing in Jermaine Dye and Steve Finley to fill out their outfield.
The Nationals have emerged as a frontrunner in the Russ Ortiz sweepstakes. Some reports indicate that Tony Armas Jr. is a candidate to be non-tendered but that is unlikely. They may have interest in trading for Randy Winn from Seattle but would first need to send off Endy Chavez. That isn't much of a problem though as teams have already begun to inquire about his availability.