The answer around baseball is a resounding – YES! ">
The answer around baseball is a resounding – YES! ">

Rumor Mill: San Diego Padres Edition

Just seen Ad: "Can anyone use a right handed pitcher whose fastball tops out at 100-101 miles per hour and is free to sign anywhere?" <br><br> The answer around baseball is a resounding – YES!

Maels Rodriguez, a 24-year-old right-hander, is said to have defected from Cuba and is considered one of their top pitchers. So much so, they shrouded him from playing in the Pan American Games and Olympic qualifying teams and publicly stating he has lost 15 miles per hour off his fastball.

"I'm going to demonstrate that I can still throw 100," Rodriguez said Thursday on Miami Spanish-language radio station WQBA-AM. "These are things that they invent to cut a little off the careers of some athletes."

There should be a plethora of offers for the Cuban if he is declared a free agent.

Glenn Hoffman arrived in Boston last night and is considered one of the front runners for the Red Sox job. If he is hired, the question around baseball is:

Will Trevor Hoffman follow his brother to Boston? Kevin Towers is not willing to let that happen as he looks to wrap up negotiations with Hoffman before the $2 million buyout even plays into the equation on November 8th.

Padres have told the agent for Eric Owens that Owens is a candidate to join them as a reserve outfielder. In 1999 and 2000, Owens was one of the most popular players in Padres history. He was the long shot who made good, a March phenom who later played in 294 games and hustled up 62 stolen bases.

Rick Reed and Kenny Rogers will not be returning to the Twins this season. The Twins, in need of pitching, are looking at several options on the trade front that would bring in young, cheap alternatives. Adding to that list, LaTroy Hawkins and Juan Rincon are also not expected back. That will leave the Twins in need of pitching.

That said -- there is speculation the team will trade AJ Pierzynski for the right combination of pitching prospects and cheap Major League talent. Joey Mauer, the catcher of the future, is slated for Triple A right now, but he is close to being Major League ready and is getting a tune-up with Team USA in Panama. Matthew LeCroy is in line for the DH spot and could easily take over the catching position.

Jim Edmonds is on the block in St. Louis this year. He has yet to submit his seven team no trade clause for the year, but it will likely not change from last year when he put all the California teams on the list. The market for Edmonds is uncertain at this time, but Los Angeles figures to jump into the fray if it opens. The Padres could also take a look-see at Edmonds and wonder if he is the answer in centerfield for the new ballpark. The move would limit their starting pitching options, however.

The Padres also are interested in luring left-hander Chuck Finley, who still lives in Orange County, out of retirement.

LHP Darren Oliver, who led the Rockies with 13 wins last year and had a 5.04 ERA, filed for free agency. He's believed to be looking for a two-year deal after resurrecting his career with the Rockies last season at the bargain price of $350,000.

The market for lefties is thin this offseason and figures to a hot commodity. The Friars may end up checking the scrap heap on this one.

In the everyone wants this guy, but did he leave money on the table in this fiscal league category:

Dodger relief pitcher Paul Quantrill exercised his option to void the remaining guaranteed season of his three-year contract and filed for free agency Thursday. Quantrill led the major leagues with 89 appearances last season and had a 1.75 earned-run average. The right-hander, who was guaranteed $3.1 million in 2004, had until Tuesday to void the last season of his deal.

Of interest to Padres fans:

The New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees are in need of late-inning help, and all are said to have LaTroy Hawkins on their short list of desired relievers.

Arizona has yet to make an offer to Miguel Batista. November 10th is a date to circle as he may be looked at by a number of teams as a cheaper option that can eat up innings.

In the simply odd department:

Veteran reliever Curtis Leskanic wants to keep pitching and hopes to do so as a member of the Royals' bullpen in 2004.

Leskanic is an underrated reliever who would look great in San Diego. Yet, he wants to remain in Kansas City -- thus putting any deal with him on hold.

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