Winter meetings preview report

<b>ANAHEIM, Calif. – </b> In the shadow of Disneyland, baseball's Winter Meetings unofficially kicked off Friday, and though the hotel lobby was filled with glad-handing and kibitzing, there was little else of substance to report.

That will all change on Saturday, when the meetings promise to turn the entryway of the Anaheim Marriott into the center of the baseball universe.

Baseball personalities streamed in and out of the hotel through most of the afternoon, although the biggest deal of the day – the Arizona Diamondbacks' signing of Troy Glaus to a four-year, $45 million contract – was completed outside of California.

No matter, the Golden State still laid claim to one of its own on Friday, as Jeff Kent inked a two-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Kent, a California native, was actually present at the Winter Meetings briefly late in the afternoon, strutting through the hotel lobby and out to a waiting limousine in a blank Dodgers jersey.

Washington Nationals GM Jim Bowden and Chicago Cubs GM Jim Hendry were two of the first trigger-pullers to filter into the hotel Friday, and while both Bowden and Hendry have work to complete this weekend – the Cubs would absolutely love to find a new home for Sammy Sosa – neither is considered the early favorite for the weekend's biggest mover and shaker.

That title goes to the New York Mets' Omar Minaya, who has made no secret of big dreams early in his club tenure.

Minaya has explored just about every marquee name available via trade or free agency, sparking rumors concerning Sosa, Pedro Martinez, Richie Sexson, Magglio Ordonez, Moises Alou and more, but thus far has done little but create huge headlines in the Gotham tabloids and cut ties with Al Leiter.

That will likely change soon, as Minaya's team is scheduled to arrive early Saturday morning from New York intent to deal.

A source indicated Thursday that Minaya is still hungry for free agent infielder Orlando Cabrera, a favorite from the Montreal Expos days, and that the Mets are still amenable to dealing Jose Reyes in the right trade – this coming on the heels of Minaya's most recent visit to the Dominican Republic this week, where he was reported to have met with Reyes.

Meanwhile, another source confirmed that a deal that would have sent Mike Piazza to the Anaheim Angels has indeed been discussed, but not recently. It is believed that the Mets have pulled Piazza off the trading block for the moment.

Winter scribblings
  • Things really kick into high gear Saturday, with a full slate of activity on the ledger. Historically, the first day of the winter meetings has been light on trade and player movement activity, but with the Kent and Glaus deals already completed, all bets are off.

    The agent for Pedro Martinez, Fernando Cuza, is expected to arrive in town on Saturday, although a final decision on Martinez's future may not come until after the meetings.

    One player who is in town and is ready to make a move is first baseman Richie Sexson, who has drawn interest from a number of clubs and will probably find his way to a podium by the time the meetings break.

    Bryan Hoch is in Anaheim covering the MLB Winter Meetings for

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