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For more information on potential trades or free-agent signings, check out Rumor Central , which is updated daily with news, nuggets and notes from around the country. Some of today's best includes the following:
• Wells headed to Hollywood?
• Gagne to close for Red Sox?
• Yankees targeting Pettitte
The deal is contingent upon Padilla passing a physical exam, which is expected to be administered in the coming days.
• The Devil Rays, searching for help at first base, have discussed bringing in free agent Darin Erstad for a look. Erstad appeared in just 40 games with the Angels last year because of injuries. But Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon was known to be a big Erstad fan from their days together in Anaheim.
• There's some buzz circulating that the Tigers might be willing to move outfielder Craig Monroe, who hit .255 with 28 homers in 147 games. The Tigers upgraded their offense recently with the addition of Gary Sheffield, and they need left-handed relief help with the departure of Jamie Walker through free agency.
• Craig Landis, the agent for outfielder Jay Payton, plans to meet with Billy Beane when the A's general manager arrives in town Wednesday. With lots of left-handed bats available (Luis Gonzalez, Cliff Floyd, Trot Nixon and Aubrey Huff, to name a few), Payton wins points because he's right-handed and extremely versatile. He started 62 games in left field, 46 in center and 45 in right last year for Oakland. Baltimore might have some interest as well, but the cost-conscious Washington Nationals backed off Payton because they think he's too expensive.
• The Nationals say that first baseman Nick Johnson will be ready to play by Opening Day, but his offseason rehab hasn't gone as well as the team might have hoped. Johnson broke his right leg in a September collision with outfielder Austin Kearns, then had arthroscopic surgery in early November to clean out scar tissue in his right knee.
• The Royals, who are interested in free-agent pitchers Gil Meche and Miguel Batista, talked to the agents for Ryan Franklin on Monday.
• The Indians are pursuing Octavio Dotel, among other free-agent relievers who have closer experience.
• The Twins, looking for a starter to bolster their rotation, are focusing on the lower end of the free-agent market, but have also explored the possibility of swinging a trade with Colorado for Jason Jennings. The Rockies would no doubt want Minnesota's top prospect, Matt Garza, as a centerpiece to such a deal. Given Minnesota GM Terry Ryan's reluctance to trade his best prospects, that's unlikely to happen.
• One agent in the lobby of the Walt Disney Swan and Dolphin Resort predicted that Mike Piazza will wind up in Oakland despite his recent dalliance with Texas, in large part because Piazza would prefer to remain in California. The agent also said that Barry Bonds would much rather stay in San Francisco than sign with Oakland. "He doesn't want to drive across the Bay, he doesn't want to play in a dilapidated stadium, and he doesn't want to wear the white shoes," the agent said.
• While the A's and Rangers are still Mike Piazza's chief pursuers, there were rumblings Monday that the Angels had also kicked the tires on Piazza, who is expected to sign with one of those clubs sometime this week.
• The Padres are believed to be closing in on a deal with free-agent outfielder Jose Cruz Jr., who was released by the Dodgers last August.
• Only one free-agent starting pitcher won more games this year than Vicente Padilla (who won 15 for Texas). So Padilla has attracted significant interest. But the buzz among teams chasing him is that he's going to wind up back with the Rangers. Rumored sticking point: Padilla wants a four-year deal, and Texas is balking.
• Reports that the Cubs are making serious runs at Jason Schmidt and Barry Zito appear to be vastly overblown. Zito is barely on their radar screen. And Schmidt's price tag ($15 million a year for three to five years) has them looking for less expensive options -- with a list topped by Ted Lilly and Gil Meche.
• Octavio Dotel's agent, Dan Horwits, told a group of reporters Monday that there is "no question" that Dotel is now fully healthy, a year and a half removed from Tommy John surgery. Dotel is being as hotly pursued as any free-agent reliever left on the market. But according to one team that has inquired about Dotel, he has filtered out nearly all the clubs that want him to set up and expects to sign with a team that will let him be a closer again. That group would include the Red Sox, Devil Rays, Indians and Royals.
• The Mets have signed former Mariners pitcher Clint Nageotte to a minor-league contract, with an invitation to spring training; the Phillies signed former Mets, Indians and Brewers reliever Kane Davis to a minor-league deal; and the Royals signed former Devil Rays No. 1 pick Dewon Brazelton to a minor-league contract.
• The Cubs are dangling right fielder Jacque Jones.
• The Brewers are listening to offers on outfielders Geoff Jenkins and Kevin Mench.
• Free agent-reliever David Weathers is closing in on a two-year deal with the Reds, two baseball sources at the winter meetings told ESPN.com. The agreement is believed to be worth about $5 million.