Wednesday, December 6, 2006
The latest from the winter meetings
We're in the third day of the winter meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Stay tuned for the latest on trades, free-agent signings and the rumors we're hearing at Disney's Swan and Dolphin Resort:
• This week's notes: Monday | Tuesday
All times ET
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
11:35 p.m., from Steve Phillips
• Barry Bonds' agent, Jeff Borris, met with the Giants this evening for three hours. Though Bonds has headed home, Borris will continue talking with the Giants.
10:12 p.m., from Jayson Stark
• The Phillies and White Sox have pulled off a deal: Freddy Garcia to Philly for Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzalez.
9:25 p.m., from Jayson Stark
• The Blue Jays are close to signing Matt Stairs to a one-year contract, according to a baseball official with knowledge of the negotiations. It's expected to be announced Thursday.
8:15 p.m., from Tim Kurkjian
• Agent Larry O'Brien walked into the lobby and announced "Ted Lilly's a Cub!"
7:12 p.m., from Steve Phillips
• Elvis is back in the building! An earlier rumor making the rounds had Barry Bonds on his way back to the Bay Area, but that proved untrue. Bonds' agent, Jeff Borris, plans to meet with the Giants tonight, and Barry's still here at the Swan and Dolphin.
• The Mets are interested in an A's starter, but it's not Rich Harden. Outfielder Lastings Milledge is the bait.
• There's no truth to the rumor that had the Red Sox sending outfielder Wily Mo Pena to the Nationals for closer Chad Cordero.
6:05 p.m., from Jerry Crasnick
• Now that the Dodgers have added starters Randy Wolf and Jason Schmidt, they have enough depth in the rotation to trade a starter for a bat. Two baseball people said the Dodgers are shopping right-hander Brad Penny.
5:28 p.m., from Jerry Crasnick
• The Mariners, in the market for a bat, are looking at Cliff Floyd as a possible DH. The Cubs, who need help from the left side even as they contemplate moving Jacque Jones in a trade for a pitcher, are another possible destination for Floyd.
• As Cubs GM Jim Hendry keeps spending to upgrade his roster, he'll eventually have to address the team's most important concern -- locking up the staff ace. Carlos Zambrano, a mere 25, has four consecutive 200-inning seasons on his résumé. As rumors swirl of Barry Zito chasing an $80-100 million deal, it's scary to think how expensive Zambrano might be a year from now. Hendry signed Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez to long-term contracts in the spring in recent years, and is likely to make a run at Zambrano well before Opening Day.
• Angels officials think that the more questionable Darin Erstad's ankle is, the more likely he will be to return to Anaheim in a supporting role. If Erstad is healthy enough to play everyday, he'll probably go elsewhere. While Tampa Bay has been mentioned as a possible destination because of Erstad's close relationship with manager Joe Maddon, Erstad's first choice is to play for a contending club.
5:20 p.m., from Amy Nelson
• The Royals this morning joined the Blue Jays and Cubs as strong suitors for right-handed starter Gil Meche.
5:04 p.m., from Jayson Stark
• According to some folks who work here at the hotel, Barry Bonds has left the premises and is headed home.
4:55 p.m., from Jayson Stark
• While the Cubs await the word from Ted Lilly on whether he'll accept their four-year offer of around $40 million, the other team that is said to be a finalist -- the Yankees -- was still believed to be weighing whether they were even going to make Lilly an official offer. The Yankees prefer to sign Andy Pettitte, but won't know for at least two weeks what Pettitte's plans are. So they're interested in Lilly as either protection in case they don't get Pettitte, or as a starter who could allow them to trade away excess pitching to fill other needs. There were indications they've talked about contract parameters with Lilly's agent, Larry O'Brien. But their baseball people hadn't yet decided whether they wanted to make an investment this long and expensive in a pitcher who doesn't seem to be as high on their priority list as they are on his.
• The buzz among some of the teams in the hunt for free-agent starter Gil Meche was that Meche is leaning toward Toronto. He could decide where he's signing as soon as tonight. The Cubs appear to be the other finalist on him, although Kansas City is also interested.
4:34 p.m., from Jayson Stark
• Barry Bonds, the mystery guest of the winter meetings, headed off to meet his mystery suitor today. But even though Bonds' agent, Jeff Borris, told ESPN's Steve Phillips that Barry had stopped by not-so-conveniently located Disney World to meet with at least two "other teams," there was widespread skepticism among baseball people we surveyed that he was bound anywhere other than San Francisco.
2:37 p.m., from Jerry Crasnick
• Ted Lilly still isn't sure where he'll be pitching in 2007. But it won't be in Toronto.
Lilly crossed the Blue Jays off his list Wednesday and has narrowed his possible destinations to the Cubs and Yankees, his agent, Larry O'Brien, told ESPN.com at the winter meetings. O'Brien, who is seeking a four-year, $40 million deal, plans to meet with Yankees GM Brian Cashman on Wednesday night.
2:17 p.m., from Jayson Stark
• The Dodgers could announce as early as today that they've signed Mike Lieberthal, as a backup catcher, to a one-year deal worth slightly more than $1 million, with an option for 2008.
• While Scott Boras' people continue to spread reports of a wild bidding war for Barry Zito, it hasn't appeared to frighten the Mets in any way. Several sources who have spoken with the Mets' delegation say the Mets are "not out of it" on Zito. But they have sent a firm message to Boras and Zito that, while they're willing to get into the Roy Oswalt territory (five years, $70 million-$75 million), they're at a different stage than they were when they were showering seemingly unlimited money and years on Carlos Beltran and Pedro Martinez two years ago. Two years ago, according to one executive who had talked with the Mets, the team felt it "needed to do that. Now it's different." One friend of Zito said he thinks location (i.e., New York) might be as important to Zito as top dollars. But that, of course, isn't always how Boras thinks. At any rate, an official of one team interested in Zito said he's convinced that Zito won't sign before the end of the meetings. "I think we're still in the early stages," he said. "I don't think it's going to move very quickly."
• The Astros remain interested in Aubrey Huff. But he appears to be a player who could be indirectly affected by Andy Pettitte. If Pettitte signs for large dollars, the Astros would have to move a salary to sign someone like Huff. The Dodgers are also believed to have interest in Huff as an outfielder if they don't sign Luis Gonzalez.
• Cliff Floyd is being pursued by the Cubs, A's and Mariners.
• The Dodgers appear to be in on both Mark Mulder and Jeff Suppan.
1:29 p.m., from Jerry Crasnick
• Free-agent starter Jason Schmidt and the Dodgers are closing in on a three-year contract worth $47 million.
Alan Schwarz and Jerry Crasnick discuss where Barry Bonds will end up, the moves Boston has made and which team will sign Barry Zito. Baseball Today
12:59 p.m., from Peter Gammons
• The Red Sox's self-imposed deadline to trade Manny Ramirez has expired, and unless a potential trade partner suddenly sweetens their offer, it appears the enigmatic slugger will remain in Boston.
12:20 p.m., from Steve Phillips
• The Royals, Cubs and Blue Jays are in on right-hander Gil Meche.
• The Dodgers are targeting right-hander Jason Schmidt.
• The Giants are engaging top-of-the-market starter Barry Zito. The Mets may not be willing to go more than five years, $70 million.
• Luis Gonzalez is weighing offers from the Cardinals, Dodgers and Orioles.
• The Mets had a significant offer on the table for Julio Lugo to play second base.
10:52 a.m., from Jerry Crasnick
• Kenny Lofton is attracting interest from the Rangers, Cubs and Rockies as a possible center field option. But first he might have to come down on his asking price. One front office source said Lofton is looking for $6 million on a one-year deal.
• The Orioles, in the market for a left fielder and a veteran bat, appear to be making progress in discussions with free agent Luis Gonzalez.
7:02 a.m., from Steve Phillips
• Barry Bonds has just arrived at the meetings, and his agent, Jeff Borris, will be talking with teams besides the Giants.