November 2005 - Baltimore Orioles Wiretap
Orioles Out Of Konerko Derby
The Baltimore Orioles may be out of the hunt for Paul Konerko. According to a report on the Baltimore Sun's Web site on Tuesday, the Chicago White Sox's free-agent first baseman rejected the Orioles' latest offer, a five-year, $65 millon deal. A source familiar with the negotiations told the Sun that the team is waiting on agent Craig Landis' counterproposal, and the $65 million offer is no longer on the table. According to the Sun, the Orioles' original offer to Konerko earlier this month was for four years, $50 million. A source told the Sun that the Orioles might be willing to go higher than the current $65 million offer, but they are hesitant to make another offer because they feel Konerko isn't interested in Baltimore even if the Orioles make the highest bid. It is believed Konerko would like to stay in Chicago or play on the West Coast, closer to his home in Scottsdale, Ariz. Orioles executive vice president Mike Flanagan declined to discuss negotiations with the Sun. The Los Angeles Angels have reportedly offered a five-year, $60 million contract. The Los Angeles Times reported that Konerko met with Angels officials, including manager Mike Scioscia and general manager Bill Stoneman, in Anaheim on Tuesday.
Orioles Enter Race For Konerko
Speculation that they would be making a bid for White Sox free agent first baseman Paul Konerko apparently was unfounded; Konerko, according to one well-placed major league source, is sifting through offers from three teams: the White Sox, Orioles, and Angels. The Orioles offered the most money, the source said, and all three offers are believed to be for five years. The Baltimore offer could approach $60 million. The White Sox, who last week acquired slugger Jim Thome from the Phillies, have asked Konerko for an answer before the start of the winter meetings.
Ryan To Sign With Toronto
B.J. Ryan and the Toronto Blue Jays have reached a preliminary agreement on a $47 million, five-year contract, a high-ranking baseball official told The Associated Press Friday. Ryan, a left-hander who turns 30 next month, is getting the largest deal given to a reliever, topping the $39.99 million, four-year contract Mariano Rivera had with the New York Yankees from 2001-04. Rivera just completed the first season of a $21 million, two-year deal with the Yankees. The baseball official spoke on condition of anonymity because Toronto had not yet announced the agreement. "We're still talking to him," Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi said. "To me, this whole thing is premature." Ricciardi said he did not anticipate any announcements during the weekend. Pat Rooney, Ryan's agent, did not return a telephone call seeking comment. Ryan's agreement with Toronto was first reported by the New York Daily News on its Web site.
Ryan Visits Cleveland
Free agent B.J. Ryan visited with the Cleveland Indians, who could turn to the star closer if they decide not to re-sign Bob Wickman -- the anchor of the majors' best bullpen in 2005. The Indians did their best Tuesday to make former Orioles pitcher feel wanted. The club put a photograph of him wearing a Cleveland cap on the jumbo scoreboard at Jacobs Field, and the ballpark's other scoreboards said: "Welcome to Cleveland B.J. and Candi Ryan." The club confirmed that Ryan and his wife were in town to meet general manager Mark Shapiro, who had dinner with the couple Monday night. "It was a great opportunity for us to get to know B.J. and for him and his wife to get to know the city and our staff," said Shapiro, who would not comment on negotiations.
Orioles Could Get In Delgado Mix
Marlins first baseman Carlos Delgado could replace Rafael Palmeiro in Baltimore if Orioles officials ? currently divided over the idea ? agree to give up a top pitching prospect, a baseball source said Thursday. The Marlins and Orioles have not yet discussed a trade, but Baltimore's front office has talked about it since at least the general managers' meetings in California last week. "Baltimore is seriously debating whether to get Delgado, but they are split over whether to pursue it,'' said the source, who was briefed on Baltimore's strategies. The Marlins would want a starting pitcher from Baltimore such as left-hander Adam Loewen, the Orioles' first-round draft pick (fourth overall) in 2002 or right-hander Hayden Penn. Loewen was 10-8 with a 4.12 ERA in 2005 for Class A Frederick (Md.). Penn was Baltimore's fifth-round draft choice in 2002. He was 3-2 with a 6.34 ERA in eight major-league starts last season. Florida also could ask for right-handed reliever Chris Ray, who was 1-3 with a 2.66 ERA in 41 games for the Orioles in 2005. Baltimore also is interested in center fielder Juan Pierre, but Delgado is considered a higher priority.
MLB And Players Agree To Tougher Penalties For Steroid Abuse
Major league players and owners agreed to toughen penalties for steroid use to a 50-game suspension for a first failed test, 100 games for a second and a lifetime ban for a third. Baseball also will test for amphetamines for the first time starting next year under the deal, which must be ratified by both sides. Baseball's current steroid penalties are a 10-day suspension for a first offense, 30 days for a second offense and 60 days for a third. The earliest a player could be banned for life is a fifth offense. "This is an important step to reaching our goal of ridding our sport of performance-enhancing substances and should restore the integrity of and public confidence in our great game," commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. "I appreciate the effort put forward by the players' association and our players in reaching this new agreement."
Adios Sammy And Raffy
In a move that comes as a surprise to no one, the Baltimore Orioles announced Saturday that first baseman Rafael Palmeiro and outfielder Sammy Sosa will not return to the team next season. "At this point, we are heading in a different direction," club executive vice president Mike Flanagan told the Baltimore Sun. Sosa, 37, who was acquired from the Chicago Cubs for second baseman Jerry Hairston and two minor leaguers, hit .221 with 14 homers and 45 RBI in 102 games. It also was reported that he and Miguel Tejada had a disagreement that led to an icy relationship between the two Dominican Republic superstars.
Raffy Will Not Face Perjury Charges
Baseball star Rafael Palmeiro will not be prosecuted on perjury charges after lawmakers said Thursday there isn't enough evidence to prove he lied when he told Congress under oath that he had "never used steroids" -- six weeks before failing a steroid test. The investigation did not conclude whether the former Baltimore Orioles slugger had actually ever used performance-enhancing substances prior to his testimony before the House Government Reform Committee. "We couldn't find any evidence of steroid use prior to his testimony," Chairman Tom Davis, R-Va., said in releasing a 44-page report. "That's not a finding of innocence, but it's a finding that we could not substantiate perjury." At issue was Palmeiro's statement at a March 17 hearing: "I have never used steroids. Period." On May 4, he failed a Major League Baseball drug test, coming up positive for an anabolic steroid. In August, shortly after baseball suspended Palmeiro for 10 days, Davis said Congress would look into whether the player committed perjury. "We have a responsibility, an obligation, to investigate it, and that's what we've done," Davis said during a news conference in the same hearing room where Palmeiro had testified.
Five Clubs Shows Interest In Millar
Kevin Millar is expected to have to take a pay cut from his 2005 salary of $3.5 million. Several teams, including the Astros, Orioles, Twins, Dodgers and Angels, are said to have interest. ?I?ll always be thankful for the opportunity to come here,? he said. ?The last couple of weeks of the year were a dogfight for me personally, and it was a dogfight trying to play every day with these computer matchups and all of this baloney ? in my eyes ? but I?m always thankful to Theo (Epstein) and the organization for letting me come here, and I?ll never let it taint the three years I?ve had here. I?d never trade that.? Millar said the perceived turmoil within the organization that resulted from Epstein?s unexpected departure as general manager last week shouldn?t hurt the Sox? efforts to sign free agents. ?No, I think Boston and Sox Nation speaks for itself,? he said. ?Maybe there might be a guy who says, ?What?s going on here?? But I don?t think it?s going to turn many free agents off.?