November 2005 - Baseball Wiretap
Cubs Interested In Milton Bradley
The Cubs are interested in trading for Dodgers outfielder Milton Bradley but talks appear to be preliminary at this point.
Konerko Re-Signs With White Sox
Paul Konerko decided to stay with the World Series champion Chicago White Sox, agreeing Wednesday to a $60 million, five-year contract. The first baseman led the White Sox with 40 homers and 100 RBIs last season, hitting .283. He was MVP of the AL championship series win over the Los Angeles Angels after hitting two homers and seven RBIs. He had a go-ahead grand slam in Game 2 of the World Series sweep over Houston, the first Series title for the White Sox since 1917. "Paul in the last 24 to 48 hours really came to terms with the fact that he wanted to be a Chicago White Sox," said his agent, Craig Landis. "He had a hard time turning down the chance to go back and try to win another championship in Chicago. He has loyalty to his teammates and to the fans there and feels very wanted, not just by the White Sox organization but by the whole city of Chicago. He felt that that could not be matched in other cities."
Phillies Sign Santana
The Philadelphia Phillies moved to strengthen their depleted bullpen by signing free agent reliever Julio Santana to a one-year contract Wednesday. The 31-year-old right-hander, who got $800,000 in a deal that includes performance bonuses, was in 41 games last season for Milwaukee and went 3-5 with a 4.50 ERA. In 42 innings, Santana allowed 34 hits, walked 19, struck out 49. Opponents batted .221 against him. "Santana did a solid job in Milwaukee's bullpen, and he gives us some more options there," Phillies general manager Pat Gillick said.
Bonds To Play For U.S. In WBC
Barry Bonds plans to play for the U.S. team in the World Baseball Classic in March. The San Francisco Giants slugger has told the players' association he'll play, the The Oakland Tribune reported Wednesday. "It's not official," agent Jeff Borris told the paper. "There are still a few details to be worked out. But he has agreed to play." It's a promising sign for the Giants and Bonds, given that he played in only 14 games because of knee problems this season. Union special assistant Bobby Bonilla told the Tribune that he contacted his former Pittsburgh Pirates teammate shortly after the season. "I'm ecstatic," Bonilla told the paper. "He pretty much agreed in principle to play without hesitation. I'm just happy he's going to be a part of it.
A Shortstop In Center Taken Out Of Context, Still Possible
Some debate remains over the context and clarity of Joe Torre's reported remarks concerning a potential move to center field for either Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez, but Yankees GM Brian Cashman made it very clear yesterday that - regardless of what Torre did or did not say - neither of the Yanks' superstars is going anywhere. "We've never talked about it and we're not considering it and it's not happening," Cashman said flatly. "It's as simple as that." The source of the discussion was a story written by a reporter from Reuters, an international wire service, which appeared late Monday night. In it, Torre was quoted as saying as that the Yankees "have thought about" filling their gaping hole in center field with either Jeter or Rodriguez. He also reportedly said, "It certainly is a consideration" and noted that other star infielders have made similar shifts. Cashman said he woke up yesterday morning and was "shocked" when he learned of the story. He said he immediately called Torre to ask about the quotes and was told by the manager that the story was "untrue."
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.
Furcal Hunt Down To Cubs, Braves And Dodgers
Rafael Furcal and his agents have quietly spent the week meeting personally with the Cubs and Braves. A meeting with Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti was scheduled for Tuesday night. Those sessions signal that the Cubs, Braves and Dodgers are the three teams left in what was once a furious scramble to sign the best free-agent shortstop on the market. Furcal's primary agent, Paul Kinzer, said that he and Furcal spent Sunday and Monday in Chicago, meeting with Cubs GM Jim Hendry and other Cubs personnel. Kinzer then met Tuesday morning with Braves GM John Schuerholz. Another one of Furcal's agents, Adam Katz, was scheduled to meet Tuesday evening with the Dodgers. After that meeting, Kinzer said, Furcal could make a decision quickly on which team he'll sign with. "I would expect he'll make his decision in the next few days," Kinzer said, "just out of respect for the teams involved. We know that if they're not going to be the team that signs Raffy, they need to move along in pursuit of other options. And we respect that. So we would hope to have a decision before the winter meetings [next week in Dallas]."
Blue Jays Make $55 Million Offer To Giles
J.P. Ricciardi is looking for another high-ranking officer/free-agent, making a five-year, $55-million offer to outfielder Brian Giles. The 34-year-old left-handed hitter batted .301 this season with 15 homers and 83 RBIs in 158 games for the San Diego Padres.
Giants Step Up Efforts For Morris
Rebuffed in their efforts to sign Esteban Loaiza, the Giants are expected to intensify their pursuit of right-hander Matt Morris. But with the market for starting pitching slow to develop, Giants GM Brian Sabean said he probably would turn his immediate attention to the bullpen. "We went as far as we thought was reasonable on Loaiza, and we're committed to straighten out our pitching," Sabean said. "But it might not be as simple as (signing) a starter first. We may have to use our resources first in the bullpen." In replacing Scott Eyre, Sabean said he wouldn't limit himself to a left-hander. He is looking for a quality short reliever "capable of pitching an entire inning." But with several teams looking for late-inning relief, even top quality set-up men such as Tom Gordon are being offered closer-type money. And the starters aren't going to come cheap, either. Morris' agent, Barry Axelrod, said he considers his client a more valuable commodity than Loaiza, who turned down the Giants' overtures to sign a three-year, $21 million contract with the A's on Monday. "I'd expect Matt to be paid more than Loaiza," Axelrod said. Sabean contacted Axelrod over the Thanksgiving holiday. Axelrod characterized the Giants as one of the most aggressive teams but wouldn't say whether an offer was on the table. With the market inching higher, Axelrod doesn't intend to act quickly.
A's Looking To Part With Zito For Milledge Or Jackson
Monday's signing of Esteban Loaiza could spell the end of Barry Zito's career in Oakland, given the team's surfeit of pitching and its need for a right-handed power hitter. A's general manager Billy Beane told reporters not to jump to conclusions about Loazia's signing, saying, "I wouldn't necessarily read into it that it's a precursor to anything coming down the pike.'' Still, Zito will be a free agent after the 2006 season. Tim Hudson was entering the final year of his contract when he was traded to Atlanta in December. Zito is also the team's most expensive pitcher, at $8.5 million, though, according to Beane, under new owner Lewis Wolff, the A's will not have to move Zito in order to make room for Loaiza's salary. There might be enough money in the A's budget even to add a free-agent hitter, although not a big-ticket item such as Paul Konerko. Beane said the A's have had some talks with free-agent hitters, although nothing serious has developed yet. Chances are that the A's will need to part with Zito in order to get a top-flight young hitter such as Mets prospect Lastings Milledge or Arizona's Conor Jackson or Carlos Quentin. (Harden, Haren and Blanton are essentially off-limits when it comes to trade talks.) The Rangers also have expressed interest in Zito and they have Alfonso Soriano to offer, but Soriano is likely to earn $10 million or more in arbitration. Beane called acquiring another bat "the next order of business.''
Orioles Enter Race For Konerko
Paul Konerko, according to one well-placed major league source, is sifting through offers from three teams: the White Sox, Orioles, and Angels.
Jeter Or ARod In Center?
"We've thought about it," said Joe Torre about the possibility of moving either Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez to CF. "We just haven't made a commitment to that. We haven't broached it with the shortst
A's Bring In Loaiza
The Oakland A's today announced that they have agreed to terms with right-handed pitcher Esteban Loaiza on a three-year contract through 2008 with a club option for 2009.
Mets Sign Wagner
The Mets have landed coveted closer Billy Wagner in a four-year deal worth $43 million. The deal could be worth as much as $50 million as it includes a fifth-year option for the Mets worth $10 million
Dodgers Add Grady Little To Candidates
The Los Angeles Dodgers have added former Boston manager Grady Little to the list of candidates for the team's vacant managing position.
BoSox Now Wagner Suitors
The Red Sox could extend an offer to Billy Wagner as soon as Monday. Wagner already has offers from the Phillies and Mets.
Oakland Could Sign Nomar Or Thomas
Oakland looms as a possible destination for Nomar Garciaparra or Frank Thomas.