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Ahh you’ve got to love a good trade rumor don’t you? Over the weekend the Toronto Sun reported that Blue Jays’ GM, J.P. Ricciardi, reportedly called around to several clubs last week letting them know pitchers Josh Towers and Tomo Ohka aren’t exactly untouchable. In fact, the Jays might be willing to foot the bill for the pitchers to pitch elsewhere. And, since there is pretty much always a demand for pitching (even mediocre pitching), several teams including the Mariners, Cardinals, Pirates and most of the rest of the NL were rumored to be interested.
However, today, the Toronto Star is quoting Ricciardi as saying "
Just for grins, here are Towers and Ohka’s numbers so far this year:
Towers – 1-3 with a 5.63 ERA and 26Ks in 32 innings pitched over 8 games.
Ohka – 2-4 with a 5.52 ERA and 16Ks in 45.2 innings pitched also over 8 games.
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Padres could try to deal for Troy Glaus or Hank Blalock since they don’t seem to be interested in the still unemployed Phil Nevin. The lack of power in the Padre lineup has been a touchy subject with friar fans for a couple of years now, however, if either of those bats become available, several other teams will likely contend for their services as well. Most notibly coming to mind would be my beloved but offensively impotent St. Louis Cardinals. And, as is par for the course on such early rumors, it’s not clear what the Blue Jays or Rangers would ask for in return for those sluggers, nor if they are even available.
Just a few days ago, it seemed that it was only matter of when, not if, Vernon Wells would leave the Toronto Blue Jays. The Jays had all but given up hope of re-signing their star outfielder, and had begun listening to trade offers in hopes of getting some value out of his departure. But, what a difference a few days make. Today the buzz around Toronto is that Wells is quite close to signing an extension reportedly worth $126 million. The deal’s annual value would be more than Alfonso Soriano’s (the largest deal inked this off season) and would likely include both a no trade clause, and an opt out option similar to the one J.D. Drew used to become a free agent this winter. Wells talked about the potential deal today, telling reporters "My family comes first. Obviously this gives me an
opportunity to set my family up for a couple of generations. That’s the
biggest part of this thing. And this gives me a chance to do something
special in Toronto that hasn’t been done in awhile."
If the Blue Jays manage to finalize the agreement, they will have avoided losing Wells in the bidding war that was sure to ensue next year. In contrast, several teams who were hoping for a chance to land Wells after this season (the Rockies, Rangers, Dodgers, and as always the New York teams had all been rumored to be interested) will have to look elsewhere.
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Well sorry about the delay folks. For once the forecasters got it right. We got 10 inches of snow on top of 2 inches of ice (both setting a new record for the ENTIRE month of November). This town does NOT deal with snow well. The word snow comes out of the weatherman’s mouth and there are 10 accidents just on principle alone. Anyway, we’re still basically snowed in but I’m back in the saddle and ready to fire up The Rumor Mill again. What better way to do that than a quick roundup of everything going on to get you ready for the Winter Meetings which I’m sure will give me plenty to write about. Hold on, cause here we go.
- The Chicago White Sox signed a one year deal with Scott Podsednik for $2.9 million. The Sox are still said to be pursuing trades, namely for Chone Figgins, however, so this could just be a sign and trade.
- The New York Mets have reached an agreement with their free agent pitcher Tom Glavine. While Glavine had been considering a return to Atlanta, the Braves were apparently not able to find the funds to make that happen. The Mets on the other hand, apparently had an extra $10.5 million laying around.
- The Cleveland Indians have taken two big strides to bolster their bullpen. The Indians signed the left handed Aaron Fultz from the Phillies and the right handed Roberto Hernandez from the Mets. The Tribe’s ‘pen needed some experience and what better way to do that than sign a 42 year old pitcher?
- The San Francisco Giants have re-signed their second baseman, Ray Durham. Durham had been injury prone throughout his career with the Giants, however, in his contract year last year, Durham managed to stay healthy by focusing on strength and conditioning and it paid off. Durham hit a career best 26 home runs and was rewarded by the Giants with a two year, $14 million deal.
- The Seattle Mariners have signed Jose Guillen to a one year $5.5 million contract.
- The San Francisco Giants have reportedly reached a deal with free agent
outfielder, Dave Roberts. Roberts will apparently be following his
former skipper, Bruce Bochy, to the Giants and will be given a three
year $18 million contract.
- The Giants also re-signed Rich Aurilia to a two year deal.
and now… The Rumors:
- The St. Louis Cardinals are apparently taking another look at free agent pitcher Jason Schmidt. After signing second baseman Adam Kennedy and pitcher Kip Wells at what are, at least for this offseason, considered bargain prices, the defending champs apparently have some extra money to spend.
- The Dodgers and Red Sox apparently met last night to discuss a possible deal involving Manny Ramirez and Brad Penny.
- The Chicago Cubs are still courting Julio Lugo as well as Kenny Lofton and Jason Schmidt.
- Toronto Blue Jays center fielder, Vernon Wells, looks to be poised to cash in big in next year’s free agent market, a fact that could prompt the Jays to trade Wells while his value is high.
- The Seattle Mariners are reportedly shopping first base slugger, Richie Sexson.
- The Pittsburgh Pirates are still looking for a left handed bat and might end up having to trade for one rather than pull someone off the steadily shrinking scrap heap.
- Interest in pitcher Miguel Batista seems to be growing with the Phillies, Cubs, and Cardinals all linked to the pitcher.
- A deal involving the Cubs’ Jacque Jones and the Rockies’ Jason Jennings has reportedly been discussed.
- Oh, and shocking as it may be, interest in Barry Bonds is apparently quite low. I seem to remember saying something like that a while back…
Well, that should catch everyone up on the current events. The Winter Meetings are currently underway and as always I’ll keep you up-to-date on all the Rumors and Rumblings from across baseball.
The defending champion St. Louis Cardinals have been relatively quiet compared to their National League Central rivals. Both the Astros and Cubs have signed players to $100 million contracts and so far, the Cardinals’ biggest move of the offseason was re-signing Jim Edmonds. But hey, why do in a couple of weeks what you can do in a day?
The Cardinals agreed to deals with 4, that’s right, 4 free agents today. The headliner of the group is second basemen Adam Kennedy, a former St. Louis draft pick. Kennedy reportedly signed a three year deal worth a total of $10 million. One of the most interesting aspects of this deal is that Kennedy reportedly turned down offers for more money from at least two other clubs, one of which is believed to be the Toronto Blue Jays. By signing with the Cardinals, Kennedy not only returns to the club that drafted him, he will also be rejoining former teammate David Eckstein in the middle of the Cardinals infield.
Cardinals GM, Walt Jockety also addressed another need today by signing pitcher Kip Wells to a one year, $4 million contract. The Cardinals entered the offseason with 4 of their 5 starting pitchers as free agents, however, team management insisted they wouldn’t get caught up in the crazy free agent spending that has been rampant this winter. With the signing of Wells, it would appear they are sticking to their guns. Wells is a 7 year veteran and had been a popular Cardinal target of trade rumors during previous years, but St. Louis never pulled the trigger. Last year wells started only 9 games due to injury and posted an unatractive ERA over 6. But, Wells is also the prototypical pitcher that Cardinal pitching coach, Dave Duncan, has made a career out of. Pitchers such as Chris Carpenter, Woody Williams, Daryl Kyle, and this year Jeff Suppan and Jeff Weaver have all revived their faltering careers under Duncan’s watchful eye.
As if those two moves weren’t enough, the Cardinals also singed a pair of very familiar free agent catchers. Gary Bennett, the Cardinals’ backup catcher last year, re-signed for one year at $900,000 and former Cardinal starting catcher Eli Marrero signed a minor league deal with the team.
The Toronto Blue Jays have reportedly re-signed free agent catcher, Gregg Zaun. It had been previously reported that Rod Barajas had signed with the Blue Jays, however, that deal fell through and Toronto turned to a familiar face. Zaun’s deal is said to be a two year deal worth $7.25 million with incentives and an option for a third year. Zaun hit .272 last year with the Blue Jays in limited duty.