Waiting for the dominoes to fall

The general managers, as they did at their meetings last month inOrlando, were set to meet Monday evening to go over what they were
still seeking, position-wise, now that arbitration decisions have been
made and various free agents have signed.

Now it’s just a question of waiting to see which domino falls first.

"I think things will move more quickly once we see where [Miguel]
Cabrera and [Johan] Santana land," one GM said. "Because once those two
go, it will cause teams to look at other options."

A trade involving either one is expected to send ripples in various directions.

For example, if Minnesota deals Santana to the Yankees for pitcher
Phil Hughes, outfielder Melky Cabrera and a prospect, the Yankees would
then be in the market for an outfielder and might decide to make a
pitch for free agent Andruw Jones.

Since the Yankees gave Minnesota a Monday deadline — though it
seemed clear the Twins weren’t losing any sleep over that line in the
sand — teams interested in Jones could be swayed to up their offer for
the center fielder to snag him before the Yankees could get involved.

Where Aaron Rowand winds up will impact the number of suitors for
Jones, and vice versa. And where Cabrera lands could juggle the third
base picture considerably.

As officials broke for dinner Monday evening, here’s a few of the
latest whispers heard at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center
lobby:

Orioles gauging market for Bedard, Tejada

Several teams have contacted the Orioles to inquire about the
availability of starting pitcher Erik Bedard and shortstop Miguel
Tejada.

Bedard120
Andy MacPhail, Baltimore’s president of baseball operations, said
that he’d be disappointed if the Orioles left Nashville without making
a major trade. But he also said he wouldn’t be hemmed in by any
artificial deadline.

"I don’t think you’re disadvantaged by waiting — even if you came
out of these meetings and you wanted to do something but you didn’t,"
he said Monday night. "You haven’t diminished the value of your player.
It’s rare when there’s just [three] people that want something, two
guys sign and the third guy’s out of luck. Generally, it doesn’t work
that way."

Baltimore is apparently seeking three or four prospects that either
have big league experience or are close to being ready for Bedard.

The Mets, Phillies, Dodgers, Angels and Cardinals are among the teams interested in Bedard.

The Giants inquired about Tejada and the Orioles also talked to Houston about the shortstop, but those talks did not progress.

Tigers looking at Dotel, Hawkins

Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said Monday evening
that he’d be "content" if his team left Nashville with the same
pitching staff it has now, but that doesn’t seem to stop Detroit from
looking for relief help.

Octavio Dotel’s agent, Dan Horwits, was set to meet with the Tigers
later Monday night, and LaTroy Hawkins’ agent, Larry Reynolds, was
expected to meet with the club at some point during these meetings. In
addition, Dombrowski said they’ve had more initial trade discussions
than usual after sending out their scouts and other officials to gather
what other teams needed and had available to give.

Brewers, Cardinals talk trade

Brewers
GM Doug Melvin and assistant GM Gord Ash met Monday with Cardinals GM
John Mozeliak and discussed St. Louis third baseman Scott Rolen. The
move would allow the Brewers to shift NL Rookie of the Year Ryan Braun
to left field, but there are roadblocks.

Rolen120_2
Rolen is due $36 million over the next three years, and the
Cardinals reportedly are unwilling to include cash in a deal. A left
shoulder injury has bothered Rolen since 2005, and the Brewers are wary
of trading for an injury risk. Rolen also has a no-trade clause, and
Melvin is also wary of trading within the division.

The Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants are also believed to have
interest in Rolen. As an alternative, the Brewers could revisit the
White Sox’s Joe Crede, but Crede has similar health issues and would be
a free agent following the 2008 season. The Brewers and White Sox
briefly discussed Crede at the general manager’s meetings.

Melvin shot down a rumor that had the Red Sox inquiring about
Brewers right-hander Ben Sheets, but did say that one team not on the
East Coast had called regarding Milwaukee’s ace. The Brewers are not
motivated to move Sheets even though he is entering the final year of
his contract.

Indians could stand pat

Pirates left fielder Jason Bay is drawing interest from the
Cleveland Indians, but nothing is apparently imminent on that front and
Cleveland GM Mark Shapiro isn’t wowed by the free agent market.

"There will be a time we’ll pick back up with free agency when the
bulk of them are gone and we might find some bargains," Shapiro said.
"But right now we?re not in any free-agent pursuits."

Nor are the Indians close to making a trade. Shapiro met with fellow
GMs from a handful of clubs Monday, but he said none of those talks are
in the "advanced stages."

Lincecum sizzle turns to fizzle

Lince120_2
Word had circulated around the hotel that the Reds spoke with
the Giants about starting pitcher Tim Lincecum, with the names of top
Cincinnati prospect Jay Bruce and third baseman Edwin Encarnacion
floated as part the potential deal. Before the end of the day, it had
proven to be untrue.

Bruce is considered the best
prospect in baseball, and the outfielder was Baseball America’s
Minor League Player of the Year this past season. Conventional wisdom
is he’d be off the table for any deal. When asked if he had any players
he deemed "untouchable," Cincinnati GM Wayne Krivsky declined to name
names.

Quick hits…

— The Rangers are interested in Bay and are also considering
free agents Eric Gagne, Hawkins, Kosuke Fukudome, Bartolo Colon,
Freddy Garcia and Jason Jennings.

— The Braves are
probably priced out of the market for lefty reliever Ron Mahay, who is
expected to land a three-year deal worth more money than Atlanta was
willing to spend.

— Houston GM Ed Wade got a call from
agent Scott Boras about Gagne last week to let the GM know
that three of his clients were available — Gagne, Jeff Weaver and
Rodrigo Lopez.

"It was just him making me aware of
their availability," Wade said. "I wouldn’t characterize it as any more
than that. It doesn’t mean we might not pursue something but right now
it’s not on the front burner for us."

— Free agent
right-hander Brett Tomko, most recently with San Diego, is interested
in rejoining Cincinnati, a team he last pitched for in 1997. Tomko is
also feeling out interest with the Rockies, Pirates, Marlins, Rangers
and Padres.

— Toronto doesn’t figure to be a player in
any blockbuster trades, but the team isn’t unwilling to approach other
clubs about possible swaps. "Like I’ve said, I like the makeup of our
club," Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi said. "I think for us to really do
something along those lines, it’s got to be us initiating something
that’s going to lead to us to being as good, if not better, with maybe
even some down-the-road incentive."

— Colorado lefty
Brian Fuentes is heading into his final year of arbitration. Even
though he lost the closer job to Manny Corpas in the middle of the 2007
season, his figure will be a raise from his $3.5 million salary for the
year. But the Rockies have budgeted to pay it and deal with having two
closer-level pitchers and aren’t motivated to move him though they are
getting calls about Fuentes.

"I think clubs know that
there’s no reason to move him unless we can make ourselves a better
baseball club," Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd said. "There are
only certain clubs that would fit. And some of these clubs, quite
honestly, don?t have a whole lot to trade."

— Arizona
is interested in trading for Oakland right-hander Dan Haren, but might
not be willing to give up the kind of package Oakland GM Billy Beane
would require.

— Kansas City’s interest in free agent outfielder Jose Guillen appears to be waning.

"Every day that goes by, the more intrigued I get by other opportunities," Royals GM Dayton Moore said Monday.

— The Rangers had talks with Arizona about Carlos Gonzalez, the New
York Mets about Carlos Gomez and the Chicago Cubs about Felix Pie. But
the Diamondbacks wanted top pitching prospect Eric Hurley, the Mets
were interested in trading for catcher Gerald Laird and the Cubs have
decided that Pie will be their center fielder.

6 Comments

The Tribe would be making a big mistake going after Bay for the price the Pirates are asking— meaning Cliff Lee and Kelly Shoppach.

They really don’t need Bay because I think its going to be a year where either Jason Michaels or Ben Francisco step it up. Count on it. I think Francisco may have had a breakout year just as Franklin Guttierez did this year if the Indians didn’t get Lofton. Look for him to really step it up for the Tribe this year.

http://letsgotribe.mlblogs.com

I disagree Amanda. Cliff Lee is coming off a sub-par year and the Indians have an above average supply of left handed pitchers. They are also including Kelly Shoppach, who is only 2 years younger than Victor Martinez, who as we all know is the catcher for the Indians for years to come. Why not trade Lee and Shoppach when the Indians could receive an All-Star proven outfielder and big bat.

Who would not want Lincecum? He is a young, hardthrowing arm who brings a lot to the table. He will bring around some interesting offers I imagine.

don’t forget the twins have Francisco Liriano coming back

I heard that the Giants are now ready to open their wallets and farm system for Miguel Cabrera, Tony Clark, Gagne, and Rowand.

Tomko last pitched for the Reds in 1999, not 1997. He made his ML debut in 1997, and was part of the trade that brought Ken Griffey Jr. to Cincinnati in February 2000.

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