Major League Baseball free agent rumors

Tuesday, November 14

11:12 a.m. ET

After losing out on their bid to negotiate with Japanese star Diasuke Matsuzaka, the New York Mets will check in with agent Scott Boras about another pitcher guaranteed to receive plenty of attention – Oakland lefthander Barry Zito. Mets GM Omar Minaya could meet with Boras at this week's GM meetings, Newsday is reporting.

The team's pitching coach, Rick Peterson, first worked with Zito when the lefthander was 18. Peterson also served as Zito's pitching coach with the Athletics from 2000 through 2003.

The Mets also have held internal discussions about the possibility of going after free agent pitchers Jeff Suppan and Randy Wolf. More

The word is that Florida Marlins' left-hander Dontrelle Willis will not be traded. Not yet, anyway. A National League GM told the Palm Beach Post Monday the Marlins are informing teams that Willis is not available.

At the same time, the GM noted, the Marlins told teams last year that Carlos Delgado was not going to be traded. On the last day of the meetings, the Marlins reversed course.

The Marlins will try to move pitchers such as Sergio Mitre, Jason Vargas or Yusmeiro Petit. Younger prospects such as Chris Volstad of Palm Beach Gardens are considered off limits. More

Since 1948, a full ten years before they left Brooklyn, spring training for the Los Angeles Dodgers has been based in Vero Beach, Florida. Well, that might be changing very soon, according to the Arizona Republic.

The Dodgers are negotiating a deal with the city of Glendale, Arizona to move their spring training operations to a new publicly financed stadium that could be shared with the Chicago White Sox. The team would not discuss its plans publicly other than to confirm talks with Glendale over a memorandum of understanding to move to a new stadium.

The Dodgers will "explore all options," said Camille Johnston, senior vice president of communications. More

Right-hander Tomo Ohka is not one of the big-name pitchers available this fall, but he is attracting interest from the Seattle Mariners. The two sides have talked twice in recent weeks, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Ohka (48-58) might be the fourth starter behind Felix Hernandez, Jarrod Washburn and another pitcher the Mariners would pick up in the off season. The plan is to sign one of the top pitchers on the market, perhaps Jason Schmidt or Barry Zito.

The Mariners will want to be sure Ohka is completely healthy. He spent 77 days on the disabled list last season. More

The list of candidates to become the new Oakland Athletics manager is down to three: A's bench coach Bob Geren, ESPN analyst Orel Hershiser, and Colorado bench coach Jamie Quirk.

Trey Hillman was eliminated from consideration on Monday.

Hillman, who managed the Nappon Ham Fighters in Japan the last four years, had a Wednesday deadline to give his employer an answer on whether he was remaining in Japan or returning to the United States.

The A's are not commenting on any part of the interview process until a manager is named. More

Monday, November 13

12:18 p.m. ET

The Seattle Mariners have all kinds of holes to fill in their starting rotation, but club officals say they will not join the bidding for Japanese starter Daisuke Matsuzaka of the Seibu Lions.

"The decision has been made," general manager Bill Bavasi told the Seattle Times. "We will not be participating in the bidding process."

While officials did not comment on the reason, money is expected to be tight and the team hopes to reach a long-term deal with outfielder Ichiro over the next year. More

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays aren't about to bystanders in this year's free-agent market.

The Rays are looking into signing former All-Star hurler Mark Mulder, and were, according to the Tampa Tribune, one of several teams placing a bid with the Japanese League Yakult Swallows to try to secure the negotiating rights on 27-year-old third baseman Akinori Iwamura.

If Mulder is healthy, he would give Tampa Bay the veteran starter it deeply needs. The Rays must also upgrade their infield defense and bullpen.

Players they might be able to afford include: Angels' second baseman Adam Kennedy, Rangers' starter Adam Eaton, Cardinals' starters Jeff Weaver and Jason Marquis, Marlins' third baseman Wes Helms and Brewers' reliever Dan Kolb. More

The Philadelphia Phillies are expected to offer free-agent slugger Alfonso Soriano as much as $15 million a season for as many as six years.

With the Phils losing out on their backup possibilities, Gary Sheffield and Aramis Ramirez, Soriano may be their only chance for a big right-handed bat to protect lefty Ryan Howard.

The Phillies also need late-inning bullpen help for closer Tom Gordon, and a fifth starter. They have expressed interest in relievers Joe Borowski and David Weathers, and starters Miguel Batista and Jeff Suppan.

Another possibility to round out the rotation is holdover lefty Randy Wolf, but Wolf is coming off Tommy John surgery and may be pursued by other teams. More

One of the most intriguing stories at this week's GM meetings centers around Florida Marlins' pitcher Dontrelle Willis: Will he be traded?

Willis, who is expected to make at least $6 million in his second year of arbitration, could be dealt for a centerfielder or bullpen help, which the Marlins sorely need. In 2006, five center fielders combined to hit .228, while the bullpen tied the Braves for most blown saves with 26.

"To get a premium center fielder, they'll have to ante up and cash in that chip,'' one American League official told the Palm Beach Post, referring to Willis. More

After unloading two high-priced players, Gary Sheffield and Jaret Wright, who did not fit their plans for 2007, the New York Yankees are ready to do what they do so often – spend money.

"The last 16 hours, we saved $16 million in payroll and we added four young arms to our system," GM Brian Cashman told Newsday Sunday.

The Yanks, who are expected to sign Mike Mussina this week for two more years, will certainly be looking for pitching. They have made inquiries about Ted Lilly and Miguel Batista, and are interested in free agents Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and Gil Meche. More

For the first time in years, the Houston Astros appear primed to spend big bucks in the free agent market. With improving the worst offense in the National League as the highest priority, they plan to pursue Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Lee, and Gary Matthews Jr, according to the Houston Chronicle.

With the uncertainty surrounding Andy Pettitte, who might retire, the Astros are also interested in pitchers Jeff Suppan, Woody Williams and Kip Wells.

Astros' GM Tim Purpura expects a 2007 payroll in the upper $80 million or low $90 milllion range. More

After missing the playoffs for the first time since 1990, the Atlanta Braves aren't about to miss out on making deals. GM John Schuerholz told the Atlanta Journal-Constituation that the team might be involved in one or two at this week's GM meetings in Florida.

Among those likely to go is second baseman Marcus Giles. He's due to make $5.5 million in 2007, the last year of his contract. The Braves are also loaded in middle-infield prospects.

A big priority is finding pitchers. The Braves were known for pitching during their glory years. They are very interested in San Diego reliever Scott Linebrink. More

The Chicago White Sox are at least willing to listen to offers for starting pitchers Freddy Garcia, Javier Vazquez and Mark Buehrle. According to the Chicago Tribune, general manager Ken Williams may deal one of the three to free up cash to pursue a leadoff hitter. More

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