Notes on another less-than-newsy hot stove day …
If the CC Sabathia camp is hoping for something big from the Los Angeles Dodgers, it's not happened yet. Amid rumors the L.A. Angels' reported interest in Sabathia is a bluff designed to soften up the Mark Teixeira negotiations with Scott Boras, a person close to Sabathia said there haven't been conversations with the Dodgers in recent weeks. Does that sound necessarily like a guy longing to pitch in SoCal?
The Minnesota Twins would like to rework the left side of their infield, starting with signing third baseman Casey Blake. Blake has opened negotiations requesting more than $20 million over three seasons, however, or more than the Twins want to spend. And while Blake is a Twins kind of player, he is 35 and the Twins do not consider him a middle-of-the-order hitter.
So while they wait for that price to come down, the Twins will consider other options. It's not their preference, but they could play Alexi Casilla or Brendan Harris at shortstop, or shuttle Harris between third, where he could platoon with Brian Buscher, and shortstop. If they go out of the organization and aren't thrilled with the free-agent selection (or cost), general manager Bill Smith has considered dealing outfielder Delmon Young (mostly, teams are noting the outfield depth and coming to Smith) or moving one of his young starting pitchers (ditto).
The Cleveland Indians also have cooled on Blake, likely for the same economic reasons. Blake's agent, Jim McDowell, continues to have talks with the Dodgers, who have a lot of work to do on the left side of their infield.
An AL scout who saw a lot of Junichi Tazawa, the 22-year-old right-hander who has signed with the Boston Red Sox, called him “a legitimate prospect” with a plus fastball and a “pretty good” slider. He said Tazawa projects for him as a reliever.
Right-hander Kenshin Kawakami could get a big offer from the Hanshin Tigers, but sources close to him are saying his heart is set on pitching in the U.S.
The New York Mets and the agent for reliever Brian Fuentes, Rick Thurman, will meet soon at a site to be determined, either later this week in New York or early next week in Las Vegas. The annual winter meetings will begin Monday at the Bellagio in Vegas.