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A weblog of baseball news and analysis

Wednesday, December 31, 2003
Wells, Padres close to deal. "A baseball source with knowledge of the deal, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Wells would earn a base salary of between $1.25 million and $1.5 million. If Wells is healthy and pitches all season, incentives could make the deal worth $7 million." (Yahoo!)

Josh: "Wells was not the 'ace' i was looking for. I was really hoping for a Maddux." (Josh's Baseball Blog)

Tuesday, December 30, 2003
What the hell happened to Ben Grieve?! (Aaron's Baseball Blog)

Ding Dong, Their Season Ends. "I don't revel in others' pain, but it makes me very happy that the Raiders were a hapless excuse for a football team this year...I'll probably take lots of heat for this post because I'm sure many of you are diehard Raiders' fans who are smarting over their horrific season, but I just can't stand that team. I can't stand what they did to the Coliseum. Every time I see Mount Davis I curse him under my breath. I can't stand how litigious that team is, suing everyone from the A's for advertising revenue to the City of Oakland, making it nearly impossible for that city to trust any sports franchise to live up to its word again, adding to the A's new stadium challenges. And I can't stand the ridiculous owner in his velvet jump suits and giant glasses." (Athletics Nation)

Monday, December 29, 2003
Jordan signs with Rangers. One year, $1,375,000. (Yahoo!)

Lofton agrees to $6.2 million, two-year contract. He'll compete with Bernie Williams for the Yankees CF job. (Yahoo!)

Christian Ruzich: "While it is true that signing Kenny Lofton to play center field improves the Yankees' defense, it's damning truth. It's not like the Yankees got Mike Cameron, or Torii Hunter, or even Jim Edmonds." (The Transaction Guy)

Cubs sign IF Walker to one-year contract. Todd, not Chico. One year, $1.75 million. (Yahoo!)

Christian Ruzich: "I expect Grudz will play more often than Walker, but if Dusty could just throw them out in a straight platoon, the Cubs would actually get some decent production from second base again." (The Transaction Guy)

Tuesday, December 23, 2003
Rob Neyer: "The A's could have a staff like [the 2003 Marlins], only better. If Harden's able to jump right into the fray -- as Hudson, Mulder, and Zito did -- the A's will have the best fifth starter in the majors and the best rotation in the division (if not the league). Will this offset the losses of Ramon Hernandez and Miguel Tejada? Yes, I think it will. Well, this and the additions of Bobby Kielty and Mark Kotsay, who turn the league's worst outfield into something that, at the very least, isn't an embarrassment to the general manager." (

Thomas Boswell: "Now that Javy Lopez has joined Miguel Tejada as an Oriole, with Vladimir Guerrero perhaps coming soon, let's reevaluate. Birds can molt, change their feathers. So can we. If the United States can lift sanctions against Libya for improved behavior, then we can certainly lift our boycott of the Orioles." (Washington Post)

Bryan Smith on Javy Lopez. "Lopez is far and away the 3rd best catcher in the last 20 years, and probably top 20 all-time. But given his age, new team, and new style of hitting, what can we expect next season?" (Wait 'Til Next Year)

Ben Jacobs compares the Phillies to the Astros. "[T]he teams aren't very different. So why is the perception surrounding them different? Two reasons. First, Philadelphia's main division competition (Atlanta and Florida) has gotten worse this season while Houston's main division competition (Chicago Cubs) has gotten at least a little better. Second, Philadelphia has spent a ton of money while Houston has merely dumped one contract in order to be able to sign another." (Universal Baseball Blog, Inc.)

Monday, December 22, 2003
Orioles, J. Lopez agree to contract.
With an elite shortstop crossed off their winter shopping list, the Orioles have reached an agreement with another high-profile free agent, catcher Javy Lopez, and an announcement could come as early as today.

Team officials were prepared to work late into last night while negotiating a deal with Lopez's agent, Chuck Berry. The Orioles apparently will sign Lopez for $23 million over three years.
(Baltimore Sun)

Garcia agrees to contract with Seattle. One year, $6,875,000. (Yahoo!)

Rockies agree to terms with Burnitz. One year, $1.5 million, and they cut ties with Jay Payton. (Yahoo!)

Marlins sign reliever Benitez. One year, $3.5 million, and they cut ties with Braden Looper. (Yahoo!)

Richard Lederer interviews Aaron Gleeman. (Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT)

Friday, December 19, 2003
Red Sox say A-Rod deal is dead, Texas still hopeful. Deals that did happen: Oakland signed Arthur Rhodes (3 years, $9.2 million). Seattle gave Ichiro a four-year, $44 million contract extension. (Yahoo!)

One Union Ruined by Another. Thomas Boswell:
The long national ordeal now known now as "The A-Rod Deal" has finally resolved itself to one issue: Do Larry Lucchino, Tom Hicks and Bud Selig detest Gene Orza, Don Fehr and Scott Boras enough to screw up what may be the most entertaining trade -- or sequence of interlocking trades -- in the whole history of American sports?

Will baseball's decades of labor-management animosity, which finally began to dissipate when a strike was averted 15 months ago, be re-ignited because money and ego once again defeat common sense?

Baseball finds itself at a symbolic juncture when its character is being tested. Oh, again? Whenever the sport hits an incredible high note and seems poised to regain much of its endangered popularity, its most flawed people seem eager to take the stage and, in some preposterously ill-conceived farce, bring the game into disrepute.
Good column, misleading headline. Boswell puts most of the blame on Bud and the owners, and good for him. (Washington Post)

Kennedy agrees to $8.85 million, three-year contract with Angels. (Yahoo!)

Millwood Accepts Arbitration Offer. He's staying with the Phillies. (Miami Herald)

Larry Mahnken on the Yankees' offseason moves. "I fear that the Yankees have made a great mistake in signing Gary Sheffield. Not in and of itself, of course. I fully expect Sheffield to be a very good player for the Yankees, perhaps a great player--perhaps a Hall of Famer. But I think they could have added the same production from Vladimir Guerrero, perhaps better, and in the long term, he certainly seems to be a better risk." (Replacement Level Yankees Weblog)

Overheard In New Orleans. Quotes out of context from the Winter Meetings. "His clubhouse upside is Mookie." "When Chris Singleton is the answer, you're asking the wrong question." (Will Carroll Weblog)

Number Crunching - Why doesn't football have a Bill James? Interesting column, but I'm amazed that Josh Levin didn't mention his Slate colleague Allen Barra, who was applying objective analysis to football way back in the 1980s with his Village Voice columns and Football by the Numbers books. (Slate)

New weblogs:

     Anaheim Angels Blog (Mariners Angels)
     At Least the Red Sox Have 1918 (Mariners)

Thursday, December 18, 2003
A-Rod: I'll only go Boston with union approval.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Alex Rodriguez is willing to go to the Red Sox only if Boston restructures his contract in a manner that gains approval from the players' association.

Boston and Texas said Wednesday they settled on all the players involved in the trade. And the Red Sox and A-Rod agreed to restructure the shortstop's record $252 million contract, Rangers owner Tom Hicks said.

But in a rare move, the union intervened and rejected the agreement, drawing criticism from both teams.

Commissioner Bud Selig set a 5 p.m. Thursday deadline for the trade to be completed. He might also go against the union and approve the restructuring, likely forcing the matter to arbitration.

Joe Sheehan: "To say that it's a perfectly natural thing to want to give up $40 million for a better work environment seems like as much a disconnect from reality as comparing ballplayers' compensation to that of schoolteachers. If the people in this can convince Alex Rodriguez that it's in his best interests to leave that on the table, than I think he needs to get better advice. [And stop taking advice from people in a can. -Ed.] There's a reason why Tom Hicks and John Henry have the net worths that they do, and I'd imagine that both would laugh you out of the room if you ever suggested that there were touchy-feely reasons for leaving forty million bucks on the table. Why they get to be businessmen, while Alex Rodriguez gets held to a different standard, passes understanding." (Baseball Prospectus)

Fox reduces Dodgers to ruins.
While the public mandate given [GM Dan] Evans was to improve the team while staying under last year's self-imposed salary cap, sources believe Fox higher-ups made it clear they will not approve any major multiyear free-agent signing.

That explains why Evans has been so focused on Nomar Garciaparra and Magglio Ordonez, whose contracts expire after the 2004 season, rather than free agents Miguel Tejada and Vladimir Guerrero. An investment in Nomar or Magglio doesn't tie-up any long-term money.

Having just dispensed with a pitcher with a ludicrous seven-year contract, there's some common sense in this approach. But the Dodgers aren't a small-market team with a low-watt owner. Fox is a media giant that could spend money as furiously as the Yankees and Red Sox if they chose.
(Long Beach Press-Telegram)

Jon Weisman: "The fury of the Dodger fans will be intense if the team does not add a single power hitter this offseason, prospects be damned. But if the 2005 budget is going to be cut, there is no best-case scenario aside from the Dodgers actually winning the World Series next year. Unless he conjures some Billy Beane or Billy Beane-like magic, McCourt will have smothered the means to improve the team beyond next season." (Dodger Thoughts)

Gibson and Alexander. Dan McLaughlin compares Bob to Grover Cleveland. (The Baseball Crank)

10,000th Clutch Hit. Congratulations to Sean Forman and the rest of the Baseball Primer staff, and kudos to all the posters who make Clutch Hits the best place to discuss baseball on the net. Also, a belated thank-you to Sean for plugging Baseball News Blog in Clutch Hit #34. (Baseball Primer)

New weblogs not really:

     Mariners Knothole
     Mariners Sandlot
     Northwest Baseball (Mariners)
     Twenty-Nine Times Four (Mariners)
     Pronounced "EE-chee-roh" (Mariners)
     Box of Rocks (Mariners)
     We Miss You Ruppert Jones (Mariners)
     Fenway Fever (Mariners)
     Wil Wheaton dot net (Mariners)

Wednesday, December 17, 2003
Sanders joins seventh team in seven years. He signed with the Cardinals for two years, $6 million. (Yahoo!)

Brian on Reggie Sanders and Jeff Suppan. (Redbird Nation)

Marlins trade Redman to Oakland. GM Larry Beinfest: "You want to try to stretch your payroll as far as you can. We were not able to stretch it far enough. This is part of the business. Mark Redman did a tremendous job for this ballclub. Thankfully, we have another starter coming back in A.J. [Burnett]." (Yahoo!)

Bad knee may keep Vizquel with Indians. They traded him to the Mariners for Carlos Guillen, but he failed his physical. (Yahoo!)

john: "phew ... Vizquel failed his physical!!! Everyone can now breathe a sigh of relief, ... Well at least until the next stupid trade." (Trident Fever)

Kevin: "I swear, I actually heard happy music in my head when the Vizquel deal fell apart. It was 'La Cucaracha.'" (One Hundred Sixteen)

Yankees complete trade for Javier Vizquel. That's what it says. They mean Vazquez, obviously, but I guess everyone has Omar on their mind. Nick Johnson passed his physical (swung a bat and didn't break any bones). (Boston Globe)

Guillen says he has deal with Angels. Two years, $6 million for Jose. (Yahoo!)

Boston acquires Bellhorn for player to be named. "The Red Sox may seek other second-base candidates, but Bellhorn wants to win the job. He also can be a utility player after playing all four infield positions and in the outfield each of the past two seasons. His acquisition could end Damian Jackson's one-year stint as Boston's utility infielder and outfielder." (Yahoo!)

Slowly but surely: Sox, A-Rod inch closer to blockbuster trade. Step by step...Inch by inch... (Boston Herald)

Changing Sox: Nomar is headed to Chicago for Ordoñez. "The Red Sox moved a gigantic step closer to finishing the long-awaited trade for superstar Alex Rodriguez when they agreed yesterday to send shortstop Nomar Garciaparra to the White Sox for outfielder Magglio Ordoñez, contingent upon completion of the Rodriguez-for-Manny Ramirez megadeal, National League sources told Newsday yesterday." (Newsday)

New weblogs:

     Steve's Mariners and other stuff
     The MarinersWeekly Weblog
     Mariner Talk
     Trident Fever (Mariners)
     Fire Bavasi (Mariners)
     MFan4Life_24's Blog (Mariners)
     Cracking "The Safe" (Mariners)
     Sodo Oh No (Mariners)
     Mariner Talk (Mariners)
     Curlew Blog (Mariners)

Tuesday, December 16, 2003
Everett agrees to contract with Expos. (

Rodriguez deal gaining momentum. "The smoke and mirrors have been cleared away. The scenario Red Sox owner John W. Henry has been working on for weeks, one in which the Sox would trade outfielder Manny Ramirez for shortstop Alex Rodriguez, then turn around and trade shortstop Nomar Garciaparra to another club, is on the verge of being realized. Perhaps by the end of the week, no later than Christmas, according to multiple industry sources with direct knowledge of the negotiations." (Boston Globe)

Birds Are Cooking in Hot Stove. Thomas Boswell: "For the last two seasons, there has been no reason to watch the Orioles. Next year, if the cards fall their way, there may be few teams in baseball that are more worth watching. Funny how much a team can be helped -- on the field and at the gate -- by adding two or three players who will probably someday be on the Hall of Fame ballot." (Washington Post)

An Even Dozen. A Gleeman-length analysis of 12 transactions from the Winter Meetings. (Wait 'Til Next Year)

Revenue-sharing helped Phils grow. "Over the last four seasons, the Phillies have brought in roughly $42 million in revenue-sharing, according to MLB personnel. Last year, the Phils received $9.5 million in revenue sharing. This year, they received $8.8 million. How beneficial is that money? Well, you be the judge. Thome's salary for 2003 was $9.5 million, and Wagner will make $8 million in 2004. While some teams pocket revenue-sharing money, the Phillies have turned it into talent." (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Doug Pappas: "Of course the Phillies are happy with a system that let them use other clubs' money to sign Jim Thome. Someone should ask the Indians what they think of a system which forced them to subsidize the Phillies' signing of their top free agent, even though metropolitan Philadelphia is more than twice the size of metropolitan Cleveland." (Doug's Business of Baseball Weblog)

Bob Mong: "Is it just me, or isn't Randy Winn the perfect 4th outfielder (especially if you have another injury-prone, though talented, outfielder as a starter)?...This is why, long ago, I advocated acquiring someone like Geoff Jenkins to play LF [for the Mariners] in order to move Winn to the 4th-outfielder spot." (Bobbys Sports and News Bloggy)

Monday, December 15, 2003
Mets reach agreement with free agent CF Mike Cameron. Three years, $19.5 million. (Yahoo!)

Damien Heath: "Overall, while I can't say I'm absolutely thrilled about the arrival of Cameron if only because it means that the Mets will now not pursue Carlos Beltran, I also can't say that the news made me unhappy; I'm glad that the Mets have become a better team in the last twenty-four hours and will gladly watch Cameron make leaping, diving plays in 2004 to save that tying run from scoring for the opposition." (Shea Daily, December 14)

Former MVP Tejada signs with Orioles. Six years, $72 million. (Yahoo!)

Blue Jays sign RHP Batista to three-year contract. Three years, $13.1 million. (Yahoo!)

Foulke picks Red Sox, leaves Oakland. (Yahoo!)

Cardinals deal Drew and Marrero to Braves for three pitchers.
The Braves acquired the oft-injured outfielder from the St. Louis Cardinals along with Eli Marrero on Saturday for former first-round draft picks Jason Marquis and Adam Wainwright, and reliever Ray King.

"Adam is our No. 1 pitching prospect and that was tough to do, but under the circumstances we had no choice,'' Braves general manager John Schuerholz said.

Drew replaces Gary Sheffield, who became a free agent and for weeks has been close to agreement with the New York Yankees.

Brian remembers J.D. Drew. "My favorite Drew memory? 2001 NLDS, Game 5, D'backs clinging to a 1-0 lead over the Cards, Curt Schilling just mowing us down. It's two out in the 8th, the hometown fans going nuts, Schilling looking invincible, when J.D. took an 0-1 pitch and just willed it over the rightfield wall to tie the game. I can still see him blowing a bubble as he rounds second base, all the while looking straight ahead, expressionless, as if he just hit a ground-rule double in the Grapefruit League. That's the thing about Drew -- he may be personalityless, but for me that's part of his allure: the mystique of the raw specimen athlete." (Redbird Nation)

Buehrle, White Sox agree on three-year deal. $18 million, with a club option for 2007. (Yahoo!)

D-Rays add Cruz, Sanchez, two others. (Yahoo!)

Dodgers acquire Encarnacion from Marlins. (Yahoo!)

Alex Belth reports from the Winter Meetings. (Bronx Banter)

Derek Zumsteg on the court decision that upheld the Cubs' right to scalp their own tickets. "There's a law on the books in Illinois that says if you hold an event, you can't scalp your own tickets. The Cubs and their parent company, the Tribune Co., seeking to get around this law, set up a shell company, Wrigley Field Premium, with their own people, their own accountants running the books. They allowed the shell company to buy $1 million in tickets, then sell them at insane prices. Now, I don't practice law, but that's illegal. It's also Chicago, though." (Baseball Prospectus)

Friday, December 12, 2003
Pettitte Going, Going, Gone. The Astros signed him to a three-year, $31.5 million deal. (Newsday)

Larry Mahnken: "The Yankees got worse today. Their rotation is worse than it was a year ago, their lineup is worse than it was a year ago, their defense is no better, and probably worse than it was a year ago. Their bullpen could be great, but the bullpen isn't something that makes a mediocre team good. The Yankees aren't mediocre, but they aren't the best team in the AL East anymore, and while they should make the playoffs, that isn't a certainty, either." (Replacement Level Yankees Weblog)

Tuesday, December 09, 2003
Sources: Colon close to deal with Angels. Four years, $48 million, according to "two baseball officials who were familiar with details of Colon's negotiations" with the Angels and White Sox. (Yahoo!)

M's land Twins closer. Three years, $14 million for Eddie Guardado. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Jason Michael Barker: "So much for a youth/bargain movement, eh? And did I mention he'll cost yet another draft pick? I have to tell you, I'm having a hard time getting excited about what Bavasi has accomplished during his short tenure in Seattle." (U.S.S. Mariner)

Boss boils as Sheff stirs it up.
Maybe Gary Sheffield won't be coming to the Bronx after all.

Two baseball officials confirmed to the Daily News last night that the Yankees' deal with the free-agent slugger - which had been all but announced last week by the team and bragged about by Sheffield in a USA Today Sports Weekly article - has hit significant snags.

In the words of one baseball executive, the deal "fell apart. Sheffield changed his mind and wanted more money."
(NY Daily News)

Rob Neyer: "[P]redicting what an experienced Japanese player will do upon reaching these shores is far, far from an exact science. There were smart people who thought they had a handle on it, but the method hasn't worked well for either Ichiro or Godzilla, both of whom hit significantly fewer home runs and drew significantly fewer walks than expected. But if Kazuo Matsui hits only half as many home runs in 2004 as he did in 2002 and 2003, he'll still be one of the best shortstops in the National League." (

Chaim Bloom: "The last three years, A-Rod has made $18, $19 and $20 million. Given that money, could you find better production each year? Sure, but that's not how baseball works. You can't pick and choose your players every year. You don't get to have Jason Giambi for 2001, then switch to A-Rod for '02 and '03. You can't just grab Gary Sheffield's 2003 season without having had him for the previous years. And you can't have Barry Bonds at all, because the Giants aren't letting him go." (Baseball Prospectus)

Life after Vlad. Jonah Keri on the 2004 Expos. (

Bill Simmons on Grady, Manny, Nomar, Pedro and Schilling. "There's a nagging sense that, like Julia Roberts, Nomar's best days are behind him. It's not like he's washed up -- he just isn't someone who gets mentioned in those 'Who's the next guy to hit .400?' articles anymore. At his absolute apex, he strode to the plate, did his 'Rain Man' routine with his gloves, swung at the first pitch -- whether it was at his head, his feet, rolling to the plate, or whatever -- and belted the living hell out of it. He sprayed line drives like a machine gun. It was almost freakish. And then he broke his wrist ... and three years have passed, and he's settled into that '.301 BA, .340 OBP, 25 HR, 115 RBI' stage of his career. Yeah, it's good enough to make the All-Star team. But it's not the same Nomar." (

Ranting and Raving About Baseball With Mike Carminati (Part Two). (Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT)

Travis Nelson: "Oh, sure, I'm looking forward to watching Javier Vazquez win some games in Yankee pinstripes...But I'll miss Nick. Oh, will I ever miss Nick. Nick Johnson is the kind of player you dream about your team developing. The kind of player a stat-head like me lays awake at night trying to figure out how to make one of these for the computer baseball game I play to pass time between loads of laundry on quiet Saturday afternoons. The kind of player you tell your kids you got to see play before anyone knew how good he was gonna be." (Boy of Summer)

Alex Belth interviews Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci. (Bronx Banter)

Monday, December 08, 2003
Matsui decides to join Mets. Three years, about $20 million. (Yahoo!)

Maddux leaves Braves, Rodriguez departs Marlins. Last night was the deadline for teams to offer arbitration to arb-eligible players. Those who were declined, including Maddux and I-Rod, are now free agents, and cannot negotiate with their former teams until May 1. Others include Vladimir Guerrero, Rafael Palmeiro, Juan Gonzalez, Mike Cameron, Todd Walker and Javy Lopez. (Yahoo!)

Cameron out, but Shiggy in.
The Mariners have Shigetoshi Hasegawa back in their bullpen after re-signing him for two years yesterday, but for the first time in 15 years, they will not have even a link to Ken Griffey Jr. in center field.

With a call from Seattle general manager Bill Bavasi at 6 o'clock last night telling Mike Cameron the club would not offer salary arbitration and therefore would give up the right to re-sign him, the last vestige of the Griffey trade is gone.

"It's weird what happened. It's crazy this feeling I'm left with," Cameron said after speaking with Bavasi. "It's like your dad tells you to get the hell out of the house. 'We still love you, son ... but you can't come back.'"

Giants re-sign Snow, sign Tucker. One year, $1.75 million for J.T., who will share playing time with Pedro Feliz. Two years, $3.5 million for Michael Tucker??? (Yahoo!)

Stewart agreed to $18 million, three-year deal with Twins. (Yahoo!)

Ranting and Raving About Baseball With Mike Carminati (Part One). "I've been a baseball fan as far back as I can recall, but the first season that I remember distinctly was 1976. I was around 10. I remember keeping a scrapbook with box scores and day-to-day happenings for the Phillies. I was devastated when that Darth Vader of the diamond, Pete Rose, and his evil empire, the Big Red Machine, swept my Phils that year in the playoffs. I still memorize numbers--at the deli, for takeout food, etc.--based on mid-Seventies Phillies jersey numbers (Number 23? Downtown Ollie Brown. Number 38? Larry Christenson. Number 40? Warren Brusstar.)" (Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT)

The Madness of King George? Alex Belth:
The Yankees have sacrificed their prospects to win now, and guess what? They've been to six of the last eight World Serious' and have won four of them. That's got to come at a price. You can't have everything. The Yankees can't stay on top forever. One year, gasp, they will actually miss the playoffs. I don't know that it will be in 2004, but it's bound to happen. George isn't just going to sit back and say, "OK, we made the Serious this year, let's take a few steps back and build for the future." This man is in his seventies, and desperately wants to win another title or three before he leaves us.

No, the Yankees will have to crash out of playoff contention, and suffer through some hard times before they start to rebuild their farm system again. The best way for this to happen on George's watch may be to get the old man suspended again.
(Bronx Banter)

Transaction Analysis: The Vazquez-Johnson deal. Chris Kahrl: "[A]s much as I like Rivera and Johnson, neither really projects to have long, brilliant careers, starring deep into their 30s. So the Expos should get them at their best and cheapest, then get some tasty draft value (assuming that system doesn't change) or trade value, while letting the two of them become Diamondbacks or whatever it is a past-peak hitter is supposed to do in his golden years a few seasons from now. While Johnson's truly inexpensive years are gone, he's still not going to cost the Expos much over the life of his pre-free agency career. Add him to a lineup that already gets the benefits of Brad Wilkerson power-and-patience blend, not to mention an overdue Tatis ejection, and you've got some worthwhile offensive building blocks, with or without Vlad." (Baseball Prospectus)

Friday, December 05, 2003
Cubs Organizational Meeting with Christian Ruzich. (Wait 'Til Next Year)

Thursday, December 04, 2003
Sources: Red Sox to hire Francona. (Yahoo!)

Yankees, Expos talking about Vazquez. "The Yankees and Montreal Expos spent much of Wednesday discussing a proposed trade that would send the 27-year-old right-hander to New York for first baseman Nick Johnson and outfielder Juan Rivera. The trade could be agreed to later this week, a pair of baseball officials familiar with the talks said on the condition of anonymity. The deal would be made on a tentative basis, giving the Yankees a window to work out a contract extension with Vazquez, who is eligible for free agency after next season." (Yahoo!)

Dan Graziano: "By trading Johnson, the Yankees also make room for their plan of making four-time Gold Glove center fielder Bernie Williams a full-time designated hitter. They will make an effort to sign Japanese shortstop Kazuo Matsui and convert him to second base, then either move Alfonso Soriano to the outfield or trade him for Brown. They also have had talks with free-agent center fielder Kenny Lofton about a one-year, $3 million contract, which would allow them to keep Soriano at second base and still use Williams as the DH." (Newark Star-Ledger)

Phillies get Eric Milton from Twins. "It's the second major trade of the offseason for the Phillies, who acquired All-Star closer Billy Wagner from Houston last month. Philadelphia won 86 games and finished 15 games behind NL East champion Atlanta last season. The once-stingy Phillies have turned into free-spenders as they prepare to move into a new stadium in April. They signed free agent first baseman Jim Thome to an $85 million contract last season and later gave left fielder Pat Burrell a $50 million contract extension." (Yahoo!)

Aaron Gleeman: "For all those who think the sky is falling because they are going to have to be without Milton next year, I would like to point out that Eric Milton pitched exactly 17 innings for the Twins in 2003. They can certainly win without him, and having that $9 million to spend elsewhere is going to help quite a bit. Part of that $9 million will likely be used to re-sign Eddie Guardado and whatever is left over may also be spent on trying to bring back Shannon Stewart, who would become the starting left fielder (assuming Jacque Jones is traded)." (Aaron's Baseball Blog)

Yankees sign LHP Heredia; reportedly land RHP Quantrill. (Yahoo!)

A Brief History of Paul Quantrill. (Clifford's Big Red Blog)

Where Are They Now?. Only five members of the 2001 World Champion Diamondbacks are still with the team (six if they re-sign Miguel Batista). (But It's a DRY Heat)

Wednesday, December 03, 2003
Marlins make offer to Rodriguez, sign Lowell. "Lowell agreed Tuesday to a $32 million, four-year contract with the Marlins...If the Marlins don't get financing in place for a new ballpark, Lowell's contract would convert to a one-year deal with a player option for 2005 that, if exercised, would guarantee him $14 million over the two seasons." (Yahoo!)

Christian Ruzich: "This just in: Mike Lowell is good. In a baseball world filled with guys like Drew Henson, d'Angelo Jimenez, Ricky Ledee, and Ruben Rivera, it's nice to see a team trade for a Yankees prospect and have him actually pan out." (The Transaction Guy)

Hawkins agrees to sign with Cubs. "The Chicago Cubs picked up a key bridge to closer Joe Borowski, agreeing Tuesday to $11 million, three-year contract with hard-throwing right-hander LaTroy Hawkins...Hawkins, who turns 31 later this month, was 9-3 with a 1.86 ERA in 77 1-3 innings and made $3 million in the option year of what originally was a two-year contract." (Yahoo!)

Christian Ruzich: "Ironically, the only year [Hawkins] struggled as a reliever was the year he spent as the Twins' closer. Keep that in mind when Dusty starts pitting him against JoeBo in the spring because he's a 'proven' closer. I would say he's a proven closer the same way he's a proven starter; he's proven that, when put in that role, he doesn't perform well. If Dusty feels the need to not pitch Hawkins until the 9th inning next year, it won't be the most effective allocation of resources, but it won't be the end of the world, either." (The Cub Reporter)

Little Matsui Steps Up. "In the Land of the Rising Sun, [Kazuo] Matsui is considered the best everyday player. The 28-year-old switch-hitter—who is not related to Yankees leftfielder Hideki Matsui (whose 1.88-m, 95-kg frame and status as Japan's premier power hitter led to Kazuo's being dubbed Little Matsui)—has won four Gold Gloves, batted better than .300 for seven straight years, hit at least 20 homers in each of the past four seasons and stolen 30 or more bases five times. In a millennium poll, fans voted him the greatest Japanese shortstop ever. He was 24 at the time." (Time Asia)

Adam Dennis on the Derrek Lee trade: "I have said all along I wanted the Cubs to ensure the development of young players so that they could compete at the highest levels for the next ten years. The Yankees may spend a ton but they developed Jeter, Posada, Williams, Rivera, and Petite. Similar things can be said for the Braves. The Twins have enjoyed success recently based on their young talent developing. Ditto for the A’s, Royals, and 1990’s Indians, with the current Indians and Padres waiting to have a few breakout seasons. Instead, Hendry again started his patchwork job on a team whose biggest position player success in the past 15 years now announces for the Diamondbacks." (Cub Rants)

Tuesday, December 02, 2003
Richie Sexson traded to Arizona. "The Diamondbacks acquired the big first baseman from Milwaukee on Monday in a nine-player deal that sent infielders Craig Counsell and Junior Spivey to the Brewers. Sexson hit 45 home runs and drove in 124 last season, but will be in the final year of his contract next season, earning $8.6 million." (Yahoo!)

Marlins re-sign 2B Castillo. Three years, $16 million. The Mets, Cubs and Red Sox had been interested. (Yahoo!)

Yankees, Gordon agree to two-year deal. Two years, $7.25 million. The Mets, A's and Devil Rays had been interested. (Yahoo!)

Rob Neyer: "Sure, Sheffield might pull something or strain something, and wind up playing 120 games instead of 145 (which is roughly his norm). But if not Gary Sheffield, then who? If you can afford to pay him what he's asking, he's worth the risk, and the same goes for Schilling. The Yankees and the Red Sox are essentially playing a different game than all the other teams, and spending big money on great players who might be slightly more likely to get hurt is just a part of that different game." (

Bye Bye to a Bygone Era. Richard Lederer on Warren Spahn. (Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT)

Monday, December 01, 2003
Red Sox get RHP Schilling from Arizona in five-player deal.
Boston completed the long-rumored trade for Curt Schilling on Friday, acquiring the hard-throwing righthander from the Arizona Diamondbacks for pitchers Casey Fossum and Brandon Lyon and two minor leaguers.

The deal was announced shortly after Schilling agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Red Sox worth a reported $25.5 million. According to ESPN, the deal also includes a mutual option for 2007 at $13 million.

Larry Mahnken: "Now the Red Sox have not only as good an offense as anyone in baseball, but they have one of the very best 1-3 rotations in the game, too, with Martinez, Schilling and Lowe. Schilling's salary makes it difficult for the Red Sox to retain both Pedro Martinez and Nomar Garciaparra after this season--perhaps either--and they may have mortgaged their future to take one shot at the World's Championship that has eluded them since 1918, but what a shot it is. The Red Sox, right now, are the best team in baseball, and as it stands, winning next season might be less about things breaking right for them than it is about things not breaking wrong for them." (Replacement Level Yankee Weblog)

Live chat with Curt Schilling from Saturday. (Sons of Sam Horn)

Report: Sheffield agrees to Yankees' contract offer. Three years, $36 - $38 million. (Yahoo!)

Royals agree to terms with Anderson, Randa, Leskanic. (Yahoo!)

Aaron Gleeman: "The trio will make over $8 million next year and Anderson alone will make over $3 million in 2005. For a team that is about six months away from complaining about 'not being able' to keep Carlos Beltran, these re-signings strike me as bad moves." (Aaron's Baseball Blog)

Tossing BP With Will Carroll. Rich Lederer interviews the Baseball Prospectus author. (Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT)

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