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Padres Expect to Start ’10 With Gonzalez

12.09.09 at 4:03 pm ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — Padres manager Bud Black said that he expects that slugging first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, the subject of numerous trade rumors in recent months, still be in San Diego at the start of the 2010 season. The Padres have had enough conversations with their All-Star that Black has not considered it necessary to touch base with him this offseason.

“Do I anticipate [him being with the club in 2010]? Yes,” said Black, who went on to explain that he does not anticipate any on-field impact to Gonzalez from life in the rumor mill.

“I think we had enough discussions about it dating back to the summer and a few times as the season moved into the later months. He’€™s been around long enough. He’€™s been traded a couple of times. He’€™s got a great advisor in John Boggs. I think there’€™s been enough open dialogue between the Padres front office and Adrian. I’€™ve given him my spiel. I’€™m sure he’€™s had some conversations with players about the whole thing. He’€™s aware of what’€™s going on, and I don’€™t suspect that it will affect him in his on-field performance.”

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Boras on Bay, Beltre, Holliday, and Lowell

12.09.09 at 3:58 pm ET
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Scott Boras just finished a 33-minute, 47-second session with the media at the Indianapolis Marriott, talking on a variety of subjects, including his own free agents, Matt Holliday and Adrian Beltre, as well as players who might be affected by their presence, such as free agent outfielder Jason Bay and current Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell. Here is some of what Boras said:

(Does Jason Bay’s contract situation have any bearing on Matt Holliday’s situation) I think they’re different players for me. Matt is a very athletic player. He’s a complete player. Certainly Jason Bay is a fine hitter, but Matt Holliday is a different type of hitter. He’s more of a line-drive, strength player. He’s really a great baserunner. He’s really athletic. So having that type of power with the line-drive swing allows you to play in bigger ballparks and produce your 100 RBIs, 100 runs scored. He is, to me, more capable of delivering the production in a wider variety of ballparks.

(Does it influence Holliday’s business when there is a comparable free agent available) Obviously when teams need offense, and they look at offensive in a number of ways. Matt Holliday you have an athlete because he can just do a lot of things on the bases, he can do a lot of things in the outfield which your customary home run hitting left fielder can’t do. The components of what a team has to look as far as versatility of other players to drive in that player to allow him to score from first base or in many cases second bases … that’s why Matt Holliday scores so many runs compared to a guy with similar power. Just the athlete … It’s rare you find that type of athlete. Matt Holliday could have played in the NFL. He’s that kind of guy. So when you see those kind of guys who have the ability to hit a baseball you have to go back in time and think about the number of major leaguers that have that kind of strength and athletic skill, and yet have the ability to hit a baseball and hit it with power and produce 200 runs and hit in the middle of the lineup and be athletic. With production bats like that you’re giving away a lot defensively, you’re giving away in terms of runs scored.

(On Beltre’s offensive production) We did a study of Beltre’s road numbers compared to a very good hitter like say Jason Bay. Obviously Beltre had some nicks this year with his collarbone, but looking at his ’06-’08 numbers on the road and compared them to Bay’s ’07-’09 performance offensively on the road and we’ve come up with the fact that Adrian had more RBIs, he had a few less home runs, his batting average was 25 points higher and his OPS was about the same. And I’m not including anything about Beltre’s 48 home run season. Just to put it in perspective the type of offensive player Adrian Beltre is outside of Seattle. You can really see he compares favorably a very coveted, talented free agent player today. Then you add in the fact I don’t think anybody in baseball will not tell you that Adrian Beltre is far and above the best defensive third baseman.

(On how Mike Lowell’s presence on the Red Sox will affect the team’s interest in Beltre) When you’re talking about teams and players who have played well, and they’re under contract, the answer to that is that the team has flexibility. Historically when you have a player under contract you can go to a team at the start of the season, or now, and say ‘We’re absorb some of the contract if you take the player’. Or you can just keep the player and have him serve a function on the team that may not be in the starting role and have the player be traded in spring training or have the player as the season opens up when injuries occur. Particularly with clubs with one year to go on the contract, major market teams, the idea of it is that the flexibility of those decisions usually don’t preempt teams from making those decisions. The fact that the player still has something to contribute and perform well makes that process easer.

Rumor Mill at this hour: 3 p.m.

12.09.09 at 3:32 pm ET
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Despite reports the past two days suggesting a potential deal has been agreed upon, Troy Renck writes that the Rockies are the favorites to sign catcher Yorvit Torrealba but that the two sides haven’t been in contact today. The reported deal is for two years and around $5 million.

Jon Heyman tweets that, contrary to popular belief, the White Sox are “not going for Hideki Matsui.” Heyman believes the team is looking to add a leadoff hitter and lists Scott Podsednik, Juan Pierre, and Coco Crisp as possibilities.

The early price tag for Rafael Soriano is steep, tweets Buster Olney, who notes the Braves want “solid return” and for the other team to pay the approximately $6.5 million due to the reliever.

Read More: Coco Crisp, Hideki Matsui, Juan Pierre, rafael soriano

Scioscia on Bay: Angels Have ‘More Pressing Needs’

12.09.09 at 3:14 pm ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — Angels manager Mike Scioscia suggested that, while the organization is having internal conversations about whether to pursue free-agent outfielder Jason Bay, that the Halos may not end up being major bidders for him.

“I’ve not reached out personally to him, but he has been in internal discussions we’ve had as an organization,” said Scioscia. “I think there are some more pressing needs we have right now than the talent that Jason could bring. He’s an extraordinary talent, but we definitely have to look for some balance in some areas, and that might not make Jason a great fit for our club. …

“You try to be balanced and have as deep a club as you can. With some of the things we’re looking at, the opportunity to get deeper, we might not be able to make that one big splash with that one guy that Jason would be right now.”

Scioscia also suggested that the Angels continue to view pitching as a priority. He spoke specifically about the team’s hope to re-sign starter John Lackey, whom he described as “as focused as any pitcher I’ve ever seen…John is obviously one of the top starting pitchers in our league.”

Scioscia went so far as to suggest that the Angels could make a splash for Lackey, in which case, the team could not make another major signing along the lines of Bay or another top free agent.

“[Angels owner Arte Moreno] has committed to giving us a championship-caliber team,” said Scioscia. “If we do sign [Lackey], I think there are some other things that can be done to give us a balanced team. Maybe not two big splashes, but something that can be done to make us a better overall team.”

An Angels source said that the Halos do not view Bay as a defensive liability. The team admires his all-around game greatly, and in theory, would love to have him. However, the team is concerned about a substantial allocation of resources for one player, and feels that it might be able to build a better team by spreading its spending, rather than spending everything on one player.

For instance, last offseason, the source noted, the team made a substantial play for Mark Teixeira. When he elected to sign elsewhere, the Halos moved on, and were able to add Bobby Abreu, Juan Rivera and Brian Fuentes with that money.

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Duchscherer, Red Sox update

12.09.09 at 2:44 pm ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — Following up on the fact the Red Sox and Justin Duchscherer’s reps talked Sunday night, just wanted to pass along that the two sides haven’t talked since the initial get-together. Like so many other elements of this winter meetings, any momentum, one way or another, regarding the pitcher wouldn’t be pushed along until the top tier free agents start making decisions.

What is somewhat interesting, however, is the fact that the Red Sox were the first team to show interest in the starter and the first to request Duchscherer’s medical information. The pitcher is not only allowing teams to pour over his medicals, but also is making his therapist available after the 32-year-old’s bout clinical depression last season. Duchscherer had battled hip and elbow injuries following making the American League All-Star team in 2008.

There are approximately 11 teams showing interest in Duchscherer, on various levels. He is currently working out in Arizona and figures to be ready for the start of spring training.

Leyland on Granderson

12.09.09 at 2:10 pm ET
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Detroit manager Jim Leyland is speaking with the media and was asked about Curtis Granderson. His analysis couldn’t be more glowing.

“He’s everything that’s right with baseball,” Leyland said, later adding, “He’s the complete package.”

Leyland said that he thought Granderson’s numbers against left-handers (.183 last season) was a result of the emergence of some qualities southpaws in the American League, the likes of which the Tigers saw multitudes of down the stretch.

The Tigers’ manager also classified Granderson as a “very good” outfielder with a pretty good arm.

Granderson, of course, is one of the biggest pieces of the three-team trade between the Yankees, Diamondbacks, and Tigers. Detroit wanted either Clay Buchholz or Jacoby Ellsbury in return for the 28-year-old outfielder.

Rumor Mill at this hour: 2 p.m.

12.09.09 at 2:03 pm ET
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FoxSports reports that Rich Harden would accept a one-year deal to prove that he’s healthy, and that the Red Sox are one of the teams most interested in the pitcher, along with the Yankees and Mariners.

Royals beat writer Bob Dutton tweets that the Red Sox are considering signing former Royals first baseman Ryan Shealy to a minor league deal.

Rumor Mill at this hour: 1 p.m.

12.09.09 at 1:43 pm ET
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ESPN’s Jayson Stark tweeted a rumor that the “Red Sox have 2 or 3 teams they could trade Mike Lowell to right now if they take ‘similar’ contract back.”

Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman tweeted that the Mets are talking to Jason Bay, Matt Holliday and John Lackey, “with renewed hopes to sign 1 of big 3.” (Alex Speier also reported that the Mets and Cardinals could be Bay suitors, along with the Red Sox, Angels and Mariners, in today’s column.) He indicated the Mets still are interested in Bengie Molina as well.

Former Dodgers left-hander Randy Wolf reportedly has agreed to the rumored three-year deal with the Brewers worth between $27 million and $30 million after taking another look around.

Olney impressed with Red Sox’ approach

12.09.09 at 12:32 pm ET
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ESPN’s Buster Olney made an appearance on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday morning to discuss the latest baseball rumors. Olney warned that the Red Sox very well may sit back and pass on the big-name free agents this offseason.

“There’s not a single player on the market that is a huge difference-making player if you don’t get him at the price you want,” Olney said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if they wound up doing more incremental stuff than any kind of a big thing.”

Olney commented on the Sox’ key moves so far ‘€” the acquisitions of outfielder Jeremy Hermida and shortstop Marco Scutaro.

“The Hermida deal may not help them at all in the end. It might be that he’ll go to the Red Sox and be as disappointing to them as he was to the Marlins,” Olney said. “I know that there are questions about whether or not he’s going to be focused enough to get locked in and take it to the next level and realize his talent. I think that’s a worthwhile gamble for them, though, because he certainly does have that talent. And I like the Scutaro deal because unlike some of the other guys they’ve gotten in the past at shortstop, at least they’re not locked into this. If [Jed] Lowrie steps up then you could always move Scutaro to another position.”

Olney discussed a rumor that the Sox had a discussion with outfielder Coco Crisp, whom they traded last November to the Royals. Olney said Crisp likely will have better offers if he decides to come back from his shoulder injury. Said Olney: “I suspect that he’s a fallback position … if they don’t re-sign Bay or if they don’t sign Matt Holliday ‘€” if they find themselves looking to mix and match a little bit with Hermida and maybe some other guys.”

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Winter Meetings live chat with Lou Merloni

12.09.09 at 11:36 am ET
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Join WEEI.com’s Lou Merloni for a live chat as he reports from the Winter Meetings in Indianapolis. The chat will begin at 1 p.m.

Winter Meetings Live Chat

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