Updated – 9:46am C.T. with Info on Kenny Lofton, Cliff Floyd and Trot Nixon
One more day until the Winter Meetings get underway but the unofficial conversations should start today. Players are signing rapidly with new clubs, there were a handful of deals on Saturday but more posturing by agents and players will take place over the next 24 hours leading up to what is believed to be a very exciting week for Major League Baseball.
With Sammy Sosa appearing Sunday on ESPN (8:30am C.T., 10:00pm C.T. and 11:30pm C.T.) and with the Bears playing host to the Vikings, today is “Freeform Sunday at the CCO.” Feel free to use this article to discuss the upcoming week or what moves you would like to see Jim Hendry make this week or in the near future….anything goes. Plus read on for the latest from around the league, an updated arbitration list, an updated free-agent list and the latest from the rumor mill…. Sammy Sosa…. As mentioned, Sosa will be on Outside the Lines three times on Sunday. The former Cub is ready to play again and according to several reports the main reason for the comeback is to reach the 600 home run mark for his Hall-of-Fame-type career.
Dave Roberts…. The Giants signed the 34-year old centerfielder to a 3-year, $18 million dollar contract. Several reports on Saturday also mentioned the Giants signed Rich Aurilia as well. Can anyone say Kenny Lofton?
The Cleveland Indians…. The Indians added to their bullpen on Saturday when they signed Roberto Hernandez, 42, (1-year, $3.5 million with a club option in 2008 for $3.7 million) and Adam Fultz, 33, financial details were not released. These signings could affect the Cubs ability to trade for Jake Westbrook. The Indians have reportedly been looking to trade for bullpen help and the Cubs were rumored to have inquired about Westbrook in a deal that would include Ryan Dempster.
Jose Guillen…. According to a report on ESPN.com, the Mariners have reached an agreement with Jose Guillen on a 1-year, $5 million dollar deal with a $9 million dollar option for 2008 and $3 million worth of incentives….the deal is pending Guillen passing a physical.
Jacque Jones…. Ken Rosenthal changed his report about Jones from Friday on Saturday. Rosenthal stated on Friday the Cubs and Rockies were talking about a deal that would send Jones to the Rockies for Jason Jennings and Jones in turn would play center in Colorado. But on Saturday Rosenthal added a twist, the deal involving Jennings and Jones is apparently still being discussed but now Jones, according to Rosenthal, “would have been spun to another team.” Is a multi-team deal in the works….only time will tell.
Well, that’s the latest from around the league, have fun with the discussions and check back with the CCO throughout the week for the latest from the Winter Meetings….if anything happens you will be able to read about and discuss the latest here or in the Forum.
Update - The Hot Stove started to heat up again on Sunday morning, a few new names were mentioned as well as the same names that have been heard getting a little more attention. The Cubs continue to deny offering Jason Schmidt a contract but some still feel Schmidt is still a possibility for the Cubs….here is the rest.
Kenny Lofton…. According to a report in Newsday and from Phil Rogers in the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs are working on signing Lofton to play center next season. With Roberts gone from the market and their apparent attempt to trade Jacque Jones, Lofton in center could provide valuable for more than one reason. Lofton is a winner, he is left-handed, he will not cost them a ton of money, he will likely sign a 1-year deal and he could provide a 1-year stop gap in order to give Felix Pie more time to develop. Lofton knows how to play center at Wrigley and would not be an experiment or a learn-on-the-job fielder that Julio Lugo or Alfonso Soriano could end up being. An outfield of Matt Murton, Alfonso Soriano and Lofton would be an upgrade over last season and with Cliff Floyd still in the mix off of the bench, should have a lot more production offensively and defensively from 2006.
Jason Schmidt…. Several reports have indicated the Cubs are still in the mix for Schmidt but some feel the Dodgers and Padres could be where he lands this off-season. Phil Rogers mentioned on Sunday that Kerry Wood is Schmidt’s neighbor in Arizona and that Schmidt wants to stay in the NL which could take Seattle out of the mix.
Jake Westbrook…. Westbrook was brought up by Bruce Miles as well but according to Miles the Indians do no appear to be interested in moving him. Miles also brought up the rumors of the offer to the Rockies that would involve Jacque Jones for Jason Jennings.
Let the Winter Meetings begin….