Dodgers? Jul. 14 - Fernando Cuza, Gonzalez' new agent, is scheduled to meet with Rangers GM John Hart this week to discuss the outfielder's future. Gonzalez already has invoked his no-trade clause in refusing a trade to Montreal, and he reportedly did the same with a potential deal to the Dodgers.
However, reports over the weekend had the Yankees watching developments with Gonzalez and his representation very carefully, with an eye toward a possible trade with Texas should the slugger agree to be dealt.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports the Diamondbacks, A's, Royals, Twins and Yankees have asked the Rangers whether Gonzalez would waive his no-trade clause, and Dan O'Brien, the club's assistant GM, told the paper, "Every club wants to know what Juan will or will not do. We're all waiting for Juan to give us direction."
Last week, sources told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel the Marlins could make a run at Gonzalez, pointing out that Florida might be attractive to Gonzalez for a number of reasons: His relationship with former teammate Pudge Rodriguez, now a Marlin; the team's heavily Latino fan base; and the city's proximity to his native Puerto Rico. Not mentioned, but potentially of equal importance, is that, like Texas, Florida has no state income tax, meaning his income would not be affected as it would be in other locations.
Jul. 14 - The New York Times reported over the weekend that the Giants had backed out of a proposed three-way deal that would have sent Benitez to San Francisco, Giants reliever Felix Rodriguez to the Yankees and a handful of prospects from the Yankees to the Mets.
However, the Mets and Yankees are said to still be discussing a possible deal to send Benitez to the Bronx. Also, the New York Post cited Kansas City and Boston as likely suitors.
Last week it was reported that the Expos were working on acquiring Benitez, but the reliever would have to waive his limited no-trade clause the prevent him from being dealt to Canadian teams.
WHO INTERESTED Carlos Zambrano
Jul. 14 - According to the Tampa Tribune, the Reds have inquired about Zambrano's availability. However, the paper said it's unlikely the D-Rays would move the pitcher, who is 6-8 with a 3.58 ERA in 19 appearances, unless it received someone like Wily Mo Pena in return. Cincinnati reportedly is offering only 27-year-old third baseman Brandon Larson.
Cardinals Jul. 14 - ESPN's Peter Gammons reports the Jays will, indeed try to trade Lidle, and St. Louis is a possible destination. The Cardinals' Matt Morris has been struggling with his velocity, and St. Louis would love to strengthen its rotation for a run at the N.L. Central title. Toronto just went 1-5 in games against A.L. East rivals Boston and New York, and the team's slim hopes of a playoff run took a big hit. Six more games against those two coming out of the All-Star break should cement the Blue Jays' role as a seller, not a buyer.
WHO INTERESTED Brian Giles
Jul. 11 - The L.A. Times reports the Dodger are pursuing Giles with pitcher Odalis Perez as the bait. However, Pirates GM Dave Littlefield reportedly also wants the Dodgers' top two pitching prospects -- Edwin Jackson and Greg Miller -- according to the Times, and L.A. GM Dan Evans has said those two are untouchable.
Earlier this week, the San Francisco Chronicle suggested there was a "good possibility" A's GM Billy Beane would pursue Giles, whom he tried to acquire at last season's trading deadline. ESPN's Peter Gammons has previously reported Littlefield has been holding ongoing talks with the A's.
Again, though, Littlefield might be asking for two much. His price for Oakland reportedly is Triple-A shortstop Bobby Crosby. The A's are reluctant to part with the player they're hoping can take over for Miguel Tejada, expected to leave in free agency after this season.
Jul. 11 - Scott Boras agent for both Damon and Carlos Beltran, threw cold water on the idea of the two centerfielders trading places, telling the Boston Globe, "Kansas City is not taking on an $8 million salary, nor is Boston interested in trading Damon, not in the least."
Thursday, the Hartford Courant quoted Damon as saying, "I've been hearing from Mike Sweeney, and he's like, 'Yeah, I think we're close to getting you.' " Damon also told the paper he'd been hearing from other players around the league that the Cubs and Dodgers also are interested.
While denying a Damon-for-Beltran deal, Boras did tell the Globe the Dodgers have inquired about Damon, possibly offering Odalis Perez. Damon has two years left on his contract at $16.5 million, according to the Courant. Beltran is eligible for arbitration, where he could command as much as $11 million for one year.
Jul. 11 - OK, so Beltran isn't going to Boston for Johnny Damon. Is he going to Texas for Juan Gonzalez and 2B Michael Young? Probably not, though that rumor is making the rounds. Problem is, Gonzalez will be a free agent after this season, meaning all the Royals would have to show for the deal is Young. Kansas City GM Allard Baird reportedly wants a couple of top prospects capable of contributing right away. Finding a team that can offer that and take on Beltran's salary (he's expected to command around $11 million in arbitration) will be difficult.
Previously, the New York Daily News reported a meeting between Yankees GM Brian Cashman and Baird that centered on Beltran and pitcher Jason Grimsley. Other teams believed to be interested include the Mets, Dodgers, Orioles and Angels.
Jul. 11 - Chicago is trying to decide if Ramirez is worth acquiring to plug the team's hole at third base. He has made 20 errors this season and his hitting .278 with 9 homers and 58 RBI while making $3 million. However, his salary will double next season, and the Cubs might not want to pay that for such modest production. However, if Ramirez were to regain his 2001 form, when he hit .300 with 34 homers and 112 RBI, he'd be well worth it. So the Cubs must decide if he's worth the gamble.
Jul. 11 - Given Lofton's modest salary of just under $1 million on a one-year deal, Pirates GM Dave Littlefield is in no hurry to ship him out. However, a number of teams are interested, so Littlefield can afford to be patient and see how much he can get from a contender looking to rent Lofton for the stretch drive.
The Cubs are one possibility, with Corey Patterson lost for the season with a knee injury. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and the Chicago Sun-Times raise the possibility of the Pirates sending Lofton to Chicago, possibly for second base prospect Bobby Hill (Triple-A) or pitcher Juan Cruz.
Cubs manager Dusty Baker, for whom Lofton played with the Giants last season, threw his endorsement behind the idea, telling the Chicago Tribune, "He brought electricity, a bona fide leadoff man," to the Giants. Lofton was hitting .282 with 9 home runs and 17 stolen bases through Wednesday.
Jul. 11 - The Orioles still haven't presented Ponson with an offer for a contract extension, reports the Baltimore Sun. Ponson's response to that offer is expected to determine whether the team tries to trade him by the July 31 deadline. Team vice president Jim Beattie told the Sun the team likely will offer Ponson an incentive-laden, three-year deal but won't go above $10 million per year.
Previously, the Sun quoted a major league GM as saying the Orioles are "asking for the moon" from teams that have inquired about Ponson, telling potential suitors it will take their top prospects to pry the right-hander loose. The Braves are one of the interested teams, the paper says, but it's doubtful Atlanta would be willing to part with catching prospect Johnny Estrada.
The White Sox and Reds also are said to be interested.
Like i said.. just what ive read on MLB Insider for those of you that dont have this.