Add Devil Rays 1B Aubrey Huff
to the Dodgers' wish list. L.A. might be willing to offer either of its pitching phenoms, RHP Edwin Jackson or LHP Greg Miller, but the Rays could be reluctant to part with Huff, who is three years from becoming a free agent. . . .
The Braves tried to sell the Orioles on a Javy Lopez
-for-Melvin Mora trade last spring, before Lopez turned into a 43-homer behemoth. Now Lopez is one of the Orioles' primary free-agent targets, and Mora could be their everyday third baseman. . . .
Why is Yankees owner George Steinbrenner hot to sign CF Kenny Lofton
and make Bernie Williams a DH? One scout says the two are practically even in center, noting that Lofton sometimes takes poor angles. Lofton, though, would be a needed leadoff hitter. . . .
Free agent Rich Aurilia wants to remain a shortstop, but teams are gauging his willingness to play second or third base. The Red Sox will consider him at second if they fail to sign free agent Tony Graffanino, and the Indians and Dodgers have asked about him playing third.
Aurilia also has options at short. . . .
Free-agent 2B Fernando Vina made sense for the Cubs because of his lefthanded bat, but Mark Grudzielanek had a .366 on-base percentage last season, a mark that Vina has exceeded only once since 1998. Grudzielanek batted .359 in September. . . .
One G.M. laughs at the idea of the Mets trading OF Roger Cedeno to the Padres for OF Terrence Long. "Cedeno can't do anything," the G.M. says. "Long isn't a bad player; he's just overpaid." Cedeno is owed $10 million through 2005, Long $8.1 million. The Padres also wanted the Mets to take RHP Kevin Jarvis at $4.25 million. No go.