Burnett, Hoffman, Manny, And More

Latest hot stove from around baseball:

Jayson Stark and Jerry Crasnick are reporting from Dallas that the Blue Jays are close to signing A.J. Burnett to a five year, $55MM deal.  Seems Burnett’s agent is going back to Walt Jocketty one last time before finalizing the deal in an attempt to squeeze that fifth year out of him.  We’ll know soon enough if Jocketty caved in.

According to Hot Stove All-Star Ken Rosenthal, the Indians are nearing a deal with Trevor Hoffman for $21-24MM over three years.  For a team that got a solid year out of the decaying corpse of Bob Wickman, this seems a little unnecessary.  Especially since Casey Blake and Aaron Boone are currently penciled in as two automatic outs.

Just noticed today that for some reason, Omar Minaya has yet to do an interview with Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog.  C’mon Omar, show some respect to baseball bloggers.  Cerrone would conduct a better interview than most newspaper writers for sure.  Matthew has also dug around in the whole Gaby Hernandez mess, and concluded that yes, the Marlins did indeed acquire him in the LoDuca trade.

On that topic, my Mets source tells me that the Marlins initially insisted on a Major League-ready player for LoDuca.  After the Mets declined that request, they asked for Gaby Hernandez.  The agents for Ramon Hernandez and Bengie Molina weren’t responding to Omar Minaya’s offers, so he agreed to the LoDuca deal.

The Red Sox wouldn’t mind hanging on to Manny, and my sources say that there’s a good chance a deal does not get done.  Only if a team coughs up true star power like, say, a Carlos Beltran, will the Sox send him packing.

Kris Benson should be shipped out of town pretty quickly.  Mets’ management doesn’t think Benson will ever be a consistent pitcher, and their distaste for him has nothing to do with his annoying wife. 

The possibility of the Mets acquiring Barry Zito is remote at best.  Billy Beane is demanding Lastings Milledge, and Zito’s agent is not guaranteeing a 72 hour window for a contract extension.  It is more likely that Minaya simply waits a year and signs Zito as a free agent.  Javier Vazquez is still very much on the radar, and his past failure under the New York spotlight does not faze the Mets.

Peter Gammons and others are saying the Mets’ signing of Mark Grudzielanek will be made official Thursday. 

Mets management is content to go into spring training with Xavier Nady and Victor Diaz duking it out for the right field spot. Let’s just hope Tike Redman doesn’t get regular playing time.

My earlier Andy Marte to the Twins blurb turned out to be more than idle speculation.  A source has confirmed that the Twins have offered Jesse Crain, Kyle Lohse, and unknown prospects for Marte.

Thanks to Brandon, John, and Brian.

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