The week in hot stove kicks off with a bang: Joel Sherman of the New York Post has a source saying the Devil Rays might listen to offers for ace lefty Scott Kazmir. Kazmir turns 24 in January and carries a 3.64 career ERA despite pitching in the AL East. He’s been particularly tough on the Red Sox (2.66 ERA in 101 innings). You have to think that if the Yankees are entertaining making an offer for Johan Santana, they’d consider Kazmir as well if the Rays would deal within the division.
Sherman notes that Kazmir is under contract for three years as opposed to just one for Santana, which could equate the two pitchers in the marketplace. Erik Bedard, under control for two years, has to be in that group of elite, possibly available southpaws as well. Sherman believes the Rays would seek "multiple high-end pitchers" for Kazmir, who is entering arbitration for the first time this winter. The Yankees could offer a package starting with Phil Hughes, but the Mets don’t seem to have the goods. It would take a pitcher of that nature – Hughes, Yovani Gallardo, Clay Buchholz. Otherwise, why would the Rays consider it?
Sherman also echoes the surprising notion that Tim Lincecum could be had for the right bat. He speculates that the Giants could pursue Carl Crawford or Delmon Young as the return. Hey, our Delmon speculation is catching on!
Sherman indicates that the Twins may be compelled to hold onto Santana, afraid of fan backlash if they also lose Torii Hunter. Meanwhile, another Santana, Ervin, might be had for a bat if the Angels can’t sign Alex Rodriguez. Sherman’s sources say any club in the A-Rod sweepstakes will move slowly in the market because his contract would dictate the team’s available budget.
Also notable from Sherman’s rumor-packed column: teams may wait for the Mitchell Report to come out before engaging in serious talks for Miguel Tejada. I’ve read speculation that MLB could release this report soon as a way of limiting free agent spending. Also, isn’t it about time for Jose Canseco’s next book, which supposedly has "other stuff" on Alex Rodriguez?