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Stark's Latest: Prior, Lofton, Otsuka

ESPN's Jayson Stark dishes some good rumorage in his latest column.

  • Stark dug around to find all the Mark Prior suitors and came up with this list: Yankees, Red Sox, White Sox, Mariners, Mets, Cardinals, Padres, Astros, Giants, Reds, Nationals (11 teams).  Let's compare notes.  MLBTR readers have seen the Yankees, Mets, Cards, Padres, Astros, Reds, and Nats linked to Prior already.  So Stark has added the Red Sox, White Sox, Mariners, and Giants.  The idea of the Mariners runs contrary to this MLB.com article.  Stark did not name the Rangers, who are said to be aggressively pursuing Prior.  Prior is dead set on a one-year deal and would take a big league mound in May in the best case.
  • The Phils are focused on Geoff Jenkins and Mike Cameron, offering two year deals to each.  They might just take the first one to accept.  Stark says Kenny Lofton could be an option if both decline.  Lofton batted a career-best .335 for the Phils in '05.
  • Stark rattles off a laundry list of pitchers the Phillies are interested in: Akinori Otsuka, Byung-Hyun Kim, Roberto Hernandez, Kris Benson, John Parrish, Sidney Ponson, Chad Durbin, Kyle Lohse, and Jeremy Affeldt.  Given Stark's 21 years at the Philadelphia Inquirer, I imagine he has a connection or two.  Most of those are new names besides Benson, Lohse, Ponson, and Affeldt.
  • A source of Stark picks the Yankees as the favorite for Johan, but it should be noted that they're having internal debates about pulling Phil Hughes off the table.
  • For all the crazy Cubs fans we've got here: Stark says they've talked to the Orioles about both Brian Roberts and Erik Bedard, but couldn't pull off a deal for both.  They favor Roberts even though they need Bedard much more.


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