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TUESDAY, 7:03pm: It looks as though the first of the Mets’ offers has been issued.
According to Jack Curry of the New York Times, the Mets have offered Derek Lowe a three-year deal, worth a total of $36MM. I imagine half the teams in baseball would be willing to offer that amount to Lowe. The article maintains the current notion that Lowe is the Mets’ first choice to bolster their rotation. He had reportedly been seeking five years and $90MM.
MONDAY: MLB.com’s Marty Noble on the Mets:
They intend to make offers early this week to at least two and probably three free-agent pitchers — Derek Lowe, Oliver Perez and Randy Wolf — in hopes of signing one of them.
Noble says the Mets continue to rank the three in that order – Lowe, Perez, Wolf. The Mets haven’t shown any indication of wanting to sign more than one. Lowe and Perez should be ready to sign soon now that Scott Boras isn’t occupied with Mark Teixeira.
Noble adds that the Mets aren’t terribly concerned about having only one left-handed reliever on the roster (Pedro Feliciano). They’ll look for bargains rather than pursue a Joe Beimel type. Mets GM Omar Minaya does want to acquire a utility infielder, with Alex Cora atop the list.
Having missed out on the Teixeira Sweepstakes, the Orioles appear to be looking at Richie Sexson as an option for filling their current vacancy at first base, says Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun.
According to Schmuck, "Club officials apparently have had at least one conversation with Sexson’s agent, Casey Close, though the depth of their interest is uncertain."
Sportsnet.ca reports that (among others) the Blue Jays signed lefty Mike Maroth to a minor league deal. Maroth, 31, had shoulder surgery in June of 2008. He made 100 starts for the Tigers from 2003-05, but then the injuries began.
Click here to read today’s chat transcript.
Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe confirms that catcher Josh Bard signed with the Red Sox for $1.7MM. He says there’s another $800K or so in incentives, though most of the contract is non-guaranteed. Massarotti adds that the signing "in no way eliminates the chance of Jason Varitek returning to the club in 2009." We still haven’t heard a clear suitor for Varitek, who’ll cost a draft pick to sign.
According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the Diamondbacks reached a preliminary agreement with catcher Chris Snyder on a three-year, $14.25MM contract extension. The deal will also have a fourth-year club option. Arizona buys out two arb years, one free agent year, and then has the option on the second free agent year. Nick Piecoro broke the story a week ago, with similar details.
TUESDAY, 9:02am: ESPN’s Buster Olney says the Dodgers and Mets "have kept the porch light on" in case some version of a Jones-Castillo swap can be made. He talked to a source who believes the Mets’ chances of trading Castillo before the season are 50-50.
MONDAY, 8:12pm: MLB.com’s Marty Noble heard from a person familiar with the discussions between the Mets and Dodgers that "nothing is ongoing and nothing is going to happen." The clubs had preliminary discussions about trading Jones for Castillo during the Winter Meetings, but nothing is in the works now.
3:50pm: According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Dodgers and Mets have discussed an Andruw Jones trade. Jones is still owed $22.1MM, and the Dodgers are "highly motivated" to move him. Olney says it’s unlikely the Dodgers would have interest in Luis Castillo, however. If the Mets wouldn’t be sending a bad contract back, I’d imagine they’d want the Dodgers to pay approximately $20MM. Olney says the Mets would use Jones in right field – Ryan Church‘s position this year.
Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times talked to Dodgers GM Ned Colletti, who said Manny Ramirez is the team’s first choice. Colletti hasn’t heard from Manny’s agent Scott Boras since Mark Teixeira signed a week ago. As reported yesterday, the Dodgers have interest in Adam Dunn and Bobby Abreu as backup plans. Pat Burrell and Garret Anderson are not on the team’s radar.
Shaikin reiterates Marty Noble’s story from yesterday – talks to unload Andruw Jones on the Mets fizzled a while ago.
TUESDAY, 8:31am: The Marlins are one of the three finalists, according to Juan C. Rodriguez. Turnbow may sign this week.
MONDAY, 2:02pm: According to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the field of suitors for free agent reliever Derrick Turnbow has narrowed from five to three teams. The Pirates are one of the three; the Rockies are not.
Other teams linked to Turnbow: the Tigers, Marlins, Rays, Rangers, Phillies, and Giants.