Stark On Crawford, Werth, Beltre, Torre

Commissioner Bud Selig told ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark that he’ll consider expanded instant replay and adding a second Wild Card team. Stark also passes along news on the player-agent industry and rumors from around the league:

  • The MLBPA and MLB have agreed to move up the date by which teams have to tender contracts and offer arbitration to free agents in an attempt to hurry the offseason along. This development could mean that we see fewer unsigned players late in the offseason.
  • The players’ association is working to better regulate interactions between players and agents. For example, agents can’t promise anything of value to players who they don’t represent. No more free trips or cars from rival agents!
  • Players who can go to arbitration or file for free agency will now have to check in with the MLBPA before changing agents.
  • Five of the six executives Stark surveyed named Carl Crawford this year’s best free agent position player (Jayson Werth received one vote).
  • The Yankees are more likely to bid aggressively on Crawford than Werth, but Cliff Lee figures to be their top free agent target.
  • Stark says the Red Sox, Angels, Dodgers, Tigers and Giants seem like the best bets to pursue Werth this offseason.
  • Adrian Beltre puzzles Stark’s sources, since he has so much upside, but tends to flash his ability most tantalizingly in contract years.
  • Three baseball people who are all acquainted with Joe Torre say the Dodgers manager would like to manage the Mets next year, but they don’t think it’ll happen.
  • Atlanta GM Frank Wren anticipates that the Braves will be in the market for a veteran reliever again this winter.

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