The latest from ESPN’s Jayson Stark…
- Stark looks at all the factors influencing this year’s slow-moving free agent market, talking to all sorts of anonymous execs. It’s a good read.
- Among all the teams, the Phillies have added the most to their payroll this winter ($30MM+). Only ten teams raised payroll this year. The Phils are still looking at the same cast of righthanded bench bats, and are also looking to sign a reliever for one year. Names of interest: Joe Borowski, Rudy Seanez, Will Ohman, Joe Beimel, Dennys Reyes, and Randy Flores. Stark notes that Flores is out until June due to shoulder surgery.
- Andruw Jones is looking for a team that will give him playing time. One of Stark’s sources says Braves manager Bobby Cox is "lobbying harder for Jones than the rest of the baseball operation."
- The Braves are the top suitor for Nick Swisher, but their suggestion that the Yankees eat some of Swisher’s contract was shot down.
- Stark has heard that Angels owner Arte Moreno is ticked at Scott Boras and Mark Teixeira for the way they handled negotiations.
- Stark received conflicting answers on whether the Elias formulas "can be changed without a special negotiation." It figures that the players union would push to eliminate the Jason Varitek/Juan Cruz/Orlando Cabrera situations we saw this winter. The D’Backs may have interest in re-signing Cruz, but don’t look for a Cabrera-White Sox reunion.
- The Yankees and Mets have not pursued Orlando Hudson, despite Hudson’s statements of their interest. Stark sees a one-year deal with the Nationals or Dodgers in his future.
- One assistant GM doesn’t think the WBC will be a good gauge for Pedro Martinez’s abilities, since he’ll be doing short stints.
- Stark has details on Eddie Guardado’s contract, which has interesting provisions if he is to be traded.