Live from Indy: Wednesday edition - with news on Soriano and more on Bradley
UPDATE, 5:44: Another sign there may be a ways to go on a Soriano deal; his camp says it's too early to say whether he would approve a trade to the Rays.
UPDATE, 5:40: Braves GM Frank Wren told the Atlanta J-C there were "several" teams still in on Soriano and, more interesting, that there have been "no discussions on money," implying the Braves are not talking about part of Soriano's salary.
UPDATE, 5:33: Rays C Nevin Ashley was named to the Arizona Fall League Top Prospects team after hitting .366.
UPDATE, 5:22: Rays have no news on Soriano as of now, and it sounds like a lot may have to change in terms of the deal for it to happen. That means the Rays are seeking to lower the price in terms of what they give up, and may be trying to get the Braves to assume some of the money. ... The Astros made a deal for Lindstrom, but there may be other teams in on Soriano. ... The Rays are still working through the internal aspects of their catching situation, and with the Royals making a two-year offer to Jason Kendall the Rangers may be the best potential trade spot for Dioner Navarro.
UPDATE, 4:35: There are reports the Astros are close to getting RHP Matt Lindstrom from the Marlins, which could be good for the Rays' pursuit of Soriano. ... Also, in clarifying the rules, Soriano and agent Peter Greenberg would have to give permisson for the trade to a specific team, rather than a blanket approval. ... Also, the Yankees, Tigers, D-backs trade is being officially announced.
UPDATE, 3:45: Had heard the Rays were in on RHP Rafael Soriano, who has to be traded by the Braves.
Foxsports.com's Ken Rosenthal says the Rays and Astros are the teams most involved. ESPN's Buster Olney says the Braves want a "solid return" and to have the team acquiring Soriano pay his full salary, which could end up around $7-million in arbitration.
Given that owner Stu Sternberg said last week they wouldn't be adding a "$7-million closer," maybe the Rays can lower that price by offering more? Soriano saved 27 games while going 1-6 with a 2.97 ERA in 77 games.
Soriano, who turns 30 this month, spent most of his career as a middle reliever with Seattle and the Braves before emerging as a closer last season. For his career, he is 8-18, 2.92 with 43 saves, and averaged 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings.
The Astros may be motivated since they just lost LaTroy Hawkins, who signed with the Brewers. They, like the Rays, also have interest in Florida's Matt Lindstrom.
Soriano surprised the Braves by accepting their offer of arbitration, and since they had already signed Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito, they are working to trade him. He had to give permission because under the rules he couldn't be traded until June 15 otherwise.
UPDATE, 2:40: The latest Milton Bradley rumor? To the Red Sox for 3B Mike Lowell. The response the Chicago Tribune got from a Cubs official? "Where do you guys come come up with this stuff?" ... The Tribune also quites Cubs president Crane Kennedy suggesting there is no way they will release Bradley. "And eat $21 million?'' he said. "I've got 21 million reasons why we're not releasing him. If there's any prospect we can get back players who can help us, or save some of the money [to do other things with], why wouldn't we explore that? ... We don't have an unlimited budget.''
UPDATE, 2:36: RHP Ramon Ramirez, whom the Rays had claimed from the Reds and then released last week, was claimed today by the Red Sox. ... The Rangers and Royals are both considered to have interest in C Dioner Navarro, whom the Rays are considering trading. ... Tampa's Chris Ray, a quality reliever when healthy, is reportedly headed from Baltimore to Texas in a deal for RHP Kevin Millwood. .. RHP LaTroy Hawkins is headed to the Brewers, who also wrapped up a deal with LHP Randy Wolf. ... The White Sox have interest in Hideki Matsui.
UPDATE, 11:31: The Yankees reached agreement to re-sign LHP Andy Pettitte for a one-year, $11.75-million deal. ... The Nationals are expressing serious interest in former Rays reliever Joe Nelson. .... The Royals are looking for a catcher and Dioner Navarro would make sense if the Rays really want to trade him. ... Among the backup catchers on the market is former Rays starter Toby Hall. ... Reliever Jason Childers, who's spent most of his Rays time at Triple-A Durham, is checking out the meetings and looking for a job as a minor-league free agent. ... Add OF Jacque Jones to the list of former big-leaguers hoping to make a comeback.
DEVELOPING: The Milton Bradley story doesn't want to go away.
Despite reports Tuesday that the Cubs were supposedly close to a deal involving an AL "mystery" team, it doesn't appear that anything has really changed - that the Rays are still a possibility in a trade of Pat Burrell, but also that there is still a standstill in their negotiations over how much of Bradley's 2011 money the Cubs would be responsible for.
The Rays position doesn't appear to have changed - they remain interested and apparently willing to take a risk on the talented but troubled OF/DH on their terms, and are waiting for the Cubs to find a way to meet them.
A number of options have been explored - involving a third or even fourth team, expanding the deal between the Rays and the Cubs, having Bradley defer money.
Some people in the game still think Bradley will end up a Ray and that it could happen as soon as today. Others say they don't see any way the difference between the Cubs and Rays - which could be just a few million of the potential $15-million gap between what Burrell and Bradley are owed - could be bridged.
And while it would have to happen today to be annonced here at the winter meetings (and that in theory would allow the Cubs to pursue other deals, there is no absolutely no deadline for that to happen.
If the Cubs are looking elsewhere, it would likely be another team with a player on a "bad" contract (such as Burrell with the Rays). Seattle, and Carlos Silva, could be one, though team officials said no. Detroit, with Dontrelle Willis and Nate Robertson, could be one. Toronto, with Lyle Overbay, could be one. Kansas City, with Jose Guillen, could be one. And, for what it's worth, Cubs GM Jim Hendry was seen having breakfast Wednesday with White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.