Final day of winter meetings recap

BY foxsports • December 11, 2009

It's Day 4 of the winter meetings. Who's going where? Follow along as our team of Ken Rosenthal, Jon Paul Morosi and Tracy Ringolsby break the latest news from Indy. Note: all times ET.

Wednesday's winter meetings rundown | Tuesday | Monday

Thursday's latest news and notes

Mariners pursue Lackey, eye Washburn and Davis — 6:15 p.m.

The Mariners missed on signing Rich Harden, who went to the rival Rangers on a one-year contract. But they're still looking for a starting pitcher.

Multiple major league sources said Seattle is still pursuing John Lackey, the No. 1 free agent starter on this winter's market.

Sources also indicated that the Mariners are looking at left-handed free agents Jarrod Washburn and Doug Davis. (Safeco Field is well-suited for southpaw starters.)

Washburn went 8-6 with a 2.64 ERA in 20 starts for the Mariners this year before being sent to Detroit at the non-waiver trade deadline. He underwent off-season surgery on his left knee but said last month that it feels "like I didn't even have a surgery."

Washburn said last month that the Brewers, Twins and Mariners were among the teams that interested him. Since then, the Brewers (Randy Wolf) and Twins (Carl Pavano) have each plucked one starter from the free agent pool; the Mariners have not.

Davis is a natural candidate to pitch in Seattle, because Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik is familiar with him from their time together in Milwaukee. But Davis hasn't pitched for an American League team since 2003, and he went 9-14 with a 4.12 ERA in Arizona this year. -- Jon Paul Morosi

Rangers make Harden deal official — 5:37 p.m.

The Rangers have signed pitcher Rich Harden to a one-year contract with a mutual club option.

The financial terms were not disclosed, but are valued at $7.5 million according to published reports, which qualifies the deal as one of the biggest surprises of the winter meetings. -- Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi

Astros get three pieces instead of keeping Valverde — 4:56 p.m.

Until Monday night, it seemed possible that Jose Valverde would return to the Astros on a one-year deal worth around $10 million.

Instead, Houston will end up with three players for a little more than that, in cash commitments for 2010.

Here's how it happened.

On Monday night, Valverde freed the Astros from the $10 million obligation by refusing their offer of salary arbitration.

On Wednesday, the Astros acquired two right-handed relievers: Matt Lindstrom in a trade with the Marlins, Brandon Lyon via free agency.

Lindstrom will probably earn around $1.5 million in arbitration. Lyon's deal is worth $15 million over three years.

Then the Astros signed third baseman Pedro Feliz to a one-year, $4.5 million deal on Thursday.

So, they ended up with Lindstrom, Lyon and Feliz for almost the same amount of money — in 2010, anyway — that it would have cost them to keep Valverde.

Whether you're a fan of those three players or not, we can agree that Houston general manager Ed Wade has more talent on his roster now than if Valverde had accepted the arbitration offer.

Royals progressing toward deal with Kendall — 4:02 p.m.

The Royals are progressing toward a two-year agreement with catcher Jason Kendall, multiple major league sources indicated Thursday afternoon.

One source believes the contract will be worth more than $4 million, but that could not be immediately confirmed.

Kendall batted .244 as the Brewers' everyday catcher over the past two seasons but was replaced there by Gregg Zaun. Kendall played in the American League with the A's from 2005 through 2007. -- Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi

UPDATED: Feliz signs 1-year deal with Astros — 1:34 p.m.

Free-agent third baseman Pedro Feliz has signed a one-year, $4.5 million contract with the Astros.

The deal is the Astros' third major transaction of the winter meetings.

The Astros on Wednesday obtained right-handed reliever Matt Lindstrom in a trade with the Marlins and reached agreement on a three-year, $15 million contract with another right-handed reliever, free agent Brandon Lyon. -- Ken Rosenthal

Sabean reiterates Giants' standing on Holliday, Bay — 3:04 p.m.

As Giants general manager Brian Sabean prepared to leave the winter meetings on Thursday, he reiterated that free agent left fielders Jason Bay and Matt Holliday will likely be out of San Francisco's price range.

"They're beyond our limits," he said. "We don't have the wherewithal to pay them the dollars they want."

That is probably welcome news to the Red Sox and Cardinals, who are still trying to re-sign Bay and Holliday, respectively. The Angels, Mariners, Yankees and Mets are also in the marketplace for corner outfielders.

Sabean also downplayed the possibility that the Giants would sign free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre. Sabean likes Beltre but doubts that an offer from San Francisco would be the biggest of any that Beltre receives.

Braves close to dealing R. Soriano — Updated 11:56 a.m.

The Braves are in the final stages of completing a trade that will send Rafael Soriano to the Rays for fellow right-handed reliever Jesse Chavez.

The deal is not official because the teams are working through an exchange of medical information and perhaps other issues. Tampa Bay needs to reach agreement on financial terms with Soriano before the trade can become official, sources said. That agreement is essentially in place; the Rays will sign Soriano to a one-year contract in the $7 million range.

Soriano's permission would be required, because he accepted the Braves' offer of arbitration earlier this week and is thus considered a signed player. Full story...-- Ken Rosenthal

Sources: Mariners renew pursuit of Gonzalez — 11:38 a.m.

Near the end of the same week in which they finalized an agreement with Chone Figgins, the Mariners remained active on a number of fronts:

  • Most notably, major-league sources said they are (again) exploring an Adrian Gonzalez trade with the Padres, renewing a pursuit that began prior to the July non-waiver trade deadline.

    While some in the industry question whether Jed Hoyer would want to trade Gonzalez in his first major transaction as the new San Diego general manager, one source said Thursday that the slugging first baseman "could be had in the right deal."

    Still, a discussion between San Diego and Seattle about Gonzalez at the winter meetings failed to generate any momentum, one source said.

  • Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik acknowledged that the team remains interested in signing Adrian Beltre, the top free-agent third baseman still available.

    Figgins is willing to accommodate Beltre by moving to second base, sources say. That scenario would involve trading second baseman Jose Lopez or allowing first baseman Russell Branyan to sign elsewhere.

    Beltre spent the past five seasons in Seattle, hitting .266 and averaging roughly 21 home runs and 79 RBIs per year. The Mariners also place a high value on his defense, which has earned him two Gold Gloves. Full story... -- Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi

    Pirates target Rockies minor-leaguer — 5:13 a.m.

    Pittsburgh is planning to select right-handed pitcher Craig Baker out of the Colorado system in the Rule V draft. Converted to a reliever after he signed in pro ball, Baker has spent three full years at the Single-A level — including the last two with Modesto — averaging four strikeouts per one walk, and 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings.

    In 2009, he led the California League in appearances (62) and saves (33), giving up one home run in 62 2/3 innings. --Tracy Ringolsby

    Bradley trade talks at impasse — 4:19 a.m.

    Drip, drip, drip.

    The Milton Bradley discussions between the Cubs and Rays remained at an impasse after a late-night meeting between the clubs' respective general managers on Wednesday night.

    The best way to break the logjam, one source said, would be for the Cubs to "increase the value" of the trade to the Rays, most likely by offering additional players.

    The sticking point in the talks is the $21 million that Bradley is owed in the final two years of his contract. Outfielder Pat Burrell, the player the Cubs would receive, will earn $9 million next season.

    The teams cannot agree upon just how much of the $12 million difference the Cubs would pay.

    The Cubs likely would spin Burrell to another club if a trade were completed. They not only would want the additional savings, but also would have no spot for Burrell, who has played only left field in his career. The Cubs' left fielder, Alfonso Soriano, is considered inadequate for right.

    The Rays appear to be the only team still interested in Bradley. The Rangers no longer are pursuing him. The Red Sox, sources said, briefly considered acquiring Bradley for third baseman Mike Lowell, but instead decided to send Lowell to the Rangers in a deal that must clear several obstacles to become official. -- Ken Rosenthal

    Sources: Phils, Halos lead Halladay chase — 4:13 a.m.

    The Roy Halladay sweepstakes are back to where they were last July.

    The Phillies and Angels again have emerged as the front-runners in trade discussions for the Blue Jays' ace right-hander, according to major-league sources.

    The Phillies, one source said, are offering a package of young players, likely including left-hander J.A. Happ and one of two outfielders, Domonic Brown or Michael Taylor. Full story

    Sources: BoSox ready to send Lowell to Texas — 12:22 a.m.

    The Rangers and Red Sox reached preliminary agreement late Wednesday night on a trade that will send Mike Lowell to Texas for catcher/first baseman Max Ramirez, major league sources told

    The deal is not final, however, for a number of reasons. Among them: Lowell's hip, which was surgically repaired after the 2008 season, and his right thumb, which he injured toward the end of the season.

    "This thing could still blow up," one source said. Full story

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