Hot Stove: D-Mat done; moves remain
Red Sox drama over, focus shifts to other deals in the works
The Daisuke Matsuzaka situation was officially resolved Thursday as the right-hander signed a six-year deal with Boston, but there were also other Hot Stove items of note as Washington closed in on a deal that would send Jose Vidro to Seattle and Tampa Bay moved closer to getting Japanese third baseman Akinori Iwamura's signature on a contract.
And now that he's hammered out a deal with the Red Sox for his client Matsuzaka, agent Scott Boras can turn his attentions to some of his other clients who are still looking for 2007 teams, such as Barry Zito.
Trade talks continued on several fronts, with several teams continuing to hound Pittsburgh about lefty reliever Mike Gonzalez. Colorado acquired center fielder Willy Taveras from Houston on Tuesday, but it might turn around and deal him again in the coming days, with the Marlins and Cubs among the teams interested in the speedy Taveras, who finished second to Ryan Howard of Philadelphia in the 2005 National League Rookie of the Year balloting.
Elsewhere on the Thursday Hot Stove:
Cubs: The Cubs are still finalizing deals with left-hander Ted Lilly, right-hander Jason Marquis and outfielder/first baseman Daryle Ward. Lilly was expected to be announced at week's end. Cubs GM Jim Hendry has been back in the office this week after undergoing an angioplasty during the Winter Meetings in Orlando but he's cutting back on his hours at his doctor's request.
Devil Rays: The Devil Rays appear close to signing Japanese third baseman Iwamura.
Andrew Friedman, Rays executive vice president of baseball operations, and Alan Nero, Iwamura's agent, have said that the gap between both parties has been narrowed and they expect a deal to be struck before Friday's midnight deadline.
Diamondbacks: The Arizona Republic reported the D-backs' offer to free agent Mark Mulder was not good enough to get a deal done.
"Obviously, we're pleased the Diamondbacks made an initial proposal because Arizona is high on the list of teams for which Mark wishes to play," Mulder's agent Gregg Clifton said. "But in order to be in competition for his services, they'll have to sit down and restructure their proposal."
According to the paper, Arizona is believed to have pitched a five-year deal, one that includes club options where large-scale salary is back loaded and offers modest guaranteed money up front.
The East Valley Tribune, meanwhile, reported that the D-backs are talking to the Rangers about Akinori Otsuka. MLB.com reported during the Winter Meetings that the Rangers had interest in some of the D-backs' young pitching.
Indians: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports the Indians inquired about Pirates closer Gonzalez but balked at Pittsburgh's request for catcher Victor Martinez in a trade for Gonzalez. The Indians have no interest in parting with an offensively solid catcher for a reliever.
Mariners, Nationals: The Nationals are expected to trade second baseman Jose Vidro to the Mariners for outfielder Chris Snelling and pitcher Emiliano Fruto, according to Vidro and a high-ranking baseball official. Vidro has two years left on his contract, and Seattle is said to be picking up $12 million of the $16 million remaining. The deal is pending physicals.
Marlins: A number of non-tendered players appear to be on the Marlins' radar. According to the Miami Herald, some attractive players who didn't receive contract tenders on Tuesday that fit the Marlins' needs are reliever Todd Williams (Orioles), reliever Chris Reitsma (Braves), outfielders Aaron Guiel (Yankees), Jayson Werth (Dodgers) and Alexis Gomez (Tigers); and catcher Toby Hall (Dodgers).
Reitsma is recovering from elbow surgery and may not be ready to pitch until midway through Spring Training. Another non-tender the team may explore is 32-year-old outfielder Damon Hollins, formerly with the Devil Rays.
Pirates: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette also reported the Pirates have turned down a trade proposal from the Phillies that would have included Pittsburgh sending either Gonzalez or Salomon Torres to Philadelphia for starter Jon Lieber.
Red Sox: What is the holdup in announcing the signing of Drew? According to assistant general manager Jed Hoyer, Red Sox GM Theo Epstein and agent Scott Boras were so busy with the Daisuke Matsuzaka negotiations that they simply haven't had the time to finish up some of the language in Drew's deal. Look for it to be announced either late this week or early next week.
Also, the Red Sox, according to the Boston Herald, have come to terms on a deal that would bring Doug Mirabelli back as the backup catcher. Do the Red Sox have interest in bringing Roger Clemens back? "No comment," said Hoyer.
Reds: The Reds were the beneficiary of the controversy surrounding pitcher Bobby Livingston. Cincinnati claimed the left-hander off waivers Thursday from the Mariners and plan to have him compete for a spot in their rotation. Livingston spent most of last season with the Mariners' Triple-A club in Tacoma and went 8-11 with a 4.59 ERA in 23 appearances, including 22 starts. He made his Major League debut in 2006 when he appeared in three games with Seattle as a reliever.
The Devil Rays first claimed Livingston off the waiver wire on Tuesday and immediately traded him to the Phillies. Major League Baseball stepped in Thursday and nullified Tampa Bay's claim and voided the deal with Philadelphia. The Phillies were behind the Reds and other clubs for waiver claims. MLB awarded the pitcher to Cincinnati as a result.
Rockies: One-time top draft pick Eric DuBose, a left-handed pitcher who pitched in five seasons with the Orioles, has signed a Minor League deal with the Rockies, player development director Marc Gustafson told MLB.com on Wednesday.
"Eric has a history with [Rockies front-office official] Mark Wiley, who was his pitching coach in '04," Gustafson said of DuBose, the Athletics' top pick in 1997. "He has started and relieved, and has fastball command -- 86-89 mph, with a changeup."
Lefty reliever Mike Gallo, who pitched in the 2005 World Series with the Astros, also is on Minor League contract.
As general manager Dan O'Dowd indicated to MLB.com on Tuesday, when he traded right-hander Jason Jennings to the Astros for right-handers Jason Hirsh and Taylor Buchholz as well as center fielder Taveras, the Rockies haven't inked Taveras' name into the center field spot because they may deal him.
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that the Rockies have asked about center fielder Brady Clark, but the Brewers did not attempt to acquire Rockies shortstop Clint Barmes as had been reported elsewhere.
Yankees: The New York Daily News is reporting that even though the club has Andy Pettitte and most likely has Kei Igawa on the way and Clemens on their radar, they may also have interest in Joel Pineiro. The Daily News said a person familiar with the Yankees' thinking said the team also has renewed interest in the right-hander, who became a free agent Tuesday when he was not tendered a contract by the Mariners.
Pineiro is 28 and made $6.8 million last season when he went 8-13 with a career-worst 6.36 ERA in 40 appearances -- including 25 starts before he was shifted to the bullpen in August. The newspaper reported the Yanks also had expressed interest in Pineiro before the July 31 trade deadline before acquiring Cory Lidle in the Bobby Abreu trade.
Jim Molony is a reporter for MLB.com. MLB.com reporters contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.