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– Contrary to earlier rumours, it now appears as though LHP Cliff Lee’s contract negotiations were not the reason why the Phillies opted to send him packing. Lee’s agent says that the early contract-extension talks that occurred since the season’s end were all positive. Lee’s move to the M’s is mostly driven by a few factors: removing his $9M salary and adding the cash the Jays are sending over in order to keep the budget around $140M as well as the prospects the team gets in return. The Mariners’ prospects that will come to Philadelphia will quickly replace the guys that Philly is sending to Toronto for RHP Roy Halladay.
– A source has informed Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com that the Red Sox are “working hard” to obtain Padres 1B Adrian Gonzalez. “A deal is not close, and might not happen at all,” sources told Rosenthal, but the Red Sox are clearly making a strong effort. The Padres have no real reason to trade Gonzalez at this point and are asking for a monstrous package of young talent in return. The 27-year-old first baseman posted a .958 OPS and 40 home runs in 2009 while earning just $3M. He’s only owed $4.75M in 2010 and carries a bargain $5.5M club option for 2011.
– Mets GM Omar Minaya is scheduled to meet with OF Matt Holliday’s agent, Scott Boras, as early as Wednesday. The Mets recently upped their offer to free agent OF Jason Bay and are apparently getting serious about landing a top-tier bat. Holliday, 29, finished with a .313/.394/.515 batting line in 2009 with 24 home runs and 104 RBI. The Cardinals recently sent him an offer worth around $16M annually on either a five-year or eight-year tenure, and stands as the only offer to date. Boras could be trying drum up a market for his client and involving a New York team is never a bad idea, but the actual level of interest the Mets have in Holliday remains unknown.
– According to the Boston Globe, LHP Aroldis Chapman attracted scouts from 14 different teams on Tuesday. The 6’4″, 21-year-old lefty’s fastball averaged around 92-94 mph, but supposedly got up to 97 mph. He also showed off a slider and changeup. Those 14 teams included the Red Sox, Angels, Cubs, Mariners, Marlins, Mets, Orioles, Phillies, Pirates, Rangers, Royals, Reds, and the Yankees. Chapman is expected to sign a deal worth $15M annually.
– The NY Post speculates that while talks are very far apart between the Yankees and OF Johnny Damon, theres’ an outside chance that he could sign with the Mets.
– According to Marlins RHP Josh Johnson’s agent, Matt Sosnick, the Fish and his client are not close on long-term contract negotiations. The Marlins offered a three-year/$23M contract, while Johnson wants a four-year deal for at least $42M. Johnson and Sosnick are using the four-year/$38M deal the Royals gave ace RHP Zach Greinke in January as a yardstick. Sosnick said, “Greinke signed his deal coming off a worse year than Josh had. We’re not going to do a deal that does not far exceed Greinke’s deal for four years.” Sosnick believes Johnson will pitch for the Marlins in 2010 before getting traded next offseason. “My hope is that he signs a long-term deal and stays in Florida. But I would say it’s much more likely that we’ll do a one-year deal this year and he’s playing for somebody else in 2011.”
– According to the NY Post’s Bart Hubbuch, a Mets official said RHP Ryota Igarashi’s signing is “going to happen.” A signing is not imminent, however, as the sides continue to negotiate the finer points of a contract agreement. Igarashi’s agent, Arn Tellem, said earlier in the day that the Mets were “in serious discussions” to sign the veteran Japanese reliever. In New York, Igarashi would serve as a set-up man to RHP Francisco Rodriguez. The 30-year-old is known as one of the hardest throwing pitchers in Japan, but he has yet to perfect his command. The Mets have serious competition for Igarashi, as the Yankees, Red Sox, Mariners and Indians, amongst others, have reported interest. Igarashi was 3-2 with a 3.19 ERA in 56 games with the Yakult Swallows in ’09.
– The Phillies have signed OF Ross Gload.
– The Royals have signed RHP Philip Humber.
– The Marlins have signed RHP Clay Hensley.
– The Nationals have signed RHP Joe Peralta.
– The Astros have signed LHP Gustavo Chacin.
– The Marlins have signed SS Brian Barden.
– OF Ryan Langerhans has filed for free agency.
– ESPN reports that the Blazers are shopping G Steve Blake. The team has been looking for suitors for G Andre Miller, but teams around the league have been looking at Blake rather than Miller. Blake is also a UFA at season’s end.
– Mike Holmgren exited Browns headquarters without a contract in place with the organization on Tuesday.
A team spokesman confirmed the visit, which consisted of dining with owner Randy Lerner and meeting coaches. Two NFL sources say Holmgren might ask for $10Mn a year to take a position as overseer of football operations. The Browns still must satisfy the Rooney Rule, making it possible that a wink-and-nod agreement was reached pending a minority candidate interview.
– The Raiders have signed QB J.P. Losman.
– Monday’s three-hour edition of Raw drew a 3.3 cable rating off of hours of 2.95, 3.48 and 3.44. During it’s usual time slot, it averaged 3.5. Monday Night Football on ESPN drew a 9.6 rating.