Most of the big free agents are off the board, but there are still some compelling names out there and rumors about impending trades persist.

Let’s take a look at some of those rumors:

1. Kenny Lofton to the Rangers. Lofton is an enigma. He’s a formerly elite player who used to be the best leadoff guy in the game. Now? He’s still pretty good. The last two seasons he’s been a reliable force at the top of the order for both the Phillies and Dodgers. Rumor is that Lofton is about to sign with the Rangers. He was asking for $6 million for one season. That’s a lot of money to pay a guy with history of injuries. On the other hand, he’s been relatively healthy the last two years and is good for .300, 40 RBIs and 30 stolen bases.

Let’s put it this way: the Phillies just traded two top prospects for Freddy Garcia, who will make $10 million this year, is in the final year of his contract and is essentially a one-year rental. Lofton won’t cost the Rangers a single prospect, just money. And he’ll bring stability to the outfield and the top of their order. So maybe $6 million isn’t so sillly.

2. Roger Clemens to the Red Sox. The possibility of Clemens signing with the Sox seemed remote when it looked like the Sox were going to sign Matsuzaka. But now it seems the world’s best pitcher will be heading back to Japan for at least one more year. So the Sox all of a sudden have an opening on their staff.

The other teams in the running for Clemens? It’s hard to imagine Roger will sign with the Astros again, after his buddy Andy Petitte bolted Houston. Plus, the ‘Stros just don’t look like they’ll be very good in 2007. That leaves the Yankees. It’s been said Clemens will be more likely to sign with the Yankees now that Petitte has returned to the Bronx. But I suspect Clemens would value the opportunity to pitch against his friend almost as much as he would enjoy pitching with him. So if I had to guess, I’d say Clemens will be a Sox come June.

Still, the Yanks would have a spot for Clemens if they manage to unload Carl Pavano. And speaking of Pavano…

3. Carl Pavano to the Cardinals. Newsday is reporting that the Cardinals have asked to see Pavano’s expansive medical records. Could the redbirds really be interested in taking the oft-injured pitcher off the Yankees hands? The World Series champs do need starting pitching, especially if they lose both Jeff Weaver, Mark Mulder and Jeff Suppan in free agency.

The Yankees probably wouldn’t ask for much in return for Pavano — just that the Cardinals take over responsibility for most of his salary. Come to think of it, that is a lot to ask.

8 Responses to “Warm Stove Notes”

  1. Just a question, are the Cardinals smoking crack? How desperate for starting pitching must they be to look at the biggest joke of 2006? Yeah, he can come back and possibly be ok, I say mediocre at best, if he’s going to dominate, it will take all of 2007 to get there, and 2008 will be his year. No chump change left on that contract!

  2. Sarah Green says:

    Ward, does this mean your bizarre and possibly hormone-fueled hatred of the Red Sox has come to an end?

  3. Sarah Green says:

    Also, I have to mention that I think it’s crrrazy that they all got on the plane together and KEPT NEGOTIATING on the flight to Boston. Oh the drama!

  4. John

    I agree John, but if he gets a splinter from a piece of Pujols corked bats then you know he is done. he’ll milk that splinter injury for at least a year.

  5. Not to mention the potential hazzards of the dugout snack of champs, sunflower seeds…choking/splinters/slipping and falling on discarded shells. If we could put Pavano in a plastic bubble or one of those inflatable sumo wrestling suits as soon as he leaves the mound, there might be hope.

  6. To think that at the start of 2006 and into spring training, at 1/2 the pitching payroll that the Sox have after this signing and a few high price tagged others, they considered themselves to have an excess of starting pitching. Exit Sox hero hometown discount undervalued contract Bronson Arroyo (should I add some salt and say NL AllStar, MLB most innings pitched pitcher, never been injured…), Exit DL King and Prince of the I want to go back West Wells. I think Epstein has some work to do to repair some very poor 2006 decisions.

  7. Sorry Sarah…I respected Arroyo, and always felt he was undervalued and underestimated. I have a hard time forgiving the Sox for that “business decision”.

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