The Diamondbacks seemed to expand their trade talk Thursday at the general managers’ meetings after three days of focus on the New York Yankees (who would get Curt Schilling) and Milwaukee Brewers (who could deal Richie Sexson).
Arizona’s representatives, including general manager Joe Garagiola Jr., were seen with parties from the Florida Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies, among other teams. Garagiola also huddled with assistant GM Sandy Johnson and director of baseball operations Bob Miller for internal discussions.
"It was just more exploration of different combinations of things," Garagiola said of the day’s activity.
"I think there is some sense that the next appropriate thing to do is to kind of go back and sort of sort it all out (and) pick up the thread of the discussion maybe next week over the phone. I think that everybody feels like they’ve gathered a lot of information and now it’s time to process it a little bit."
Negotiations with the Yankees and Brewers seem stalled, if not at an impasse, so the Marlins and Phillies provide alternate options. Schilling has said he would prefer to go to Philadelphia if Arizona trades him (and his $12 million salary) for financial relief, and Florida has another power-hitting first baseman who could be available in Derrek Lee.
Florida may move Lee — who is eligible for arbitration with a projected salary of about $7 million — because it needs to find a way to play third baseman Mike Lowell, left fielder/first baseman Jeff Conine and infielder/outfielder Miguel Cabrera. Playing at pitcher haven Pro Player Stadium, Lee hit 31 homers in 2003 — 20 of those on the road.
While the Marlins may not have been specific in talks with the Diamondbacks (a total of eight officials from both teams sat together for 15 minutes Thursday), Junior Spivey could fill Florida’s need for a second baseman if Luis Castillo leaves via free agency.
The Brewers are willing to take some payroll back in exchange for Sexson, who hit 45 home runs last season but will make $8.6 million next year.
A package for Sexson including Spivey, infielder Craig Counsell, first baseman Lyle Overbay and some young pitchers would total about $6.5 million.
Which young pitchers, however, is far from settled. Arizona doesn’t want to part with Edgar Gonzalez or Oscar Villarreal; Milwaukee isn’t interested in John Patterson. (Also, the Brewers do not want to take on outfielder Danny Bautista’s $4 million contract).
The Yankees won’t trade talented second baseman Alfonso Soriano for Schilling, but the Phillies haven’t been offering much either.
With the Yankees knowing the D-Backs need to cut payroll, and the Diamondbacks knowing the Brewers have to move salary, it could be a pair of contests to see who budges off their demands.
SHORT HOPS: Major League Baseball’s executive vice president of baseball operations Sandy Alderson said midday Thursday he has not looked into possible tampering charges against the Diamondbacks. Arizona managing general partner Jerry Colangelo was forthcoming about the team’s interest in Sexson, Soriano and New York’s Nick Johnson in a television interview Tuesday. Manager Bob Brenly also openly discussed Sexson on TV on Wednesday.