Baseball winter meetings end with a little flurry

Posted: Tuesday, December 16, 2003

NEW ORLEANS Carl Everett, Scott Spiezio and Jeff Suppan switched teams in a late flurry, while potential deals for Alex Rodriguez, Vladimir Guerrero and other stars stayed on hold Monday when the winter meetings ended.

The Baltimore Orioles packed up, having signed Miguel Tejada and still hoping to lure Guerrero, Ivan Rodriguez or Javy Lopez.

''We're not ready to step up and meet their demands, but we'll continue the conversations,'' Orioles vice president Jim Beattie said.

No trade yet for A-Rod, either. Texas general manager John Hart came to town wanting to complete talks one way or the other on a potential deal to send the AL MVP to Boston for Manny Ramirez.

''There's dialogue ongoing between the parties, but really we're not privy to any of it,'' said Rodriguez's agent, Scott Boras said. ''This is definitely an owners' situation.''

Roger Clemens remained on Houston's radar screen, too. A stunt by a Houston radio station couldn't drive the Rocket back into baseball he turned down an offer for an SUV if he'd announce by Monday that he'd pitch for the Astros.

''You guys are going to have to hang onto your Hummer because nothing's changed,'' Clemens told KKRW-FM. ''I'm retired right now.''

By early evening, the hotel lobby that teemed with baseball executives and agents for nearly four days was taken over by Memphis football fans, ready to watch their team take on North Texas in the New Orleans Bowl on Tuesday night.

Even so, it was a busy-enough session. There were 11 trades, with a few coming on the final day: Montreal sent catcher Michael Barrett to Oakland, Arizona shipped outfielder Quinton McCracken to Seattle for Greg Colbrunn and Minnesota dealt outfielder Dustan Mohr to San Francisco.

Everett joined Montreal in one of the eight free-agent signings announced at these meetings. Also Monday, Spiezio agreed with Seattle, Suppan went to St. Louis and Roberto Hernandez headed for Philadelphia.

And, look for more movement.

The Seattle Mariners may be ready to trade starter Freddy Garcia, and there was speculation they could send third baseman Jeff Cirillo to the New York Mets for Roger Cedeno.

Chicago White Sox stars Frank Thomas and Magglio Ordonez could become available. The Los Angeles Dodgers are desperate to add hitters, and perhaps could wind up with Nomar Garciaparra if the Red Sox get Rodriguez from the Rangers.

Greg Maddux also is in the market for a new team, with San Diego showing the most interest in the four-time Cy Young winner cut loose by Atlanta.

Also on deck: The New York Yankees, the only team that did not send top officials to the meetings, are expected to finalize deals with Gary Sheffield and Kenny Lofton.

The Expos gave Everett, 33, a deal that guarantees him $7.5 million. The All-Star outfielder hit .287 last season with 28 homers and 92 RBIs for Texas and the White Sox. Montreal GM Omar Minaya tried to get him last summer before Chicago acquired him.

''We needed to replace some of the offense we lost with Vladimir,'' Minaya said.

The Mariners reached preliminary agreement with Spiezio. The three-year deal for about $9 million cannot be finalized until he passes a physical.

Suppan and St. Louis agreed to a $6 million, two-year contract. The right-hander, 29 next month, went 13-11 with a 4.19 ERA for Pittsburgh and Boston last season.



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