Newsday’s Ken Davidoff previews the winter meetings.
Randy Johnson probably will be the top player included in a trade. He is not overpaid, but simply on a rebuilding Arizona team that is better off spending $16 million elsewhere (or pocketing it, to deal with its massive debt). The Yankees might not be the Diamondbacks’ top choice for a trading partner, given the Yankees’ lack of major league-ready prospects, but remember that The Big Unit — armed with his no-trade clause — still controls his destiny. And his top choice remains the Yankees.
The Cubs’ Sammy Sosa will be extremely difficult to trade, and the Yankees have no shot to unload Jason Giambi, not after Giambi’s injury- and illness-prone 2004.
The Mets could find a taker for Cliff Floyd. The Yankees will have to pay the freight for most of Kevin Brown’s $15 million. The Padres have Ryan Klesko and Phil Nevin if you’re interested.
There has been much ado about the possible availability of Athletics starting pitchers Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito. A’s general manager Billy Beane probably would trade only Zito, most executives believe. A reunion of Zito and Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson still makes sense to us.
And then there’s this winter’s elephant in the corner, agent Scott Boras, who represents top free agents Carlos Beltran, Adrian Beltre, J.D. Drew, Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek. One competing, admiring agent predicted that Boras’ clients will eradicate the progress made by owners the previous two years in scaling back salaries.
Boras has no qualms about waiting out the market; last year, Ivan Rodriguez signed with the Tigers in January and Greg Maddux joined the Cubs in February. Don’t expect the rest of baseball to wait around for Boras. Said one American League executive: “Boras is a complete aberration. No one will enter into the Boras market unless they don’t care about the rest of the market. His guys are in a vacuum.”