11/15/2006 6:02 PM ET
Do Yanks have view to a Gil?
Report: Bombers interested in right-hander Meche
By Jim Street / MLB.com
Right-handed starter Gil Meche had an 11-8 record and 4.48 ERA in 32 starts for the Mariners last season.
Who says lightning doesn't strike twice in the same place?
It could happen during the Hot Stove season as New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman attempts to assemble a starting rotation that can enable the Bronx Bombers to capture their 10th consecutive American League East title and the franchise's 27th World Series championship.
A report out of the Big Apple on Wednesday mentioned that the Yankees have "shown an interest" in free-agent right-hander Gil Meche, born and raised in the same city Yankees pitching coach Ron Guidry calls home -- Lafayette, La.
Guidry was known as "Louisiana Lightning" because he had such a terrific fastball during his brilliant Major League career with the Bronx Bombers.
Meche also has a nickname: "Louisiana Lightning II."
The similarity ends there.
While Guidry won 170 games and a Cy Young Award in his big-league career, Meche's claim to fame during his 55-win career with the Seattle Mariners came in 2003, when he won both of his starts at Yankee Stadium. Meche surrendered one run in 15 2/3 innings, and defeated both Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte.
Though the short right-field fence in Yankee Stadium could be a strike against Meche, a fly-ball pitcher, he's still young (28) and entering what should be the prime years of his career.
The going price figures to be about $9 million a season and a three- or four-year deal seems reasonable in the current market. Meche had an 11-8 record and 4.48 ERA in 32 starts for the Mariners last season and made $3.7 million.
The Yankees actually might have a bigger catch than Meche in their sights.
According to Newsday, the organization has held internal discussions about acquiring Dontrelle Willis from the Florida Marlins. Any Yankees trade package for the left-hander would probably have to include Melky Cabrera, as the Marlins' greatest need is an affordable center fielder. Even if Florida is to deal Willis, the newspaper said the Yankees would likely have stiff competition from the Diamondbacks, Dodgers and Mets, each of whom could probably offer better packages.
As you see, the burners on the Hot Stove are starting to sizzle a little hotter as the offseason moves towards Thanksgiving.
In other developments:
Red Sox: Aside from getting Daisuke Matsuzaka signed to a contract by Dec. 15, the other big item on Boston's agenda is bulking up the bullpen. The Boston Herald reported that the Sox met with the Astros at the GM meetings on Tuesday. The report speculated that three of the players Boston acquired about were relievers Brad Lidge, Brad Qualls and Dan Wheeler. For his part, Astros GM Tim Purpura refuted the Herald report.
Mariners: Sources say the Mariners will not bid for the rights to negotiate with Hanshin Tigers left-hander Kei Igawa, who has yet to be posted. Mariners majority owner Hiroshi Yamauchi, who recently balked at joining the bid process for Matsuzaka, has let it be known that he has no interest in Igawa. Right-hander Adam Eaton told the Everett Herald that the Mariners are one of the teams he would be interested in signing with, and insisted that the finger injury that kept him sidelined for much of last season with the Rangers is completely healed.
Rangers: Talks between the Rangers and Eaton's agent, Jim Lindell, continue. Lindell told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that 18 teams have expressed interest in the pitcher and eight of them "showed strong interest." Outfielder David Dellucci told the newspaper that he has been contacted by 11 teams. He said his preference is to return to the Rangers, but is looking for playing time and a multi-year contract.
Padres: After watching Nomar Garciaparra make a smooth transition from shortstop to first base with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Padres could be considering Garciaparra as the team's next second baseman. According to a report in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Garciaparra, Todd Walker and Ray Durham have moved to the top of the Padres' list of free-agent second base candidates to replace Josh Barfield.
Marlins: The Marlins have interest in Devil Rays center fielder Rocco Baldelli, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. To acquire the speedy outfielder, the paper said the team may consider parting with one of these starters: Josh Johnson, Scott Olsen or Ricky Nolasco. Also, the Phillies remain aggressive in their pursuit of free agent Wes Helms, who would help fill a void at third base while providing depth at first base. The Marlins also are hopeful of retaining Helms, but he may be out of Florida's price range.
Giants: San Francisco has contacted Juan Pierre's agent and are also staying in touch with Gary Matthews Jr., Dave Roberts and Jay Payton as the Giants try to find a center fielder and leadoff hitter. And, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Giants continue to talk to Rich Aurilia about playing third base.
Indians: The Tribe has talked with free-agent reliever Danys Baez, a former Indian, according to the Plain Dealer. Baez wants an opportunity to close, and the Indians are in need of a closer. But the cost for Baez in a thin market might be more than the Indians are willing to pay.
Blue Jays: Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi told the Toronto Sun that he had contacted the agents for starters Vicente Padilla, Randy Wolf and Meche, and shortstop Alex Gonzalez. The Jays might be forced to find a replacement for pitcher Ted Lilly, who is reportedly seeking a four-year deal worth between $35-40 million. Padilla reportedly is seeking a four-year deal worth around $40 million.
Catcher Gregg Zaun, who is acting as his own agent, told MLB.com that he has been contacted by about a dozen teams, including the Blue Jays. "There have been some surprises -- some teams that you never would've thought were interested. The offers have been very interesting. That's how I would classify it," he said.
Athletics: General manager Billy Beane spoke with Arn Tellem, the agent for designated hitter Frank Thomas, on Tuesday. Tellem is exploring the open market for Thomas, who is a free agent, and Beane expects to get a chance to match any offer Thomas receives.
Cubs: Now that the Cubs have taken care of their infield by signing third baseman Aramis Ramirez and second baseman Mark DeRosa, general manager Jim Hendry will turn his attention to finding some more offense and filling the rotation vacancies. Hendry has had conversations with agents representing both Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Lee, and would likely favor Soriano because he's more versatile and younger. Another name the Cubs are watching is the Japanese pitcher Igawa, who was expected to be posted by the Hanshin Tigers.
Astros: GM Tim Purpura met with the agent for Carlos Lee on Wednesday and planned to speak with Alfonso Soriano's agent later in the evening. He estimated he'll continue to have "daily talks" with both agents. Purpura also spoke with Barry Meister, the agent for right-hander Woody Williams, on Tuesday.
Orioles: The Baltimore Sun reported that the Orioles have made multi-year offers to right-hander reliever Justin Speier and southpaw relievers Mike Stanton and Jamie Walker. The offers to Speier and Walker are believed to be worth in excess of $10 million. The Sun also reported that the Orioles might be close to bringing back first baseman Kevin Millar. Walker is being eyed by at least five teams and is expected to land a three-year deal by the time the process is over. Detroit, Houston, the White Sox, Angels and Mets are among other teams interested in Walker.
Pirates: Right-hander Ryan Vogelsong is set to sign a contract with the Hashin Tigers, according to the Japan Times. Vogelsong pitched in 20 games for the Pirates and 11 games for Triple-A Indianapolis last season.