Rockies' interest in Wilson wanes

Rockies' interest in Wilson wanes

Preston Wilson apparently won't be returning to the Rockies after all.

Colorado and Houston had been discussing a deal that would re-unite the outfielder with the franchise he played for from 2003 through the first half of last season, but Colorado general manager Dan O'Dowd indicated Monday night that the Rockies' interest in Wilson had cooled.

"I don't think we're in that mix any more at this point in time," O'Dowd said. "I think we're going to stay committed to the guys we've got here at this point in time. The more we looked at it, it just wasn't the right fit."

Wilson, 32, has more RBIs (55) this season than any Astro except Lance Berkman, but with the emergence of Luke Scott in left field, Wilson had seen limited playing time during his final weeks with the Astros.

Wilson had only nine at bats from July 29 until he was designated for assignment on Aug. 11. Since then the clock has been ticking on the Astros, who have until Aug. 21 to trade, release or send Wilson to the Minor Leagues.

"Everything that comes along we kick around, but I think at this point in time we're probably going to [stand pat]," O'Dowd said. "Ryan Spilborghs has played so well and the concerns we have over center field, if we bring somebody in here, they've got to be able to play center field. We just didn't think it was a good fit at this point in time. I think we're done. We could get an injury, or something else could happen, but if nothing happens I don't think we're going to change gears from where we are right now."

Colorado may have bowed out, but the Astros are still looking for a trade partner for the 32-year-old Wilson.

"I think if they don't trade him by tomorrow they're going to go ahead and release him and let us sign with another club," Wilson's agent Bob Bry said Monday. "Then they would be on the hook for the balance of his contract. [Houston GM] Tim [Purpura] told me he'd go ahead and release Preston and let us make our own deal, starting tomorrow."

The Astros are responsible for the roughly $1.4 million remaining on Wilson's $4 million contract. The one-year agreement also contains a three-year team option for 2007-09 worth $24 million or a $500,000 buyout.

Wilson enjoyed the best year of his career in 2003 with Colorado, when he hit .282 with 36 home runs and a league-leading 141 RBIs.

Wilson is one of a dozen players designated for assignment currently without a team, not to mention the 30 or so free agents still available.

The activity hasn't been limited to DFAs and free agents.

The Diamondbacks have talked to the Mets about a deal involving outfielder Shawn Green, a person familiar with recent talks between the clubs said. Trading Green to the Mets would require his permission since his contract includes a no-trade clause that prevents him from being traded to any team except for the Padres, Angels and Giants without his consent.

New York Newsday reported that Green, who has one year at $9.5 million left on his contract plus a club option for 2008 or a $2 million buyout, had cleared waivers. D-Backs general manager Josh Byrnes declined to comment about any player and the waiver process.

Moving Green would open up a spot for highly-regarded rookie Carlos Quentin to play every day. Since being called up from Triple-A Tucson last month, Quentin has hit .306 with four homers in just 49 at-bats.

A source said the talks were "something that could get warmer, but not yet." The Mets apparently want to wait to see how Cliff Floyd and his Achilles tendinitis respond to inactivity before deciding if they need to find a replacement in the outfield.

The Marlins are looking for outfield help, especially a center fielder and the team has not ruled out pulling the trigger on a deal before the waiver deadline expires on Aug. 31. has learned a couple of center field candidates on the Marlins' radar are Boston Minor League prospect David Murphy, and Willy Taveras, the speedster from the Astros.

In exchange, the Red Sox are looking for relief help, and left-hander Taylor Tankersley's name has surfaced. The Marlins have a number of pitching prospects should the team not want to part with Tankersley, who has been effective in late-inning setup roles.

Murphy, 24, was the Red Sox's first pick in 2003 out of Baylor. He opened the season with Double-A Portland, playing center field. A left-handed hitter and thrower, Murphy appeared in 42 games and was hitting .273 with three home runs and 25 RBIs before being called up to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he was hitting .277 with seven homers and 38 RBIs through Aug. 11. He is playing right field and center field in Triple-A, and has been bothered recently with a sore back.

Taveras is another interesting possibility. One of the fastest players in the game, he can lead off and cover a lot of ground in the outfield. Through Sunday, Taveras was riding a 16-game hitting streak. A right-handed hitter and fielder, Taveras is in his second full season. He's batting .275 with 19 steals.

Other DFAs with undecided status include left-handed pitcher Randy Choate, second baseman William Bergolla, right-hander Jeff Fulchino, left-hander Randy Keisler, right-hander Guillermo Mota, catcher Jason Phillips, outfielder Luis Terrero, second baseman Ramon Vazquez, right-hander Mike Koplove and infielder/outfielder Eli Marrero.

To be outrighted, a DFA player must first clear waivers. If released, the player will receive all of his remaining salary, but if he signs with a new team the new salary will be deducted from what the previous team owed the player.

Jim Molony is a writer for reporters Steve Gilbert, Joe Frisaro and Owen Perkins also contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.