"It's always been my experience that between now and tomorrow midday that's when a lot of stuff, it gets either momentum or it's get crushed," Kansas City general manager Dayton Moore said Tuesday afternoon. "And if it gets crushed, it's done."
Here are the latest whispers from lobby of the Dolphin Hotel awaiting that dispensation:
Bronx return or Houston send-off?: Pettitte, who is considering retirement but has offers from the Yankees (one year, $15 million) and Astros (unspecified) is expected to make a decision before Christmas, but multiple sources indicated Pettitte could decide soon, perhaps within a week.
"The trend line is more optimistic [that he'll play]," said agent Randy Hendricks, adding that he will probably know of Pettitte's decision by Dec. 22. "Because I think after that point in time, his options would be extremely limited. There's certainly a lot of interest from the Astros and the Yankees, but there are several other teams also. I think the Texas Rangers are a logical one."
Phil Garner spoke with Pettitte last week and the Houston manager said Tuesday that he sensed Pettitte was leaning toward returning to the mound next season rather than retirement.
"The first few times I talked to him, he wasn't sure he was going to play," Garner said. "He said he was going to make the decision later. The most recent conversation, he was more than leaning, he was really considering coming back and playing. I guess he hadn't made a definitive decision -- 'Yes, I'm definitely coming back to play' -- but it was more like, 'I'm getting very seriously interested in doing it.'"
Pettitte's return would obviously impact the winter strategy of either team, should they sign him. Houston would likely cease the team's pursuit of free agent right-hander Jason Schmidt and lessen chances of a trade for Colorado right-hander Jason Jennings. Were the Yankees to land Pettitte, it might take them out of the Barry Zito
According to Hendricks, the Astros and Yankees are the frontrunners at this point for Pettitte's services, but the Rangers and other teams are also interested.
Jays make move for Lilly: Toronto has a four-year offer on the table to free agent pitcher Ted Lilly.
"Yes, the Blue Jays have made us an offer," said Larry O'Brien, Lilly's agent. "But it's something that we'd have to work on. I would say that there are about three or four teams that are high priority teams for Ted and Toronto is one of those."
The Cubs, Mariners, Yankees, Giants and Rangers had also expressed interest in Lilly, though the Rangers' pursuit may be contingent on their efforts to sign Pettitte and, in light of their recent signing of Vicente Padilla, may opt out.
What is going to need to be offered, in O'Brien's opinion, is a four-year deal worth around $40 million. On Monday, Padilla agreed to a three-year, $34 million deal with Texas, and O'Brien is comparing Lilly's situation to that contract.
Meche to Toronto? The Blue Jays also met with the representatives for free-agent starter Gil Meche on Monday. GM J.P. Ricciardi is interested in signing both Lilly and Meche while free agents Mark Redman and Jeff Suppan are alternate options.
San Diego loves Greg: The Padres are close to a one-year deal with free agent right-hander Greg Maddux.
"We're still talking," agent Scott Boras said. "It's proceeding."
Mets' Milledge, A's Blanton possible swap: Oakland assistant GM David Forst was asked about a rumored deal that would sent A's right-hander Joe Blanton to the Mets for outfielder Lastings Milledge: "We haven't had specific conversations about players. [GM] Billy [Beane] has talked to [Mets GM] Omar [Minaya] several times, mainly because Omar likes to make deals, but we haven't discussed any specific deals."
When asked if the A's would he hesitant to trade starting pitching, Forst said: "We would be open to any deal if it made sense."
Dotel and the champs: Add the Cardinals to the list of teams who have met with Dan Horwits, the agent for right-hander Octavio Dotel. Boston, Cleveland and Philadelphia are also considering Dotel.
The Mets and Yankees are interested in White Sox lefty Mark Buehrle.
Three-teams, one Manny: The Angels could be involved in a three-way deal with the Nationals and Red Sox with Ramirez going to the Angels. The Nationals and Red Sox would love to have Ervin Santana, who was 16-8 with a 4.28 ERA last season, but the Angels are loathe to part with the right-hander. Seattle is another possible destination for Ramirez, though those talks apparently never really got off the ground.
He's a Mench: The Phillies and Brewers had pondered a potential trade involving pitcher Jon Lieber and Brewers outfielder Kevin Mench, but the two teams couldn't find a fit.
Mench is also being eyed by the Dodgers as well as the Orioles and the pursuit of the outfielder could pick up after free agent outfielder Luis Gonzalez lands with a new team.
Everyone loves Adam: Adam La Roche's name continues to come up in trade talks, this time it was Baltimore who expressed interest in the Atlanta first baseman. The Orioles were considering sending Brian Roberts and Hayden Penn to Atlanta for La Roche and Marcus Giles, but the talks fizzled.
The Royals are interested in outfielder Ryan Church of the Nationals.
The Brewers were expected to offer a contract to infielder Jeff Cirillo, and talked to the Hendricks brothers about one of their clients, Jason Schmidt, but it is unlikely Milwaukee will land the free agent right-hander.
Free agent reliever Eric Gagne is drawing interest from Boston and Cleveland.
Arizona is among the teams considering free agent lefty Mark Mulder.
In addition to Ted Lilly, Cubs GM Jim Hendry also talked to the agents for free agent pitchers Gil Meche and Jason Schmidt. The Cubs are also considering free agent outfielder Cliff Floyd.
Rox part of multi-team proposal: A reported three-team deal that would send Colorado right-hander Jason Jennings to the Cubs and right fielder Brad Hawpe and either Carlos Marmol or Angel Guzman to the Pirates with the Rockies receiving Cubs right fielder Jacque Jones and Pirates starter Paul Maholm was shot down by officials from two of the teams.
The Orioles contacted the Tigers about outfielder Craig Monroe but were told Monroe is not available.