Cooled by Thursday's release of the Mitchell Report on performance-enhancing substances in Major League Baseball, the Hot Stove continued to flicker on Friday, with barely a pilot light. The little commotion was stirred by the continuing reaction to Wednesday's midnight deadline to extend contract offers to arbitration-eligible players, which predictably bloated the free-agent ranks by those not tendered. On the heels of two players immediately snapped up -- former Houston shortstop Adam Everett, by the Twins, and ex-Atlanta outfielder Willie Harris, by the Nationals -- two others find themselves in instant demand.
Right-hander Akinori Otsuka, a lights-out reliever for the Rangers until kayoed by forearm inflammation in the middle of last season, is drawing interest from the Phillies, according to the Philadelphia Daily News. Mark Prior, the erstwhile Chicago Cubs ace limited by various injuries to nine starts since 2005, figures to be one of the most-sought latter-day free agents by clubs willing to gamble on a comeback by a still-young (27) right-hander. Trying to get a jump on that crowd, Astros general manager Ed Wade is up-front about having already contacted Prior's agent. As for conventional free agents, outfielder Cliff Floyd may be headed back to the state of Florida. The well-traveled former first-round Draft choice (Montreal, 1991) who has played for five different teams -- including the 1997-2002 Marlins -- has struck a deal with the Rays, according to ESPN.com.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.