Athletics: While Kotsay was in Atlanta for a physical Monday in the final step to complete the trade with the Braves, an A's source said Monday he's expecting right-hander Blanton to not be traded. The source also expects Blanton to open the season as Oakland's ace, drawing the Opening Day assignment in Japan against the Red Sox.
Blanton's name has surfaced in many rumors since last July, but he's not going to cost the A's much in 2008 because he's arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. The source said the team would have to get a lot more than what it's been offered thus far to part with its only returning starter without recent significant health issues.
Erik Bedard: Various reports continue to link Bedard with the Mariners as Spring Training approaches. A source told MLB.com on Sunday that the Orioles have given up trying to obtain reliever Brandon Morrow in the deal, and would instead accept Mariners Minor League Pitcher of the Year Chris Tillman. Baltimore also apparently wants left-handed reliever George Sherrill included in the deal.
Braves: GM Frank Wren officially announced Kotsay as his new center fielder on Monday afternoon and will continue his search for an additional reliever.
"There's a couple of deals that we're working on right now and a couple of things that we'll continue to talk about until we feel that we've exhausted many of the offseason discussions," Wren said.
The Braves are confident left-handed reliever Mike Gonzalez will be able to return from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery in June. But they would like to add some experience and insurance to a rather young bullpen mix. Peter Moylan and Manny Acosta, who are targeted as the top setup men, didn't establish themselves as Major Leaguers until last year.
Pedro Feliz: FOXSports.com reported over the weekend that the Dodgers, Brewers and Phillies have expressed interest in signing free-agent third baseman Pedro Feliz, who has told the Giants he'd like a three-year contract to return to San Francisco. The Giants have offered two years and seem prepared to look elsewhere, possibly within the organization to utilityman Kevin Frandsen, should Feliz end up leaving.
Tigers: Look for Matt Mantei to become a bit of a project for the Tigers after the team signed him to a Minor League contract Friday. Though manager Jim Leyland was impressed by how well Mantei threw in a bullpen session for club officials Friday, health is the major issue with the former D-backs closer, who had injuries halt his comeback attempt twice in 2006 before he sat out last season. Leyland called Mantei a long shot to make the team out of Spring Training, but would likely go to Triple-A Toledo to prove he's ready.
The Tigers currently have 23 pitchers headed to Spring Training with them, but Leyland would like to add three more. The problem is that with much of the 25-man roster set, many Minor League free agents at several positions are looking elsewhere.