Talks were thought to be stalled, but multiple MLB sources said Wednesday that Baltimore and Seattle are close to finalizing the deal the two teams have been discussing for weeks. The trade would send Orioles pitcher Erik Bedard to the Mariners for outfielder Adam Jones, pitchers George Sherill and Chris Tillman and as many as two additional prospects. Tillman is the reigning Mariners' Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
The Baltimore Sun, however, reported other teams are in the mix.
Andy MacPhail, the Orioles' president of baseball operations, told the newspaper several other teams have inquired recently about Bedard.
"We continue to talk," MacPhail said when asked about the proposed deal with Seattle. "We've had some other clubs chime in as well."
MacPhail said nothing has changed since Sunday night, when Jones told reporters in Venezuela he had been traded to the Orioles for Bedard and was headed to Baltimore for a physical.
"We're at the same place," MacPhail told The Sun. "Still talking. It's just conversations."
Meanwhile the clock is ticking on the Mets, who have until Friday to work out a contract extension with Minnesota's two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana. If the Mets and Santana can agree to terms, the two teams would then complete the deal that would send Santana to New York for outfielder Carlos Gomez and pitchers Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra.
The package the Mets are willing to give up for Santana may have set the bar for No. 1 starters, or at least gives the Orioles a better idea of the current market. That might bode well for the Mariners, since Seattle's package offer for Bedard is at least comparable to what the Mets offered Minnesota, and Bedard, as talented as he is, can't match Santana's resume.
Elsewhere on the Hot Stove front Wednesday:
Pirates: After losing out on the bid to sign veteran catcher Johnny Estrada, the Pirates, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, have turned their attention to trying to sign Paul Bako.
Though Ryan Doumit can handle backing up Ronny Paulino behind the plate, by signing another catcher, the Pirates will be able to benefit from Doumit's versatility by having more freedom in playing him out in right field.
Rockies: The Rocky Mountain News reported that the Rockies have reached a tentative agreement with outfielder Scott Podsednik on a Minor League contract. If he signs, the speedy Podsednik would compete with Cory Sullivan for a backup outfield job and give the club an alternative to starting center fielder Willy Taveras.
Phillies: Look for the Phillies to get calls about Wes Helms now that the club has added Pedro Feliz to be the starter at third base. Helms can play at either corner and wouldn't be expensive. The Phillies aren't shopping Helms yet but are looking for another arm.
Jim Molony is a reporter for MLB.com. MLB.com reporters contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.