The big news of the day came from SI.com, which reported that slugging left fielder Jason Bay turned down a four-year offer for "close to $60 million." MLB.com's Ian Browne reached Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, who said the team wants to keep Bay
and this is just a routine part of the free-agent process. "It lasts as long as it lasts, until one side goes and does something different," Epstein said. "I think this part of the process is important to him. He'll see what it's like and see what's out there and ultimately make the decision. We've maintained dialogue -- yeah. All along, we've maintained he was going to go and see what's out there. We'll see. He's a priority."
Moreno talks Angels
And if anyone didn't believe the recent comments from Angels GM Tony Reagins that his club wasn't making the acquisition of free-agent outfielder Matt Holliday a priority, the owner of the team made it quite a bit clearer. Arte Moreno, talking to The Los Angeles Times, said, "He is not going to be an Angel. We are not looking at Holliday at all." But Moreno did refer to Bay as a player "you have to look at." Meanwhile, Moreno said he doesn't see the club keeping free-agent starter John Lackey and leadoff man Chone Figgins, and that the upcoming decision the club will have to make about free agent Vladimir Guerrero is "very emotional for us."
Dodgers not likely for Lackey
The L.A. Times also spoke to Dodgers president Dennis Mannion on Thursday and found out that Los Angeles does not have plans to go after Lackey, because the team doesn't expect the economy to improve enough for the club to commit to any high-profile, long-term free-agent contracts.
Soriano, Gonzalez on Yanks' radar
A day after it was learned that the Red Sox were looking into relievers Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez, FOXSports.com reported on Thursday that the Yankees are doing the exact same thing, according to an "MLB executive."
Bradley to the Rays?
In a tweet, USA Today called the Tampa Bay Rays the "clear-cut favorite" to swing a deal with the Cubs for mercurial outfielder Milton Bradley.
Byrd flying from Texas?
MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan reported that Texas' chances of retaining Marlon Byrd, who had an excellent year for the Rangers in 2009, are "growing dim." Rangers GM Jon Daniels told Sullivan, "Based on what they're looking for ... we're not in a position to do that right now. We expect them to talk to other clubs and see what's out there. We're going to be looking at alternatives."
Jays looking to deal
MLB.com's Jordan Bastian talked to new Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos, who said free agents won't be the club's focal point this winter but trading might be. "I think trades is definitely something that I'm going to be more aggressive with overall," Anthopoulos said. "That doesn't necessarily mean that they're going to occur, but it's probably a little bit more of a fit for our club right now."
Halladay in LA?
In other Toronto-related news, The New York Post reported that the Dodgers are a lot more likely to potentially orchestrate a trade for ace right-hander Roy Halladay than the Mets.
In the Cubs' den
Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports that the Cubs are closing in on a two-year deal with John Grabow, the veteran lefty reliever, and Muskat also talked to Chicago GM Jim Hendry, who said the club will likely deal and not shop this winter, which explains a Thursday report in the Chicago Tribune that the team will not pursue Pedro Martinez.
Buccos' bullpen plans
The Pirates are looking for bullpen help, but they won't be paying top dollar for it. That's what MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch found out from Bucs GM Neal Huntington, who said, "Our focus is going to be more on the borderline-type guys that may not get $3-$4 million or may not even get a Major League contract."