Roundup: Sheffield wants chance to play

Roundup: Sheffield wants chance to play

Hot rumors and cool talk around the Hot Stove, on a quiet Sunday:

Master Sheff still cooking
Gary Sheffield saw a number of veterans iced out of last year's free-agent market (Frank Thomas, Paul Lo Duca, Dave Roberts) and doesn't want to follow suit, telling the Boston Globe of his dedication to remaining in top shape and that he "can go out and hit at least 25 and maybe up to 40 home runs for some team if I get the chance."

Big D to A's
Dallas McPherson, held by back problems to 459 at-bats the past three seasons -- only 11 of them in the Majors -- has agreed to a Minor League contract with the Oakland A's that includes an invitation to Spring Training. In 2008, the 29-year-old third baseman did hit 42 homers and drove in 98 runs for Triple-A Albuquerque.

Drew deal safe
Outfielder J.D. Drew's contract contains an out-clause for the Red Sox should he spend extensive time on the DL with a shoulder injury -- and he recently underwent shoulder surgery. But the two issues, as the Boston Herald points out, do not match: The opt-out clause concerns the right shoulder -- which had troubled Drew prior to him signing a five-year deal with Boston in January 2007 -- and the surgery was on the left shoulder, to relieve inflammation.

Last holiday for Halladay?

Blue Jays president and CEO Paul Beeston told the New York Post that Roy Halladay is planning on testing free agency next offseason, removing the possibility of him signing an extension with Toronto.

The Yankees and Dodgers are rumored to have serious interest in Halladay. The Red Sox, Dodgers and Phillies have been mentioned as having varying degrees of interest as well. A deal with the Cubs does not appear realistic at the moment, considering Halladay is owed $15.75 million in 2010 and Toronto has asked for a package of Chicago's top prospects.

Chapman changes
Cuban pitcher Aroldis Chapman, who has drawn the interest of several Major League clubs, has decided to change his representation before signing a contract. According to multiple reports, the hard-throwing southpaw has dropped Athletes Premier International in favor of Hendricks Sports Management. Randy and Alan Hendricks also represent Angels first baseman and fellow Cuban defector Kendry Morales, among others.

The Yankees and Red Sox are believed to be the most likely suitors for the 21-year-old Chapman. He is expected to receive an eight-figure contract.

No Vizquel? No problem
Now that it appears Omar Vizquel is heading to the White Sox instead of a return engagement in Cleveland, the Indians will be looking for someone to spell Asdrubal Cabrera and Luis Valbuena up the middle, reports MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince. Castrovince mentions that prospect Jason Donald, who was protected on the 40-man roster Friday, could win that job in camp, but it is believed that the Indians will seek a veteran for the assignment.

Mark Loretta, Juan Uribe, Alex Cora and John McDonald are possible candidates.

O's have the skinny on Delgado?
The Orioles are looking for corner infielders, and one potential acquisition is veteran first baseman Carlos Delgado, who will begin playing for the Puerto Rican Winter League on Dec. 15, according to The Baltimore Sun.

The O's are expected to watch the 37-year-old left-handed hitting slugger, who was limited to 26 games after undergoing hip surgery this past season.

Bidding for Bay
MLB.com's Ian Browne reports that the Red Sox discussed Matt Holliday with agent Scott Boras at the General Managers Meetings earlier this month, but it is believed that GM Theo Epstein's preference is to retain Jason Bay, also a free agent. Look for Boston to ratchet up interest in Holliday only if Bay starts to slip away.

Millwood not moving?
The New York Post reports that the rumored three-way deal with the Cubs, Rangers and Mets involving Milton Bradley, Kevin Millwood and Luis Castillo, first reported by the Chicago Tribune, won't happen because the Rangers do not want to give up Millwood.

Yanks in the news
The Yankees' focus is finding common ground with free-agent outfielder Johnny Damon. Andy Pettitte's return should work out, and Hideki Matsui is less of a priority, reports Newsday's Ken Davidoff via Twitter.

Looking close at the Far East
Japan's Nikkan Sports is reporting Jose Contreras may be considering a move to Japan. Contreras is going to Japan next week to set up his teenage son in a Japanese high school exchange program, according to the report.

Meeting of the minds in SoCal
John Boggs, the agent for Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez -- who is still under contract with San Diego -- met for lunch with San Diego GM Jed Hoyer and characterized the meeting as "cordial," according to ESPN.com. Boggs described it as "a get-acquainted session" rather than a formal negotiation.

Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Change for a Nickel. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.