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Mostly Quiet on the GM Western Front

Not much happening at the first official day of the GM meetings out in Dana Point, Calif., at least from what Baseball Insider could gather. Sure, there were a couple of relatively minor developments and one revelation of past business already done, but hey, that happens every day in baseball, right?

Here's your quickie rundown:

-- Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein announced that he and the organization had already agreed on a new contract. In typical Epstein fashion, it turns out that the deal was hammered out multiple weeks ago and hidden from the press in the midst of playoff baseball. Of course, no one should be surprised that Epstein is signing clandestine contracts. After all, this is a guy who escaped having to meet with the press on Halloween in 2005 by dressing up in a gorrilla suit. Really.

-- The Rangers signed Mike Maddux away from the NL Wild Card winning Brewers to be Texas' new pitching coach. Reports out of Milwaukee left the impression that Brewers GM Doug Melvin was hurt that Maddux decided to leave his tutelage of the Milwaukee staff in a move that's been seen as a nice coup for Texas in the annals of instant analysis.

-- The most active writer on the first day of the GM meetings may have been Dave van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune. First, van Dyck had word that the Mets are interested in prying pitcher Javier Vasquez from the White Sox. Then he reported that the Cubs' interest in Jake Peavy was largely contingent on whether or not they can re-sign their young stud of 2008, Ryan Dempster. Both articles are interesting takes, though the Vasquez rumor is a much bigger "out of the blue" revelation. The idea that the Mets could pry Vasquez simply for Aaron Heilman and an agreement to pick up the rest of his salary is pretty astounding, at least in terms of a potential move with marginal risk and potentially enormous return.

-- All of the buzz among Japanese major league prospects back during the Olympics focused on budding young ace Yu Darvish, but since then, free agent Junichi Tazawa has had a host of major league teams salivating. Patrick Newman of the excellent web site NPB Tracker has dug up seven teams who are extremely interested in Tazawa's services. It's a pretty eclectic mix of teams, with the Red Sox, Cubs, Phillies and Tigers sharing bidding stakes with the Braves, Mariners and Pirates. It'll be interesting to see what Tazawa weighs most when considering his options.

-- There's plenty of buzz around two of three studs the Rockies are shopping. Both outfielder Matt Holliday and corner infielder Garrett Atkins are said to be drawing big names to the phone lines for chats with Colorado GM Dan O'Dowd. Tracy Ringolsby of the Rocky Mountain News is listing the Red Sox, Rays, Yankees, Mets, Phillies and Angels as the most likely suitors for Holliday, since the slugging outfielder only has one more year on his contract and is a Boras client who'll be looking for a pay day next fall. Atkins, meanwhile, seems to be casting a broader net, with the teams interested in Holliday talking about swaps for the third baseman as well, and the Indians, White Sox and Twins also inquiring.

The most interesting name bantered about in early Rockies trade talk? That has to be the Nationals right over at Navy Yard, who Denver Post writer Troy Renck lists as a real possibility for both Holliday and centerfielder Wily Taveras. It may seem like a longshot, but the Rockies will almost certainly be looking for young pitchers in any swap, so the Nats might have an outside shot.

-- Renck also confirms what many assumed was coming for a long time: The Rockies won't re-sign closer Bryan Fuentes. No shock there, considering the fact that the closer market will be as comeptitive as ever, with Fuentes the No. 2 prospect with a bullet behind Francisco Rodriguez.

More to come today as word trickles out, through whichever form it may take. In the meantime, what do people think are the odds that all the GMs at this meeting voted via absentee ballot before taking off for sunny Southern California? 5-1? Better? Worse?

By Cameron Smith  |  November 4, 2008; 9:15 AM ET
Categories:  Angels , Brewers , Cubs , Indians , Mariners , Mets , Nationals , Padres , Phillies , Pirates , Rangers , Red Sox , Rockies , Tigers , Twins , White Sox , Yankees  
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Does anybody know if Matt Holliday can play some first base? That ability might make him a very tempting one-year rental for the Nationals.

Posted by: greggwiggins | November 4, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure Holliday could play 1B, but they would not ask him to. He would end up in the OF likely LF with other accomodations needing to be made to place Milledge, Kearns, Pena, and/or Dukes. Seems like they would have to move at least one of those OF to Colorado. Milledge could be a real star in Colorado (as could the others). Seems like the Nats would have to give up Lannan, Kearns, and another starter to make that trade work. (at least thats my conjecture).

Posted by: natbisquit | November 4, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

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