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Miles away, Friedman stays close to home
By DAMIAN CRISTODERO
Published November 24, 2005
Even on Thanksgiving, Andrew Friedman said he will be hard at work.
The Devil Rays executive vice president of baseball operations is spending the week with his girlfriend, Robin, and her family in a rental house in Nags Head, N.C. But Friedman said he made certain he had a room in which to set up a makeshift office so he can continue to work the phones and develop trades.
"It's a nice change looking at different walls than the ones in my office" at Tropicana Field, he said Wednesday.
Friedman said he has gotten numerous calls about several players. He would not comment about specific situations, though there is plenty of speculation.
The hottest commodity is believed to be centerfielder Joey Gathright with nine teams showing interest including the Dodgers, who seem the most ardent, the Cubs and the White Sox. The Padres were thought to be out front but apparently don't have the minor-league depth to provide the high-end prospects the Rays covet.
Catcher Toby Hall has drawn interest from the Mets, Diamondbacks, Rockies and Marlins, who wouldn't mind ditching Paul LoDuca and his $12.5-million salary the next two seasons. Hall, who is arbitration-eligible, is expected to make about $5-million less.
The Rangers, Cubs, White Sox, Red Sox and Orioles have apparently inquired about rightfielder/DH Aubrey Huff. The Mets still seem interested in closer Danys Baez and the Braves, especially if they lose Rafael Furcal to free agency, could make a run at shortstop Julio Lugo.
It is no secret Tampa Bay needs pitching, both starters and for middle relief. But they also want young prospects.
"As we've said in the past," Friedman said, "we're committed long-term to making this team as competitive as possible."
NEW YORK - The Mets reached a preliminary agreement to acquire Carlos Delgado and $7-million from the Marlins for first baseman Mike Jacobs and pitcher Yusmeiro Petit.
New York would receive $7-million from the Marlins to offset the $48-million Delgado is owed over the next three seasons. The first baseman turned down the Mets' offer last January to accept a $52-million, four-year contract from the Marlins, who did not offer the no-trade clause in the Mets' deal.
Delgado's agent David Sloane said Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria called his client to inform him about the trade.
The sides have not yet agreed on how to spread the money, with the Mets proposing Florida pays $1-million next year, $2-million in 2007 and $4-million in 2008. The Marlins proposed $2.5-million in 2007 and $4.5-million in 2008.
The commissioner's office, which must approve the trade because more than $1-million is changing hands, will make the final decision, the official said. Players also must take physicals. In addition to Delgado's salary, the Mets must fulfill a provision in his contract that provides for state tax equalization, an estimated $300,000 to $450,000 next year.
Thome heads to ChiSox
CHICAGO - Injury-plagued slugger Jim Thome is on his way to the White Sox and gritty center fielder Aaron Rowand, one of the top defensive outfielders, is headed to Philadelphia.
The teams reached a preliminary agreement that would send Thome and $22-million from the Phillies to Chicago for Rowand and left-handers Giovany Gonzalez, Chicago's first-round pick in the 2004 amateur draft, and Daniel Haigwood.
D'BACKS: Pitcher Javier Vazquez filed a trade demand. Vazquez said from his hometown of Ponce, Puerto Rico, that it was easier for his family to visit when he played for the Expos and Yankees, and expressed his wish to be "on a team that's on the East Coast and, if possible, on a winning ballclub."
MARLINS: Businessman Antonio Munoz said he will soon propose to the team a move to Puerto Rico permanently or at least playing some games there, as the Expos did from 2003-04.
Information from other news organizations was used in the report.