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AROUND THE MAJORS

Dodgers Make Big Bid for Ishii

January 08, 2002|Bill Shaikin | From Staff and Wire Reports

The Dodgers bid $11.5 million Monday for negotiating rights to Kazuhisa Ishii, sources said, and they could learn as soon as today whether the star Japanese pitcher is eligible to join their starting rotation.

The Angels, New York Mets and Texas Rangers were among other teams submitting sealed bids by Monday's deadline. The Yakult Swallows, Ishii's Japanese club, has four days to accept or reject the highest bid, and sources said the Dodgers have the high bid.

"We made a bid I feel is very fair and very competitive," Dodger General Manager Dan Evans said.

Evans would not confirm the amount of the bid, but sources said the Dodgers wanted to maximize their chances by stretching beyond the $5-million to $8-million bidding range projected last week.

The Angel bid is below $10 million, a source said. The amounts bid by other clubs could not be obtained.

The Yakult club keeps the bid money; the winning bidder then must negotiate a contract with Ishii. The left-hander wants a three-year contract, to which the Dodgers would not object.

Ishii, 28, went 12-6 with a 3.39 earned-run average last season and is 78-46 with a 3.38 ERA in a 10-year career. If Kevin Brown and Andy Ashby can return from injury, the addition of Ishii would allow the Dodgers to send Eric Gagne to triple-A Las Vegas or use him in relief or in trade.

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On the first business day since Tony Tavares resigned as president of Anaheim Sports, the Disney executive responsible for overseeing the Angels and Mighty Ducks said he is unsure whether to restructure Tavares' position.

Paul Pressler, chairman of Disney's parks and resorts division, said he would take several weeks to define the job before filling it. Pressler said he might eliminate one layer of management by asking his general managers, Pierre Gauthier of the Ducks and Bill Stoneman of the Angels, to report directly to him. If so, Pressler said, Tavares' replacement would not involve himself in hockey or baseball operations and would be responsible only for the business operations of the two teams.

"It's not really clear to me that I need to fill that position with someone like Tony," Pressler said.

Tavares cleared out his office Friday, within hours of announcing his resignation. Three Anaheim Sports vice presidents--Andy Roundtree (finance), Rick Schlesinger (legal) and Kevin Uhlich (sales, marketing and stadium operations)--are sharing administrative responsibilities.

Bill Shaikin

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The Dodgers will begin the 2002 season against Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants on April 2, kicking off a six-game homestand--three against the Giants and three against the Colorado Rockies.

The Dodgers also said they'll finish the season with a six-game homestand--two against Colorado and four against San Diego.

For the first time, the Dodgers will face AL East opponents in their 18-game interleague schedule, which includes six games against the Angels and three each against Boston, Tampa Bay, Baltimore and Toronto.

Boston and Toronto visit Dodger Stadium, with the Dodgers playing at Baltimore and Tampa Bay.

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A plan for publicly funded ballparks for the Yankees and Mets hit a snag when New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city won't build stadiums this year because of its budget crisis.

"At the moment, everybody understands--given the lack of housing, given the lack of school space, given the deficit in the operating budget--it is just not practical this year to go and to build new stadiums," Bloomberg said.

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Ozzie Smith finds out today whether he will backflip into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot.

The Wizard of Oz, a 15-time all-star, heads the list of candidates for induction.

Gary Carter, Jim Rice, Bruce Sutter and Rich Gossage top the holdovers from last year.

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The Arizona Diamondbacks acquired left-handed reliever Mike Myers from the Rockies for outfielder Jack Cust and minor league catcher J.D. Closser.... Backup catcher Todd Greene agreed to a $650,000, one-year contract with the Yankees.

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