Free agent Nomar Garciaparra met for several hours Thursday afternoon with Dodger General Manager Ned Colletti at Dodger Stadium. Accompanied by his agent, Arn Tellem, Garciaparra also spoke to Dodger owner Frank McCourt.
A possibility at first base or in left field for the Dodgers, Garciaparra is close to choosing from among as many as four clubs, believed to be the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros and Dodgers.
Tellem said by e-mail Thursday, "Nomar is very pleased to have several attractive options for next season. He is weighing all of them carefully and hopes to make the best decision for him and his family in the very near future."
Garciaparra, 32, has had consecutive seasons cut short because of injuries; in 2004 because of Achilles' tendinitis, and last season because of a torn left groin. He played a total of 143 games in those seasons, with the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs. He lives with his wife, Mia Hamm, in Manhattan Beach.
Grady Little and Bill Mueller spent the 2003 season together in Boston, grew fond of each other, went to the American League championship series, and left Yankee Stadium after Game 7 on divergent paths.
Little, of course, was fired. Mueller showed up the next season, delivered the ninth-inning hit in Game 4 of the ALCS that started the Red Sox comeback against the Yankees, and won a World Series.
"You can sum it up pretty much in one short sentence," Little said Thursday. "The guy is a baseball player, a talented baseball player that any man wouldn't mind having as a son."
Mueller will make $9.5 million over two years in Los Angeles and has a five-team no-trade clause. If he is traded, the new team will pay him an additional $500,000.
"Once Grady and Ned were put in place, it helps a great deal," Mueller said. "It's always nice to go where you know good people." Of his former manager, Mueller said, "In the midst of any type of turmoil, he could make light of it and keep everybody on the same page together.... That rubs off over the course of eight months."
Colletti has spoken to the Red Sox about acquiring left-hander David Wells, and is measuring his interest in free agent Johnny Damon, another former teammate of Mueller's.
Asked if he would help recruit Damon and Garciaparra, Mueller said, "I think those things are somewhat private. Who I talk to or persuade to come to L.A., I'll keep to myself. It sure would be nice if both of them came to L.A., that's for sure."
Colletti has contacted teams with a surplus of starting pitchers, including the Chicago White Sox (Jon Garland, Jose Contreras), Boston (Wells), Yankees (Carl Pavano) and New York Mets (Kris Benson).
Garland, Contreras and Wells will become free agents after the season and Pavano sat out the second half last season because of a sore pitching shoulder.
Free-agent outfielder Kenny Lofton, who has drawn Dodger interest, is scheduled to meet today with Arizona Diamondback officials.
The Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation will honor Sandy Koufax with its Player Lifetime Achievement Award on Saturday night at the Beverly Hilton.
"I'm thinking that if I do this it is a good thing for the charity and the foundation," Koufax said. "The scouts work hard, don't get paid a lot, spend a lot of time away from their families. They're not guys who do it for the glory. They do it for the love of the game."
Koufax is not employed by the Dodgers but appears to have a good relationship with Frank and Jamie McCourt. He said he probably would make a brief appearance in Vero Beach this spring, but for nothing official.
"Just to say hi to friends. Every year there's less of them," he said with a soft chuckle. "You hang around long enough, I guess that happens."
Koufax will be 70 on Dec. 30.