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Baseball winter meetings: Dodgers close to signing Tony Gwynn Jr.

Gwynn Jr. would give the Dodgers the option of moving Matt Kemp back to a corner outfield spot.

December 07, 2010|Tribune staff writers | Reporting from Orlando, Fla.

The Dodgers are close to signing outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. to a one-year deal worth $675,000, according to a baseball source who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The son of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, Gwynn Jr. wasn't tendered a contract by the San Diego Padres last week and became a free agent. Gwynn Jr., 28, hit .204 and stole 17 bases in 117 games as a part-time center field last season.

An excellent defensive center fielder, Gwynn Jr. would give the Dodgers the option of moving Matt Kemp back to a corner outfield spot.

The Dodgers, who reached a deal with Vicente Padilla earlier on Tuesday, could still add another outfielder, reliever or catcher.

-- Dylan Hernandez, Los Angeles Times

Konerko, White Sox reach an impasse

White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams said "it's quite possible" the White Sox would have a new first baseman by Wednesday -- and that it would not be Paul Konerko.

Williams said negotiations with Konerko and agent Craig Landis were at an impasse and that "at this point we have no choice" but to explore other options.

"All I can say is we've got meetings with other guys' representatives (Tuesday night) with the idea in mind (to) get a deal done," Williams said, adding that "you can't stop the train" once it leaves the station.

Landis and Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf met again Tuesday afternoon, apparently in a last-ditch effort to hammer out a contract that appears stalled over money and perhaps years.

Williams said he would use the extra money saved to sign Konerko to get another player and help in the bullpen. "We still have a chance to put a real good player in that (first base) position," he said.

--Dave van Dyck, Chicago Tribune

Odds and ends

Apparently Derek Braunecker, Cliff Lee's agent, can find mystery teams as well as Scott Boras. There are media reports of two seven-year offers for Lee, but the Yankees, Rangers, Nationals and Angels have all indicated they will not go that long. The Twins covet Lee, so they could be flying under the radar. Carl Pavano, who earned $7 million last year, is a free agent; Joe Nathan and Michael Cuddyer (a combined $21.75 million in 2011) could come off the books after next season … The Brewers traded for one strong starting pitcher in Shaun Marcum but are now pursuing the Rays' Matt Garza, who won 15 games and no-hit Detroit … Dodgers GM Ned Colletti was smart to get so much of his business done before the divorce ruling, which went against Frank McCourt. Appeals could complicate the team's flexibility in the foreseeable future, although Colletti remains hard at work trying to replace catcher Brian McCann and adding depth in the outfield and bullpen … Jim Thome is looking for a team willing to give him maximum at-bats. Oakland could wind up as his best bet … Lance Berkman, signed to be a corner outfielder in St. Louis, was so eager to play the outfield that he tried to get Astros manager Brad Mills to move Carlos Lee to first base permanently last season. Mills says Lee and Brett Wallace will share first in spring training, with the onus on Wallace to force Lee back to left field … There was brief talk about the Rangers listening to offers for Michael Young, possibly even paying some of his $16 million salary. The White Sox have long loved him … Zack Greinke to the Blue Jays remains a viable scenario. The Brewers are also continuing discussions with the Royals about him.

--Phil Rogers, Chicago Tribune

Dodgers nearing deal with Padilla

The Dodgers are close to re-signing Vicente Padilla to a one-year deal worth $2 million plus incentives, according to a baseball source with knowledge of the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The opening day starter last season, Padilla will return as a swing man for the Dodgers, who went into the winter meetings with their five-man rotation already set. Because of his stuff and makeup, Padilla is also viewed as an option to close if Jonathan Broxton doesn't regain his All-Star form.

That Padilla would agree to such a deal is somewhat of a surprise. While neck and arm trouble limited him to 16 starts last season, Padilla was expected to be able to land a spot in someone's rotation because of the low supply and high demand for starting pitching.

--Dylan Hernandez, Los Angeles Times

Jeter, Yankees finalize deal

Derek Jeter can admit it now: He was definitely getting steamed at the New York Yankees.

While Jeter tried to keep talks quiet as the sides negotiated, the Yankees went public with suggestions his increasing age and decreased numbers should result in a pay cut.

At one point, Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said the 36-year-old shortstop should explore other options.

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