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Question of the Day
Who knows _ maybe former AL Cy Young winner Zack Greinke could switch sides before the session ends Thursday.
Not every team was so successful on the first full day of the meetings.
The Oakland Athletics failed to reach a contract agreement with pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma during the allotted 30-day negotiating period, and he went back to his Japanese club.
Oakland’s bid was accepted under the bidding treaty between Major League Baseball and the Japanese commissioner’s office. But the star pitcher wanted much more than the A’s were willing to offer.
“We would like to express our appreciation to the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles for the opportunity to negotiate with Mr. Iwakuma and we regret that an agreement could not be reached by today’s deadline,” A’s general manager Billy Beane said in a statement. “In this instance, the player was in a unique situation, being only one year away from free agency, and we fully respect and understand his position.”
Often, it takes a few days at this annual gathering for any real action. This time, it was brisk from the get-go.
“A lot of agents are claiming that their players are going to sign this week. Some will and some won’t,” Mets GM Sandy Alderson said. “There could be a run on starting pitching this week.”
Whether Lee is among the pitchers who make that decision remains uncertain. Agent Darek Braunecker met with Cashman _ the Yankees hope to lure the ace lefty, while Texas is trying to re-sign him. Other teams are interested, but their pursuits aren’t nearly so public.
“There’s always clubs that kind of lay in the weeds,” Braunecker said. “To me, you’re talking about the best player on the market. There’s still, certainly, a need for starting pitching that stems beyond the clubs that have been mentioned so far.”
At an interview session, Texas manager Ron Washington was asked to name his five starters for 2011. “Cliff Lee,” he said, laughing.
Other names in circulation: San Francisco might become interested in Tampa Bay shortstop Jason Bartlett, the Chicago Cubs hired Mark Riggins as their pitching coach and the Mets interviewed Andy Van Slyke as a possible hitting coach.
To Pat Gillick, this was truly the biggest deal of the day, and of his career: The 73-year-old executive whose moves helped build three World Series champions was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee.
“I never felt I had a job. I love going to work every day,” he said.
Former players’ union head Marvin Miller fell one vote short. George Steinbrenner finished far behind _ “some people thought it’s too early,” Hall of Famer Johnny Bench, a member of the committee, said of the late Yankees owner.
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