Perhaps Atlanta Braves General Manager John Schuerholz really did have to catch a plane Thursday afternoon, forcing him to leave the news conference announcing his acquisition of shortstop Edgar Renteria from the Boston Red Sox after only three questions. Or maybe it was simply that Schuerholz wanted to get out of Texas before the Red Sox changed their minds.
To get Renteria and $14 million from the Red Sox, the Braves gave up one top prospect, third baseman Andy Marte. Now the Braves, who watched shortstop Rafael Furcal sign a three-year, $39 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers only a few days ago, will pay only $18 million of the $29 million owed to Renteria, a four-time all-star, for the next three seasons. The Red Sox are also responsible for a $3 million buyout for the 2009 season.
"With the loss of Rafael Furcal, our shortstop for many years, we had a significant hole to fill, a gap to fill, and we believe we've done that with a real classy, real talented, as I said, four-time, all-star shortstop," Schuerholz said. "So we're delighted by that."
The Red Sox are likely to sign free agent shortstop Alex Gonzalez, though many wondered whether they would consider signing ex-Red Sox Nomar Garciaparra.
Renteria, 30, was the most sought-after free agent shortstop last offseason, signing a four-year, $40 million deal with the Red Sox. But he hit just .276 with eight home runs and had a baseball-worst 30 errors.
O's Unable to Seal Deals
It appears the Baltimore Orioles have had serious conversations with many teams but a deal for a significant player may be unlikely because of a reluctance to trade any of their young starting pitching.
Baltimore has had numerous conversations with the Texas Rangers, who have a surplus of outfielders and are looking for pitching. But one American League source said the talks have gone nowhere because Baltimore told the Rangers that pitcher Hayden Penn, 21, is untouchable. The Orioles might be able to convince Texas to take Bruce Chen or Rodrigo Lopez.
"The cost of replacing a pitcher is so high, it would be difficult to trade one of our pitchers," Orioles Vice President Jim Duquette said.
The Orioles came close to acquiring Minnesota Twins reliever J.C. Romero, according to one team source, but those talks have stalled and it's believed the left-hander will likely land with the Seattle Mariners.
Duquette said Baltimore has some interest in free agent closer Braden Looper but may try to trade for a reliever.
There have been some talks of sending catcher Javy Lopez to the Toronto Blue Jays for pitcher Miguel Batista and third baseman Eric Hinske, but neither team seems prepared to get serious about the deal any time soon.
The signing of catcher Ramon Hernandez will be announced early next week.