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December 3, 2007 at 2:30 PM

Rumors on Ibanez, Broussard, Sexson

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Lots of rumors flying fast and furiously here in Nashville. The best way to hear them is to leave behind the rows of computer-pounding reporters in the media room (pictured above), and walk about 15 minutes to a main bar and lobby atrium in the Cascades section of this massive hotel. You can see the picture of it below. I just came back from there, having spoken to some of my contacts from around baseball. No, not just other reporters. People who actually work for MLB teams.
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So, I’ve spoken to those people and here’s what they tell me about the Mariners. Forget about Johan Santana. Out of their league. As for the possibility of a Raul Ibanez trade to the Cubs in return for pitcher Mark Prior (first of all, for me that’s a huge risk), I was told it isn’t happening — for now. The Cubs official I spoke with told me that Chicago GM Jim Hendry called the M’s at season’s end about acquiring Ibanez.
“It’s no secret that Jim wants a lefthanded bat,” my source said.
But the Mariners apparently never got back to the Cubs, at least not with any proposals. In the meantime, the Cubs have shifted their focus away from Ibanez and towards Kosuke Fukodome from Japan. Fukodome would be coming over to play in right field.
Now, in the event that Fukodome doesn’t sign with Chicago, Hendry has made it clear he is pursuing other options. This is where, my source tells me, the team might want to revisit the subject of Ibanez. But it’s not their only option and, to be honest, my guy didn’t sound all that enthused. The issue of where Ibanez would play would be a big one, since Alfonso Soriano is in left field and isn’t going anywhere. That means Ibanez in right field?
Yes it does. Hendry wants the lefty bat in right field, so bringing in Ibanez would mean he goes to right. Remember, my source reminded me, there’s a shorter right field at Wrigley, so it isn’t the same as at Safeco Field.
Anyhow, that’s where things stand. My guess? Until we hear from Fukodome via his agent here later today, there’s no point speculating about Ibanez to Chicago. Well, you can speculate about it. But it won’t be happening today, I’m pretty sure.
As for Ben Broussard, there is a need for a first baseman down in Tampa Bay and the Rays do have Edwin Jackson out there on the market. But the idea that all it would take is Broussard could be a little far-fetched. Remember, Jackson is out of options, but is pegged for Tampa’s rotation next year. Broussard could possibly be non-tendered. My sources in Tampa Bay wouldn’t rule out the possibility, but it might take more than Broussard. Remember, the Rays need a catcher. Broussard and Rob Johnson? What do you think? I think that’s a hefty price for a back-of-the-rotation guy who looks brilliant one start, mediocre the next, and horrible the next time after that.
But again, at least we’re not talking Rafael Soriano for Jackson.
As for Sexson, I’m getting lots of laughter and shoulder shrugs from MLB officials whenever I mention his name. As far as the Giants being a possible suitor, GM Brian Sabean has told people he’s not interested in bringing in any more veteran players to fill holes. If he did, it would have to be an impact player. Sexson might have been thought of that way once, but it’s doubtful he’s seen that way now. I wouldn’t bite too hard on those rumors just yet.
For Patrick in the comments section, no, the Cubs have zero interest in Sexson. And I put the question directly to the same source I referenced on Ibanez. Hope that helps. Sorry.
We’re not meeting with Bavasi in his suite until 8 p.m., so it will be a while before we can ask him about trades, Jose Guillen, and other stuff. In the meantime, I’ve got another long lobby hike ahead of me. The photo below shows you how cavernous the inside of this place is. I’ve got about two of those giant indoor atriums/hallways/spaces to cover before getting back to where many of these movers and shakers are hanging out.
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