The top 10 power brokers between now and the winter meetings in Las Vegas (Dec. 8-11):
1. Scott Boras: OK, so you think it’s outrageous that he wants Jorge Posada money for Jason Varitek? Maybe. But he gives teams a launching point. If things are stagnant, as they were at the general managers meetings, he at least creates movement and thought. He has the major chips this offseason: Manny Ramírez and Mark Teixeira.
2. Kevin Towers, Padres: John Moores will likely sell the team because of his divorce, so the Padres are reducing payroll dramatically, and Towers has one of the top young veteran pitchers in Jake Peavy to deal. The Braves, Cubs, and Dodgers are going to duke it out for him, but Towers all along has wanted the Braves’ package that includes shortstop Yunel Escobar and righthander Tommy Hanson (who throws 93-97 with a nice slider and is currently 3-0 with an 0.48 ERA in the Arizona Fall League). If he gets it, the dominos will begin to fall.
3. Ned Colletti, Dodgers: He has made Ramírez a huge offer, but one that Boras can and will refuse. Extend the two-year deal to four and add a couple million on the back end, and you might have yourself a deal. Otherwise, the Dodgers, who have recently removed $50 million from the books with 13 free agents, are in the middle of a lot of things, including Peavy and CC Sabathia.
4. Tony Reagins, Angels: Their negotiation philosophy reminds me of the In-N-Out Burger franchises on the West Coast. They drive through, make an offer, then get out quickly if the answer is no. They will do it on Teixeira, whom they would love to retain, and they’ll likely do it on Sabathia.
5. Brian Cashman, Yankees: The style here always has been, “Ho-hum, nothing much happening . . .” and then, bam! The Yankees have the money, the power, the cachet to do whatever they please. Teixeira, Sabathia, Peavy, A.J. Burnett, Derek Lowe . . . anyone could wind up there.
6. Jim Hendry, Cubs: Heading into the franchise’s 101st year without a championship, Hendry has the resources to make something big happen ahead of a new ownership, which could be in place sometime this winter. He’s in on Peavy, and if he doesn’t get him, he’ll be in on Burnett and Lowe. He will find a lefthanded bat, whether it’s through trade or free agency. And if he doesn’t get Kerry Wood signed, he’s going to need a closer.
7. Omar Minaya, Mets: Minaya is one of the more aggressive GMs, and with a new ballpark for his team, competing with the Yankees’ new ballpark, he needs to deliver a playoff team. He needs one starter, maybe two, and a closer, so you know he’s going to be in on Sabathia and Burnett, Javier Vazquez and Bobby Jenks of the White Sox, and free agent closers Brian Fuentes and Francisco Rodriguez.
8. Kenny Williams, White Sox: He’s made a lot of deals and he’s not likely to stop now. The White Sox made the playoffs but got eliminated by the Rays, and now he needs to revamp. He’s making most of his big hitters available. Yep, you can take Paul Konerko and Jermaine Dye off his hands. You can even take Jenks, but you’d better come at him with a boatload. He’s going to get a pretty impressive package for Vazquez as well.
9. Theo Epstein: Another who can get into anything at any time. It doesn’t appear that the Sox have to do much, but acquiring a catcher of the future is a move that could have ramifications down the road for his divisional rivals if it winds up being an impact player.
10. Billy Beane, Oakland: Any time the A’s have money to spend – which isn’t very often – it is an interesting scenario. Going after a big-name player could upset the apple-cart with the big-market teams because Oakland may pick off a player (Rafael Furcal?) coveted by them. Would the A’s go after Ramírez? One AL GM feels they might.
Excerpted from Cafardo’s Sunday baseball notes column from the Boston Globe.