Report: Four teams left in Jason Bay sweepstakes speculates that there are four teams remaining in the Jason Bay sweepstakes this winter.

But an official of one interested club believes that four teams remain involved in the bidding: the Mets, Mariners, Giants and Angels.

And while the Yankees are signaling that they’re not in on Bay — or Matt Holliday, or Johnny Damon — they have been known to shift course rapidly at this time of year.

One source believes the Mariners are attempting to clear payroll in order to make a late push for Bay. But one rival executive doubts Seattle would sign Bay for more than one or two years, since prospects Michael Saunders and Dustin Ackley are candidates to play left field in the long term.

The Angels haven’t ruled themselves out, either. They have watched their own free agents, Chone Figgins and John Lackey, sign elsewhere.

As for the Giants? One person familiar with the organization’s plans said today that it’s “not impossible” to envision them signing Bay or Matt Holliday.

Of the four clubs, the Mariners might make the most sense because Bay grew up north of Seattle and might want to play closer to home. But will they clear enough pay roll in time to scoop him up?

The Mets aren’t afraid to open their wallets, but who knows if they’re be an attractive enough option for Bay in the end. The same goes for the Giants, although I don’t see them spending enough in order to acquire Bay and there have been several reports that state that he doesn’t want to play in San Francisco.

The wild card is the Yankees, who are never out of a deal with their capless payroll. Even though rumor has it that they don’t want to exceed $200 million for their payroll, they’ll stop at nothing to add talent.

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Yankees acquire Vazquez from Braves for Cabrera

The Yankees acquired starter Javier Vazquez and left-hander Boone Logan from the Braves in exchange for outfielder Melky Cabrera, left-hander Mike Dunn and right-hander Arodys Vizcaino.

Vazquez is coming off a solid season in Atlanta, posting a 15-10 record with a 2.87 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP. In his first stint with the Yankees, he recorded a 14-10 record and a 4.91 ERA in 32 starts in 2004. He’ll join a starting rotation that already boasts CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettite.

Braves fans were probably expecting more in return for Vazquez than Carbera, but the 25-year old has plenty of promise. He hit .274 last season with 13 home runs, 28 doubles and 68 RBI in 485 at-bats. He’ll take over the starting left field position in Atlanta and might see a boost in his offensive production switching the National League.

The question now is what will the Yankees do with their outfield? They acquired Curtis Granderson to play center, but traded away Cabrera, lost Hideki Matsui to free agency and thus far, have shown little interest in bringing back Johnny Damon. If they don’t re-sign Xavier Nady, then the Bombers will be left with Granderson and Nick Swisher as regulars, but who will play left?

I’m wondering if this was a precursor to the Yankees making a strong bid for Matt Holliday or Jason Bay.

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Mets pursuing Bay, Holliday

According to, the Mets have “tweaked” their offer to free agent Jason Bay to give him a possible five-year alternative and have jumped into the race for Matt Holliday.

Mets GM Omar Minaya and Bay’s agent, Joe Urbon, spoke at length on Tuesday. Minaya is thought to have signaled a willingness to go to a five-year deal (at slightly lower dollars per year than the original four-year offer for close to $65 million), but with Bay still believed to be seeking a six-year deal from them, the Mets apparently have decided to dip back in on Holliday. The Mets, who are now believed willing to go to about $75 million for five for Bay, originally concentrated on Bay in the hope that they might be able to sign him quicker.

Minaya is expected to talk to Holliday’s agent, Scott Boras, as soon as Wednesday. Mets people suggest there could be a trade option to fill their offensive gap, but it appears that Bay and Holliday are their two top targets to enhance their power. also reports that the Mets are trying to wrap up a deal with catcher Bengie Molina, but that talks are at a standstill because Molina wants a three-year deal for as much as $20 million. But New York is only willing to do two years at $10 million for the 35-year-old backstop.

What’s interesting about’s report regarding Bay is that ESPN’s Buster Olney says the Mets are currently at four years for the former Red Sox (not five) and that the club isn’t actively involved in the Holliday sweepstakes.

Cardinals offer Matt Holliday a formal contract

The St. Louis Cardinals officially offered free agent outfielder Matt Holliday a contract according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The article states that St. Louis expects to hear back from Holliday within the next 48 hours and that the Cardinals might move on “the middle of next week” if the free agent doesn’t accept their offer.

While Holliday is a much-needed presence in the Cards’ lineup, it’s important for the club and GM John Mozeliak to move in another direction if the outfielder can’t make a quick decision. The financial terms of the offer haven’t been released, but chances are it’s a fair deal for market value. I doubt the Cards would waste their or Holliday’s time with a lowball offer.

If Holliday doesn’t sign, it’ll be interesting to see if the Cardinals make a run at Jason Bay, although it would be tough for St. Louis to match an offer from the Red Sox or Mariners. (There’s a rumor floating around that Bay wants to play for the M’s because Seattle is close to his home.)

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Report: Bay wants to be a Mariner

According to Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, free agent outfielder Jason Bay wants to be a Seattle Mariner next season.

I’m hearing that Bay has been telling his former Pirates teammates he’d stand on his head and sing on E. Martinez Way to play for M’s.

The rumor would make sense given that Bay is from British Columbia, which is a Canadian province north of Seattle. A deal would make sense for both sides given the M’s lack of offensive firepower.

That said, if the Red Sox truly want him back than they’ll easily outbid Seattle for Bay’s services. The free agent will have to weigh the prospect of playing closer to home against the financial gains that he’ll receive if he re-ups with the BoSox.

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