By DJ Gallo
Page 2

Baseball's annual winter meetings opened in Orlando on Monday, and all the wheeling and dealing is set to end today.

I wanted to go to Orlando to cover the meetings and break some news, but my editors told me I wasn't allowed. They told me I have no "credibility." That they need people there who have "actual sources" and not ones that are "made up."

Whatever.

Despite the lack of support from Bristol, I decided to go to the winter meetings anyway to prove I could do the job, and here are all the updates I filed throughout the week. I'm happy to say I've become quite the journalist the past few days.

Monday

Scott Stapp
Denise Truscello/WireImage.com
We hear that former Creed frontman Scott Stapp is weighing a four-year, $52 million offer from the Cubs.

6:55 a.m.
My flight just arrived here in Orlando for the winter meetings. This is so exciting. I've never been to Orlando before. It's thrilling to think that I could be walking in exactly the same steps a famous Orlandoan like Scott Stapp or one of the Backstreet Boys has walked in before. I can almost hear their music in my ears as I walk along. It sounds like my soul dying.

9:15 a.m.
I was just let in on a little secret on my way into the meetings: The Brewers are about to complete a trade for Manny Ramirez. Pretty nice scoop, if I do say so myself. However, the same guy told me I need to repent because the end is near, then he threw trash at me. Hmm … I'm starting to think maybe he wasn't a general manager.

11:27 a.m.
Scott Boras is representing many of this year's big free agents, and I have an interview scheduled with him at 11:30 a.m. Oh … gotta go. I think he has arrived in the building because all the plants just died and the temperature dropped a good 20 degrees. More in an hour or so when the interview is over.

11:33 a.m.
The interview didn't happen. Boras demanded a 30 percent cut of all ESPN.com's future profits before he would sit down for a conversation. Plus, he tried to reach into my chest and remove my heart. I found that to be really unprofessional, so I canceled the interview.

2:15 p.m.
Word is the Cubs think Ted Lilly is cute. But the Yankees say they totally had their eye on him first, and I hear the Mariners might ask him to go steady. This could get interesting.

7:11 p.m.
The market for Barry Zito is said to be cooling, mainly because of his exorbitant demands that any contract he signs must be peppered liberally with words and phrases such as "awesome," "rad," and "to the extreme."

11:53 p.m.
I have decided to start a rumor that the Yankees are going to sign Barry Bonds. There is absolutely no truth to it, but I'm going to whisper it around the lobby tomorrow morning and see how far it goes. It will be a sort of sociological experiment. I bet 2-to-1 that it makes it on TV somewhere. Who knows, the Red Sox might even panic and sign Bonds first so the Yankees don't get him. If it goes that far, though, I'm going to own up to it being a farce. But not until after Boston officially signs him, of course.

Tuesday

10:43 a.m.
Royals general manager Dayton Moore tells me he is listening to any offers for his players. He also tells me he is afraid his cell phone is broken because he hasn't gotten a single call since the winter meetings opened.

11:55 a.m.
I just got off the phone with Brian Cashman. I called to ask him if he is "dangling Johnson or dangling Wang" in any deals. He didn't laugh. I bet he wasn't anywhere near as popular as I was in middle school. I think I might call him back to see if his refrigerator is running. That one is classic, man. Classic.

12:11 p.m.
It's official: J.D. Drew to the Red Sox for five years and $70 million. The deal is a pretty good bargain for Theo Epstein, though. Word is a Boston hospital reportedly has picked up 50 percent of the tab in exchange for exclusive rights to treat Drew's injuries.

Kim Jong Il
AP Photo
"Mr. Epstein, the Yankees have already offered me $77 million for this plutonium. Now are you interested?"

6:11 p.m.
A weird little Korean guy with big hair showed up here today saying he heard there were some big spenders in town and asked whether anyone wanted to buy some weapons-grade plutonium. He also claims he once struck out 47 batters in a nine-inning game.

6:14 p.m.
I'm on my way out to get dinner with Billy Beane. I suggested we go to a nice, rather expensive sushi place downtown. But he wants to go to a McDonald's out by the airport because he says McDonald's is far more efficient in how it prepares its food and that you get more value for your dollar there. I'm starting to think he is taking this Moneyball thing way too far. I hope ESPN will let me expense Pepto-Bismol.

9:09 p.m.
Good dinner with Beane. It sounds like he might bring Barry Bonds across the bay to Oakland. They just need to work out the financial details. Once that is taken care of, they'll have to work out the logistical details of transporting an object of that size across the Bay Bridge. Also, oddly enough, I saw another general manager at McDonald's: Pirates GM Dave Littlefield. He said Pittsburgh's ownership budgeted him only 20 bucks of expenses for the entire trip, so it's 99-cent McNuggets for breakfast, lunch and dinner all week. Poor guy. Although I suppose he's lucky he's even at the winter meetings. I'm surprised the league still bothers inviting the Pirates.

Wednesday

10:03 a.m.
Bonds is arriving at the meetings today, and I expect him to find a lot of suitors. Plenty of teams could use him as a gate attraction, especially if during the pregame they let fans come down onto the field and toss beer on him or kick him in the shins or something. I'm sure that would bring a sellout every night, with fans driving in from all over the country to take part.

11:14 a.m.
Mike Piazza's agent says the only thing keeping his client from signing with Oakland right now is that Piazza is worried Oakland doesn't have any good salons where he can get his tips frosted.

12:58 p.m.
I just saw Dodgers GM Ned Colletti in the bathroom and asked him if the rumor about L.A. getting Jason Schmidt is true. He denied it. I also asked him if he heard any rumors about what happened in the second stall. Claims he doesn't know anything about that either.

1:11 p.m.
Word is the free-spending Cubs are completely out of money, so now they're offering free agents "Cub Dollars" – good for food, drink and apparel at all Wrigley Field concession stands.

1:30 p.m.
Well, it's official. Schmidt agreed to terms with the Dodgers. So Colletti wasn't telling me the truth. That probably means he was lying about the mess in the bathroom stall, too. That guy is a liar. A disgusting liar.

2:44 p.m.
I hear the Dodgers are trying to write into Schmidt's contract that the entire deal will be voided if he tests positive for steroids. Supposedly, there are some people in the Dodgers organization who are concerned he could have gotten some sort of contact high from playing with Bonds for six years.

Scott Boras
Kirby Lee/WireImage.com
"Anyone care to bid against themselves this offseason?"

3:20 p.m.
Oh, I almost forgot – guess who else I saw in the bathroom when I was talking to Colletti? Boras. Turns out he makes no reflection in the mirror. Can't say I'm surprised.

7:14 p.m.
It's the final night of the winter meetings, and Devil Rays general manager Andrew Friedman tells me he's still looking for starting pitching … and middle-of-the-order hitters … and relievers … and some speed at the top of the lineup … and some guys who can field. He says he also could use a box of tissues and/or a bottle of Prozac.

10:11 p.m.
Phillies general manager Pat Gillick just consummated a deal with Ken Williams of the White Sox that will send Freddy Garcia to Philadelphia in exchange for Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzalez. Word is that a video of them consummating it already has been leaked onto the Internet.

Thursday

9:00 a.m.
I saw Boras in the lobby this morning and asked him who exactly are all these teams who are supposedly in a bidding war for Zito's services. He said: "Well, there are three teams. The – cough, coughs. The – a-choos! And the 'Excuse me, I have to take this calls.' " So there you have it.

10:11 a.m.
I just got off the phone with Manny Ramirez. He doesn't seem affected by all the trade rumors. In fact, he said he hasn't thought about them at all. Apparently, he recently had a ceiling fan installed in his living room, and he has just been watching that go round and round all week.

11:55 a.m.
Epstein just had lunch delivered, and he tipped the delivery guy 125 grand simply because he's Japanese.

12:12 p.m.
Well, it's the final day of the winter meetings and I have yet to break a single story that has been correct. So I'm going to report that the Orioles are about to do something extremely stupid and the Cubs are set to grossly overpay someone. I don't think I can go wrong with that.

DJ Gallo is the founder and sole writer of the award-winning sports satire site SportsPickle.com. He is also a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine and has written for The Onion and Cracked. His first book – "SportsPickle Presents: The View from the Upper Deck" – will be in stores soon.




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JOURNAL FROM
WINTER MEETINGS