Dodgers targeting Hudson?

  • There were rumblings Saturday that the Dodgers were closing in on a deal with Oakland for Tim Hudson. Much-ballyhooed pitching prospect Edwin Jackson would be the centerpiece of the package heading for Oakland.

  • The Dodgers also are working on signing free-agent catcher Mike Matheny. And it's believed that in the next few days, they will tell Adrian Beltre's agent, Scott Boras, that if they don't get Beltre signed soon, they will go in another direction. They've also been talking with Corey Koskie about a three-year deal.

  • The Edgar Renteria story took yet another twist Saturday. The Cardinals, who at one point thought they were out of the running, were then informed by Renteria's agent, Jeff Lane, that reports had been exaggerated of an impending deal with Boston. So Renteria is now talking with both teams, along with the Tigers.

  • The Devil Rays were believed to be close to signing free agent Juan Gonzalez.

  • An official of one team that has spoken with the Braves say they inquired about Scott Podsednik in their conversations with the Brewers. Acquiring Podsednik might have allowed them to explore potential deals for Andruw Jones. But manager Bobby Cox said the Braves don't plan to trade any of their cornerstone players.

    "We've got a lot of money tied up in four players (John Smoltz, Jones, Chipper Jones and Mike Hampton)," Cox said. "We'd like to keep everybody. They're signed. We know what they can do. I know you never say never, but we haven't got those thoughts at all right now."

  • The Braves also have talked with the Yankees about Kevin Brown. If the Yankees sign Carl Pavano, Jaret Wright and Eric Milton, which is possible, they would have six starting pitchers -- counting Brown. But Atlanta also can count to six, so the Braves have tried to get the Yankees to pay virtually all of Brown's salary and dump him for very little in return.

    The Yankees are balking at that. So if this deal ever does go down, it would mean the caliber of player the Yankees would get back would depend on how much of Brown's salary Atlanta is willing to pay.

  • The Mets were working hard Saturday on trying to sign free agent Moises Alou. But that wouldn't necessarily preclude them from also dealing for Sammy Sosa, since Cliff Floyd would be departing in that trade.

  • According to a team that has spoken with the Cubs, Chicago has at least kicked around the possibility of trying out Kerry Wood as a closer, if they can't obtain one elsewhere.

    The Cubs took a run at dealing for Danny Kolb, but couldn't put that together. So their current plan is to give Ryan Dempster a shot at the closer's job. But manager Dusty Baker doesn't appear to be sold on that idea. Asked Saturday who his closer would be if the season started tomorrow, Baker replied succinctly: "The season ain't starting tomorrow."

    "You need a closer," Baker said. "Where would the Dodgers be without [Eric] Gagne? Where would the Yankees be without Mariano Rivera? That's mandatory in baseball now if you're going to win."

    Baker wasn't asked about moving Wood into that role. But one scout who had heard of that idea said: "That has John Smoltz written all over it."

  • Now that the Marlins have been told they're out of the running for Pavano, they're shopping for another starter. One guy they're pursuing aggressively: Odalis Perez.

  • The Orioles have talked to the A's about Tim Hudson, but Baltimore is more willing to offer one of its most highly regarded young pitchers, Erik Bedard, for Barry Zito -- who can't be a free agent for two years (as opposed to Hudson's one).

  • With the Red Sox out of Pavano's picture, the Yankees roared in Friday night to try to get Pavano signed. There were rumblings they were closing in on a deal after upping their offer from four years, $38 million to four years, $42 million.

  • The Cardinals are working on signing Placido Polanco to replace Tony Womack at second base.

  • If the Cubs deal Sosa to the Mets for Floyd, it's been widely assumed their next move would be to chase Carlos Beltran. But the Cubs have also been exploring other outfield options. And one of them is Twins outfielder Jacque Jones, who could be available if the Twins re-sign Corey Koskie and need to free payroll space.

  • The Braves are balking at dealing Marcus Giles. But the A's still have plenty of takers for Hudson. There were rumblings Friday they had talked to the Dodgers about a trade centered around pitching prospect Edwin Jackson, and to the Mets in a deal that would include Jose Reyes.

  • Early in the day Friday, the buzz in the lobby was that the Angels were quietly making a move on Pedro Martinez. But clubs that have spoken with the Angels say they're more focused on inning-eaters (such as Matt Clement). Well, surprise. Once Pavano signs, the remaining free-agent starter who pitched the most innings this season would be (guess who?) Pedro.

  • The Phillies are finished with their major moves, but they're shopping for set-up relief and a utility man who can play third base. They've talked about David Weathers but will probably wait a couple of weeks to assess the nontender free-agent options. They'll do the same on the utility front after losing out on two players they were interested in -- Geoff Blum (signed with the Padres) and Chris Gomez (Orioles).

    Jayson Stark is a senior writer for ESPN.com.