Yankees eye Schilling; several seek Sexson

Updated: November 11, 2003, 10:32 PM ET
Associated Press

PHOENIX -- Arizona ace Curt Schilling and Milwaukee slugger Richie Sexson were among the players being mentioned Tuesday as trade talks heated up at the general managers' meeting.

The Diamondbacks seemed willing to explore a deal to send Schilling to the New York Yankees, and several teams were interested in Sexson.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman arrived Tuesday. A few hours after his arrival, he was talking to Diamondbacks GM Joe Garagiola Jr. at one of the tables that line the Arizona Biltmore Resort.

Neither would talk about a possible trade.

"I wouldn't be able to comment about another team's player. Sorry," Cashman said.

Schilling, who no longer has an agent but represents himself, has said he didn't want to pitch in the American League. But he loves a big stage, and there is none bigger than Yankee Stadium.

Diamondbacks managing general partner Jerry Colangelo didn't return a telephone message, but he told KTVK-TV that he had spoken with Schilling and that the right-hander was willing to consider waiving his no-trade clause under the right circumstances.

"If there's a deal that makes sense for him and for us, I think he has an open mind now, and I appreciate that," Colangelo said.

Schilling will earn $12 million next season on the final year of his contract, half of it deferred. Arizona wants to cut its payroll to about $80 million next season, and to reduce it further in 2005.

Colangelo confirmed that the Diamondbacks are trying to come up with a deal that would satisfy Schilling and get Arizona something valuable in return before he leaves as a free agent.

"So would this make sense under the right circumstances?" Colangelo said. "Make the best deal you can in terms of what you get in return before that season plays out. Hopefully, we might be able to get to that point."

Yankees first baseman Nick Johnson and second baseman Alfonso Soriano could be trade possibilities.

"Nick Johnson is a prospect. We think he's potentially a guy who could hit 30-35 home runs a year, and that would be a welcome addition, too," Colangelo said. "So would Soriano because of what he brings -- the power, the speed, base stealing, et cetera."

Schilling has said any trade would have to come in the offseason. He will not leave if he's still with Arizona when next season begins.

"I'm going to be gathering information," Cashman said. "We'll assess what's available on the trade market, talk to agents and see what's available on the free-agent market, then try to put together the best game plan possible from that information."

Colangelo confirmed that the Diamondbacks are talking with the Brewers about Sexson, who will earn $8.6 million next season. If Arizona can deal Schilling, and perhaps other players -- second baseman Junior Spivey and closer Matt Mantei are possibilities -- then the Diamondbacks could afford Sexson.

"I hope there's something there that makes sense for them as well as us," Colangelo said.

The Brewers are under orders from their board of directors to slice payroll to the $30 million range, and that will make it difficult to afford to keep Sexson and Geoff Jenkins, who will make $8.25 million this season.

"I've never been told I have to move either one of them," Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said. "But if you keep them both, it limits what you can do for now and the future in other areas."

As Sexson's agent, Casey Close, said, "Somebody's got to go."

Close said Sexson understands the situation is out of his hands, but if he is traded he hopes it is to a contender. Melvin said one of his team's biggest needs is for an outfielder.

Garagiola spoke with Melvin on Tuesday, but Arizona has competition in the bidding for Sexson. San Francisco, Los Angeles and Baltimore all reportedly have interest in the right-handed slugger.

Garagiola, unlike his boss, was extremely close-mouthed about any potential deals.

"No play-by-plays of meetings we had today," he said. "We met with several clubs, talked about players. That's it."


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press

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