Rangers deny deal; D'backs, Yanks won't deal yet

Updated: November 12, 2003, 9:21 PM ET
Associated Press

PHOENIX -- Alex Rodriguez is not on the trading block. And any deal to send Curt Schilling to New York probably won't happen this week -- even after the Arizona ace agreed to speak directly to the Yankees.

But the Milwaukee Brewers could be close to trading star first baseman Richie Sexson, with the Arizona Diamondbacks the most likely destination.

Those were the developments out of Day 3 of baseball's general managers' meeting on Wednesday.

An uncharacteristic daylong Arizona downpour kept the GMs indoors, with little else to do but talk to each other.

None of those discussions involved Rodriguez, said Texas Rangers general manager John Hart, who did his best to shoot down trade rumors involving his superstar shortstop.

"I think we've got the best player in the game. We love him. We have no interest in dealing Alex Rodriguez," Hart said. "We're not having any conversations with any team about Alex Rodriguez. If anybody were to call, of course we'd listen, but we're not interested in any way, shape or form in trading Alex Rodriguez."

Even if Rodriguez could be traded, few teams could afford the seven years and $179 million remaining on his contract.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said he did not expect his team to make any deals this week -- for Schilling or anyone else.

"No news," Cashman said, "just talking, gathering information."

Next month's winter meetings in New Orleans would be "a more realistic time" for any trade, Cashman said.

Schilling did not return a telephone message, but he told the East Valley Tribune of Mesa he had agreed to the Diamondbacks' request that he talk to the Yankees.

"It's something I thought about for a while," Schilling said. "I went back to them and said 'yes.' "

Diamondbacks managing general partner Jerry Colangelo said that Schilling is willing to listen to proposed deals. The right-hander has a no-trade clause in his contract. He will earn $12 million next year, half of it deferred, and becomes a free agent at the end of the season.

The Diamondbacks are cutting payroll and would not be able to resign him, so a trade is a possibility.

"That's where we are," Colangelo said. "Everything else is too premature."

Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin, under orders to cut payroll to the $30 million range, said it was possible his team would make a deal before the GM meetings wrap up on Friday. Sexson will earn $8.6 million next season, and Geoff Jenkins $8.25 million, so it appears at least one of them must go.

The biggest demand is for Sexson, a right-handed hitter who hit 45 home runs and knocked in 124 runs last season, playing every inning in all 162 games.

"There are a number of clubs interested in Richie, a number of clubs that might have to do some things financially first," Melvin said. "This isn't a fire sale, which people think it may be. It's still got to in my mind be a good baseball deal for us in the future. This isn't going to be a guy I deal for one minor league player, or anything like that."

One of those teams that might have to make financial moves is Arizona. The Diamondbacks had a $94 million payroll last season, and want it down to $80 million for next year.

Colangelo said the Diamondbacks are talking to the Brewers about Sexson.

Arizona general manager Joe Garagiola Jr., while not confirming any specific potential deals, said talks are progressing.

"Whether that all leads to something this week, the winter meetings, or sometime in between, time will tell," he said, "but the conversations are pretty substantive at this point."

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press