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Mets have sights set on Sexson

12/12/2004

Los Angeles Dodgers: Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Paul
DePodesta believes several options will be available if star third
baseman Adrian Beltre decides to play elsewhere.

"I don't feel at this point we're going to be left standing
without a chair when the music stops," DePodesta said Saturday
night at baseball's winter meetings.

That being said, DePodesta remains hopeful Beltre will return,
despite the high price tag required to keep him. DePodesta said the Dodgers haven't made an offer to Scott Boras,
Beltre's agent.

And without mentioning him by name, DePodesta acknowledged the
Dodgers have spoken extensively with the Oakland Athletics
regarding ace right-hander Tim Hudson.

The Dodgers have expressed interest in third baseman Corey
Koskie, a free agent the Minnesota Twins are hoping to keep.

The Dodgers' stated goals since the season ended have been to
re-sign Beltre and get some pitching and catching help.

With that in mind, the Dodgers are discussing a trade with
Oakland involving Hudson and expressed interest in Matt Clement, a
highly sought after free agent despite his 9-13 record with the
Chicago Cubs last season.

New York Mets: The New York Mets have a huge hole at
first base, and Richie Sexson is certainly big enough to fill it.

General manager Omar Minaya spoke with Sexson's agent, Casey
Close, on Saturday at the winter meetings, perhaps a signal that
the Mets have picked the player they want to solidify a position
that's been problematic for years.

"Are you close? I don't want to give you false hope that we're
close on anything," Minaya said. "I think you can leave these
meetings and still be able to get a deal done."

Sexson is coming off an injury-shortened season
with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He hurt his left shoulder twice and
did not play after May, batting .233 with nine homers and 23 RBIs.

The Mets have tried Mike Piazza, Mo Vaughn and Jason Phillips at
first base the past few years, with little success.

Piazza is expected to be a full-time catcher again next season,
and Minaya said Friday he would like to have a strong defensive
first baseman to complement a young infield.

The Diamondbacks sent six players to the Brewers for Sexson last
year, including Lyle Overbay. Arizona offered him salary arbitration on Tuesday, and the
two-time All-Star has until Dec. 19 to accept the offer.

St. Louis Cardinals: Six weeks later, St. Louis manager Tony
La Russa is still dismayed by his team's four-game loss to Boston
in the World Series.

"We had set our sights on not just getting there, but winning
it, so it was disappointing," he said Saturday at baseball's
winter meetings. "In the end, I think what bothers you most is
that it was so noncompetitive. I mean, people who saw us for the
first time I'm sure were wondering, 'How did that club win 100
games?"'

Much of the Cardinals' success in 2005 depends on whether
shortstop Edgar Renteria and catcher Mike Matheny, both Gold Glove
winners, re-sign.

"We're still negotiating with both of those guys," La Russa
said.

If Matheny leaves, the catching job will probably go to Yadier
Molina, who played in 51 games last season as a rookie with two
homers, 15 RBIs and a .267 average.

The health of starter Matt Morris and first baseman Albert Pujols
is uncertain. Pujols played the entire season with an injured foot
that bothered him during the World Series.

"He's having a real good offseason," La Russa said. "Right
now we're very optimistic that he can more forward without anything
else happening. He displayed another side to him because he played
in a lot of pain and kept producing. It was just another example of
his toughness."

Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox signed left-hander John Halama on Saturday, ESPN's Peter Gammons reported. It's a one-year deal for $1 million.

In 2004, the 6-5, 215-pound Halama went 7-6 with a 4.70 ERA in 34 appearances, including 14 starts for the Devil Rays. Halama has previously played for the A's, Mariners and Astros.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.