Nomar near decision among four teams
Nomar to the Yankees? Nomar to the Dodgers? Nomar to the Indians?
You've heard the rumors. The question marks surrounding them could disappear as soon as Thursday.
Nomar Garciaparra's agent, Arn Tellem, told ESPN.com Wednesday that Garciaparra hopes to make a decision on his next destination "by the end of the week," and might decide as early as Thursday.
Garciaparra, who is testing free agency for the second straight winter, is "zeroing in on four teams," Tellem said. The Yankees, Indians and Astros are known to be three of them.
The Dodgers could be the fourth. They were thought to be turning in a different direction after reeling in free-agent third baseman Bill Mueller on Wednesday. But two baseball men said later Wednesday they believe the Dodgers are still interested in Garciaparra at first base, left field or possibly both.
Garciaparra is now at the stage where he's "an active participant in the process," Tellem said. "He's talking directly to these teams about baseball issues, trying to get a feel for where he'd be most comfortable." Tellem said Garciaparra has had conversations with managers and general managers of each of the remaining teams on his list.
Although dollars and his future position are, obviously, major factors in the decision, Garciaparra's main concern is "the baseball situation," Tellem said.
"It's the opportunity, the chance it could turn into something long-term, the comfort level," Tellem said. "There are a lot of personal things that go into it."
Tellem would not identify any of the teams still alive and declined to talk about Garciaparra's potential contract terms. However, it's believed he is willing to take a one-year deal for between $6 million and $8 million, plus incentives.
A trickier question, though, is where he would play for each of these teams.
The Indians want him to play right field, a position he never has played at any level.
In Houston, he has been told he would play left field, Tellem said, because the Astros' infield is set. However, an official of one club that has spoken with the Astros said this week there is a possibility they could trade shortstop Adam Everett in the right deal. So potentially, that could create the option of using Garciaparra at shortstop. But that seems unlikely.
While Garciaparra has no professional experience at any outfield position, "he feels that, athletically, he can play any position," Tellem said.
Nevertheless, the position factor is "something he's going to weigh," Tellem said. "As he starts getting more focused on a decision, sure, that could be a factor. But at this point, I really don't know how much of a factor."
Jayson Stark is a senior writer for ESPN.com.