Sources: Phillies, Piazza have preliminary talks

Updated: January 24, 2006, 11:33 PM ET
By Jayson Stark | ESPN.com

The Phillies have shown interest in free-agent catcher Mike Piazza over the last few days.

Discussions between the team and Piazza's agents, the Beverly Hills Sports Council, have been "very preliminary," according to one source, and haven't specifically addressed money or Piazza's role. But Piazza could fit as a complement to Mike Lieberthal, who some of the club's decision-makers feel would be best off playing only about four days a week.

The Phillies also need to settle on a right-handed bat to play first base and give Ryan Howard days off against left-handed pitching. Piazza once had the Phillies on his no-trade list, but he is said to be interested.

His agents talked with the Yankees recently about a job as a backup catcher and part-time DH, but it's unlikely the Yankees would sign Piazza because he would be the third catcher on their roster.

According to ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney, if the Yankees don't sign Piazza, the Padres have the best shot at landing him.

Toronto, Baltimore and Anaheim also are thought to have mild interest in Piazza.

Jayson Stark is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

Jayson Stark | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com