Ohman waiting for better '09 offer

Updated: February 16, 2009, 4:56 PM ET
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN.com

Will Ohman, one of the top relievers left on baseball's free agent market, has major league offers in hand from the Pittsburgh Pirates, Florida Marlins and San Diego Padres, but plans to continue discussions with three contending teams before making a decision on his destination for 2009, his agent said Monday.

The Phillies, Mets and Dodgers have all stayed in touch with Ohman, but their interest has yet to progress beyond the talking stage.

"When Will gets an offer he's comfortable with, he's going to sign,'' agent Page Odle said. "Right now we continue to have dialogue with several teams on a pretty regular basis. There's no timetable.''

Ohman, 31, figured to be one of the most hotly-pursued lefties on the market this winter based on his performance in 2008. He posted a 4-1 record with a 3.68 ERA for Atlanta, and struck out 53 batters in 58 1/3 innings.

The market began promisingly, when Damaso Marte signed a three-year, $12 million deal to remain with the Yankees and Jeremy Affeldt agreed to a two-year, $8 million contract with San Francisco. The Braves were also discussing a possible two-year deal to keep Ohman in Atlanta.

But then the bottom gradually fell out. While Arthur Rhodes, Darren Oliver, Alan Embree, Trever Miller, Brian Shouse and Eddie Guardado all found homes, Ohman and fellow lefties Joe Beimel and Dennys Reyes remain unsigned.

It's believed that the Pirates, Marlins and Padres -- all of whom rank among the game's lowest payroll clubs -- would be hesitant to give a lefty setup man more than a one-year deal for anything beyond $1 million, if that. The Mets and Phillies, both citing spiraling payrolls, have also given indications that they're limited in what they're willing to spend.

Beimel, 31, posted a 5-1 record with a 2.02 ERA in 71 appearances as a Dodger last season. He's allowed only one home run covering 154 appearances over the past two seasons, but remains in limbo.

Beimel told MLB.com last week that he's spoken to 16 clubs this offseason, but none has made an offer worth accepting. While Beimel waits, he continues to work out at UCLA and stay in pitching shape.

"Joe is willing to be reasonable and flexible to cut a deal, but he's not going to panic,'' said Joe Sroba, Beimel's agent. "He knows his value. When he's comfortable with a deal that he considers reasonable, we'll make a move.''

Jerry Crasnick covers Major League Baseball for ESPN.com.

Jerry Crasnick | email

ESPN.com MLB Sr. Writer