Pierre is Front and Center

The Pierre auction is under the spotlight and the bids are coming fast and furious.  The problem is knowing who to believe.

First we have this report from the rumor mill.

Juan Pierre, CF (Rangers, Yankees, Cubs) - Monday's Dallas Morning News quoted baseball sources as saying Texas is a frontrunner to acquire the Marlins' leadoff hitter. The cost, sources say, will be the Rangers' top pitching prospects. Both John Danks and Thomas Diamond are among Baseball America's top 100 prospects.

If Danks or Diamond is traded for Pierre, I think we will have to start a suicide watch on Lone Star Ball.

Then of course there is this rumor.

The Chicago Cubs are expected to land their leadoff man Wednesday, according to a high-ranking baseball official.
The Cubs, who lost in the bidding for free agent Rafael Furcal, were very close to an agreement with the Florida Marlins late Tuesday on a trade that would net Chicago center fielder Juan Pierre and a pitching prospect reportedly in exchange for Double-A pitching prospects Ricky Nolasco and Renyel Pinto.

Not to mention that the Yankees, White Sox and Mariners may also be in the hunt.  Pierre will probably be traded before the end of the winter meetings on Thursday.

So how are things going with our free agents.

Beinfest said the Marlins have extended offers to some of their own free agents. Jeff Conine is not one of them. As of early Tuesday evening, agent Michael Watkins had not heard from the Marlins.

The Marlins have discussed bringing back Antonio Alfonseca and installing him as their closer. Reserve infielder Damion Easley and starter Brian Moehler also could return. As of Saturday, Easley had yet to receive a call from the Marlins.

Today is the deadline for the Marlins to offer arbitration to their free agents. If they don't, the Marlins are precluded from re-signing that player until May. In addition to Burnett, the Marlins have two type A free agents (Conine and Todd Jones).

Jeff Conine said that he didn't want to be the only veteran in the clubhouse and the rumor was out today that the Orioles were considering offering Todd Jones a two-year contract for $10 million.

This does not bode well for their return to the team.

I am not sure the organization will extend arbitration offers to very many, if any, of the type A players.  Signing first round draft picks is expensive and the club seems intent on not spending any money.  But we will know after today.

[Update] What the Marlins are requesting from the Rangers:

The Rangers were told that it would take catcher Gerald Laird, infielder Ian Kinsler and minor league pitcher Eric Hurley to get Pierre.
Beinfest is playing hardball.
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