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12/15/07 2:56 PM ET
Hot Stove: Pieces falling into place
Haren trade, Rowand deal highlight busy week in baseball
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
Think of the Hot Stove as a jigsaw puzzle. One of those really grandiose jobs over which you could fuss all winter, digging for the crucial pieces that enable others to fall into place. Accepting the analogy will help understand the ongoing commotion throughout baseball, in quick reaction to some developments -- some of those key pieces, if you will, snapped into new destinations. To wit: Dan Haren The Arizona Diamondbacks' quick strike, acquiring the All-Star right-hander on Friday in an eight-player deal with Oakland, re-focused other teams looking for top-of-the-rotation help on alternatives. Foremost among them are the Yankees, who again reached out to Minnesota general manager Bill Smith -- nearly two weeks past their "deadline" for a Johan Santana deal. This contact appeared to deliver a specific message: That the Bombers would step up efforts to land the two-time Cy Young Award winner if they create payroll space by moving Hideki Matsui, according to the Newark Star-Ledger. Aaron Rowand Two days after the last remaining "elite" free-agent center fielder signed with San Francisco -- following Torii Hunter (Angels) and Andruw Jones (Dodgers) -- San Diego GM Kevin Towers quickly nailed his Plan B. In a deal officially announced early Saturday afternoon, the Padres acquired Jim Edmonds from the Cardinals in exchange for third-base prospect David Freese -- a deal also struck soon after Towers' negotiations with incumbent/free agent Mike Cameron hit a dead end. The Phillies, who had held out hope of being able to re-sign Rowand, have turned their quest for outfield help to free agent Geoff Jenkins, the club confirmed to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Amplifying that, agent Damon Lapa tells FoxSports.com that things "are definitely heating up with Philly." Paul Lo Duca Since their leading catching priority reached a deal with the Nationals on Monday, the Blue Jays have already squirreled away Sal Fasano with a Minor League contract and are now pitching for Miguel Olivo, Florida's starting catcher last season. As the most prominent catcher remaining on the free-agent list -- he has struck 16 homers each of the last two seasons while averaging 59 RBIs -- Olivo finds himself in considerable demand, with agent Martin Arburua telling the Detroit Free Press, "I've had conversations with five or six teams. We're still very early in the process." Also: Luis Vizcaino is a done deal for the Colorado Rockies, with the former Yankees setup man having agreed to a two-year deal worth $7.5 million, according to the Denver Rocky Mountain News. Vizcaino needs to pass a physical for the deal to become official.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.