Two teams stuck at opposite ends of the standings, the Seattle Mariners and Boston Red Sox - are seeking help everywhere, including from one another.
As the fourth-place Red Sox look to rebuild again, they’re counting on former Cy Young Award winner Bret Saberhagen’s return, and are close to signing ex-Mariner Chris Bosio for the rest of 1997 with a club option for 1998.
To dump salary, the Sox are also looking to move closer Heathcliff Slocumb - and the Mariners are among the teams interested.
“The closer you get to the trade deadline (Thursday), the more teams are involved, and that means a lot of bait in the same pond,” manager Lou Piniella said. “Last week, we had about four poles in the water, but I think we went to the sporting goods store because today we’ve got about six lures out there.”
In Piniella-speak, that means the Mariners are talking to six teams about the same thing: pitching. Teams that include Oakland (for Billy Taylor), Chicago (Roberto Hernandez), Boston (Slocumb), Toronto (Mike Timlin), Philadelphia (Ricky Bottalico) and Minnesota (Rick Aguilera).
As the deadline approaches, will Seattle deal outfielder Jose Cruz Jr.?
“If we were willing to trade Jose for a closer,” one club official said, “we’d have done it two weeks ago. We didn’t then, we won’t now.”
According to one A.L. Central scout in Fenway Park Tuesday, acquiring Slocumb could greatly increase Seattle’s chances of getting to a World Series - or destroy them.
“Slocumb’s got a 95 mile-per-hour fastball, but he gets ahead of hitters and tries to get cute and hangs a slider,” the scout said. “There’s a reason he’s got 17 saves for a bad club this year, and there’s a reason he’s got a 5.56 earned-run average.”
Wondering why the Red Sox are close to signing Bosio and the Mariners aren’t? First, Bosio’s agent contacted the Sox and not Seattle and, second, the Mariners had no interest in the veteran… . Piniella wanted to start Jamie Moyer today instead of Omar Olivares because the Red Sox are more vulnerable to left-handed pitching (7-18) than right-handed (42-38). But Moyer, trying to heal a small blister, played catch and needed an extra day. So Olivares starts today … . Scene of the Day: Edgar Martinez, getting money from a mall cash machine, unrecognized by a family in line behind him - though all were wearing Mariners T-shirts and caps. “I liked it,” Martinez said of his anonymity. “I walked for about an hour and only one person recognized me. A girl came up and said, ‘Where’s Alex?”’
Seattle and Boston conclude their two-game series with a 10:05 a.m. game today in Fenway Park.
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