Originally created 12/12/04

Braves discuss trade for Milwaukee closer Kolb



ANAHEIM, Calif. -- As nearly two dozen managers talked about their off-season moves, Atlanta's Bobby Cox said John Smoltz might rejoin the starting rotation if the Braves find another closer, and Atlanta negotiated to acquire Danny Kolb from Milwaukee.

Oakland discussed trading Tim Hudson, possibly to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

David Wells made the surprising decision to sign with the Boston Red Sox; Carl Pavano picked the New York Yankees; and Roger Clemens narrowed his choices to the Houston Astros or retirement.

Pittsburgh and Cleveland finalized the first trade of the winter meetings Saturday, with reliever Arthur Rhodes going to the Indians for outfielder Matt Lawton.

Boston also worked to re-sign Pedro Martinez and add shortstop Edgar Renteria. And while the Yankees' efforts to sign Pavano moved forward, there might be a hitch in New York's deal with Jaret Wright, with the team still evaluating the results of his physical.

Baseball's annual swapfest also had a bit of spectacle on Day Two of the four-day session. Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman arrived in a lobby filled with baseball executives and agents accompanied by two tall showgirls wearing feathered headdresses and an one gold-clad Elvis impersonator, campaigning for major league baseball to put a team in the gambling mecca.

Free-agent first basemen Richie Sexson and Carlos Del­gado also showed up to meet with teams.

With Pavano, the Yankees' rotation will get younger. Anaheim, Baltimore, Boston, Detroit and Seattle also sought the right-hander, 18-8 with a 3.00 ERA for Florida last season.

Pavano called his agent, Scott Shapiro, on Saturday morning and informed him of his decision, and Shapiro and Cashman closed in on a four-year contract worth about $39 million.

New York also has a preliminary agreement with right-hander Jaret Wright on a $21 million, three-year contract, but the Yankees still are evaluating his physical exam, a baseball official said on condition of anonymity, and hasn't determined whether he passed it or failed it.

Clemens, 42, said last week that he was leaning toward retirement and his agent, Randy Hendricks, said the seven-time Cy Young Award winner probably will make his decision between Jan. 5-20.

If Clemens decides to pitch in 2005, he and the Astros either will agree to a contract or his salary will be determined by an arbitrator.