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More idle hot stove chatter

Five days later, the "big news" is that the Indians are still in on Mark Mulder, with perhaps a hint offered that they're in the lead:

Mulder's agent, Gregg Clifton, told the newspaper that Indians GM Mark Shapiro was due to meet with Mulder on Friday, but that the meeting was delayed because Mulder is just returning from a honeymoon in Tahiti.

"Mark Shapiro does a great job selling what the Cleveland Indians have to offer," Clifton told the Plain Dealer. "I think he's in a good spot to get Mulder to come to Cleveland."

Unlike Keith Foulke's agent, Mulder's guy at least mentions other teams being in the running, specifically the Cardinals and Rangers, though he reserved the sweet talk just for Shapiro and the Indians.  Of course, he may just be talking up the Indians to drive up the bid for one of the other teams.  Notably, the Rangers recently failed to sign Mulder's old teammate Barry Zito.

Foulke's agent has so blatantly talked about the Indians, and only the Indians, that it's a good bet the deal is already done.  The Indians probably asked for an extra week to explore trades to clear roster space, so everyone's just taking their sweet time getting that physical done.

On the pure speculation front, ESPN's Keith Law notes in his blog [pay content] that the Angels have created a roster crunch of their own with their dubious signing of the hacktastic Shea Hillenbrand:

I can't think of a team that needed Shea Hillenbrand less than the Angels did ... his signing means that one or both of Casey Kotchman and Kendry Morales will be benched, demoted, or given away, as there's not enough playing time to go around. And if Juan Rivera's winter-league injury doesn't keep him out for a good chunk of 2007, then both Kotchman and Morales will be out of luck.

Hmmm, might the Indians be interested in a young, studly hitter to hold down first base for, oh, six years?  Maybe someone just a bit more prospect-y than Ryan Garko?  And might the Angels be interested in a right-handed outfielder, not too old or expensive, to fill Juan Rivera's shoes for a few months?  Maybe a long-man/spot-starter, maybe Garko himself?