Delgado derby unsettled

BOB ELLIOTT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:24 AM ET

"I've played 10 years and I want the chance to win. I want the opportunity to contend, to not finish last. That will play a big role in my decision."

-- Carlos Delgado, Oct. 3.

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So, with that statement in mind, we take a look at the winterbook odds on where the Blue Jays slugger will sign come spring training.

In the spring, we thought it was a slam dunk that Delgado would head west to sign with the Anaheim Angels and owner Arte Moreno.

Two months ago, we were sure he was bound for the Baltimore Orioles.

Now, the updated, latest odds (subject to change, the deeper into the off-season we move) odds on where Delgado will sign:

1. Seattle Mariners, 5-2.

Delgado took over as the Jays' everyday first baseman in 1997, after John Olerud was sent to the New York Mets for righty Robert Person. Now, the M's have released Olerud and since Bucky Jacobsen wasn't exactly a Safeco savoir, they're looking hard at Delgado.

The M's won all of 63 games -- four shy of the Jays' total -- in 2004, so why would Delgado have any interest in moving there?

Well, the Jays aren't chasing Carl Pavano, Corey Koskie and Delgado. The Mariners are.

2. Baltimore Orioles, 3-1.

Can Baltimore win the American League East? A year ago, the O's signed Miguel Tejada, Javy Lopez Rafael Palmeiro and re-signed Sidney Ponson. They are interested in Magglio Ordonez, Moises Alou, Pavano and either Richie Sexson or Delgado. They're budgeting to build a winner.

3. New York Yankees 5-1.

They haven't won since 2000 and George Steinbrenner won't stop spending now. They have, as the saying goes, the most candy in the candy store. If New York claims Jason Giambi's contract on insurance due to a benign tumor in his pituitary gland, and want Delgado, that's where he will go.

4. Angels 7-1.

Dominoes need to fall a certain way for Delgado to wind up in Anaheim -- in particular, if the Angels fail to land free agent Carlos Beltran, who could stay put with the Houston Astros or sign with the Yanks. If Moreno can't entice Beltran, Darin Erstad moves from first base back to centre field and Anaheim chases Delgado.

5. The Jays, 10-1.

Paul Godfrey is conducting contract talks, as he did four years ago with Delgado, and as he did with Alex Gonzalez. There might be a hometown discount from Delgado, but even if he returns is he returning to a contender? No.

6. Texas Rangers, 12-1.

Delgado has more homers than any visiting player in Arlington. The Rangers need another bat and might deal Alfonso Soriano or Mark Teixeira for pitching.

Also entered: The New York Mets, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Chicago White Sox and the Florida Marlins, all at 20-1.

WORKING FOR VISAS

No news on work visas for Canadians is bad news from the GMs meeting in Key Biscayne, Fla. Sandy Alderson of Major League Baseball is unsure how the situation will shake out in 2005. Alderson worries about players coming into the system after the initial outlay of visas has been assigned.

"Where visas come into play are with midseason signings and the draft," he said. "And the biggest effect is on Canadians. Guys in Latin America have a place to play (rookie-class Dominican summer league). It's different with the Canadians."

There has been, and still is, talk of creating a Canadian rookie-class league, but as Alderson says: "It's kind of tough to have a league for 20 Canadians or so."

SCHOOL NEWS

In the fall of 2005, junior colleges south of the border will be restricted to three international players on each roster, down from the current total of six.


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