Amelia Island, Fla. It's not quite up to the level of the Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez sweepstakes, but the bidding for the negotiating rights to the top hitter in Japan came to a close Wednesday.
And fitting for a competition whose contestants are mostly in Florida this week, it could take days to find out who is the winner in the bid for Japanese All-Star outfielder Ichiro Suzuki.
The commissioner's office planned to notify the Japanese commissioner of the amount of the winning sealed bid but not the team. The Orix BlueWave, Suzuki's team in Japan, has until Tuesday to accept the offer.
Then the winning team has 30 days to negotiate a contract with Suzuki and the team pays the fee to Orix only if it signs Suzuki. If Suzuki doesn't sign, he will remain in Japan for at least one more season.
Suzuki, 27, hit .387 this season to win his seventh straight Pacific League batting title. Suzuki is a career .353 hitter with 118 home runs and 529 RBIs in nine seasons in Japan.
"He has ability to be a starting outfielder for most major league teams," said Mets assistant GM Omar Minaya, whose team made one of the sealed bids for Suzuki. "He has the ability to be a good player, but it is too early to say if he can be a star. It's not fair to put those labels on him."
About 15 teams were expected to be involved in the bidding process, with Seattle being the favorite. The Mariners have Japanese ownership and Japanese reliever Kazuhiro Sasaki, who won the AL Rookie of the Year in his first season after leaving Japan.
U.S. All-Stars win, 5-1
Osaka, Japan Omar Vizquel and Barry Bonds singled in runs during the seventh inning Wednesday, helping the major league All-Stars to a 5-1 victory over Japan's All-Stars. It was the major leaguers' third victory against one loss and one tie in the eight-game series. Mike Sweeney of Kansas City doubled home two runs following singles by Tory Glaus of Anaheim and Luis Gonzalez of Arizona.
Dodgers hire Riggleman
Los Angeles Coaches Glenn Hoffman, John Shelby and Manny Mota will return to the Los Angeles Dodgers next season, and be joined on the staff by former big-league manager Jim Riggleman and Jim Lett.
Red Sox name Down
Boston Rick Down, who lost out on a chance to manage the Los Angeles Dodgers, was hired as the Red Sox hitting coach Wednesday.
Reds deal Villone
Amelia Island, Fla. Left-hander Ron Villone was traded from the Cincinnati Reds to the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday for two minor league pitchers to be announced. Villone, 30, was 10-10 with a 5.43 ERA last season.
Yankees agree on TV pact
New York The New York Yankees postponed their attempt to negotiate a multiyear television contract, instead agreeing to a $52 million, one-year deal with a branch of the International Management Group.