BASEBALL Colon to Yankees -- and other rumors

The Expos must keep their payroll around $40 million.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Days of talking finally turned into dealing at the winter meetings.
After an agonizingly slow start to baseball's annual swap meet, Edgardo Alfonzo signed with the San Francisco Giants, four trades were made and the Montreal Expos closed in on finding a destination for Bartolo Colon.
In the biggest move of the day, Alfonzo agreed to a $26 million, four-year contract with the Giants.
A four-team trade sent Erubiel Durazo from Arizona to Oakland, pitcher Elmer Dessens from Cincinnati to the Diamondbacks, shortstop Felipe Lopez from Toronto to the Reds and a player to be named to the Blue Jays.
Boston acquired Jeremy Giambi from Philadelphia for pitcher Josh Hancock; Tampa Bay got Rey Ordonez from the New York Mets for two players to be named; and St. Louis received Brett Tomko from San Diego for Luther Hackman in a swap of right-handed pitchers.
Colon talk
But the biggest potential deal would have payroll-slashing Montreal trading 20-game winner Colon to either Boston or the New York Yankees.
A trade involving Colon would have major ramifications in the AL East race. It also possibly could end Roger Clemens' tenure in New York and lead to his return to Boston.
Expos general manager Omar Minaya, under orders from the commissioner's office to keep his team's payroll at about $40 million, has become the central figure in the meetings.
"I think I know how to get to my target number," he said. "How I get there? There are so many different ways."
In exchange for Colon, Minaya asked the Yankees for pitcher Orlando Hernandez, first baseman Nick Johnson, outfielder Juan Rivera, another prospect and money to pay Hernandez's salary, a baseball official said on the condition of anonymity.
"I know what he wants from us," Yankees GM Brian Cashman said. "I'm trying to see if I can adjust what he wants."
Minaya asked Boston for pitcher Casey Fossum, third baseman Shea Hillenbrand and another player, according to a second baseball official.
"We're not that close on anybody," Red Sox GM Theo Epstein said.
Clemens' future
If the Yankees obtain Colon, they would cut off negotiations with Clemens. The six-time Cy Young Award winner, who is 40, is seven wins shy of 300 and wants to stay with New York.
"If he does not sign with the Yankees, we'd be interested in the Rangers," agent Randy Hendricks said.
Clemens, 13-6 with a 4.35 ERA last year, also could be interested in rejoining Boston, his team from 1984 to 1996, or the Mets, a team he has feuded with since beaning Mike Piazza more than two years ago.
Alfonzo's signing could signal the departure of former NL MVP Jeff Kent. The Giants already have signed free-agent second baseman Ray Durham, but it's possible Durham could be put in the outfield with Kent remaining at second.
Also, free agent shortstop Deivi Cruz agreed to a one-year contract with Baltimore, while Pittsburgh reached a preliminary agreement with outfielder Matt Stairs on a one-year deal worth $900,000.