It’s been a while since I discussed baseball. I figured now is the best time. The Winter Meetings are done, but the wheeling and dealing for the most part isn’t. Time to see who helped themselves and who decided to stand pat going into the new year.
Boston Red Sox
When they lost C/1B Victor Martinez and 3B Adrian Beltre early in the free agency period, you just knew that GM Theo Epstein was going to have a plan or already had one before the off-season began. They were in constant talks with the San Diego Padres about 1B Adrian Gonzalez. The deal was struck before the winter meetings and they didn’t give up all of their top tier prospects to get him. Then Boston fills another need by signing LF Carl Crawford to a 7 year deal worth 142 million dollars during the winter meetings. They overpaid for Crawford and will for Gonzalez, but their lineup is set for the next decade with those two bats.
Chicago White Sox
Signing 1B/DH Adam Dunn was a sleek move by GM Ken Williams. He didn’t have to give him a massive contract and that gave the White Sox enough room to re-sign 1B Paul Konerko and C A.J. Pierzynski. They still have some work to do with their bullpen, but keeping their potent lineup intact and adding Dunn will help them compete with the Minnesota Twins for the AL Central title.
They went after a new third baseman and shortstop, via the trade rather than free agency. Arizona Diamondbacks 3B Mark Reynolds has tremendous power, but strikes out way too much. His .198 batting average scared away most teams, but Baltimore should have enough patience to wait for that to come around. J.J. Hardy hasn’t live up to his potential and this is probably his last chance of being an everyday shortstop. The Orioles acquired Hardy with utility infielder Brendan Harris from the Twins. Baltimore didn’t have to give Minnesota or Arizona top prospects for their new left side of the infield.
New York Yankees
Derek Jeter says that he was “angered” by how the contract negotiations were handled. Now the Yankees took a hit, but Jeter’s agent to my knowledge said that he was perplexed by the Yankees stance. They were able to bring back their captain and are still in the running for starter Cliff Lee. However, that’s the problem. If the Yankees are the number spot for Lee, why hasn’t he signed yet? Biding his time I’m sure. Or it could be that the Texas Rangers might have a chance of signing him after all. That can’t be the case of course.
Los Angeles Angels
We all presumed that the Angels were going to make a splash in the offseason. When owner Artie Moreno announced publicly that he was going to open his checkbook to improve the team, everyone assumed that the Angels were going to get their guy(s). It didn’t happen with LF Carl Crawford and it won’t with closer Rafael Soriano. The Angels so far have signed left handed relievers Hisanori Takahashi and Scott Downs. Will they sign 3B Adrian Beltre? All signs point to no, but it’s a hard lesson learned for Artie Moreno that you don’t announce you’re going to spend to only come up empty.
San Diego Padres
They won’t be trading away their closer Heath Bell before the season starts, but it will happen before the 2011 season ends. Adrian Gonzalez was not going to be in San Diego past the 2011 season and the Padres received maximum value for him. The Padres are apparently giving up on having back to back winning seasons for the first time since the ’06-’07 seasons. They did make some subtle moves by acquiring CF Cameron Maybin from Florida and SS Jason Bartlett from Tampa Bay. Those moves and others they make won’t sit well with the fan base that would rather go to the beach than watch the Padres without Gonzalez and Bell.