Winter Meetings Blog: Day 3
The Major League Baseball Winter Meetings have kicked off in Dallas. I’ll write a piece each night on the major and minor news of the day, especially involving the Philadelphia Phillies.
-Busy, busy day in Phillies land. As our Phillies beat reporter Pat Gallen wrote, Ryan Madson has declined arbitration. His agent, Scott Boras, made it clear that Madson was never going to accept and is waiting out the market to find a multi-year deal as a closer...Several reports have Jimmy Rollins on the verge of re-signing with the team. The dollar and year figures are going to be interesting when a deal is finalized considering the lack of competition in the market. Did the Phillies get Jimmy on the cheap again? Or did Ruben Amaro Jr. decide to lock up one of the faces of the franchise by overpaying in a semi-reasonable fashion like Brian Cashman did with Derek Jeter last year...Rumors swirled early on Wednesday morning about Philadelphia's interest in A's young lefty Gio Gonzalez. The 26-year old All-Star is a durable, strike out machine who was actually once a Phillies farmhand. Dominic Brown has been dangled in trade talks. There is a sentiment among baseball people that Gonzalez would be insurance in the event that Philly couldn't work out a long term deal with Hamels before he hits free agency next year. Or, the Phillies could shop him this off-season like they did with Cliff Lee when acquiring Roy Halladay.
-Despite our rush to make him a Marlin, Albert Pujols is still a free agent. Unlike last night, though, the biggest competition to his return to St. Louis is a new entrance to the dance. According to reports, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. All things being equal, most people around baseball believe it's just a matter of time before Pujols ends the free agent sweepstakes and returns to the place he's spent his entire career.
-Losing out on Albert did not dampen the Miami spending spree. The team agreed on a 4-year/$58 million deal with free agent lefty Mark Buehrle on Wednesday. As JABO guest Jonah Keri put it: A four-year deal for any starting pitcher can be risky, even more for a 32-year-old. But Buehrle might be the most consistent pitcher in the game: 11 straight seasons of 200 or more innings, five straight years of 3.4 to 4.6 WAR, 1.9 to 2.1 walks per 9 innings in the past six years. Never one to rely on big velocity or strikeout rates (4.3 to 5.8 K's per 9 innings over the past six years), Buehrle could succeed with command and durability into his late 30s and no one would be surprised. He leaves the American League for the lower-offense NL, in a new Marlins ballpark likely to be friendlier to pitchers than homer-happy U.S. Cellular Field. For a Marlins team that needed reliable bulk innings, Buehrle's a great fit, his status as the staff's only lefty a nice added bonus.
-Jose Reyes held his innagural press conference as a Miami Marlin and found a way to throw his old team under the bus. Reyes, who looked like he was meant to wear those new Marlin colors, took time to praise his new franchise for beginning their courtship of him the minute they could. On the other hand, he mentioned the Mets lack of enthusisam and a real offer as reasons why he isn't still in Flushing.
-Speaking of the Mets, their rebuilding process is in full court press mode. Everyone, they mean everyone, is available. They fully intend on tearing the entire franchise down in order to compete again in 2014 and beyond.
-Hanley Ramirez had better be joking asking for a raise to move to third base. A raise off of his worst year? A raise to do what a more accomplished and better player, Alex Rodriguez, did years ago for a more accomplished and better shortstop in Derek Jeter? A raise when all reports, including comments from his new manager, having him being too overweight to be a great defensive short stop anyway? Come on, man.
-Reports have the Cubs and Rangers chatting about a Matt Garza deal. A potential rotation of Matt Garza, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison, Neftali Feliz, and Colby Lewis would be so difficult to face on a day in, day out basis.
-Late night reports have Japanese ace righty Yu Darvish on the verge of being posted as a free agent to Major League teams. The process would go like this: 4 days for teams to bid, 4 days for his Japanese team to accept the offer, 30 day negotiating process.
-David Ortiz, Kelly Johnson, and K-Rod were the only big name free agents to accept arbitration.
-Kansas City and Alex Gordon are in the process of discussing an extension after his breakout 2011 campaign. Gordon, the one time top prospect, finally put it all together last season by posting a .303/.376/.502 line.
-Carlos Beltran's market is very thin right now because teams are scared off by his healthy. He could end up being the biggest steal of the free agent class.
-The following moves were finalized or close to finalized on Wednesday: Colorado traded closer Huston Street to San Diego for a Player To Be Named Later, Eric Bedard signed a 1-year deal with Pittsburgh, reliever Latroy Hawkins is now an Angel, and Octavio Dotel is on the verge of being a Tiger.
-The Rule 5 draft is slated for Thursday. Phillies farmhand Jiwan James could be the top pick by the Houston Astros.