Winter Meetings: Day Three Recap

It takes a lot to laugh; it takes Carl Crawford signing with the Boston Red Sox to cry.

As a Toronto Blue Jays fan, disheartening doesn’t quite adequately describe the feeling that comes over you watching the Red Sox shore up their easily hobbled lineup so easily this offseason.  It does however quickly dismiss any delusions of grandeur that the team may have had, and hopefully ends any pursuit of players that may have contributed more in terms of the now at the cost of later production.

For a team like the Yankees, the impact of this trade is even more immediate.  With Brett Gardner in left field, it was unlikely that Crawford was ever going to come to New York, but he would’ve made for an adequate plan B if the Cliff Lee negotiations ever broke down.  Now, the Yankees lose any ground they may have had in negotiations as their need for Lee becomes even more obvious than before.

Of course, there is another side to the signing, and although it’s thin, it bears mentioning:

Left field in Boston is perhaps the worst place in baseball for a guy with great range to make an impact defensively. The Green Monster turns a lot of potential outs in other parks into base hits in Fenway, which may diminish Crawford’s ability to perform at the same level as he did in Tampa Bay. The Red Sox might have to consider shifting Crawford to right field, where his speed could be better utilized to maximize his value.

Crawford  wasn’t the only player signed yesterday, just the only one with more than a passing bit of relevance.  Thanks a lot, Red Sox, for waiting until most people were asleep to make it official.  Great job.

Other Signings:

The Chicago White Sox made certain that Paul Konerko would be back to the South Side next season, and the season after, and the season after that by handing the first baseman a contract worth $37.5 million.

The Kansas City Royals added to their comedy troupe by signing Jeff Francoeur for $2.5 million and Melky Cabrera for $1.25 million. Despite how hilarious the show is guaranteed to be, there should be plenty of tickets available for its long engagement in Kansas City.

Jack Cust will make around $2.5 million in Seattle next year.

George Sherill further strengthens the lefty relief corps for the Braves.

Dennys Reyes ends up in Philadelphia and the Mets counter by signing Boof Bonser.  Electric stuff, people.

Miguel Cairo stays in Cincinnati, Wil Nieves will catch Shaun Marcum in Milwaukee and the Dodgers get Dioner Navarro.  Lucky teams.

Soul-Sucking Swaps:

The San Diego Padres acquired Jason Bartlett from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for relievers Adam Russell and Cesar Ramos.  The Padres actually drafted Bartlett originally in 2001.

Bartlett was originally rumoured to be on his way to Baltimore, who instead acquired J.J. Hardy from the Minnesota Twins for pitchers Brett Jacobson and Jim Hoey.

The Rumour Mill:

The Blue Jays would be more interested in picking up a DH type of player that could also spell Adam Lind at first base as he makes a mockery of defence for the season.  That doesn’t bode well for a potential Manny Ramirez contract, but neither does the fact that Scott Boras recently raised the bar for what type of contract might land his client.

The Jays are also in the mix of teams interested in Jussell Martin.  The Yankees are believed to have offered Cliff Lee a 6 year contract worth somewhere near $140 million.  The Florida Marlins have shown interest in Zack Greinke.  And the Twins and Brewers could be competing against each other to sign Carl Pavano.

The Winter Meetings close today with the Rule Five draft this morning.

Comments (6)

  1. Parkes

    This is what is wrong with baseball. This just makes me sick. Some people want to talk about parity in baseball-what a bunch of crap. It really isn’t fair when 2-4 can realistically sign these types of players, the luxury tax is a joke. also and to this point is the fact that the compensation picks which are supposed to balance the playing field somewhat isn’t really working either. When a team like the Red Sox can realease Type A’s (which them and only a few other teams could afford in the first place), get the picks for them and then turn around and resign others only to do the same later and get the good picks-what good is this system. Look at whats going to happen this year, they get the picks for V-mart, signed Crawford which in turn, if they sign Downs also, will dump the Jay’s compensation picks to the supplementary and second round. They have the system figured out to say the least, but they are able to continually replenish the system with hordes of picks-keep what they want and then trade the rest for great players like A-Gon, who could not be afforded by smaller market teams. Somewhere, I am sure that Marx and Engels are agreeing with me–its exploitation at its best

  2. Almost every team in baseball has at least one terrible, terrible contract. Yes, the Red Sox and Yankees can take the chances that other teams can’t, but they’re also smart, for the most part, with their signings. The competition on the field is only part of what makes baseball great. I absolutely love the competition off the field and the strategies at play in developing an organization.

    Check out our interview with Anthopoulos. He says he worries more about competing with the intelligence of the other GMs in the AL East as opposed to their budget, and I tend to believe that. The Rays have proven that you can build a winner without spending ridiculous sums of money.

    Even look at the Giants this past season. Their highest paid players weren’t even included on the postseason roster and they won the World Series.

  3. Yes the rays were able to compete in the last couple of years, but they were only able to do so after receiving extremely high draft picks for being absolutely horrible for a long time. The Jays may have done themselves in a bit by finishing in the middle of the pack for years

  4. Baseball doesn’t work like hockey does. The best player isn’t obvious to everyone and even when it is, that player because of contract demands, isn’t guaranteed to go to the worst team. Rays had foresight to invest in their system instead of FAs.

  5. I agree with you regarding the hockey thing, but do you really think that it was foresight or a combination of high picks, coupled with necessity/reality of not being able to go after FA? I still think the compensation system isn’t doing what it was designed to do.

    • It’s definitely foresight. Just like the Oakland A’s finding a market inefficiency in valuing OBP, Rays found cheaper alternative to forming competitive team. Jonah Keri has written a book about it that will be coming out this Spring.

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