After two days of wheeling and dealing in Las Vegas, the Winter Meetings finally got exciting yesterday. Well, for some that is. The Mets nailed down the back of their bullpen by signing the vastly overrated Frankie Rodriguez to a three year, $37 Million contract. The Yanks have reportedly gotten their man in the 7 year, $161 Million arm of CC Sabathia (too much, too long, too fat). The Dodgers have signed former Patriots Day hero Mark Loretta as well as retaining Casey Blake. The Orioles have traded Ramon Hernandez (who they were not going to trade in Division for all of you who think he could have replaced Varitek) to the Reds for Ryan Freel. The Indians are nearing a deal with oft injured former Cub Kerry Wood. Lots of deals and imminent deals are floating around, but something is missing, and it’s making me feel like these aren’t really the Winter Meetings.
Let’s see; all of the GMs are there, there are lots of buffets, Satan is wandering around collecting dollars, souls and robbing the occasional little old lady. What is missing? Oh, Yeah, the Boston Red Sox have not made a deal yet. The usually very active Theo and Company have been stagnant, though they have had their noses in pretty much everything. This is what’s been going on according to my numerous sources:
The Sox are the frontrunners in the race for Mark Teixeira, having met with Satan early this morning (Theo goes all night). Now that Sabathia is off the market, this negotiation should heat up. He is also known as the prime target of his current team, the LAAAngels, and to be in the plans of a few other teams. He should be getting somewhere in the range of The old left fielder’s deal (8 Yrs, $160 million), probably a few million a year more. The Yanks might not get involved now that they’ve got CC, instead aiming to lure D-Lowe and/or Burnett to join him. Hank “Dumber than dad with a bigger mouth” Steinbrenner has made it clear that he also wants to bring home the old left fielder (he grew up within view of the Stadium). Of course, they have more money than brains so an offer will probably be forthcoming.
Another market they are heavy into is the one for a moderately priced veteran starter. names kicked around have been Pettite, Smoltz, Pavano, Lowe and Burnett. Of course, the latter two have a heftier (like Sabathia, who’s fat) price in terms of both years and dollars, but the Sox are exploring all options. Lowe still has a boner for Northeastern girls, and has stated that he wants to come back, but I doubt the Sox would bring him back at the 4 year, $50-60 million range that he’s looking for. Burnett already supposedly has an offer from the Yanks on the table for 5 years and $66 Million, which the Sox will not go to. This wold be as bad a deal as the Sabathia one as both of them are primed to break down (though in different ways). One GM said of Sabathia, “As he gets older, he’s not gonna get skinnier,” and Burnett only had one really good season in Toronto and originally looked to be as bad a signing as Pavano (likely returning to the Marlins) in the first two years. Smoltz and Pettite are both better options as they could come in for only one year, if big money ($12-17 Million) and allow Masterson to continue in the setup role where he excelled this season.
The other Priority for the Sox is actually one where they are getting help from teams around the league. Yesterday’s trade of Ramon Hernandez to the Reds removes another possible landing place for Varitek, as he will not want to sit in Baltimore as the O’s introduce their big catching prospect. He is losing options by the day and in all likelyhood will be returning to Fenway. The trade market has rumors flying that the Rangers will be willing to give us Salty for Clay “I threw a no hitter in my second start and then shit the bed after” Buchholz. I like that deal on many levels, first it allows the Sox to shed the history and personal issues that comes with any failure by Buchholz in this uniform and second the Sox get the Catcher of the Future with time for him to train with the Captain.
Tomorrow the Sox will make one new announcement: New logo and Uniforms. I’m praying that they won’t touch the basic home jersey or hat, but changes to the road and alternate unis and hats could be a great way to increase revenues (you know you’ll want one,. I do). Either way, it’ll all shake out, but for now let’s just trust in Theo, laugh at the Yanks for giving a fat man an unlimited food budget in New York City, and Watch Baseball Tonight at 5 PM today on ESPN2.