Mostly quiet on the player movement front in Nashville
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Was it really only a few days ago that we predicted a winter meetings with sizzle? With action? With big names moving and headlines erupting?Sheez, where do we get these nutty ideas? Instead, four days later, 30 general managers sprinted for the doors of Opryland wondering one thing: What just happened? Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis went winging toward Motown. A desperate Andruw Jones took a two-year deal from the Dodgers. The Royals handed Jose Guillen 36 million negotiable American dollars. And, for you name-game lovers, two different pitchers named Jose Capellan changed teams. And that, rumor lovers, was just about it. So what happened to all those juicy story lines we were looking forward to just a few short days ago? Let's revisit them now.
1. The end to Santana-mania? Nowhere in sightThere was a brief window last weekend where the trade of Johan Santana to the Yankees seemed practically imminent.
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2. The Cabrera/Willis dealOnce upon a time, after every winter meetings, we used to haul out our annual list of winners and losers. But we'll spare you that list this year -- since there was really only one winner. The Tigers. They're the scariest team around now, after their spectacular deal for Cabrera and Willis left them with a lineup so deep that their No. 8 hitter (Pudge Rodriguez) is a guy who makes $13 million a year. We can debate some other time whether that trade now transforms them into the best team in baseball -- or only, say, the second best. But what no one can debate is that the gulf between the American League and National League just got a little wider. "It's incredible, the constant flow of talent one way," one AL executive said. "After a while, you want to say, 'Won't someonego to the National League?'"
Every time one of these teams makes a move, the other teams start contemplating their next move. Detroit makes this deal, so now Cleveland has to do something to keep pace. Boston and New York sign some guys, and now Toronto has to do something. Every time someone raises the bar, someone wants to jump over it. But that's not true in the National League.
--An AL executive
3. Attention Bird Mart shoppersNo team was more open for business at these meetings than the Orioles. They never did ring the Bird Mart cash registers. But they definitely entertained many a shopper.
4. When will the A's closeout sale begin?The team that positioned itself as the convenient, economic alternative to the Santana-mania and Bird Mart bidding was Oakland. Want Dan Haren? Want Joe Blanton? That can be arranged. Just not yet. GM Billy Beane is in no rush to trade anybody -- but especially not one of his starting pitchers until, hopefully, Santana moves, a couple of free agents sign, and the bidders begin, in the words of one A's official, "frothing at the mouth." The Diamondbacks haven't quite frothed. But they've been all over Haren. And that's a deal that could very conceivably happen in the next week or two. Because Haren is under control for $16.25 million over the next three years, he's exactly what Arizona is looking for in its constant quest to avoid the free-agent pitching insanity. And because the Diamondbacks are loaded with prospects, they're exactly what the budget-minded A's are seeking. So this is way too logical to fall apart. Isn't it?
There's a better chance of me breeding unicorns than there is of that deal happening.
--A's GM Billy Beane on a proposed three-team trade with the Mets and Twins
5. Where did all the trades go?The three most heavily rumored trades that didn't happen at these meetings:
6. The free-agent nonmarketThe three biggest free-agent signings, in one of the deadest winter meetings signfests in the free-agent era: