Blog Entry

Leaving Las Vegas (with a few loose ends)

Posted on: December 11, 2008 7:07 pm

LAS VEGAS -- The winter meetings were a blur, and it's not fair to say that nothing got done as scouts and executives paused between games of blackjack and let it ride. The Mets came looking for one closer and found two, the Yankees got CC Sabathia, and the Tigers, a year after stunning the baseball world by trading for Miguel Cabrera, traded for Edwin Jackson in a deal that barely anyone even noticed.

But as the baseball world moved on Thursday, leaving Las Vegas to the usual collection of tourists and hard-core gamblers, the deals still to be done were far more plentiful than the deals that got done.

A look at what's left:

-- Mark Teixeira. Five teams are involved, and the Yankees have somewhat surprisingly reemerged as one of them. The Angels would like to keep Teixeira, but have begun to doubt that they will. The Nationals and Orioles can offer location and money, but not an immediate chance to compete. The Red Sox are still seen as the favorite, but as general manager Theo Epstein left the Bellagio Hotel on Thursday, no deal was done.

Are the Red Sox optimistic?

"Not too many people leave Vegas optimistic about anything," Epstein said, as he headed for the parking garage.

-- A.J. Burnett. What remains for Burnett is a decision that seems pretty straightforward. He can follow the money to the Yankees, who have a five-year, $80 million offer on the table. Or he can take less guaranteed cash and sign with the Braves, for four guaranteed years and about $60 million, with a very attainable vesting option for the fifth year. It's a fairly big gap, but Braves people remain hopeful, in part because they think Burnett favors Atlanta over New York, and in part because tax difference make the gap a little less than it seems.

-- Manny Ramirez. There really wasn't much talk about Ramirez this week, and the feeling among many baseball executives is that he'll eventually end up signing some sort of deal to return to the Dodgers.

"They have to sign him," one National League executive said. "He's the most popular player the Dodgers have had in years."

The Manny negotiations, or non-negotiations, haven't held up the Dodger plans, in large part because general manager Ned Colletti and his aides are barely involved in any Manny talks. Owner Frank McCourt is handling things. No one knows for sure how much money he'll spend, but some people in the organization believe it will eventually be enough to get a deal done.

-- Scott Boras. Teixeira is his. Manny is his. So are Derek Lowe, Oliver Perez, Garret Anderson, Jason Varitek and Pudge Rodriguez. All of them are free agents. None of them signed during the meetings. Needless to say, Boras isn't ready to start his Christmas vacation just yet.

-- The Mets. They got K-Rod. They got J.J. Putz. They also know they're not done, because right now their rotation consists of Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, John Maine and rookie Jon Niese. They need one more starter and maybe two, but their remaining funds are limited, so previous targets like Derek Lowe are basically out. They'll talk to the Cubs about Jason Marquis (as first reported by, and at some point (if the price drops) they could have more talks about bringing Oliver Perez back. It may not happen soon, but eventually they'll get someone.

-- The Yankees. They're in on Burnett. They're in on Teixeira. They're in on Lowe. They're in on Ben Sheets. And the New York Post reported Thursday that general manager Brian Cashman flew to Texas in an attempt to re-sign Andy Pettitte. They still want two more starting pitchers, and they wouldn't mind adding a center fielder or a first baseman, as well. They've got plenty on their plate, but they always do.

-- The Brewers. They put most of their offseason work on hold, while they waited and hoped that somehow Sabathia would choose to stay with them. He didn't, and Ben Sheets won't be staying, either. They're left with holes in their rotation, and with no money to fill them. They have to dump some salary to afford a mid-level starter, but their first attempt to trade Mike Cameron failed when the Yankees asked them for money. As one Brewers official said, the next couple of weeks could be interesting.

-- The Angels. They went into the winter with money to spend, and twin targets to spend it on. But Sabathia wouldn't take their money, and there's a real chance Teixeira won't, either. The backup plan is Raul Ibanez, perhaps combined with Brian Fuentes and/or a longshot run at Jake Peavy. Everyone says Peavy won't waive his no-trade clause to go to the American League, but the Angels may have no choice but to try.

-- The Cubs. They called off the Peavy trade talks, becoming the second team this winter to become frustrated after dealing with the Padres' dysfunctional front office. They already re-signed Ryan Dempster, so adding another starter wasn't a necessity, but the Cubs have plenty of work to do. Mark DeRosa, who would have gone to the Phillies as part of a three-way Peavy deal, is now being shopped as a third baseman. And the Cubs still have to get an outfielder.

-- The White Sox. They say they don't have to do anything more, but everyone fully expects that they will. The best guess is that Jermaine Dye will eventually be traded somewhere, and also that the Sox will add a short-term starting pitcher. Oh, and maybe a center fielder, too.

That's a lot of loose ends, and that's not even the full list. The Rays still need another bat, the Dodgers still need a shortstop and the Cardinals still need a closer. There are still a slew of unsigned outfielders, from Ramirez and Ibanez to Adam Dunn and Pat Burrell. Rafael Furcal, Orlando Hudson and Orlando Cabrera haven't yet found new homes, either.

So more will happen next week, and even into January. As general manager after general manager said this week, spring training doesn't start tomorrow.



Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: February 21, 2012 12:57 am

Leaving Las Vegas (with a few loose ends)

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Leaving Las Vegas (with a few loose ends)

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Leaving Las Vegas (with a few loose ends)

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Posted on: December 6, 2011 8:26 am

Leaving Las Vegas (with a few loose ends)

Since: Nov 19, 2011
Posted on: December 4, 2011 1:42 pm

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Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 22, 2011 9:56 pm
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Since: Aug 16, 2008
Posted on: December 21, 2008 11:07 pm

Leaving Las Vegas (with a few loose ends)

Interesting a week past the meetings that the avalanches hasnt broken.  Free Agency still lurks, and while most await Teixeira signing, it seems that an excellent club could be completed witj solid players at bargain prices.

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