Saturday, December 6, 2008

Hot Stoves Around the League

OK, it's snowing and the Pirates are adding to the chill by sitting on their hands so far during the free agent frenzy. But hey - so's everyone else. Some frenzy.

Here's the action leading into Monday's winter meetings in Vegas:

> Atlanta picked up RHP Javier Vazquez and LHP Boone Logan from the White Sox in exchange for C Tyler Flowers, INFs Jonathan Gilmore and Brent Lillibridge, and LHP Santos Rodriguez. It's the kind of deal Neal Huntington can only dream of pulling off. He's probably four years away from having a fully stocked minor league system to use as trade bait, ala the Braves.

> The Cards roped in SS Khalil Greene from San Diego for RHP Mark Worrell and a player to be named later. It's amazing, the larceny you can pull off if you're willing to take on some contract. Greene is due to make $6.5 million in the final season of a two-year, $11 million contract, and is eligible for arbitration after 2009. Sure beats Cesar Izturis if Greene recovers his pre-2008 batting eye.

> In an actual free-agent signing, the Giants inked SS Edgar Renteria to a two-year contract worth $18.5 million, with a $10.5 million option for 2011 with a $500,000 buyout. They way overpaid for a guy that's going to kill a young pitching staff in the field, a lesson the Tigers learned last season.

> There's been a spate of minor FA signings this month - C David Ross (Atlanta), RHP Mike Lincoln (Cincinnati), RHP Jorge Julio (Milwaukee), LHP Mike Hampton & RHP Doug Brocail (Houston), RHP Bob Howry (San Francisco), INF Russell Branyan (Seattle), and LHP Trever Miller (St. Louis).

> In a noteworthy non-signing, SS Rafael Furcal declined the A's offer of 4 years for $35-40M. Oakland suits shook their heads and pulled the deal off the table. Maybe Furcal, who's missed huge hunks of time from two of the past three seasons, isn't quite the item he thought he was. There's a chance he may have passed up his best offer; we'll see how the market plays out.

We're curious to see the market in action after CC, AJ, and Tex ink deals and set the top level (which we believe will be irrelevant to most of the remaining players). Our sense so far in the mating game is that teams are actually counting their dollars; that's why we hear of so many trades being discussed instead of straight up signings.

GW thinks the agents are holding back on jumping at deals in the hope that the usual dynamic of panic sweeps the suits as the players fall. We know that it's early in the FA dance card and the bucks could fly, but we're not so sure that'll be the case this year. At any rate, we're looking forward to one of the more interesting free agency seasons in awhile (outside of Pittsburgh, that is).

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