Some Quick Notes and Rumors: MLB Winter Meetings Day 1

The MLB GMs are in Indianapolis for the winter meetings, and there were some interesting developments to kick them off:

3 players accepted arbitration: Carl Pavano of the Twins, Rafael Betancourt of the Rockies, and Rafael Soriano of the Braves.

Pavano is a safe bet for the Twins. He’ll see a decent sized raise if they go to arbitration, which I don’t expect. I could see him getting somewhere in the 2 year, $12MM range. That’s much better than what they could give some guys on the open market.

Betancourt was not surprising; middle relievers have problems getting signed if they are offered arbitration. He’ll probrably get a 1 year deal between $3-5MM. This was big for the Rockies.

Soriano was the surprising one; he’d have a better chance of getting a closing job on the open market. This also hurts the Braves, since they’ve locked up Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito. Soriano could get as much as $8MM if they go to arbitration. I’m expecting them to come to a deal quickly and for Soriano to be traded (which requires his approval if traded prior to June 1).

The Cardinals sign Brad Penny; the Nationals sign Ivan Rodriguez.

The Cardinals and Nationals have begun to fill needs. The Redbirds signed Penny for 1 year, $7.5MM, with incentives that increase the salary to $9MM. It’s a solid move by the Cards, who needed to replace Joel Pineiro. Penny is perfect for pitching coach Dave Duncan, so this move could possibly get Penny a multiyear contract next year.

Rodriguez signed a 2 year contract, with details still to come on salary; it’s expected to be in the $4-6MM range over the contract. Rodriguez will be the backup and mentor to Jesus Flores. Rodriguez is known for his defense and pitch calling, so this was a good move as the Nationals see Flores as their catcher of the future.

Blockbuster in the Mix?

Every year at the winter meetings, blockbusters are discussed but rarely happen. This year is no different. Early reports have the Yankees, Diamondbacks, and Tigers working on one. The Yankees would receive Curtis Granderson and 2 D’back prospects; the Diamondbacks would received Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy; the Tigers would receive Max Scherzer, Austin Jackson, Phil Coke, and Michael Dunn.

Granderson would be a huge upgrade for the Yankees; it would almost pain me to see him in Pin Stripes. Granderson is one of the top centerfielders in the game, and the Yankees have had problems in the last few years with the position. The cost of Kennedy, Jackson, Coke and Dunn is high, but they would also receive 2 draft picks.

The Tigers would also benefit from the deal. Scherzer is a nice complement for Justin Verlander and an upgrade over E Jackson in long run. A Jackson instantly becomes one of their top prospects in a weak system. Coke would join a bullpen looking to replace Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon. I don’t know much about Dunn.

I question this move from the D’back view. While they are looking for pitching depth, trading Scherzer isn’t the answer. Yes, Jackson will be alright, but I don’t think Ian Kennedy will be a good starter. He hasn’t had the greatest track record in the majors.

As of right now, the deal is on hold; there is still a chance that it could go down though.

And the Rest…
The Brewers have offered Randy Wolf a 3-year deal…The Tigers have re-signed shortstop Adam Everett…Matt Murton was released by the Rockies and signed with a team in Japan…The Nationals acquired reliever Brian Bruney from the Yankees for the first overall pick in the Rule V draft…Andy Pettitte has rejected the first offer from the Yankees…The contract of Chone Figgins with the Mariners is going to announced today…The Mets and Brewers are talking of swapping John Maine and Corey Hart…The Orioles are close to landing Kevin Millwood from the Rangers for a mid-level prospect; the Rangers are expected to eat some money…Jason Kendall and the Royals are closing in on a deal…The Marlins have made Dan Uggla, Matt Lindstrom, and Renyel Pinto available in trade…

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