On the ground at the winter meetings in unseasonably cold Orlando, Fla., there has been quite a bit of action already.
Actually, in much colder Boston, the Adrian Gonzalez trade is currently off, as the slugging first baseman and the Boston Red Sox could not agree on an extension. They had a window until 2 p.m. today, and while the Red Sox were willing to given Gonzalez a six-year extension, the player wanted eight years and “Mark Teixeira money.”
Many people here believe that if Gonzalez tests the free-agent waters after this season, there would be up to six potential suitors for the type of money (eight years/$180 million) Teixeira signed for two winters ago. Those teams include the Dodgers, Angels, Nationals, Cubs and, of course, the Red Sox.
The Cubs were the other teams heavily involved in trying to trade for Gonzalez last week. Could talks with the Cubbies begin anew?
While the deadline for an extension has passed and the trade is now dead, it does not mean it is completely done. The teams could talk trade again (same players involved), and the Red Sox could up their offer.
I believe the Red Sox need Gonzalez so bad that they at least go to a seventh year (he would only be 35 in that last season), and this trade eventually gets done.
It gets done because of the major news today from the meetings that former Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth, he of the 120 career home runs at the age of 31, signed a big-money contract with the Washington Nationals.
That deal is for seven years and $126 million. Are you kidding? This deal will turn out just as bad as the deal Jason Bay signed with the New York Mets. Maybe it’s the name.
Well, Scott Boras did his work here and earned every penny of what he is getting paid by Werth.
But the right-hand hitting Werth was also on the Red Sox radar, to complement the trade for the left-hand hitting Gonzalez.
Now Werth is out, and the Gonzalez deal is done, for the time being. Even if the Red Sox do eventually get Gonzalez, they need another bat.
And that means going after Carl Crawford. The Sox can put a dent in the Yankees and Angels’ pursuit for CC No. 2 and improve their own lineup, too.
Let’s say the Red Sox then do sign Crawford. That means the Angels are needing to improve their team. They would like to get lineup help and want Crawford to be their No. 3 hitter.
But if Crawford signs elsewhere, the Angels can improve their team by getting better starting pitching.
And that means going heavy for Cliff Lee. What better way to crush the rival Texas Rangers, hurt the Yankees and improve your own team?
I have always thought the Angels were going to be a dark horse for Lee. However, many people here believe that Lee does not want to go back to the west coast. Valid point.
Also, the Angles aren’t hurting for starting pitching, with five starters already in the fold, including Jered Weaver, Ervin Santana, Joel Piniero, Dan Haren and Scott Kazmir. But Kazmir is mostly ineffective and could be moved, as he only has one year left before free agency. They could also move the more desirable Santana to make room.
However, money does talk (ask Werth), and the Angels will certainly be able to go $150 million for six years for Lee. That might get it done. Angels owner Arte Moreno has never been shy about spending his hard-earned cash.
Plus, I have always believed the Angels don’t really need Crawford with speedy youngsters Peter Bourjos (ready now) and Mike Trout probably ready in 2013 or sooner. Trout could be the best overall prospect in the major leagues.
Going after and signing Lee would make the Angels the leading contender in the AL West and would severely alter the Yankees pitching plans for their rotation.
If Lee signs elsewhere, what do the Bombers do then? I have several thoughts on what they could do, but they will be held for another piece.
These possible moves are the domino effects of the Gonzalez trade being called off (for now) and Werth strictly showing us money was the only factor in signing with the Nationals.
So much has gone on here at the winter meetings, and they haven’t even officially begun.