Please forgive the abbreviated post this morning. I've got a ton of stuff I have to try and get done today; I just don't have the time to type up the Iliad as I usually do each and every Wednesday.
The Winter Meetings are in full swing; rumours flying madly back and forth. My take on some of the recent developments:
The Marlins made out like bandits in the Cabrera/Willis deal. I know that Miguel Cabrera is a hell of a hitter, but personally, I think his weight issues and his defensive shortcomings are going to push him to 1b/DH sooner rather than later. I know, it won't be a problem for Detroit, seeing as how they're in the AL, but he's going to get a monster payday to sit on the bench, eat malomars, and come to the plate four times a night. Hopefully, the Tigers' staff can come up with something to help out Dontrelle Willis and make him a really good pitcher again, but I have my doubts. As things stand right now, I think Andrew Miller has a very good chance of being a better pitcher than the DTrain over the next 3-5 years, so I consider those two a straight deal. That means the Tigers gave up five prospects, including one of the top five prospects in the entire game, (Maybin) for the right to pay Miguel Cabrera 18 million dollars a year to hit. Again, I know Cabrera is a transcendent hitter, but, on balance, I would take Maybin every time. Guys with his offensive ceiling who play premium defensive positions are too rare. I'm sure this move makes the Tigers better in the short term, but I have the distinct feeling that we've just seen a team trade away far more than what they're getting back.
The whole Santana thing is looking as if it may end up going down the same way, to me. According to a ton of different sources, (I would post a link, but there are so many stories about it, I don't even know which one is the best to start with) the Yankees have mostly fallen out of the race for Johan's services. The California teams that didn't get Cabrera, especially the Angels, now appear to be the only real competition with the Red Sox to try and get a deal done with the Twins. It looks as if the Twins are trying to get Boston to include both Jacoby Ellsbury and Jon Lester in the deal, and the Sawx are sticking to their guns of not offering both in the same package. I hope the Twins win on this one; if they manage to pry Lester, Ellsbury, and a guy like Jed Lowrie away in return for Santana, it would be an absolute masterstroke of trading acumen by their new GM. I'm not sure what kind of package the Angels would offer, but I'm sure a guy like Brandon Wood would be included. Something along the lines of Wood, Nick Adenhart, and Howie Kendrick would be very attractive, although I'm not sure if the Angels would part with both Wood and Kendrick in the same deal. Even with the ridiculous MI depth they have in their system, that would put a serious strain on the resources. As far as the Dodgers, they balked at the package the Twins wanted earlier in the winter; I don't see them as willing to part with what it would take to get the deal done. If I were the Twins, I would hold out for the Ellsbury/Lester/Lowrie package; if you don't get it now, wait until July, when teams start getting desperate to get back into a race. That's when you'll really get the stupid offers.
Why in the hell wouldn't you offer David Eckstein arbitration? You can't possibly be that afraid he'll accept. Eck back on a one year deal isn't at all a terrible outcome, and you get the draft pick otherwise. As it is now, you get nothing. That's an absolute failure to properly assess a situation. Mo hasn't done the things I was most afraid of, and yet he's still finding ways to shake my faith in him already. Patience. Rome wasn't built in a day.
And our own dear boys, Scotty Baseball and Anthony Reyes. Apparently, both of these players are proving harder to move than what was originally anticipated by Mr. Mozeliak and company. I'm glad Rolen didn't get moved to Milwaukee; I don't think the parameters of the deal were great for the Cardinals. The Dodgers are certainly an intriguing option, I've heard that something along the lines of Andy LaRoche and Scott Elbert might be doable. If that's the case, I would be pretty happy, as long as the Cards weren't on the hook for a ton of Rolen's salary. Both are great prospects; the Dodgers seem a little down on LaRoche, although I have no idea why, and Elbert's a hometown guy. (Seneca, MO, I believe) It would be nice to have a young, talented lefty in the system who hails from right in the team's backyard. Any package with less value than that one, to me, isn't worth considering. Scott Rolen is still one of the top third baseman in the game, and if you're not going to get top value out of him, hold on to him. Try to move him later. (I'm picking up a pattern here in my opinions as to trading star players.)
As for Anthony, it's going to be tough to get anything decent for him at the moment. He pitched atrociously last year, and the team has severely hurt his value by being so public with their negativity toward him. If you want to trade a player, it's much better if other teams think you at least sort of still believe in him. When you come out and say there's really no place for him on your team, it tends to drive down the kid's value. Chalk up another big red W for the Tony LaRussa public relations extravaganza.
I've heard some talk about moving Reyes for Cliff Lee. I have mixed feelings about this, tending toward negative. I actually like Lee, and I think he's a much better pitcher than what he showed last year. However, his attitude has been sorely questioned in the past, and he's much more expensive than Reyes. At least with Anthony, as Jill is fond of pointing out, he's kept his mouth shut and been a good soldier, regardless of how much crap has been heaped on him. So I think I'll pass on Lee. Now, if the Cards could pry Jeremy Sowers away from Cleveland, that's a different story...
If the Cards trade Reyes for Jack Cassell, or his equivalent, I may find another team to root for until some real changes are made in the team's management. I hate to sound over the top, and I'm sure it doesn't seem like much to those who dislike Reyes, but if you're going to move a kid who still has a lot of promise for basically a worse, albeit grounder generating, version of his underachieving self, the team isn't really going anywhere. Either get some real value for Anthony or give him a chance to prove he's worth something. 2008 isn't looking so hot anyway.
Oh, also, one of my favourite trade targets was moved. Carlos Quentin was traded by the DBacks. I'm really disappointed the Cards didn't make a play for him. I think he really would have been a good addition to the outfield, and it would have freed up Duncan to be moved for a young gun.
Which brings me to my last point. I'm hearing that the Cardinals aren't wanting to move Duncan. I can understand that, there are a ton of great reasons to keep him. But he may be your one really great bullet to bring in a future impact starter or MI prospect; if the Cards are putting him off limits because of Tony and Dave, that's just one more reason on a very long list I have as to why it was a bad idea to bring back LaRussa. Don't get me wrong, I would have to really be excited by an offer to move Chris, but so far it looks as if the guys on the trading block are guys that either want to get away from Tony or Tony wants gone, while possibly the best trading chip the team has looks to be off limits because the manager likes him. I'm afraid that as long as LaRussa is here, Mozeliak, (or anyone else) is going to really be handcuffed as far as the moves they can make to improve the team, since it all has to pass through the filter of, "Would this work with LaRussa and Duncan?" I really am trying to keep an open mind about this whole process, but I have to admit to being disappointed by some of the things I'm hearing so far. Hopefully, I'm just overreacting.
Also hopefully, since I put up this short, hasty thread, something big will happen today and we'll have something of substance to discuss. Here's to hoping.
I should have my draft overview ready for next week; I just didn't have the time this morning. Have a nice day everyone.