In our last post, we gave a quick preview of the off-field aspect of the Winter Meetings. But the part of the whole week that gets the most attention annually is without question the wheeling and dealing that is done on the big league side of things. Some notes to keep an eye on over the next few days.
- Andy Martino in the Inquirer notes here that since the Phillies have been pretty insistent that payroll will not increase significantly, they are not certain to go after a big-ticket reliever they need (like Brandon Lyon). But what about Roy Halladay? No chance right? What if the Yankees and Red Sox, widely regarded as the top two suitors for Halladay, both determine that they do not want to give much away for a guy who will become a free agent in fewer than 12 months? There is strong precedent to suggest that will happen, because it happened two years ago with Johan Santana. Both AL East behemoths dropped out of the bidding for the then-Minnesota ace, allowing the Mets to acquire Santana for a bunch of second-tier youngsters.
- The best position player on the market is Cardinals OF Matt Holliday. Where will he end up? Well, Boston needs a bat in the middle of their lineup, whether it be replacing Jason Bay with Holliday or just bringing back Bay.
- The best pitcher is John Lackey. As Jayson Stark notes here, while he might not be a CC Sabathia, he is so much the best free agent pitcher that it’s going to be very tough to hold him back financially. Jason Marquis? “I don’t see any starting pitcher in this market who’s going to pull Lackey down,” said one exec. “There’s no comparable pitcher to Lackey that would cause him to sign for, like, three years times $10 million. Somebody is going to give him close to what the established market is for upper-echelon starters.” So who is that somebody? Don’t bet against the Yankees.
- Here is a good rundown from the NY Post
- Bill Madden in the NY Daily News writes: Phillies: Credit Ruben Amaro, the second-year Phillies GM, for not resting on his ’09 NL pennant laurels, and moving quickly to upgrade at third base from Pedro Feliz to Placido Polanco. Next up: The pitching. Amaro is in on Halladay but probably doesn’t have the pieces to get him, and is aggressively working to fortify his bullpen. He’s zeroing in on Fernando Rodney as another closer option, and John Smoltz and J.J. Putz as set-up possibilities who could be had for incentives-laden deals.
On the last point, Madden on the Phillies, we disagree that the Phillies don’t have the pieces to make the deal. They have the pieces. They just don’t want to trade those pieces. They had the pieces in July to make the deal, they just didn’t want to give up nearly as many as Toronto did.
Should be a fun week as usual.