Winter Meetings Roundup: Go New York!

The Bellagio Las Vegas, Nevada

Alright folks, I’m back from the Winter Meetings and despite not getting a baseball job (yet) there were a ton of exciting things that happened.  First off, I will say that both New York teams are the only teams that anyone should consider a winner coming away from the meetings.  Sure, the Indians and Mariners were both involved in a couple things, but let’s face it, this year’s meetings were all about New York.  Here are a couple thoughts on the meetings:

  • Mets Bullpen Gets Better: K-Rod to the Mets?  Easy.  I could have called that as soon as the Angels were knocked out.  The Mets desperately needed some arms in the bullpen and addressed their ninth inning by signing Francisco Rodriguez to his requested 5 years $75 mill — er — to a more-than-reasonable 3 years 37 million contract.  I like this signing for these years and dollars because this year K-Rod’s velocity was down about 2-3 MPH (buyer beware) and if he show’s people that was an abboration, he’ll get more money in 3 years.  The Mets needed a closer and here hs is.  But wait, there’s more.  In a three team trade, the Metsies brought over JJ Putz, the former Mariner closer who had a great ’07 and a lackluster ’08.  Putz has great stuff, maybe better than K-Rod and if he stays happy in the 8th inning, man that’s a great 1-2 punch.  I don’t like that the Mets dealt Mike Carp, their first baseman of the future, but Aaron Heilman had to go, so nice work by the Queens team solidifying their bullpen.  Now if they could only land a couple of starters…
  • Yanks Sign CC: The Bronx Bombers landed that #1 starter that they’ve needed for the past few years and Sabathia got paid.  Although I’ve been hesitant to the Yanks signing the big fella, I’m ok with it mainly because of the opt out clause.  I love it.  Realistically, A-Rod and Jeter have AT MOST 3 more productive seasons so the Yanks only really need Sabathia for that amount of time.  Mark my words, he WILL opt out.  They all do and I’m ok with that.  I had preferred a shorter deal for CC anyway and the opt out is my short deal.  The only way he won’t opt out is if he turns into the east coast version of Barry Zito.  Even if he wins 12-15 games in each of the next 3 years, as a lefty with a Cy Young, he’ll make his money.  So, I see Sabathia as a rental for three years and then when he wants to go play in California, he can, hopefully with a ring on his finger.
  • Burnett Gets Paid:  This one breaks my heart.  In eight fulls MLB seasons, AJ Burnett has reached 200 innings a mere 3 times.  It’s funny to me how the Yanks seems to collect 2003 Marlin starting pitchers (the same Marlins who beat the Yanks in the series that year), like Carl Pavano, who have one good season and then they go off and get hurt for the duration of their contract.  In 2008, Burnett was 18-10 on the Blue Jays with an AL-high 231 strike outs and a not-so-impressive 4.07 ERA.  This guy gets 5 years and $82.5 million.  Uh Oh.  He’s only made 30 starts twice in his career and now the Yanks are paying him to likely sit on the bench.  I get it.  They’re the Yankees and they have money to spend, but you would think Cashman would learn after Pavano (Jaret Wright, too).  That’s a lot of money for a guy who is known for his lack of durability.  I don’t like this one bit and AJ will have to go a long way to win my approval.
  • Teixeira Doesn’t:  I’m not shocked that it’s taken Mark Teixeira hasn’t signed with anyone yet, everything I’ve read about him (including a nice piece in SI two weeks ago) seems to indicate he’s a savvy businessman.  It seems as if the offers he’s gotten from Baltimore, Washington, Anaheim and any impending offer from the Red Sox are all relatively the same in the 8 years/$20 mill per year ballpark, so it will come down to either playing at home or playing for a winner (since neither the Orioles or the Nats will win for at least half of an 8 year deal) and I think he takes the winner and signs with Anaheim, for the familiarity of the organization having played there this season.  It will come down to the Angels or Red Sox, with the Yanks possibly trying to drive the price up.
  • Out at the Bellagio (pictured) I saw a bunch of baseball people, many of whom I honestly couldn’t tell who they were without a hat or jersey, but I did recognize: Tommy Lasorda, Charlie Manuel, Omar Minaya, Jim Leyritz, Torii Hunter, Jason Varitek, among others and sitting in the airport waiting for my flight, Rafael Furcal was paged to get to his.
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