The free agents are finally coming off the market, with Jason Bay being the most recent big signing by the Mets. Bay's deal is for four years and about $66 million, with a fifth year that would kick in if some attainable statistical goals are met, pushing the deal to about $80, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. I'm a little surprised that Boston didn't try harder to keep Bay since he filled in for Manny with ease and was well liked in the clubhouse.
I'm sure he will earn his money in New York, but don't expect the same power out of Bay that he has shown in the past thanks to Citi Field. Judge the 2010 Mets based on wins and losses rather than their stats relative to their career averages. Pitching is still a need in New York, but at least the lineup is coming together nicely.
Elsewhere, Mark DeRosa signed a two-year deal with the Giants, and if they can land one more power hitter (not sure if there's even one out there), they will be a major threat in the National League. Even without another hitter, Lincecum, Cain, and the rest of the young arms will make San Francisco competitive all season long.
Troy Glaus latched on with the Atlanta Braves, and while Glaus possesses huge power potential, he also possesses a similar injury risk and Atlanta's other corner infielder in Chipper Jones. If Atlanta wants to get over the hump offensively, they will need another bat before spring.
The Atlanta Braves traded Javier Vazquez to the New York Yankees for Melky Cabrera and a couple other prospects today with the idea that Atlanta had "too much" starting pitching. That sentence is NEVER true regardless of the team in question. The truth is that Atlanta needs to trim some payroll, and while they would have preferred to get rid of Derek Lowe's deal, Vazquez was the easier trade with just one year left on his contract.
As a Braves fan, it's disheartening to see Atlanta eliminate 200 innings and 200 strikeouts and hope that an inexperienced arm can replace that, but the deal figures to add depth to the organization and possibly sets them up for a trade deadline deal with some available cash if the playoffs are in sight. As for the Yankees, they believe the trouble Javy had in New York the first time around was mechanical, not mental. Plus, they can easily eat their mistakes.
UPDATE: ok, it sounds like the Cubs will be receiving $9 million in the Silva - Bradley deal, which makes a LOT more sense. Of course, Silva is hardly a clubhouse cheerleader either and, oh by the way, can't really pitch consistently at the major league level, but that's a problem for another day.
Seriously, what are the Cubs doing? They didn't want to pay the full $21 million remaining on Milton Bradley's salary, but they didn't feel they could bring him back. They refused to outright release him in the hopes they could save even a million or two in a trade where they would pay almost all of the freight. That never materialized, so now Chicago is set to announce a trade for Carlos Silva from the Mariners. Get this: Silva is a worse talent than Bradley and is owed $3 million MORE over the next two years.
Bottom line: the Cubs traded away a $21 million headache for a $24 million paper weight when they could have gotten rid of that headache for $3 million less. Management has changed, but the decisions on the North Side continue to baffle sound logic.
You may have already heard, but Peter Gammons is making the move from ESPN to the MLB Network. That's a huge coup for the newish MLB Network, and that means not having to listen to Joe Magrane and Mitch Williams seven days a week. I first read about it in The Baseball Early Bird, a daily email partially conceived by the company behind baseball-reference.com, the best baseball site on the net. You can subscribe there or go directly to www.baseballearlybird.com. If you are someone who joneses for a little baseball knowledge every day, it's the perfect way to start off a morning.
The offseason is still pretty quiet, but it appears that Curtis Granderson will soon be a Yankee in a 3-team deal involving the Tigers and Diamondbacks. Doesn't it always seem that in those kind of deals it's New York as the only one who ends up with MLB talent while the worst team in the deal usually gets worse? This time around, plenty of young unproven talent (Coke, Ian Kennedy, etc.) landed in Arizona and Detroit, but it's the Bronx Bombers who will be starting 2010 with the proven major leaguer.
This winter's free agent market is hardly abuzz, but there are some deals to be had for teams just looking for something to get over the hump. ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick lists his "Starting 9," which is actually about 14 players who may be a bargain by the time spring training rolls around.