Falling asleep without writing a recap of Day 1 of the Winter Meetings seemed like a forgivable sin, as teams spent the bulk of the day circling each other curiously, Kenny Williams didn't show up till nearly dinner time, and the Matt Capps contract can only be mocked so much.
As of Tuesday, the White Sox have traded their prized shortstop-turned-pitcher Sergio Santos for younger possibly a lot better, possibly tragically worse 3rd-basemen-turned-pitcher Nestor Molina, kickstarting a possibly massive rebuilding project.
As daunting as that is to cover in itself, the league is exploding all over the place, and I'm working on a Dell Inspiron 1100 for the week, so let's try to arrange all the goings-on in terms of most-to-least relevant to the White Sox, before I just get tired and go to bed. Or this old computer explodes and shoots pieces everywhere, which would probably be the end of the blog, forever. In which case, bon voyage, everybody!
Buehrle's Imminent Departure
While Buehrle having the courtesy to give the White Sox a final chance to negotiate with him before signing is awfully sweet, it will take a lot more awkward run-ins with Robin Ventura to make him forget about piles of money, and the relative smallness of the one being offered by Chicago.
Mark's said to be down to five suitors who are presumably adhering to his request for at least three years, a no-trade clause, and oh, I donno, probably well over $40MM total. There doesn't seem to be any story on the matter that says "OH HEY, ONE OF THE FIVE TEAMS IS THE WHITE SOX".
Rebuilding doesn't seem to jive with re-signing a 33 year-old starting pitcher for a lot of money, but on the plus side, it looks like he's heading outside the division, and after Sergio Santos and possible trades of Danks and Quentin, Buehrle may not sign until long after you're hopelessly numb with loss.
In the Division
None of these teams are signing Buehrle!
Like the White Sox, unless the Twins get huge bounceback years from multiple sources, they're rebuilding with a light sprinkling of psychic-benefits acquisitions.
Hence their signing Ryan Doumit to spare their fans more Drew Butera, trading Kevin Slowey to Colorado because they hate his guts, and re-signing aging Michael Cuddyer fresh off possibly his last good year because, hey, they like him, and it would be sad for him to leave.
~$7MM annually is hardly crippling for Cuddyer, but why they re-signed Matt Capps is a mystery. Sure, he was probably hampered by injuries in 2011, but $4.5MM for a closer who was never elite seems needless for the season they're about to have*.
*A bad one.
Surprise! The Royals aren't big players in free agency!
I'm actually a little surprised. They're probably waiting till 2013 before breaking out a bit more.
They are however, very adamantly searching for starting pitching, even setting their sights as high as trades for James Shields and Gio Gonzalez. These goals aren't particularly compatible with their typical stinginess with dealing prospects, but Joakim Soria might be available.
Hey, the White Sox have room for a closer now! How about's Gavin Floyd for Joakim Soria and the entire roster of one of your Rookie League teams??... Hello?
Every time the Indians seem like a gathering force set to conquer the Midwest, out come stories like this where they come off as too budget-strapped to even pay half of Carlos Lee's salary, or pay below market value for Michael Cuddyer.
Or so desperate that they're considering....what?...Michael Brantley at 1st base!?!? MICHAEL BRANTLEY AT 1ST BASE WITH A DAMN .094 CAREER ISO?!?!?! I HAVE IT ON GOOD AUTHORITY THAT YOU ARE BETTER THAN THIS, CLEVELAND!!!
As you might have gleaned, there might not be a lot keeping Detroit from beating the division with a blunt side of an axe next season.
Apparently they're feeling pretty comfortable about their roster too, because they seem satisfied to have only re-signed utility infielder Ramon Santiago thus far, and have completely fallen out of the Aramis Ramirez discussions. Maybe they saw footage of him playing 3rd base.
The Tigers are interested in more aggressive rotation upgrades from the West Coast in the form of Gio Gonzalez, though. The A's are pulling the patented ask-for-all-the-best-prospects-in-their-system-and-act-like-you're-serious move that Kenny Williams introduced. Predictably, Detroit is confused by this tactic, and a little scared.
As far as free agency, Detroit may also have designs on Yoenis Cespedes. That would be irritating. Or hilarious!
-The Marlins have coaxed the Cardinals into a bidding war for Albert Pujols that looks to exceed 10 years, $200 million and possibly include a no-trade clause. The back-and-forth is going deep into the night, long beyond what anyone's interest or constitution can possibly sustain. If the Marlins win, it creates a secondary trade market for Gaby Sanchez. If the Cardinals nab him, it enters them more heavily into the free agent and trade market. I...I...don't know what else to say about it, it's gotten into lunacy, and any time you enter a bidding war of this scope, you end worse for the wear in winning it.
A mystery team was said to be involved at one point, then was said to be the Cubs, or the Angels, or neither. Everyone who followed this progression for 6 hours feels really crummy about life, and the decisions that define it right now.
-The Marlins already have already made a splash this off-season by landing Jose Reyes with a 6 year, $106 million deal. Reyes has elite talent, but replacement level hamstrings, and figures to push moody Hanley Ramirez from shortstop to 3rd base, which he's pretty pissed about.
-Between Reyes, signing Heath Bell and his declining peripherals, and hiring Ozzie Guillen to manage all these egos, the Marlins are setting up one of the biggest boom-or-bust free agency periods ever witnessed. Good gravy. Oh for the halcyon days, when their biggest problems were Logan Morrison being a bit chatty with strangers on the internet.
-The Dodgers have now collected Mark Ellis, Aaron Harang, Adam Kennedy, Jerry Hairston, Juan Rivera, Matt Treanor, and Chris Capuano for the 2012 season. They also thirst for Josh Bard. That is an incredible array of mediocrity. Enjoy your assured serviceability, Los Angeles.
-The market for Prince Fielder is a nebulous concept mostly discussed in vague philosophical tones at late-night diners by 20-something types coming down from all-night benders. The Mariners need a bat, the Rangers need a first-basemen, the Orioles are always thirsty as hell, and the Cubs and Blue Jays are being mentioned at times. Apparently people aren't as thrilled to commit uber-contracts to large, offense-only 1st basemen as they used to be.
-The Angels and Rangers seem to be the regular names floated around C.J. Wilson at the moment, with the stipulation that the Marlins could turn their money gun in his direction if they lose out on Pujols. There is confirmation, that yes, the Marlins are in possession of a money gun. It's just as garishly decorated as everything else they have, and they're surely crazy enough to ignore the concerns of "I donno, a 6-year deal seems kinda long..." that the Angels have.
-No one's talking much 'bout Roy Oswalt. What's up with that?
-David Ortiz looks to be dissatisfied with the market for his services, and will probably just accept arbitration to return to the Red Sox. It's going to be the saddest $16 million contract ever.
-The Giants and traded OF Andres Torres and RP Ramon Ramirez to the Mets for OF Angel Pagan. The Mets are just re-arranging deck chairs at this point, but it's notable because San Francisco probably just blocked top-prospect Brandon Belt again, and every Giants blog you've ever heard of is about to explode with burning acid.
Tags: aaron harang, AL Central, andres torres, angel pagan, baseball, boston red sox, brandon belt, carlos lee, Carlos Quentin, Chicago Cubs, chris capuano, Cleveland Indians, dallas, david ortiz, Detroit Tigers, drew butera, gaby sanchez, Gavin Floyd, gio gonzalez, hanley ramirez, heath bell, james shields, jerry hairston, John Danks, jose reyes, juan rivera, Kansas City Royals, Kenny Williams, kevin slowey, logan morrison, los angeles angels, los angeles dodgers, Mark Buehrle, mark ellis, matt capps, miami marlins, michael brantley, michael cuddyer, Minnesota Twins, nestor molina, new york mets, Oakland A's, Ozzie Guillen, Prince Fielder, ramon ramirez, ramon santiago, Robin Ventura, Roy Oswalt, ryan doumit, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, Sergio Santos, st. louis cardinals, Texas Rangers, toronto blue jays, White Sox, winter meetings, yoenis cespedes