The General Managers Meetings earlier this week, normally reserved for handshakes and how-you-doings, yielded plenty in the way of wheeling and dealing. Several significant players, if not marquee names, were moved as baseball’s offseason officially kicked off with a flourish.
Notable in the quick flurry of activity was the degree to which teams seemed willing to spend for free agents, creating a market that would seem to hurt owners and help agents doing all they can to squeeze every last dime out of their pockets.
The Red Sox may find themselves impacted in their effort to re-sign certain players and reach out to others. Here is a quick look at some of the big moves, or potential moves, and what they might mean for particular targets in Boston.
Move: Catcher John Buck signs with Florida.
Money: $18 million for three years.
What it means to the Red Sox: They likely breathed a sigh of relief knowing they never wanted to go that high for Buck, and then remembered that it will directly affect their negotiations with Victor Martinez. If Buck, a 30-year-old with just one quality offensive season to his credit, can command $6 million for three years, Martinez is sure to demand at least four years and a pretty hefty price tag, perhaps as much as twice what Buck got on an annual basis.
Move: Reliever Joaquin Benoit signs with Detroit.
Money: $16.5 million for three years.
What it means to the Red Sox: An absolute bargain in 2010, Benoit will be a $5.5 million a year setup man with a track record that includes only two good years and one lost completely to shoulder surgery. Free agent relievers with better pedigree than Benoit, such as Kerry Wood, Scott Downs, Brian Fuentes, Jon Rauch, Jason Frasor and J.J. Putz — each of whom could be targeted by the Red Sox — have to be smiling at what awaits them based on what Benoit received.
Move: Third baseman Adrian Beltre is reportedly offered contract by Oakland.
Money: Rumored to be a five-year deal worth $64 million.
What it means to the Red Sox: The $90 million deal that Beltre may be after seemed like a pipe dream until a small market team fired off a pretty good first offer. With several more teams likely in on the bidding the number could rise dramatically, potentially beyond the point at which Boston is prepared to go.