Day 2 of MLB Winter Meetings Short on Moves and Big on Rumors, Sets Stage for Day 3

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Day 2 of MLB Winter Meetings Short on Moves and Big on Rumors, Sets Stage for Day 3 LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — If there is a storm coming, day two of the baseball winter meetings could be classified as the calm before it.

Very few actual moves happened Tuesday in Florida. Speculation, rumor and posturing was the theme of the day, much of it involving the same big names (Cliff Lee, Zack Greinke, Prince Fielder, Adrian Beltre, etc.)

Lest we forget, the four-day gathering actually does involve meetings and they are taking place all over the place. Also, although the sense sometimes is that this is where deals have to be made, it is often a period used to lay the groundwork for something to happen later on.

Still, based on the fact that the adjusted offseason schedule had already prompted a flurry of early maneuvers, the relative lack of action Tuesday was a tad surprising. Several teams and players remained firmly in the discussion stages.

That likely suits the Red Sox just fine. General manager Theo Epstein arrived with a smile on his face, pleased as punch not only with the fact that he landed Adrian Gonzalez but also with the relatively easy week it gave him. That’s not to suggest he isn't working hard, but he can stray from the desire to do anything major, yet risky.

"The Gonzalez acquisition has been beneficial to this process here at the winter meetings," he said. "It’s really allows us to focus …We can focus on areas of need and make sure we are really thorough and take advantage of the opportunities that are there and real for us."

So, while Epstein closes in on acquiring one or more reliever and perhaps a middle-of-the-road bat or two, his colleagues can spend their time still looking for that big splash.

The most intriguing quest involved that of Lee, who was reportedly close to getting a major offer from the New York Yankees. That is no shock, as it's been coming for some time. What was surprising was the early-morning report that the Washington Nationals were willing to offer Lee seven years, one more than the Yankees. That report was later negated, and the Nats were considered a long shot to get Lee.

That would likely leave New York and perhaps Texas. However, word surfaced later on that Lee had two seven-year offers from other teams, both worth more than $20 million annually, and that Yanks GM Brian Cashman was "frustrated" by lack of progress on his big offseason prize. Those teams have been labeled "mystery teams" by several in the lobby of the Dolphin Hotel, as their true identity had yet to be revealed as agents, GMs and the like sat down for dinner.

Among the other items to digest:

  • Zack Greinke getting linked to several teams but one source telling ESPN's Jayson Stark that he would not pitch in a major market in the East. It seems more and more likely that Greinke will be moved to a team like Milwaukee.
  • The Rangers were rumored to be shopping third baseman Michael Young. Makes one wonder if Adrian Beltre would be a good fit in Texas. Nolan Ryan said "we're not shopping him" but they are listening to offers. Make of that what you will.
  • The Orioles were close to acquiring shortstop Jason Bartlett from Tampa Bay for Nolan Reimold, but talks broke down. Bartlett may stay a Ray.
  • Old pal Manny Delcarmen is on the radar of at least one A.L. East team. Unsurprisingly, Boston is not one of those teams.
  • Outfielder Josh Willingham remains on multiple teams' watch list, including Boston's, but reports that Washington's asking price was "absurd" came to the surface. On the Red Sox' end, Felix Doubront was a target. Not happenin'.
  • There was action 100 miles away or so, as Derek Jeter met with the media regarding his contract extension with the Yankees. Jeter was less-than-pleased with how it all went down.
  • Among the moves that did go down was Ty Wigginton to Colorado for two years and Vicente Padilla to the Los Angeles Dodgers for one. That get you excited?
  • The Angels, who were delayed arriving due to flight issues, may not be as active as previously thought. The supposed front-runners for Beltre, Rafael Soriano and Carl Crawford may now only sign one, according to Yahoo's Tim Brown.
  • Oh, about Crawford. Not much on that front during the afternoon, but Epstein had to answer to rumblings that the Red Sox are still involved. "Obviously we're in a new situation now that we've made a major acquisition, but like I said, anything's possible," he said. If the quietness on the Crawford side of things suggests a cooling of the market (not likely), perhaps Boston would become more involved again. The issues are, of course, money and the fact that the Sox would have another left-handed bat. But if that money comes down just enough, and considering that two of the left-handed bats, J.D. Drew and David Ortiz, could be gone in a year's time, maybe going heavy on the lefties for one year is doable in order to add a second dynamic offensive player in the course of the offseason. Something to keep an eye on.
  • Brandon Webb has been linked to the Cubs, Matt Diaz to several teams (including the Red Sox) and Rich Harden to a handful of clubs. The Yanks may have interest in Harden.

There was more in the way of rumors and speculation, but very little came to fruition. Before everyone hops on the Disney shuttle to the airport Thursday morning, look for a little more action.

 

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