The current baseball offseason attests to that old adage as well as any other arena. Those teams which have remained on the quiet end in media circles made the most noise when it came to actually getting deals done. Those who chose to ignore a recently enacted gag order on players, agents and clubs who might use the media to spur a negotiation are left empty-handed, wondering whether they should’ve kept their mouths shut.
The offseason has had three major surprises. One occurred last week when the Red Sox, who have navigated the offseason like a sniper crawling unseen through the tall grass, snuck up on the baseball world and signed Carl Crawford. Many assumed Boston was out of the mix after trading for Adrian Gonzalez, but nobody saw the bullet coming.
With that shocker, the chatter turned to the Cliff Lee situation. Would the lefty actually choose the Texas Rangers over the New York Yankees, who were offering more money? Most felt that the Yanks would do whatever they had to do to beat the Rangers, and when they didn’t get Lee, that accounted for surprise No. 2.
The last bombshell came when we learned that Lee had not signed with either of the two presumed front-runners, but had shunned the Yankees and Rangers for a return to Philadelphia, all for less money and fewer years.
The Phillies, the best team in the NL over the past few years and one of its highest-spending units, somehow managed to remain the “mystery team” in the Lee negotiations for nearly a week, despite having as much attention on them as any club out there. Fans in New York and Dallas awoke Tuesday morning to learn that another snake, much like the Red Sox, had been waiting to pounce on Lee, and did so with cool efficiency.
When the multitude of lists grading the winners and losers of the offseason are finished, Boston and Philadelphia, two goliaths of the sport who both managed to remain as quiet as a mouse, will be among those given props. The Yankees, who famously berated their venerable captain in a public spat and who never shied away from stressing that Lee was their top priority, have been losers thus far. Texas, which also talked plenty when it came to Lee and which had a back-and-forth with the media regarding third baseman Michael Young, is still waiting to make its big move, if it has one in store. The Rangers have struck out thus far, too.
Red Sox and Phillies fans figure to be making plenty of noise once April 1 rolls around. For now, they should enjoy the silence.