Winter Meetings: Day One Review

The first day of the annual winter meetings is complete. Here’s what happened:

– a bogus rumor circulated sending Mets fans in horror, reporting that Pat Burrell was on his way to Flushing.

– another bogus rumor had the Mets trading for Edwin Jackson. I feel bad for MetsToday reader Micalpalyn, who has been pining for this acquisition for two years.

– the Nationals acquired Brian Bruney. If they acquire a halfway decent closer, they’ll have a better bullpen (on paper) than the Mets. The trade also rekindles a fairly lame “feud” between Bruney and K-Rod.

– the Cardinals signed Brad Penny to a one-year deal. Penny + Dave Duncan = 15+ wins

– the Giants, Mariners, and Rockies are interested in the most athletic free-agent catcher. The Mets remain interested in Bengie Molina

– the Mets might be on the verge of offering Bengie Molina a one-year deal worth $6M plus a vesting option for 2011

– no one other than the Mets have displayed interest in Bengie Molina

– one source reported that the Mets were talking to JOSE Molina. Apparently they haven’t completely cornered the market on backup catchers who can’t hit a lick. Or maybe Omar Minaya thought he was talking to Bengie. They DO look similar, after all.

– Rafael Soriano accepted arbitration. The Braves now have the NL East’s best bullpen — to match the division’s best starting rotation one through five. How does that old philosophy go? You win with pitching, pitching and more what?

– the Brewers are on the verge of signing Randy Wolf to a three-year deal. If that’s what it takes, I’m glad the Mets are out of the bidding.

– Roy Halladay was rumored to be going to the Dodgers or the Rays, of all places

– the Rays are shopp(ach)ing Dioner Navarro

– the Mets are talking to Adam Kennedy. Now THAT’s a guy I’d pay $2M to be the infield utilityman.

– the Mets will meet with the agents for Randy Wolf, Joel Pineiro, Jason Marquis, and John Lackey during the meetings. Pineiro wants (giggle) a four-year deal.

– Matt Murton has been sold to the Hanshin Tigers of Japan

– the Mets inquired on Kelvim Escobar

– at least one source reports that the Mets are willing to trade Luis Castillo for Juan Pierre. Why not just put Castillo in left field?

– Elmer Dessens is weighing offers from the Mets, Dodgers, and Padres. Really?

– Pudge Rodriguez signed with the Nationals. You know what? I’m starting to worry about the Nats.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Tommy2cat December 8, 2009 at 6:46 am
    Joe – Thanks for the straight talk. Almost impossible to get an accurate, boiled-down account of the winter meetings.
  2. TheDZA December 8, 2009 at 9:50 am
    Ditto – I just trawled through a swamp on ESPN and everything I needed was right here.
    I thought the Mets had signed Dessens?! Well seeing they haven’t they must have another..say $2mill rolling around in the cookie jar right?
  3. isuzudude December 8, 2009 at 10:31 am
    If all it takes is a 1-yr, $6M contract to land Bengie Molina, then maybe I can accept him becoming a Met. At least Omar isn’t caving in right away and gift wrapping a multi-year contract to Molina. If no other team is interested in Molina, then I hope Omar stands his ground and waits Bengie out, because he’ll come crawling back to Omar eventually. Bengie also doesn’t cost a draft pick to obtain, so that’s a plus. And he is coming off a 20 homer season, and last time I checked, the Mets are pretty desperate for power; even if it’s from an ancient, sloth-like backstop. Plus, if he’s only given a 1 year deal, perhaps with an option that kicks in if certain parameters are achieved, then Molina will have motivation to put up big numbers again in 2010. In my eyes, I see Josh Thole as entering the starting catcher picture in ’11, so Molina would keep the position warm until Thole is ready, all the while hopefully hitting 15-20 homers in the bottom half of the lineup in ’10. Again, if all it takes is $6M, I’m not going to object.

    Agreed that Rafael Soriano accepting arbitration gives the Braves a very formidible bullpen now. However, will that bullpen stay intact? They say Soriano could make $8M in arbitration in 2010, which may be too rich for the penny pinching Braves. Don’t forget, Atlanta is also looking to fill holes a 1B, LF, and RF (depending on if you believe they see Matt Diaz and Ryan Church as everyday players). I’d say Soriano’s a good bet to get traded, perhaps with Church or Kelly Johnson, for a corner OF, (Corey Hart? Josh Willingham?) but what do I know.

    Though, I think the Pudge signing by the Nats is poor. Jesus Flores should be their starter, and giving Pudge $3M a year to be a backup on a last place team is nonsensical. Sure, Pudge can school Flores and provide a solid veteran voice on a young team, but I doubt his signing helps the Nats win any more games than they were already projected to win in 2010. His signing also means the Nats are sacrificing a draft pick, something they should not be doing for the likes of a 38 year old projected backup.

  4. joejanish December 8, 2009 at 10:51 am
    I’d like to see at least one other team show a smidgen of interest in Molina before an offer is put on the table. If I were the Mets I’d offer him a 1-year / $3M deal and wish him good luck.

    The Braves are stuck with Soriano until June 15th unless he approves a trade, or if they release him during ST. He won’t be released, but you’re right, he could be traded. Which means the Braves suddenly have a somewhat valuable trading chip to help them fetch the big bat they need.

    Molina will surprise me if he hits more than 15 HR next year — and it’ll take him 600+ ABs to do it. Are those HRs going to offset his lack of mobility, fading defensive skills, 1-pitch at-bats, and .280 OBP? I’m not sure. Having both Francoeur and Molina in the lineup scares me — it’s like giving the opposing starting pitcher an extra inning.