The Major League Baseball Winter Meetings are currently taking place in Indianapolis. The Winter Meetings occur every year and function as a business convention for teams, free agents looking for new teams, and agents looking to sign and/or trade their clients to teams. The event is attended by every General Manager, every Manager, every scout, essentially every agent, and every big name free agent player looking for a new home. It is the pinnacle of the MLB offseason, although most years yield few actual results in terms of free agent signings and big trades. Usually, there is a lot of talk and not much action, yet year after year it becomes a three day media extravaganza for news outlets like ESPN and Sports Illustrated. This year has seen a mixture of both big moves and big talk with no response. Below are a few highlights from what has gone on so far down in Indy for the 2009 MLB Winter Meetings:
*The New York Yankees have been the most active team at the Winter Meetings (what’s new?). So far they have re-signed long-time starting pitcher Andy Pettite to a one yr/$11.75 Million deal, and they completed a three-way blockbuster deal involving the Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks, shipping top prospects Austin Jackson and Phil Coke to the Tigers, Tigers pitcher Edwin Jackson to the Diamondbacks, and All-Star Center Fielder Curtis Granderson to the Yankees. The deal shows a new direction for the Yankees, looking to make Granderson a new core member of their team moving forward as they try to get younger as a team. They also traded reliever Brian Bruney for the first pick in the upcoming MLB draft lottery, which is an important move going forward.
*The Atlanta Braves have been acting questionable during the meetings. First, they signed both Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito to close out games, both of whom are very old, to replace their young and talented bullpen that are free agents. They then had to cut OF Ryan Church to bring back one of these bullpen guys, Rafael Soriano, because he accepted salary arbitration. However, because he would be in line for something line $7 million this season, they are now going to trade him, meaning Church, a solid-yet-injury prone player was cut for no reason.
*Every big free agent is still unsigned. LF’s Matt Holliday and Jason Bay continue to go without a team, and it is still unclear where either of them even might sign. The response to John Lackey, the only ace pitcher on the free agent market, has been lukewarm at best. Teams seem to be monetarily wary and are being very careful with whom they give their money to. Usually the big contracts get signed or at least agreed upon in principle at the Winter Meetings. This year is very different.
*The Mariners signed third baseman Chone Figgins to a four year deal, making him the only big free agent signing so far
*The Brewers have signed Randy Wolf to a three year deal.
All together, not much has gone on. Besides what was listed above, most of the discussion at the Winter Meetings has been just that…discussion. I could tell you about Hideki Matsui drawing interest from West Coast AL teams, I could tell you about the Mets discussion with every single available catcher and their dire attempts to trade 2B Luis Castillo, and I can tell you about the Red Sox‘s attempts to trade Mike Lowell, but so far, all of it is just talk. To follow the winter meetings closely, check out ESPN‘s Coverage with 24 Hour twitter updates, or Jon Heyman‘s blog for Sports Illustrated.