After calm start, Meetings erupt on Day 2
Flurry of action highlighted by three-way trade between White Sox, Angels, D-backs
Baseball's Winter Meetings always find a way to be intriguing.
Heading into the annual four-day fiesta of back-suite dealing, lobby wandering and phone charging, it looked like most of the big moves had already been made: Robinson Cano was all but bound for Seattle; Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran were headed to the Bronx; Mike Napoli was back in Boston; Curtis Granderson was crossing from the Bronx to Queens; and a good portion of Major League Baseball insiders were off to the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., to haggle over the runoff.
Day 2 changed that, however. One big trade and several other transactions got the Magic Kingdom stirring and primed for more action as the Meetings reached their halfway point.
By Tuesday morning, the Hot Stove was boiling over once again in the shadow of Space Mountain, and the day ended up being packed with activity.
The biggest move of the day was a three-team trade, with the D-backs landing a three-player package headlined by slugger Mark Trumbo, the White Sox getting outfielder Adam Eaton and the Angels getting lefty starters Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs.
"I think we're all pretty excited about what transpired in the last half-hour," Arizona general manager Kevin Towers said right after the deal was declared official. "We all addressed some of our biggest needs."
Not long after that announcement, a long-rumored swap went through when the Colorado Rockies acquired lefty starter Brett Anderson from the Oakland A's in exchange for pitchers Drew Pomeranz and Chris Jensen. For the A's, it was a typical example of dealing from a position of strength and getting two arms for one. Oakland has done it effectively in the past, leading to two straight American League West titles.
"We had a lot of starting pitching, and in the acquisition of Pomeranz, it allows us to turn back the clock a little with another very talented left-hander," A's GM Billy Beane said. "Brett's been with us for several years, and someone, obviously, with that kind of talent we think very highly of, but with the amount of guys we have, we could use that to get younger guys with less service time, and that was attractive."
For the Detroit Tigers, a versatile outfielder with speed was attractive, and they were very close to obtaining one Tuesday. Detroit reportedly was finalizing a two-year, $10 million contract with free agent Rajai Davis, who is expected to platoon with Andy Dirks in left field for the defending AL Central champions.
Granderson will not platoon with his new club. The New York Mets brought the slugger aboard for four years and $60 million and held Granderson's introductory press conference at the Meetings on Tuesday.
It was not long after Granderson was handed his new jersey, with the No. 3, before the former Yankee embraced the passion of New York baseball by sending out a good-natured crosstown barb that got the media rolling as a new era began in Queens.
"A lot of the people I've met in New York have always said that true New Yorkers are Mets fans," Granderson said. "So I'm excited to get a chance to see them all out there."
And we'll see other players in other cities next year, too.
Also Tuesday, the Orioles introduced their newest relief pitcher, Ryan Webb, the Marlins made official their two-year pact with first baseman Garrett Jones and the Rangers inked catcher J.P. Arencibia to a one-year deal.
Rumors continued to swirl concerning some of the bigger pieces remaining on the free-agent board. Multiple clubs were reported to have heated up talks regarding outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, starter Bronson Arroyo and reliever Fernando Rodney.
On the prospective trade front, David Price of the Rays and Matt Kemp of the Dodgers have been mentioned for weeks and continued to be discussed in Lake Buena Vista. Price has been linked to the Mariners and the Dodgers, with Seattle and Boston among the teams believed to be interested in Kemp. Cleveland starter Justin Masterson was another possible trade chip mentioned Tuesday, and Marlins outfielder/first baseman Logan Morrison became the subject of intensifying trade chatter.
And there was still no final word on the fate of Japanese star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, who would have to be posted by his current team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, to become eligible to be signed by a Major League club.
That had not happened as of Tuesday, but MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball had reportedly reached an agreement in principle on a new posting system that would set a limit of $20 million on any bid by teams interested in signing a Japanese player. If more than one team reaches the maximum, the player would be free to negotiate with any team that reached the cap.
Separate from the negotiations happening Tuesday, baseball writing legend Roger Angell of The New Yorker magazine was honored with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Angell, the 93-year-old author of the iconic baseball book "The Summer Game," among many other lauded works and magazine profiles, will receive the Spink Award in Cooperstown, N.Y., on July 26 during next year's Hall of Fame Induction Weekend.
"It's a great day -- for me, if not for baseball," Angell said on a conference call with media members. "I was surprised to find out how much secretly I had hoped this would happen, because I was very moved, startled and extremely pleased. I thought it would never happen because I'm not a member of the [BBWAA]. I'm very, very happy, and I'm stunned. Old friends and idols have won this award. It's a great honor."
Angell was not the only one to receive an honor Tuesday.
MLB.com's GIBBY (Greatness in Baseball Yearly) Awards were handed out at the Winter Meetings, and the winners in 22 categories included Miguel Cabrera, who won two awards (Most Valuable Player and Hitter of the Year), plus Clayton Kershaw (Starting Pitcher), Craig Kimbrel (Closer), Mark Melancon (Setup Man), Jose Fernandez (Rookie), David Ortiz (Postseason MVP), Chris Davis (Breakout Hitter), Matt Harvey (Breakout Pitcher), Francisco Liriano (Comeback Player), Yadier Molina (Defensive Player of the Year), John Farrell (Manager) and Ben Cherington (Executive).
Other GIBBY trophies were handed out for the Top Play of 2013 (by Baltimore's Manny Machado ), Hitting Performance (Mike Trout's cycle); Pitching Performance (Tim Lincecum's no-hitter); Oddity (hidden-ball tricks by Evan Longoria and Todd Helton ); Walk-Off (Giancarlo Stanton scoring a run to secure Henderson Alvarez's no-hitter); Cut4 Topic (Munenori Kawasaki's postgame interview); Moment of the Year (Red Sox's first home game after the Boston Marathon tragedy) and Postseason Moment (Allen Craig scoring the winning run on an obstruction call).
Meanwhile, Ortiz picked up another piece of hardware as the pace of these Meetings continued to quicken. MLB on Tuesday announced that the Red Sox legend was voted the unanimous winner of the 2013 Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award, marking his seventh time winning the honor.