Drew Silva

Winter Meetings Live

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Day Three Is In The Books

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Let's all breathe a long, well-deserved sigh of relief. The Winter Meetings, hosted this year in Indianapolis, Indiana, are now nearly over. The Rule 5 Draft will take place Thursday morning and then the entire baseball world will pack up and depart America's heartland.

It's been a wild ride. The Rotoworld staff produced over 400 news blurbs in these last 72 hours, while the crew over at NBC's Circling The Bases manufactured a constant stream of highly informational blog posts. Craig Calcaterra even broke a story. It all begs the question: Are we crazy?

No. We're just sleep deprived.

Relievers 'R' Us

The Astros lost out on LaTroy Hawkins early Wednesday afternoon when he signed with the division rival Brewers. Houston GM Ed Wade and Co. did not hang their heads for long, though, leading a full-on barrage through the land of available relievers. The 'Stros came out with both Matt Lindstrom (via trade from the Marlins) and Brandon Lyon (on a ridiculous three-year, $15 million free agent contract).

It's always rich when bad teams spend money, time and prospects on their bullpens. The Astros aren't likely to hold many leads past the sixth inning in 2010, but they'll certainly be ready to protect one if luck happens to be on their side. Or if the Crawford Boxes swallow enough Carlos Lee flyballs.

Something Happened On The Halladay Front

Finally. Either clubs are keeping their negotiations with Toronto under wraps, or there might not be an expansive market for the Blue Jays ace outside of the Bronx and Anaheim. Perhaps most teams simply don't think they have enough to swing a deal.

The Angels made a bold move Wednesday, offering left-hander Joe Saunders, shortstop Erick Aybar and outfield prospect Peter Bourjos in a package for Roy Halladay. There's legitimate reason to believe this group of players might get the deal done, as long as the financial details can be sorted out and the Halos get a crack at extending Halladay's contract.

Saunders, 28, finished 16-7 with a 4.60 ERA in 31 starts this season. Aybar, who will turn 26 next month, hit .312/.353/.423 with five homers and 58 RBI in 137 games. Bourjos, 22, is a highly-regarded youngster with excellent speed and defensive ability. Will new Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos pull the trigger? We should know soon.

Being a "Yankee" Has Its Perks

Andy Pettitte made one of the first headlines of the day, inking a one-year, $11.75 million contract to return to the Yankees for the 2010 season. Only a guy like Pettitte, and only a loaded club like the Yankees, would get away with such ridiculousness.

Pettitte was perfectly solid in 2009, finishing with a 14-8 record, a 4.16 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP. But he turns 38 at the beginning of next season and comparable pitchers are inking deals for far less. Pettitte is consistently mediocre, and perhaps that's what the Yankees need on their staff, but it would be very interesting to see what kind of deal he could demand without the legendary status he boasts in New York. It's never wise to bid against yourself, and that's exactly what GM Brian Cashman and his braintrust did.

Trending Up: A Cuban Named Chapman

The market for recently-defected Cuban left-hander Aroldis Chapman is about to get serious. He recently dropped the agent that helped him escape from Cuba and hired the Hendricks brothers, whose prime objective is to land him the largest contract possible. Chapman, who can supposedly hit 101 mph on the radar gun, will host a throwing session in Houston next week and has invited all interested major league clubs. So far the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels and Orioles are committed to attending.

Baseball's biggest spenders are going to be bidding for Chapman's services and he's almost certain to land a large, lucrative contract by the end of the winter months. Unless, of course, none of the rumors about him are true.

The Rangers Had A Day

Was it a good day? Sure. Was it a bad day? Well, kinda.

The Rangers made an odd trade Wednedsday afternoon, shipping staff ace Kevin Millwood and $3 million to the Orioles for struggling reliever Chris Ray and Baltimore's pick in the Rule 5 Draft. Millwood, 34, was excellent during the 2009 season and will immediately bolster an O's staff that was in desperate need of a centerpiece. Ray, on the other hand, posted a 7.27 ERA this past year with a 2.01 WHIP and a so-so 39/22 K/BB ratio in 43 1/3 innings. He's an injury risk and a shadow of the man who saved 33 games in 2006.

But it matters not.

The 9th of December, 2009 will be remembered in Rangers history as a day when the organization acquired filthy right-hander Rich Harden, a bit of relief help, and actually wound up $2.5 million in the black.

Raffy Soriano Isn't A Total Pest

The Braves were shocked, if not upset, when reliever Rafael Soriano accepted their offer of arbitration on Day One of the Winter Meetings. They had already signed Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito and were not excited about the idea of paying Soriano close to $8 million in 2010.

Altanta GM Frank Wren got to work and quickly began shopping the right-hander all over the lobbies of the Indianapolis Marriott. He reportedly spoke with the Yankees, Astros, Angels and Orioles before finding a trade partner in the Tampa Bay Rays.

Soriano brings a devastating fastball-slider combination to western Florida. He had a 2.97 ERA, a 1.06 WHIP and a 102/27 K/BB ratio in 75 2/3 innings this past year and will contend for the ninth-inning gig in Tampa. He should win it, too.

Drew Silva is a baseball editor for Rotoworld and also contributes on NBC Sports' Hardball Talk. He can be found on Twitter.
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