A huge congratulations this morning to fellow Canadian and longtime Toronto market colleague Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun, winner of this year’s Taylor Spink award for the writer’s wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Elliott becomes the first writer from a Canadian publication to gain induction. I can tell you, the biggest nightmares of my baseball writing career came from having to compete with Bob at these winter meetings.
Just last night, I was talking with my former Toronto Star teammate, Richard Griffin, about the night in 2001 when the paper sent two of us to the winter meetings in Boston to try to compete with Elliott and his vast array of contacts. The first day seemed relatively painless, so the two of us went out on the town and had a grand old time, complete with vintage wine and cigars. Then, about four hours into my sleep that night, i was awoken by an angry phone call from my editor wanting to know why the front page of Elliott’s newspaper had details of a coming trade involving fan favorite shortstop Alex Gonzalez going to the Cubs for Felix Heredia.
I tried explaining that blogs and Twitter hadn’t been invented yet for us to steal Elliott’s scoop away, but that excuse didn’t fly. Needless to say, I’ve yet to have a night on the town that fun ever again at these meetings.
As a side note, Steve Bartman would not exist in Cubs lore had that trade not gone down. Funny how history works and some people live on in infamy while others are quickly forgotten. Gonzalez is probably grateful for that. When I ran into him outside Tropicana Field at the World Series three years ago, he seemed pretty happy, but I digress…
This looks like one of those years in which the big action at the baseball winter meetings is going to be largely backloaded. Yeah, you had the Jose Reyes deal, but that occured before the meetings even officially began.
As for the next few days, I’m thinking any big deals get backloaded to the very end or take place after the meetings. When it comes to Prince Fielder, his agent, Scott Boras, hasn’t even arrived here yet. That’s always a big deal and we’ll try to be there to show it to you live.
We’ll also try to bring you a live account today of manager Eric Wedge taking his turn up at the manager’s podium. That begins at noon PT.
Clearly, if Boras and Wedge arrive at the same time, we won’t be able to show you both. In fact, I’ll have a tough time deciding where to be.
Right now, we’ve gotten word of a small trade in which the Twins sent Kevin Slowey to the Rockies for a player-to-be-named.
There had been some speculation that Slowey could be part of a deal for third baseman Ian Stewart, but as we can see, that would not have been enough. Thing is, the Twins probably would have non-tendered Slowey if they hadn’t gotten that future player.
So, it will take more than a Slowey type to get Stewart if the Mariners are interested. Don’t forget, the Rockies also have outfielder Seth Smith and the M’s are interested in him as well.
Is there a chance for a multi-player acquisition here? Perhaps. The M’s would love nothing more than to fill a couple of other needs through low-cost acquisitions.
There had been talk of somehow dealing Chone Figgins to the Rockies and getting them to take on part of his salary in a Smith move. Good luck with that. If the M’s could pull that one off, there would be dancing on Edgar Martinez Drive.
But as I said, look for some of these smaller deals to take place around the game today. Teams can’t put all of their eggs into the Fielder or Albert Pujols basket and have to get on with any smaller business they can while they wait to see what happens with their bigger bids.