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December 7, 2012

Pebble Hunting

Hottest Rumors From Baseball's Winter Meetings in Nashville!

by Sam Miller

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Editor's note: Sam recently found this piece we were supposed to run five years ago but that slipped through the cracks. Our bad. It probably won’t make any sense now, but no point in letting it go to waste.

***

If you’re like me, you spent the past week refreshing MLB Trade Rumors, listening to Amy Winehouse, and appreciating just how calm life is before children. But if you missed out on all the action at baseball’s Winter Meetings at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, here’s a quick review of the hottest, sexiest rumors from the 2007 Winter Meetings in Nashville.

Cliff Lee might be involved in a trade for a young slugger
Now, I know it might seem unlikely that a pitcher like Lee could bring back significant talent, considering he was three games under .500 this year. But there are some hot rumors swirling around about him. For instance, “the Indians tried to push Cliff Lee for (Delmon) Young but Lee was too expensive for the Rays.” Those Rays are darn smart, you know. They don’t fall for such tricks.

But will the Blue Jays? “The Indians and Blue Jays are reportedly talking about a swap that would send Alex Rios to the Tribe for Franklin Gutierrez and Cliff Lee.  Seriously?  That seems like a lousy deal for the Jays." Con-cur! (Especially considering "the Jays could get Matt Cain or Tim Lincecum 'right away' if they'd offer Rios.") The Indians might be more realistic to target a veteran like Raul Ibanez, so this rumor makes a lot of sense: 

There have been a handful of rumors about a possible deal with Cleveland involving Raul Ibanez. The way this rumor goes, pitcher Cliff Lee would be coming back the other way. Any real hang-up to Ibanez-Lee, however, at least from Cleveland's side, would be in the contracts.

Good point. Cliff Lee for Anthony Reyes is an interesting rumor, though it's hard to imagine the Cardinals giving up a pitcher with a strikeout-to-walk ratio like Reyes'. Carlos Quentin for Cliff Lee. Lee plus Kelly Shoppach for Jason Bay seems unrealistic. Anyway, the Indians are probably right to be pushing him in trade offers, and everybody else is probably right to reject; the guy was in the minors just last year, for goodness sakes. At least the Indians look like they're going to get that extension for Fausto Carmona done

Clubs shopping their veteran aces are asking for the world in return—and somebody might give it to them!
You might have heard the rumor that the Mariners are offering Adam Jones PLUS top pitching prospect Chris Tillman PLUS reliever George Sherrill for Erik Bedard. Seems crazy, the sort of move that could backfire terribly, but the Mariners are far from the only team willing to trade top talent for Bedard. One respected Reds beat writer suggested Joey Votto and Homer Bailey for Bedard might get a move done, while ESPN's Amy K. Nelson reports that the Dodgers are moving closer with an offer centered around Matt Kemp and Jonathan Broxton. That's an awful lot to give up, but to get a pitcher like Erik Bedard a team has to give up an awful lot. Remember: pitchers get hurt a lot. That's why it's so important to give up a ton to get Erik Bedard, because you can never have too much pitching!

Andy Pettitte is coming back for one more year!
Or is he coming back for more than one? Hard to say; he was reportedly considering retirement just a month ago, but now "Pettitte told a Houston TV station his arm would allow him to get guys out for another ten years." Maybe. Here's a bold prediction: I'll bet he has a sub-3 ERA—let's say, 2.87ish—sometime after he turns 40. Hold me to it!

The Diamondbacks and Rangers may pull off a trade involving one of the best pitching prospects and one of the best hitting prospects in baseball!
But don't get your hopes up; these trades are super sexy to talk about but very hard to pull off, as each team is understandably gunshy about trading The Next Big Thing for a potential bust. That's why the Rangers have refused to part with Eric Hurley to get Carlos Gonzalez. A guy like Gonzalez is just too risky. 

The Marlins are a joke!
Just a couple days ago, they declared that they would have to be "blown away" by a two-player package to consider parting with Dontrelle Willis. There were rumors, of course, after they talked to the Reds about swapping Willis for Josh Hamilton (pretty fair move, I'd say), but he was all but untouchable. Well, now he's gone, along with Miguel Cabrera in that big trade with Detroit. Sure, they picked up some talented pieces—not convinced about Cameron Maybin; love, love, love Andrew Miller, the pitcher Detroit wouldn't give up for Dan Haren—but at the end of the day it looks like just more salary dumping from a team that doesn't respect its fans or its city. Any guess who their highest-paid player is right now? It's Kevin Gregg, at just $2.5 million. SMH. (That means shaking my head. I just made it up.)

Some teams just way, way overvalue relievers!
"The Nationals keep asking for Rickie Weeks for Chad Cordero, and the Brewers keep saying no." Ha

Jim Bowden: You see how hard the Indians are trying to trade Cliff Lee? 
Doug Melvin: Yuuuuup.
Jim Bowden: Maybe I'll trade Cordero for him. 
Doug Melvin: Yuuuuup.
Jim Bowden: Shoot, you could probably trade Weeks for him. 
Doug Melvin: Probably.
Jim Bowden: You know
Jim Bowden: Screw the Indians
Jim Bowden: Let's just do this one ourselves

Jim Bowden: So uh remember when we were talking the other day about Rickie Weeks for Chad Cordero? 
Doug Melvin: Yeah I'd still rather not. 
Jim Bowden: Oh. Well because I said I'd check with our guys and our guys liked it. 
Doug Melvin: /whittles
Jim Bowden: I kind of promised them actually. 

Doug Melvin: What the hell is this? 
Jim Bowden: Well you didn't want Chad Cordero
Doug Melvin: Right
Jim Bowden: So I tried to trade him for something you would want, or something I could trade for
Jim Bowden: something you would want, or for something that I could trade for something you would
Jim Bowden: want, or for something I could trade for something you would want.
Jim Bowden: I did that like 30 times!
Doug Melvin: And so you want me to trade you Rickie Weeks for...
Jim Bowden: A red paperclip!

Meanwhile, Jeremy Affeldt is looking for four years and $16 million. Good luck, Jeremy. Teams are getting too smart to give multi-year deals to LOOGYs, I suspect.

Odds and Ends!
Hank Blalock for Scott Rolen; Ben Broussard and Rob Johnson for Edwin Jackson; Hideki Matsui for Jonathan Sanchez; Impossible for the Mets to get Johan Santana without giving up Jose Reyes; Eckstein turned down a four-year offer from the Mets; Cubs would have to be blown away to trade Felix Pie or Rich Hill; Andruw Jones wants to top Torii Hunter's five-year, $90 million deal; Tim Lincecum for Delmon Young; players are asking for a lot

Sam Miller is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Sam's other articles. You can contact Sam by clicking here

Related Content:  Rumors,  Winter Meetings

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