The winter meetings came and went with the greater baseball world feeling underwhelmed, but the White Sox were unusually active by their standards. They left the meetings having completed a significant acquisition for the second straight year, and they also selected a player (Angel Sanchez) in the Rule 5 draft for the first time since 2003.
Hahn has yet to make a move that either alters or emboldens the direction of the 2012 team, but a lot of teams are saying the same thing. I mean, look at the Mariners. They have room on their payroll and one of the league's best farm systems, but they only have Jason Bay to show for it so far. They're going to add a big-name outfielder, but they haven't yet, and so baseball waits. Just like everybody who isn't in on Zack Greinke bides their time while the Dodgers stretch car metaphors beyond their usefulness.
We've at least seen the Sox do enough at this point to make inferences about how they might proceed from here. When you look at what they've done:
- Signing Keppinger
- Selecting Sanchez
- Re-signing Dewayne Wise
- Extending Jake Peavy
- Trading for Blake Tekotte
Hahn has provided insulation between the back end of the 25-man roster, and the prospects who are nearest to making a major-league impact of varying degrees. The Sox now have to go to great lengths to rush Carlos Sanchez, and there are three left-handed reserve outfielders with more major-league experience than Jared Mitchell. This is a change from previous years, when Eduardo Escobar and Brent Morel were advanced to Chicago with no contingency plan.
The incomplete ideas that have floated around -- whether old rumors/thoughts (trading Gavin Floyd or lefty pitcher(s)) or recent ones (dangling Dayan Viciedo) -- wouldn't require rattling the top end of the farm system, either. It's possible the Sox are setting it up to knock it down, but the elevation of Hahn and Buddy Bell implied increased emphasis on amateur talent and player development, and Hahn is supposed to be the rational actor in contrast to Williams' impulses, so it's all making sense so far. Maybe a little too much sense.
Elsewhere in the Central!
*Minnesota Twins: For the second time this winter, Terry Ryan traded a center fielder for a big-armed starting-pitching prospect, this time sending Ben Revere to Philadelphia for Vance Worley and Trevor May. It's a well-received trade for the Twins, who are actually using their strike-teaching support system on guys who could use it, because Revere had limited upside on a team that needs impact talent. They'll have to survive an odd fit in center in the short term, which seems like a prudent sacrifice.
I'm not sad to see Revere's range leave the division. His arm, though, will be missed:
*Kansas City Royals: David Glass caused his team's fans to have conniptions when a team officials told the Kansas City Star that their $70 million payroll ceiling included the 40-man roster, draft and international spending, which would leave about $57 million for 25-man talent. They later revised that statement to only include the 40-man, which puts the Royals about $2 million away from their plastic cap.
There are also mixed messages about what the Royals might want to do for their pitching staff. There was talk about trading superprospect Wil Myers for James Shields, which, on paper, shapes up to be giving up six years of extreme value for two years of a merely good buy, but the latest word has the Royals backing away from that idea.
They're also not receptive to the current asking price for Anibal Sanchez (five years, $70 million), and they don't want to give Ryan Dempster three years. That leaves Royals Review scratching its collective head, because this makes the most Dayton Moore sense:
#Royals exploring a group of free agent starters that includes Brett Myers, Kevin Correia and Jair Jurrjens, source says.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) December 6, 2012
*Cleveland Indians: Chris Antonetti probably wishes he tendered a contract to Jack Hannahan, since there's a bidding war for his services. They're inadvertently driving up Hannahan's stock by looking at Kevin Youkilis and Mark Reynolds to play first base.
Otherwise, they're another one of those clubs that is in a position to shake up the talent exchange, because they want four prospects for Asdrubal Cabrera. Cabrera was a player in a four-team proposal involving Justin Upton, but that has stalled.
*Detroit Tigers: Having acquired Torii Hunter before the meetings to solve one of their biggest problems, Dave Dombrowski could afford to let things play out in Nashville. He acquired catcher depth by trading Andy Oliver for Double-A catcher Ramon Cabrera (a change-of-scenery deal for Oliver), but otherwise, they're watching Anibal Sanchez's market with interest.