In one of the most boring days of Winter Meeting history, the big news centered around Carlos Pena and a whole bunch of relative nobodies.
*Unless the Cubs have - many - more moves planned, I do not understand their signing of Carlos Pena to a 1-year, $10m deal. Pena is one of my favorite players in the game (love his swing), but here are my issues:
1- He doesn't offer a huge upgrade to Derrek Lee. With Lee, the Cubs went 75-87 last season. Again, maybe they are planning more upgrades, but six players will account for $91m of salary this season. How many more players can they afford?
2- They paid a premium on him. $10m has to be above market value for a player that has struggled a bit the past two seasons.
3- (Biggest issue) Why one year? If he has a monster year, he'll walk. If he has a terrible year, they overpaid him. Mix in an option, Chicago.
4- Contracts in excess of $10m per season haven't worked out well for Chicago. Soriano, ARamirez, Zambrano, Fukudome...
This deal only works if he plays well but not great.
*In an apparent attempt to corner the market on 20th Round fantasy baseball picks, the Pirates have signed Matt Diaz, Kevin Correia, and Scott Olsen while reportedly targeting Kevin Gregg, Aaron Heilman, and Brendan Ryan. These moves will almost assuredly guarantee a 60-win season in 2011.
*Exciting news about some Japanese players...or not:
-Koji Uehara will likely stay put in Baltimore.
-The Kenshin Kawakami trade talks seem to be going nowhere.
-Hideki Matsui has garnered some interest but has not been offered a contract.
-The Tsuyoshi Nishioka-Twins talks have slowed to a crawl.
*I love that the Royals are expected to sign (or have singed) Jeff Francouer. It warms my heart and again confirms that I should have Dayton Moore's job.
*I like the Carl Pavano to Milwaukee rumors. The Brewers love to pay overachievers after big years. Suppan, Wolf, Pavano.... and so on.