Outfielder Josh Hamilton and pitcher Zack Greinke remain on the free-agent market at the end of baseball’s winter meetings, which failed to match last year’s $509 million spending spree.
The biggest official move on the final day of the meetings in Nashville today was the Philadelphia Phillies’ acquisition of center fielder Ben Revere from the Minnesota Twins for pitchers Vance Worley and Trevor May. The trade gives the Phillies a replacement for Shane Victorino, who during the four-day meetings joined the Boston Red Sox with a pair of former Texas Rangers teammates, catcher Mike Napoli and relief pitcher Koji Uehara.
It remains to be seen if the Rangers add Greinke, who finished last season for the Los Angeles Angels, or outfielder Justin Upton from the Arizona Diamondbacks, and let Hamilton leave. Fox Sports reports Texas is involved in talks on a three-team trade to acquire Upton, whose arrival probably would lead to Hamilton’s exit.
The Seattle Mariners met with Hamilton, his wife and his agents during the Winter Meetings and are poised to sign the 2010 American League Most Valuable Player if the Rangers don’t, the Seattle Times said, without citing the source of its information. Hamilton, 31, hit a career-best 43 home runs last season. He also has a history of drug and alcohol abuse.
Greinke, the 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner, is being pursued by the Rangers and Los Angeles Dodgers, Fox Sports said. Greinke played with the Angels and Milwaukee Brewers this year, going 15-5 with a 3.48 earned run average.
“The timing of these things, sometimes everything falls quickly and you get a lot of deals done,” Orioles General Manager Dan Duquette was quoted as saying by MLB.com. “This year it seems like the deals are a little slow in coming. Once some of the top guys sign, you’ll see a lot more deals go down.”
The Angels signed three-time National League MVP Albert Pujols and pitcher C.J. Wilson to contracts worth $317.5 million at the meetings last year. The Miami Marlins also used the time to give long-term contracts worth $191 million to shortstop Jose Reyes and pitchers Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell, all of whom have since been traded away.
Many of the players who changed teams at this year’s meetings were lower-profile free agents, with those deals unofficial under physicals are passed.
Reliever Joakim Soria agreed to join the Rangers, while pitcher Dan Haren is headed to the Washington Nationals; third baseman Eric Chavez moved to the Diamondbacks from the New York Yankees; catcher Russell Martin signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates from the Yankees; outfielder Jason Bay agreed to terms with the Mariners after the New York Mets bought out the final year of his contract; and first baseman James Loney ended up with the Rays, MLB.com said.
While the Yankees lost Chavez, they made a one-year, $12 million offer to Kevin Youkilis, according to MLB.com. The former Red Sox and Chicago White Sox third baseman would help the Yankees offset the loss of Alex Rodriguez, who will miss at least the start of the 2013 season while recovering from hip surgery. The White Sox reached a three-year agreement with infielder Jeff Keppinger, who would probably replace Youkilis, MLB.com said.
The Mets officially announced the re-signing of third baseman David Wright during the meetings, while engaging in trade talks involving NL Cy Young Award-winning pitcher R.A. Dickey.