Monday, December 5, 2011
Ten things I'd like to see at winter meetings
By David Schoenfield
DALLAS -- The hallways and lobby of the Hilton Anatole are filled with general managers, agents and media members. What will happen over the next three days? Nobody knows. But here's what I'd like to see happen ...
1. A good old-fashioned challenge trade.
You know, like the famous deal in December of 1990 when the Padres traded Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter to the Blue Jays for Fred McGriff and Tony Fernandez. Let's see some general manager step up and initiate a deal that isn't just predicated on how many years a player has remaining until he's a free agent. Yes, David Wright for Peter Bourjos and Hank Conger would come close to qualifying.
2. The Blue Jays make a big splash.
Signing Prince Fielder could give Toronto the thunder it needs to compete in the loaded AL East.
And by big splash, how about a certain power-hitting first baseman who gets on base? Blue Jays first basemen (primarily Adam Lind) hit 28 home runs in 2011, but combined for a terrible .309 on-base percentage, 27th in the majors. In the cut-throat world of the AL East, the Jays need to keep up with their rivals, and Prince Fielder would be the perfect fit. Imagine a 3-4-5 of Jose Bautista, Fielder and Brett Lawrie. Scary good ... scary good enough to have the fans packing Skydome like they did in the early '90s and turning the AL East's big three into a big four.
You don't trade one of the top six or seven position players in the game and get better. The Reds can improve their team without trading the big Canadian. Figure out a way to get Gio Gonzalez from the A's using Yonder Alonso and catching prospect Yasmani Grandal.
4. The Nationals sign a starting pitcher.
Washington is reportedly in on Mark Buehrle and C.J. Wilson. While Fielder would look good batting cleanup in Washington, the Nats' defense would be taking a major hit with Fielder at first base and Mike Morse in left field. Adding one of the left-handed starters would be more economical and provide a boost similar to Fielder's bat. A rotation of Stephen Strasburg, Wilson, Jordan Zimmermann, John Lannan and Chien-Ming Wang, with prospect Brad Peacock waiting his turn, looks like a rotation that could contend for a playoff spot.
5. A three-way trade.
A world with more three-way trades would be a good thing. Especially when Billy Beane is involved.
Nobody wants to spend big on a DH these days, so Ortiz's options are pretty limited, even though five AL teams had an OPS under .750 from their designated hitters: Tampa Bay (.744), Baltimore (.734), Angels (.702), Oakland (.696) and Seattle (.650). Ortiz has the 11th-highest slugging percentage in the majors over the past two seasons (higher than Fielder), so Big Papi can still rake. But can you see him in a uniform other than Boston's?
You never know how long Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner are going to last as elite pitchers. The Giants need to win now and they need another bat. Beltran remains their best option for right field.
8. The Mariners do something.
Seattle fans will support a winner, as they showed in 2001 and 2002 when they led the AL in attendance. In 2011, they were served a cleanup hitter with a .253 OBP and a third baseman who hit .188. Attendance plummeted to 1.9 million, the lowest in a full season in Seattle since 1992. Is Fielder really a possibility? Is Scott Boras trying to drum up interest and a big payday in a market that doesn't include the Yankees or Red Sox? The Mariners are a long way from being contenders, so signing Fielder would entail convincing him that the club could compete in a couple years. Would Fielder be willing to take that plunge? And no -- the Mariners are not going to trade Felix Hernandez.