After a week of money throwing and rumor-induced insanity, the winter meetings have drawn to a close. Officials from each team have retired to their respective cities, and the rumor mill is slowing down to its normal, leisurely off-season pace. And thank goodness for that - after all the insanity of the past few days, I'm going to need a week to emotionally digest all that's happened so far.
While the Rays only made a handful of acquisitions during the Winter Meetings, that doesn't mean they weren't busy. We only have access to rumors and heresay, and can't know all the things the Rays were doing behind close doors, but it seemed as though the Rays had one of their busiest Winter Meetings. Here's a rundown of where we stand, since I think we could all use a memory-boost:
- The Rays signed Dan Johnson to a $1M contract for this upcoming season, avoiding arbitration.
- Joe Maddon spoke with the press and had some great things to say about Reid Brignac and the entire 2011 club. You can find a brief recap here and the full text here.
- Rumors about Jason Bartlett were swirling all week long, but in the end, the Rays traded Jason Bartlett to the Padres for relievers Adam Russell and Cesar Ramos. The deal has yet to be finalized, but the rumor going around is that both teams are waiting on player physicals before making an official announcement.
- Carlos Pena signed a one year, $10M deal with the Chicago Cubs. There was much sadness.
- Dioner Navarro agreed to a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. There was much rejoicing.
- Carl Crawford signed a seven year, $142M deal with the Boston Red Sox, the largest contract ever awarded to an outfielder. We've covered that just a wee bit.
- The Rays selected pitcher Cesar Cabral from the Boston Red Sox in the Rule Five draft. He has some nice upside, and will compete for a spot in the 2011 bullpen.
- Matt Garza has been involved in many rumors, most recently involving the Chicago Cubs. Multiple teams have expressed interest in him, including the Brewers, Nationals, Rangers, and Cubs.
That's the old news; now here is some of the new news:
- Marc Topkin mentions in a recent article that the Rays are close to signing J.P. Howell to a contract; it should be finalized within a couple days. Also, he states that Willy Aybar has received interest from a couple clubs.
- In that same article, Topkin quotes Andrew Friedman on his impression of Rule Five draftee Cesar Cabral: "'He's got a chance,' Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman said. 'He's got good stuff, he's got high upside.'"
- John Romano and Marc Topkin write two excellent articles about Crawford's departure. These are some of the most balanced takes on this signing that I've seen from the media. Well done.
- Hey, lookit that: an article by Rays Reyes in the Tampa Tribune that quotes DRaysBay and Jason Collette. Nifty.