Alright, so the Winter Meetings, while lacking much actual movement as far as the Rockies are concerned, have stirred up a hornets nest of other things I'll be wanting to write about, so I'll try and get a couple of other posts up today.
As for the rumors, the big news this morning is Tracy Ringolsby's report of the Rockies offer to Aaron Cook for three years, $30 million. This comes on the heels of Jake Peavy signing a similar under market extension with the Padres, albeit with more money attached for the Cy Young winner and more total years if you include his previous extension. Whispers out of Arizona are saying that the D-backs are going to try a similar path with Brandon Webb.
I've seen this pattern before, you might recall that this is a similar sequence to what led the Rockies to get Jeff Francis to sign his current contract -Peavy got his first, Webb second, Francis third, with Matt Cain signing a similar deal with the Giants right around the same time- and all four were locked in through their arbitration years plus. The teams of the NL West seem to be in lock-step with each other at times, and it becomes no wonder that the division is so tightly packed at the top.
LaTroy Hawkins might be back in Purple pinstripes yet, as the Rockies have apparently warmed to the idea of more than one season on his contract after rumors of heavy Rangers interest sprouted last night. Troy Renck also speculates about the Marlins possibly being open to acquiring Jamey Carroll, which is laughable -particularly considering that Carroll would be Florida's highest paid position player for 2008 at that point and just under Kevin Gregg's $2.5 million for tops on the team. I would die of shame if that was true of my club. The Fish have been gutted.
Other NL West rumors have the D-backs offering a package of six players, including closer Jose Valverde for the A's Dan Haren. It's an interesting offer with three over-hyped position players in Carlos Gonzalez, Alberto Callaspo and Emilio Bonifacio who I have a real hard time envisioning in everyday roles on a contender. Gonzalez has the tools necessary, apparently, but the Diamondbacks wouldn't have extended Eric Byrnes last season if they were so certain those tools would translate against top flight pitching. The three pitchers include two relievers -albeit a good late inning one in Valverde and a potential late inning one in Nippert- and one promising arm in Anderson who, though he's got some potential, is a risk and still two to three years away from contributing at the Major League level. If I were Oakland, I don't think I'd do this deal, but I'll admit I don't know how much personal bias and hope that the Diamondbacks don't get any better plays into that.
Also from Arizona, there was this interesting possibility that Micah Owings could back up Conor Jackson at first until Chad Tracy recovers from surgery. It's a creative way of using Micah's talents, I'm curious how it would work out.
The Padres are looking at trading for a couple of my old school chums in Mark Prior and Anthony Reyes, as well as being keen on the Astros' Luke Scott. Apparently the 'Stros want catching prospect Nick Hundley for Scott, which I find interesting because catching was perhaps the one strength of Houston's farm heading into 2007, but after Max Sapp and Ralph Henriquez tanked at the plate this past season and concerns over Sapp's weight might force him to move to first, top prospect J.R. Towles is about all that's left at that important position. By the way, word is that the Astros want a starter and reliever for Chris Burke and not Clint Barmes. Ed Wade's not going to get what he wants here, but neither are we.
The Dodgers had what the Marlins really wanted for Cabrera but they wouldn't part with Kemp, Kershaw and Loney. I can't fault them for that. They are one of the teams hot after Hideki Kuroda right now, and might still make a big trade this winter and not lose much as their system remains pretty well loaded.
The Giants had surprisingly strong interest in Toronto's offer of Alex Rios for Tim Lincecum, I say surprising because Rios wouldn't be nearly enough to turn around the fortunes of San Francisco in 2008.