Signings, rumors, set the market for next week’s Winter Meetings


During his wondrous trip on the train of thought to the Winter Meetings on Thursday, Rick Hahn did a great deal of his normal hedging, and made sure he didn’t go do something foolish like yield leverage for the sake of actually handing out information. However, two concepts did comes across pretty clear*.

*No, the concept “We have some money, BUT NOT A LOT, and we’re not going to get tricked into spending it all, but don’t think we won’t either” does not count.

Concept #1: They’re waiting to see how market plays out for Pierzynski–and Youkilis too–before making their decision

Concept #2: They can’t help but notice the incredible pitching depth that they have to deal from. Oh, so luxurious, this depth.

"Hahn: Largest amount of interest from other teams in rotation, pen. Sox have depth.— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) November 29, 2012"

Fun stories, these were. Young, carefree stories in the prime of their lives, frolicking through a golden meadow, hand-in-hand, when they were tragically cut down…

…with the utmost brutality…

Concept #1 revisited: Now all of a sudden there’s the first wisp of an idea of what free agent catcher prices will look like, and now there’s a big budget team with an obvious need for a catcher.

No, the other one.

Yes, there we go. This would presumably put another big shark in the tank, while reducing the supply of starter-quality free agents to Pierzynski and Mike Napoli. An immediate reaction to Martin getting 2 years/$17M might be that A.J. Pierzynski should see more than that, since he handily out-produced him over each’s respective two-year contract that just expired.

Ahem, yes.

However, it might not be that straightforward. Pierzynski is nearly seven years older than Martin, and coming off a one-year spike in power that no one is sure they can trust. If it weren’t for that single outlier at the age of 35, the last four years of weighted-runs created marks for A.J. (91, 80, 91, 118) would sit pretty evenly with Martin’s (87, 90, 100, 95). Of course, scarcity could drive up the price even if they were precise clones of one another, but it’s worth considering how flimsy the grounding for A.J.’s supremacy is.

Concept #2 revisited: The White Sox have depth to deal from, but really would like some more depth if they’re going to be sapping their depth like this. After all, depth is important.

The jokes are easy, but they’re also wrong. The 3rd base free agent market is a barren wasteland with a bidding war on a declining Kevin Youkilis at the center of it, and it would far easier to find a reasonable replacement amongst the crop of available hurlers(Shaun Marcum, Carlos Villanueva, Who Knows Really?), trust in their organizational strength of coaching up starters and keeping them healthy, and package Floyd, than to plug these holes in a straightforward manner.

Perhaps that’s why Rick Hahn keeps talking all sideways.

Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan