BIG FISH HAVE LANDED
The first significant move of the winter meetings happened early last evening. The Detroit Tigers landed two stars, third baseman Miguel Cabrera and pitcher Dontrelle Willis, for a six-player package that includes outfielder Cameron Maybin and pitcher Andrew Miller, Detroit's top two prospects. The Tigers paid a heavy price for the future, but their present looks very bright. Their lineup is stacked, with Cabrera joining Magglio Ordonez, Gary Sheffield, Ivan Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson, Placido Polanco and Carlos Guillen. Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski is one of the best and boldest in the business.
WILL O'S DOMINOES FALL NOW?
The Detroit-Florida trade could be a winner in Baltimore, too. Cabrera, the best available third baseman, is now off the market. And the Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers, considered the Orioles' top two trade partners in terms of fit, still have their farm systems intact. Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada should climb atop the Angels' wish list at third base - and that could mean they would sweeten a deal that could include pitching prospect and Maryland native Nick Adenhart. The Dodgers would have spent their surplus of prospects on Cabrera, but they should now have enough to get Orioles left-hander Erik Bedard.
LOVING THE RIVALRY
New manager Joe Girardi met with the New York and national media and said he thinks that his Yankees and the Boston Red Sox's head-to-head pursuit of Minnesota Twins left-hander Johan Santana is "what makes baseball great." He went on to say the rivalry "never really stops. Never takes a break." Great to see some enthusiasm, but is it really a good thing when the two richest teams are in an exclusive fight over the game's best pitcher, who is available only because his current team can't afford him? Santana's saga is interesting, but the constant yo-yoing between the two suitors loses something when only the rich can play.
We all knew it was a lame free-agent market, but my goodness. Nearly all the buzz at the Opryland Resort has been about trades. Eventually Andruw Jones, Aaron Rowand and Carlos Silva will find new homes worth millions of dollars. But, for now, free agency has become passe. And, truthfully, that's good to see. Because nothing is more depressing than watching bidding wars for sub-.500 pitchers and glorified one-year wonders - as has occurred in the past few years.