Santana shoe doesn't drop
Winter Meetings' Day 4 closes with lefty still a Twin
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It turned out to be a one-shoe final full day at the 2007 Winter Meetings.The Marlins and Tigers, as expected on Wednesday afternoon, formally announced the eight-player swap-travaganza which sent third baseman Miguel Cabrera and left-hander Dontrelle Willis to Detroit. But, despite expectations that completion of one of the two big deals anticipated at the Meetings would unleash trickle-down activity, the other shoe never dropped at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. That included Johan Santana, who survived a week in the eye of a rumor-storm and seems set to still be a member of the Twins rotation when the Minnesota contingent departs the sprawling hotel on Thursday. Already, two leagues could contemplate a major deal that altered the landscape in both. In the best tradition of Italian director Vittorio De Sica, the Marlins turned their heroes of yesterday into a Detroit force of today, in return for their own bright tomorrow. The six-pack acquired by the Marlins included left-hander Andrew Miller, outfielder Cameron Maybin, catcher Mike Rabelo and right-handers Burke Badenhop, Eulogio de la Cruz and Dallas Trahern. "I think this is a great deal for both teams," declared Larry Beinfest, the Marlins' president of baseball operations. "It satisfied our needs, and we are prepared to move on." Divesting themselves of the last two remaining members of their 2003 World Series champions also freed the Marlins of their two highest paid players. Miller, at a 2008 salary of $1,325,000 -- less than half the Major League average -- instantly becomes the highest-paid player on their roster. Detroit club president Dave Dombrowski, perhaps unwittingly, contradicted criticism that had been aimed at Beinfest by the trio of West Coast clubs which had unsuccessfully tried to negotiate a deal for Cabrera. "[I] want to thank the Marlins in how they handled this," Dombrowski said. "Very professional from a trading perspective, and one that I think will benefit both clubs -- ours in the short term and theirs in the long run."
"There were a lot of complaints about our asking price," Beinfest acknowledged. "We're here today because we thought we got value for them."Santana was still Minnesota's pitching jewel at the end of the day, primarily because the Twins seemed torn between which of two Boston offers to use as a jumping-off point for further negotiations: Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, shortstop Jed Lowrie and right-hander Justin Masterson, or Left-hander Jon Lester, center fielder Coco Crisp, Lowrie and Masterson? Although the Los Angeles Angels remained on the periphery, and the Seattle Mariners appeared to be biding their time for a strong push, the Santana Stakes, for the time being, have come down to Minnesota GM Bill Smith weighing his next move on the Boston offers. Wednesday finished with the Dodgers landing the bat they've been seeking, reaching an agreement with free-agent outfielder Andruw Jones on a two-year, $36 million contract, according to a baseball official. The deal is contingent on Jones passing a physical exam.
In the morning, the Blue Jays swung a trade for Buck Coats, acquiring the infielder-outfielder from the Reds for future considerations. The 25-year-old left-handed batter had appeared in a total of 38 games the last two seasons with Cincinnati, primarily as a pinch-hitter.The Brewers officially bagged a key part of their bullpen reconstruction, finalizing the three-year contract, for $13 million, with right-hander David Riske that had been in the works for a week. Riske fashioned a 2.65 ERA in 65 games for Kansas City last season and plugs one of the holes left by the departures of free agents Scott Linebrink (White Sox) and Francisco Cordero (Reds). The Brewers will be Riske's fifth different team since 2005, the last of his six seasons in Cleveland. Larry Whiteside, a pioneer among black journalists during a distinguished career at the Boston Globe, was posthumously honored with the 2007 J.G. Taylor Spink Award for meritorious contributions to baseball writing. Whiteside passed away in June at the age of 69 from complications of Parkinson's disease. He will be recognized during the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies July 27 in Cooperstown, N.Y. The Red Sox formally recognized Whiteside's election, in a statement saluting his "more than 30 years [of writing] about baseball and the Red Sox for the Boston Globe [which] earned the respect of front office executives, managers, coaches, and players alike. Mr. Whiteside was a Hall of Famer in every sense of the word. Today's honor is richly deserved." Pat O'Conner, a 26-year veteran of professional baseball, was elected the 11th president of the 106-year-old Minor League Baseball organization. Also ... Rights to Terrmel Sledge were sold by the Padres to the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters of Japan's Pacific League. Sledge batted .210 in 100 games for San Diego in 2007, his fourth big league season. The Rangers acquired first baseman Chris Shelton, the early season sensation of the Tigers' 2006 pennant-winning season, in exchange for outfielder Freddy Guzman. Shelton clubbed nine homers in Detroit's first 13 games in 2006, but he was back in the Minors later that year and did not appear in the big leagues last season.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.