12/10/12 10:00 AM ET
The Week Ahead: Free-agent dominoes set to fall
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
In other words, if you're a baseball fan and you weren't dizzied, hobbled and then flat-out floored by the Dodgers' weekend agreement with free-agent right-hander Zack Greinke -- you know, that six-year, $147 million, richest-contract-for-a-righty-pitcher-in-baseball-history agreement -- well, you probably need to turn in your baseball-fan card.
But as is often the case, Monday brings regular working hours, a bit of perspective and, in the case of the rest of baseball's Hot Stove market, a heaping helping of relief.
Yep, the biggest domino has finally tumbled. Now the rest of the pieces can fall into place.
And another big one did late Sunday night, when the Royals made a bold move, trading a package of four major prospects, including consensus Minor League Player of the Year Wil Myers, to the Rays for former All-Star starter James Shields and right-hander Wade Davis.
"If you're going to win consistently in the Major Leagues, you have to have a rotation that's going to give you innings and compete and give you a chance to win," Kansas City general manager Dayton Moore said. "That's what our goal is, to put together a very good rotation, and we feel like we've been able to do that."
Starting Monday, we'll see what the rest of the winter will bring.
The first order of business, now that Greinke is off the table, could be to see where Josh Hamilton lands. The free-agent slugger, most recently of the Texas Rangers, could have been waiting to see if the Rangers landed Greinke, but now that the right-hander is about to be a Dodger, it might hasten negotiations for Hamilton to remain in Arlington. Or not.
The Mariners are among the teams that have reportedly been pursuing Hamilton, and things could happen quickly from here.
Likewise in the case of other big-name free-agent bats out there, such as Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, Adam LaRoche, Lance Berkman, Kevin Youkilis, A.J. Pierzynski, Cody Ross, Delmon Young, Stephen Drew and Ichiro Suzuki.
Starting pitchers are still out there, fronted by Ryan Dempster, Kyle Lohse, Edwin Jackson, Joe Saunders and Roberto Hernandez. There are plenty of available relievers, too, including Rafael Soriano, Brian Wilson, Jose Valverde, Mike Adams and Francisco Rodriguez.
But come Monday, all eyes will be on Hamilton, just like they were on Greinke going into the weekend. After early-winter rumors that the outfielder would seek a seven-year deal for as much as $175 million, much has been quiet on the Hamilton front. Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik initially intimated that Seattle might not be heavily in on Hamilton, but the search for impact bats continues, and recent reports indicated the club might be increasing its pursuit.
"We had a lot of engaging discussions," Zduriencik said after the Winter Meetings. "You never know what's going to happen. So many times, a lot of guys come in here with big hopes of things working and you try to go down every avenue. I think that's what a lot of clubs have done. We've heard a lot about three- and four-player deals. They get complicated, and I do think clubs are just trying to do their due diligence.
"In the end, when the dust settles and you get away from here, reality kind of takes over and you just decide, 'OK, this is where we're at, and if we want to make a decision, here it is.' That's why sometimes action happens when you leave here rather than when you're here."
News flash: The Mariners have left Nashville, Tenn.
And if you believe what's been thrown out on Twitter and in the swirling Hot Stove rumor mill over the weekend, we might soon see the Yankees sign Youkilis and Ichiro, we might see the Mariners try to land Swisher or Bourn if they can't get Hamilton, and we might see Texas involved in a flurry of moves to compensate for the one that got away in Greinke.
Then again, after what we've already witnessed, with Greinke's huge score, the still-unbelievable Toronto-Miami blockbuster and Sunday night's almost-too-late-to-be-real Tampa Bay-Kansas City sizzler, it would be unwise to think that the collective baseball world can't be knocked to the mat once again, Pacquiao-style.
Strange things are happening, and it all starts up again on Monday.