Well, of the off season anyway. It is time for baseball's winter meetings! Meetings at which we've seen blockbuster trades and huge free agent contracts happen in years past. Here's hoping for an eventful week. One in which I expect the Blue Jays to be one of the more active clubs. I haven't had a lot of time to blog lately, but I will try my best to keep up this week, even if it means quick reports giving the latest news from the meetings.
On the eve of the winter meetings, before the press room was even set up, one of the bigger free agents of 2010 is off the market. Jayson Werth, formerly of the Philadelphia Phillies, and one time Toronto Blue Jay has signed a $126 million, seven-year contract with the Washington Nationals. I did not see this coming 5000 miles away. If you had me guess in order which team would sign Werth, Washington probably would have been about team number 23 that I would have guessed.
Earlier this week, Washington lost their slugging first baseman Adam Dunn to the Chicago White Sox through free agency. This left the Nats with both a hole in their lineup, and money to spend. Werth will bring speed, power and defense to Washington, and will be the Nationals starting right fielder for the 2011 campaign. He helps fill the void in the lineup left by Dunn, and he will be protecting Ryan Zimmerman in the order.
With Werth signing such a lucrative deal in Washington, it really begs the question: What will Carl Crawford get? I suspect that Crawford can pretty much decide his own salary at this point. He is now far and away the best outfield option available through free agency. I have read that Boston and the Angels are the two front runners for his services. However, you never know. Nobody predicted Werth to Washington.
The Blue Jays made a bit of noise this week. Fred Lewis and Jeremy Accardo were not offered contracts by the club. The two of them are officially free agents. Kevin Gregg, Scott Downs, and Miguel Olivio declined arbitration offers from the Jays, and are also free agents. Jason Frasor accepted the arbitration offer. He should be back in the Jays bullpen for the 2011 season. The Jays also acquired reliever Carlos Villanueva from Milwaukee for a player to be named.