The winter meetings haven’t even taken place but at least one of the major free agents has found his ‘forever’ home. B.J. Upton signed
with the Atlanta Braves as a replacement for the departed (or soon to be departed) Michael Bourn. This seems to be a good fit for each party: B.J. ends up on a solid organization with measured expectations and the Braves get the speed/defense they wanted. With the trade of Hanson to the Angels for Walden, it certainly seems the Braves are following the blueprint for becoming a perennial contender in the NL East. And if they happen to get B.J’s brother Justin then I believe the Brave’s opponents are going to be having nightmares, especially if Freeman and Heyward live up to their potential.
Of course there are still some major names still available though it is quite probable we won’t see any movement until after the new year. One thing to watch for? I believe Boston will make a play for Josh Hamilton. They are in desperate need of a left handed bat that can hit with power and someone who can give the Red Sox faithful some hope. Perhaps Hamilton did quit at the end of the season and during the playoffs, but his talent is not debatable and when he is in a venue like Fenway Park, his power will look quite inviting.
Another story that has slowly been coming out is that the Yankees might ready to start using the dreaded ‘r’ word. That’s right, rebuilding. With many of the current stars at the end of their careers, injuries mounting, and even rumors of the owners wanting to sell the team, this isn’t the Yankees we’ve become accustomed to. And in reality there seems to be very little that the Yankees can do. Their farm teams aren’t exactly churning out the stars of tomorrow (quick, name one prospect in the Yankees system) and free agents are becoming less willing to sign with a team in which every action will be scrutinized. There has been a slight but significant shift to the west in regards to popular teams to sign with. The LA Dodgers apparently have more money than many small countries, the Angels also fell into a vat of gold at the end of the rainbow, and the Giants who for many years were the well loved underdog have won 2 World Series in three seasons. Good weather, lots of money to offer, and fan bases starved for consistent success. So the advice being given by agents is: Go west young man! Not that NY can’t overcome this but I think it will be harder than normal and let’s be honest Yankees fans aren’t exactly used to losing. This could make the 2013 season very interesting.
As much as I love watching my Steelers I am very much looking forward to the baseball season starting again. More to come!