Greetings from the last day of the Winter Meetings


Whew! Just woke up. So sad about it too because I was having a great dream. Dayton Moore signed — get this — Melky Cabrera. I know. Crazy!  Almost as crazy as someone actually reporting on someone’s death before knowing for sure that the person is dead. And that would never happen!

Oh well, back to the rational, sensible non-crazy world for me!

But before that, let’s talk about uber-eventful last night. Carl Crawford and Boston.  The news shot through the Winter Meetings like a bullet. When word hit the lobby of the Dolphin Resort, the scene was like the reporters running to the phone booths in “Airplane!”  A bunch of people flooded into the media room, which you may be surprised to know isn’t normally packed with people at midnight on the last night of the Winter Meetings.  But it’s not like everyone went in there. Some people quite obviously stayed in the lobby and filed their story from their Blackberry.

As for the Crawford signing, Drew and Matthew killed it last night with an initial report of the deal, the dominoes that will now fall as a result of it, the effect it will have on the Red Sox’ lineup, and a possible explanation of why the Angels lost out on Crawford when everyone thought he was theirs.  All I’ll add is this: the Winter Meetings have made one thing perfectly clear: until there’s a salary cap, teams like the Yankees just are not going to be able to compete.

Today is the last day of the Winter Meetings.  The only official thing of any note is the Rule 5 draft, which goes down at 9AM.  After that most of the team officials, agents and assembled media make a mad dash for the airport.  I’ll be loitering around later than that, but my day at the Winter Meetings will end a little after noon, I figure.  But don’t go anywhere, because HBT will continue to post frantically on everything going down here, there and everywhere.

Michael Cuddyer not shining in left field early in NLDS Game 1

Michael Cuddyer
AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek

Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer has already made a pair of mistakes in left field and he’s only four innings into the first game of the best-of-five NLDS against the Dodgers.

Leading off the second inning, Justin Turner sent a well-struck liner to Cuddyer which was quite catchable, but the ball clanked off of the veteran’s glove. Turner was credited with a double. Mets starter Jacob deGrom was able to work around the misplay, striking out Andre Ethier, A.J. Ellis, and Clayton Kershaw to close out the frame.

With two outs in the third inning, Corey Seager sent a fly ball down the left field line. Cuddyer took an inefficient route and the ball bounced about a foot inside the foul line, then into the stands, giving Seager a ground-rule double. To add insult to injury, Cuddyer ended up tumbling over the fence. deGrom, again, worked around Cuddyer’s mistake, striking out Adrian Gonzalez to end the inning.

Because he bats right-handed, Cuddyer got the start in left field over the left-handed-hitting rookie Michael Conforto against Kershaw, a southpaw. Conforto mustered only a .481 OPS against lefties this season compared to Cuddyer’s .698. Despite the batting disparity, one wonders how short a leash manager Terry Collins has on Cuddyer given his defense.

Mets take lead during NLDS Game 1 with Daniel Murphy’s solo homer

Daniel Murphy
AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek
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Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning, belting a solo home run to right field at Dodger Stadium off of starter Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw threw a 2-0, 94 MPH fastball and Murphy didn’t miss it.

Both teams’ starters are pitching quite well overall. Kershaw has allowed the one run on three hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Jacob deGrom started off the game with six consecutive strikeouts and has struck out seven total while blanking the Dodgers on three hits and a walk in three innings.

Kershaw doesn’t have the most impressive post-season track record, owning a career 5.12 ERA across eight starts and three relief appearances spanning 51 innings. Aside from the homer, the lefty appears to be putting that notion aside.

Qualifying offer for free agents set at $15.8 million

Jason Heyward
AP Photo
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Eric Fisher of the Sports Business Journal reports that the value of a qualifying offer for free agents this off-season has been set at $15.8 million. That represents an increase of a half-million dollars over last year’s value.

This is of particular interest with regards to the big-name free agents, including Justin Upton, Jason Heyward, Yovani Gallardo, Jordan Zimmermann, and Jeff Samardzija.

Teams that make a qualifying offer to a player that ends up being rejected receive a compensation draft pick in the upcoming draft. The team that signs the player who rejected a qualifying offer gives up their earliest non-protected draft pick.

Free agents who had been traded mid-season aren’t eligible to receive a qualifying offer. This includes Yoenis Cespedes, David Price, Johnny Cueto, and Ben Zobrist, among others.

A player has yet to accept a qualifying offer since the QO system was implemented.