The Winter Meetings inhabit some crazy alternative universe. The Red Sox, Yankees and just about all the other big spenders in baseball have sat on their hands while the Florida Marlins, a franchise that wouldn't exceed last year's Red Sox payroll if they totaled their last three seasons together, spend like a man who knows he's about to eat an on-coming bus. Dropping $191 million on , and Heath Bell is notable in and of itself, but what makes it truly nuts is that they tried to sign two other players in Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson to contracts that would have added roughly $270 million more to that total. OK, sure, maybe if they'd signed one they wouldn't have signed the other, but still, at a minimum that would have been a total outlay of $250 million in one off season. You'd could add Marlins' player payroll together going back through 2005 before you'd surpass that figure.
In true Winter Meetings fashion, David Oritz accepted the Red Sox offer of salary arbitration. Or not. Wait, he did. Um, or he didn't. No, yes. Or, maybe no. (I can go on like this.) The end result is that Ortiz is, in fact, coming back to the Red Sox next year. He did accept salary arbitration which ties him to the Red Sox for the 2012 season, though as Baseball Prospectus' Ben Lindbergh notes, the two sides could still work out a multi-year (read: two year) agreement. In the end this was best for both sides. The Red Sox wanted him back, he wanted to come back, and now he's back, so there it is. For a freer take on the signing, here's Hardball Talk's Matthew Pouliot and here's Fan Graph's Eno Sarris.
The Red Sox were a whole lot of talk during Ben Cherington's first Winter Meetings. (Not that that is in any way a bad thing.) The Sox joined the Yankees in talking to Hiroki Kuroda, ex of the Dodgers. Our own Marc Normandin has that story here. The Sox also spoke to the White Sox who it seems are in full sell mode. According to ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes (hat tip to the previously mentioned Mr. Pouliot) the two teams talked about White Sox pitchers Gavin Floyd and Jon Danks. What came of that meeting likely won't be known for a while if ever.WEEI.com's Alex Speier has another beauty up. This time he tackles the reasons behind the Red Sox moving slowly this off season. The comparison to the Tampa Rays of last off season is particularly interesting.
Remember yesterday when the Red Sox won the bidding for Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima, then twenty minutes later it was revealed that actually, no, they didn't? Turns out it was the Yankees that won the bidding.
There was some Red Sox news on the day. Now ex-Sox Erik Bedard ended his exceedingly short Red Sox tenure by signing a one year deal with the
Florida Marlins Pittsburgh Pirates. The Red Sox apparently never seriously tried to bring Bedard back according to the Providence Journal's Tim Britton.
Finally, the Winter Meetings are very very dangerous, so if you ever go make sure to actually look where you're going.