The winter meetings start today in Florida, and in contrast to previous years, where not much activity was to be expected on the Diamondbacks front, it looks like it could prove to be a busy few days for Arizona's new GM, Kevin Towers. While it's far from his first trip to the rodeo, it will be his debut for the Diamondbacks, and after a series of minor moves, fans will be watching closely to see what he'll do.
We'll be posting two stories per day: one in the morning which will act as a general clearing house for news, rumors and rumors of news; and one in the evening as a wrap-up, covering the solid deals which have been announced (mostly for Arizona, but we'll also look at the big ones elsewhere, especially in the NL West). Please feel free to add anything you hear or see as a comment; if you can provide a link, that'd be appreciated, and we'll evaluate it to see if it's worthy of inclusion! Because of this, the weekly SnakePit round table has been pushed back, and will appear once the meetings have concluded.
After the jump, a few talking points to get you started, and all the Diamondbacks news as it unfolds... [Last updated: 2:20 pm]
Will a Mark Reynolds trade be completed?
- Does the signing of Jayson Werth by the Nationals, leave the Red Sox even more interested in Justin Upton?
- Is Arizona interested in Henry Blanco as a back-up catcher, as Nick Piecoro reported?
- What will Towers do to fill the numerous empty slots in the bullpen?
- In particular, who'll be our closer?
- How will we go about strengthening the bench?
I wouldn't expect answers to all these questions to be provided in the next few days, but I'm thinking we should get some of them resolved. It's proven difficult to read Towers so far, with his statement about wanting to compete in 2011, being somewhat contradicted by his actions. This will likely be the first real chance we have to see what steps he's going to take, with regard to turning a team that lost almost 100 games last year, into a successful, winning one.
- Tracy Ringolsby says, "Towers had extended talks with the agent for free agent first baseman Paul Konerko, hoping to convinced Konerko to sign with the Diamondbacks instead of returning to the Chicago White Sox." [Hat-tip: Jdub220]
- Nick Piecoro writes about possible free-agent targets for Arizona, mostly as help in the bullpen. Nick also says on Twitter he is "starting to get annoyed at how I have to manipulate azcentral blog software so J.J. Putz's name doesn't come up as "(inappropriate term)"," while at the same time "there's a commenter named DickNasty1."
Steve Gilbert says, "I'm hearing that the D-backs are not in on reliever Brian Fuentes, though, they will be looking long and hard for relief pitching this week."
- He also believes there is a "very strong chance" Reynolds is traded; he confirms Baltimore is "holding the upper hand in that" and Tweets that the teams are "making strong progress."
- Brittany Ghiroli was told the same thing about the Reynolds talks, by Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail [Hat-tip: Jdub220]. Gilbert quotes MacPhail more extensively: "We have a few things going and you never really know when you are going to be able to reach across and do something. We have a variety of things and what comes to fruition and when you just don't know." David Hernandez seems to be the player at the core of the deal, and Gilbert tweets, "When MacPhail comments you know it is serious."
- Jon Heyman concurs [Hat-tip: bradley281], and adds, "Chris Tillman not in the Mark Reynolds trade as currently constituted."
- Craig Calcaterra doubts Konerko will sign for Arizona, pointing out "the White Sox are scheduled to meet with Konerko today; and a few minutes ago Jerry Reinsdorf said that Konerko “belongs in Chicago.” He also happens to like playing there, so, you know, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a White Sox."
- Nick Piecoro tweets, "David Hernandez expected to be in [Reynolds] deal. RHP Kam Mickolio is strong possibility."
- Steve Gilbert says we are, "closing in on deal for David Hernandez and Kameron Mickolio." Piecoro adds, "I've heard Dbacks view Hernandez as a seventh/eighth inning guy for now," and has posted a blog entry with background info on the two players.
Well, the Reynolds trade appears to have gone down, pending physicals, so discussion on that continues here. We can now move on to other questions, such as a closer, and who will replace Reynolds...
- To answer the latter first, according to Steve Gilbert, "Look for them to make a big push to sign Melvin Mora, maybe swing a deal for Kevin Kouzmanoff and they also will use veteran Geoff Blum over there as well."
- Jack Magruder says the team "eye Putz, Crain as possible closers, although Putz' agent, Craig Landis, is to meet with Sox today regarding Konerko."
- Steve Gilbert reports the team are "pushing hard to get free agent right-hander J.J. Putz signed to a two-year deal with a club option for 2013."
- Nick Piecoro repeats that, and goes further, saying we "are close to adding" Putz. He is also pleased "our online guys took his name off our "inappropriate term" list," dead-panning that it's now possible to "call others putzes at azcentral as often as you wish."