Winter meetings: Few trades
The annual winter meeting of baseball owners, being held in Anaheim, yielded little big news in the way of trades. Perhaps the steroid controversy took all their time. The Orioles signed up veteran nice guy B. J. Surhoff for another year, but are otherwise frustrated. The Yankees signed Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright, both ace pitchers eagerly sought by the Washington Nationals. (Isn't it amazing how easily that name rolls off your tongue after only a few weeks?) The Yankees' deal with Wright mentioned in the last posting had been temporarily put on hold because medical exams showed his arm has not fully healed. After he passed a second exam, the contract was signed.
The Nationals just signed utility player Wil Cordero, who played with the Marlins this year (though he was injured most of the summer), and used to play with the Expos. Interim General Manager Jim Bowden is negotiating with the Cubs over Sammy Sosa, a hopelessly unrealistic prospect given the D.C. team's limited budget for this year. Bowden has done well to pick up Cristian Guzman, Vinny Castilla, and Jose Guillen, but what the Nats really need is more pitching! (Just like the Yankees do.) Other players seem wary of signing with the Nationals until the team's status becomes more clear.
Speaking of which, the D.C. City Council will vote for a second time on the stadium funding bill tomorrow. If it passes, serious negotiating on selling the franchise to one of the bidders will commence, enabling the team to acquire a full roster of top-notch talent at last. If it fails, sheer chaos will descend upon Our Nation's Capital...
Commissioner Bud Selig had a cancerous skin lesion removed from his forehead last week, and the prognosis is good. We wish him all the best.