So, are Jason Bay and the Red Sox really parting ways? Is Bay actually going to wind up signing with the Mets?
I'm skeptical. How could we not be, given the decision of Joe Urbon, Bay's agent, to go public like this? I think Urbon did so because Bay's first choice is still to return to the Red Sox, and he's dissatisifed with the state of the negotiations.
I do think, however, there's an increasing likelihood that the Mets wind up with Bay or John Lackey, defying the conventional wisdom that they weren't willing to spend enough money to get one of the "Big Three." Will that be money well spent? Depends on the price. But it would certainly make the Mets more likely to contend in 2010.
--The Yankees indeed non-tendered Chien-Ming Wang, and Brian Cashman released a statement indicating his desire to bring back the rehabilitating right-hander. I'd normally say that Wang's best strategy is to wait, to get healthier and pitch for scouts and prove his worth that way.
In this baseball market, though? While teams are still spending money more generously than we anticipated - before we start hearing, "I'm tapped out" from GMs - it might be worth jumping on a good, major-league offer if it's out there.
The list of non-tenders is particularly interesting this year. Matt Capps? He looked to be among the game's best closers a year ago. Jack Cust can help someone, clearly. And we'll see what sort of interest there is in Ryan Church at an "Everything must go!" price.
--Here's the lead item, featuring more collusion talk, of my Baseball Insider. If you want to find out what's in the rest of it, please visit Long Island today, buy a copy of Newsday and turn to the sports section.
Not gonna do it? as Dana Carvey used to say while impersonating George H. W. Bush? Fair enough? Here's what you missed:
1) The White Sox have been speaking of well of Hideki Matsui recently, partly because they like him (why wouldn't they?) , but also partly because White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf and Matsui's agent Arn Tellem have a strong relationship. They have come to agreements on deals not only in baseball, like Albert Belle, but also in basketball. Tellem represents NBA players, and Reinsdorf, of course, owns the Bulls.
In any case, the White Sox are longshots, at best, to sign Matsui.
2) Orlando Cabrera, a longtime shortstop, is open to playing second base or third base for the Twins, who acquired J.J. Hardy to be their everyday shortsop. The Twins and Cabrera really enjoyed their brief time together to close out the 2009 season.
3) Kevin Towers is virtually good to go for his new job with the Yankees; there's just some red tape and professional courtesies involved. Towers will stay on the West Coast and serve as an adviser/special assignment scout, working for his pal Brian Cashman in a setting where he won't be construed as a threat (unlike the Mets, as Towers is very fond of Omar Minaya).
4) An official from a competing AL West team told me he wished it was Jered Weaver, rather than Joe Saunders, going to Toronto in the proposed Roy Halladay trade.
5) There's an increase in negative buzz around the winter meetings, as meeting people in person no longer carries the value it did in this age of cell phones, text messages, etc. But these meetings aren't going anyhwere. Next year's will be in Orlando, and then Dallas in 2011. And the 2012 meetings will likely be in San Diego.
--Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe reports that the MIke Lowell trade isn't quite done yet because Texas is investigating the status of Lowell's right thumb. This is still a good bet to go through, but if it doesn't, it will really foil the Red Sox, who clearly want to go after Adrian Beltre. The notion of the Red Sox blowing off both Bay and Matt Holliday, and stressing defense with signings of Beltre and Mike Cameron, as floated here (scroll down) by Ken Rosenthal, is an interesting one.
--My favorite way to wrap things up: With a self-promotion. I'll be on "Sports Extra," on Fox 5 at 10:30 tonight, with Duke Castilglione.