The Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort, the site of this past week's baseball winter meetings, features a "rotunda lobby" with entry points to various locales: Two elevator banks, a cluster of conference rooms, a group of restaurants and the outside world.
If you're tired enough, as often is the case during this 24/7 event, the layout can appear more perilous to you. As though heading in one direction will lead you to untold riches - and another straight into the lion's den.
Some baseball people surely shared that sentiment, as clubs put their futures on the line with high-risk moves. We'll do a full offseason review in February or March on my Baseball Insider blog, but this past week proved eventful enough to merit its own list of Winners and Losers.
1. Boston. Sure, you can wonder if the Red Sox overpaid Carl Crawford. I do. But the Sawx, after missing the 2010 playoffs, look like a 2011 monster after adding Crawford and, through a trade with San Diego, Adrian Gonzalez.
2. Agents. After a few years of relatively reasonable spending . . . wow, are we in a players' market again. Good grief. Scott Boras proved he's as great a magician as ever by getting the Nationals to bid seven years and $126 million on Jayson Werth and a year and $10 million on Carlos Peña. Brian Peters and Greg Genske milked the Red Sox for seven years and $142 million on Carl Crawford.
3. Pat Gillick. The all-time general manager received the ultimate vindication for his greatness when the Veterans Committee voted him into the Hall of Fame.
1. Angels. Crawford seemed to be the perfect fit, a gift from the baseball gods. But Los Angeles of Anaheim fell well short of Boston's bid, and GM Tony Reagins drew snickers when he insisted that his acquisition of former Met Hisanori Takahashi constituted a "big splash."
2. Marvin Miller. The legendary Players Association leader fell a vote short of Cooperstown induction, then did himself no favors by displaying a lack of grace in the aftermath, failing to congratulate Gillick in a lengthy statement and falsely accusing Sports Illustrated writer (and Newsday alumnus) Tom Verducci of not voting for him.
3. Tampa Bay. The good news is that the Rays still possess an excellent rotation and already have picked up a couple of compensatory draft picks for 2011, with as many as seven more to come. The bad news is that Crawford stayed in the division.
5. Oakland. No one will take the A's money. They really need to resolve their stadium situation. It's sucking the life out of them.
6. The National League. Notice the NL's absence from the "Winners" list? No team from the Senior Circuit has done much to improve itself.