I guess the Winter Meetings were just the opening act to the 2009 off-season. The Orioles and Rays were the only teams not directly involved in the happenings today but the moves and potential moves of the Yankees, Red Sox, and Blue Jays indirectly affect the Rays for 2010.
The Blue Jays have reportedly traded Roy Halladay to the Phillies for prospects coming from both Philadelphia and Halladay will sign a three-year extension for $60m. This move helps the Rays on two fronts – no more facing Halladay and he stays out of Boston or New York until the end of the 2013 season. My biggest fear was that Toronto was going to send him to one of those two markets and we would be stuck facing him for the next 5-6 years. Yes, the Rays have somehow been able to hit Halladay with a decent amount of success in the last two seasons, but he is still arguably one of the best pitchers in the league and him being out of the league is a good thing. The Jays are rumored to getting names such as Kyle Drabek, Phillippe Aumont, Michael Taylor, Dominic Brown, Brandon Morrow, or Travis D’Arnaud. There is even a late report out now that Aumont may be going to Philadelphia in the deal. The Jays obviously save money moving Halladay’s $15.75m off the payroll for 2010 but leave a tremendous hole in their rotation. The Jays are clearly not contenders and should not even go through the foolish exercise of trying to convince their fanbase otherwise but Halladay is the only pitcher in that rotation that has not spent time on the disabled list in recent years and their farm system is rather thin. I would expect them to take some of that saved money and go trolling for some bargain basement inning-eaters and that is good news for the Rays bats.
The Yankees did not make a move today but did officially cut ties with Hideki Matsui as he signed a new one year deal with the Angels today. That gives the Angels a nice DH and also signals the end of Vladimir Guerrero with the club. Matsui’s left-handed power was already replaced when the club added Granderson but Matsui did hit .319/.392/.524 against the Rays in his career so seeing him only 2-3 times a season rather than 6-7 times will be nice.
The Red Sox had the biggest news of the day before the Phillies one-upped them with the Halladay news. The Red Sox are apparently going the pitching and defense route in 2010 and they have decided to let Jason Bay walk and have instead given John Lackey $85m over 5 seasons and have apparently given Mike Cameron $15.5m over the next two seasons. The club has also been rumored to be looking at Adrian Beltre for third base; such a move would give the Red Sox a much improved defensive team while adding one of the true workhorses in baseball to their staff. I like the team adding Lackey and Cameron alone but if they add Beltre or get something done with the Padres to acquire Adrian Gonzalez, the Rays would really have their work cut out for them in 2010 as that kind of team would make the Red Sox clear favorites for at worst, the AL Wildcard.