Winter Meetings plans for 10 teams that will be busy in Dallas
Thirty teams are headed to Dallas for the Winter Meetings this weekend, and just exactly that many have work to do, from the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals, who have two holes on the infield, all the way down to the start-from-scratch Houston Astros, whose first order of business is to rebuild its front office. Everyone predicts a wild Winter Meetings, and here's what a select 10 teams are trying to do:
• New Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine did a terrific job at his Red Sox press conference, and so did GM Ben Cherington. Valentine needed a push from club president Larry Lucchino, of course, but they got the right man. Cherington may not have realized it at first, but they actually make a great team, Cherington the serious, young GM and Valentine the experienced, passionate manager. The way it played out, it was clear Valentine fell in love with the idea of the job with the storied New England team (he's from Stamford, Conn.) so it's no surprise he only got a two-year guaranteed deal. That is becoming routine, anyway, in managerial hirings, as most people are excited to get one of the 30 coveted jobs.
• The Twins are working on trying to bring back the beloved Michael Cuddyer.
• There appears to be some progress toward a multiyear deal for Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips.
• Good job by new Orioles GM Dan Duquette to hire Lee Thomas, the former Phillies GM.
• Orioles manager Buck Showalter recently went to dinner with Brian Roberts, who was plagued by concussion issues for all of 2011 and said Roberts is "in a good frame of mind.''
• The Astros are shopping starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez and outfielder Carlos Lee.
• The Giants, Cardinals and Brewers are in the hunt for slick-fielding shortstop Alex Gonzalez.
• The Royals are off to a new start, acquiring Jonathan Sanchez in a trade with the Giants and signing Bruce Chen and Jonathan Broxton. Broxton will set up for closer Joakim Soria but gives the Royals a trade option at mid-year.
• The Angels are going for Aramis Ramirez. The Brewers also have taken a look.
• Buzzie Bavasi, the general manager for four World Series winners with the Dodgers, two division winners with the Angels and a founding partner with the Padres, deserves to be a slam dunk Hall of Famer when the Veteran Committee convenes later this month.