This has been the winter of the overpay, not to be confused with Overbay, the new Pirates first baseman who was himself overpaid. These monster deals for very good players and pretty big deals for OK players really shouldn't have shocked anyone. Beyond this being the golden age of baseball, the laws of supply and demand worked in favor of the players. There were relievers aplenty, and designated hitters galore, but beyond that, talent was in scarce supply. Here are the overpays and underpays of the winter:
• The annual Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation dinner is to be held Saturday night at the Century City Hyatt in Los Angeles. The event, one of the best around, is sold out, and features an spectacular memorabilia auction and a dinner that will honor Tom Seaver, Brooks Robinson, Robin Yount, Bobby Valentine, Jim Fregosi and the Lachemanns. Bud Selig will speak, and the co-masters of ceremony will be Larry King and Bob Uecker and further entertainment will be provided by actor and comedian Jon Lovitz. The scouts dinner, held to benefit baseball scouts in need, is run by Dennis Gilbert, the former superagent who is now a White Sox executive and one of the prime candidates to purchase the Dodgers should Frank McCourt sell the team.
• The Angels continue to strike out. They started at $60 million for Beltre, which was below the A's early, well-publicized $64-million bid, but eventually got to $75 million -- still $21 million below what the AL West-rival Rangers signed Beltre for.
• The Rays are looking or a DH and seem to like Vladimir Guerrero best, followed by Manny Ramirez.
• Carl Pavano's Twins deal is taking longer than expected. It appears that some other team may be making a run. But executives still see the Twins as the favorite. He's their ace,and they need him, especially with Orlando Hudson, Matt Guerrier and Jesse Crain already defecting, and Jon Rauch likely to go.
• Rauch is being considered by the Jays and Rays, among others.
• The Jays also are talking to Brian Fuentes.
• The Yankees want a righthanded-hitting outfielder. They would like Andruw Jones but are still apart on money. They also like Marcus Thames (though his defense was a concern last year) and Johnny Damon, who hits lefties well for a lefthander. Damon has expressed particular interest in playing in the AL East, and the Rays are another possibility.