We're halfway home at the Winter Meetings, and the activity is starting to pick up ...
- The Red Sox have been busy at the meetings, locking down Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli to three-year, $39 million deals. Although the organization saved a huge chunk of cash this past season, after dealing Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett to the Dodgers, they've set about spending that free cash as quickly as possible. I'm not sure how wisely they've done that, but I guess we'll see how next year plays out.
- The top free agent on the market, pitcher Zack Greinke, remains unsigned, and it looks like it's a two-horse battle for his services, between the Texas Rangers and the bottomless pocket of money in Los Angeles. The contract could exceed $160 million at this point, which is a serious commitment to a non-ace simply because he's the best on the market this year. But, hey, that's the price of poker these days.
- One of the other big moves yesterday was the Nationals signing Dan Haren to a one-year, $13 million deal (pending a physical). The almost-Cub apparently convinced the Nationals that his hip and back are not a concern, and, if he is in fact healthy, that Nationals rotation remains unbelievable.
- The Marlins have already unloaded shortstop Yunel Escobar, who they last night sent to the Rays for infield prospect Derek Dietrich. Apparently Escobar had soured on the idea of playing third base for the Marlins, and the Fish didn't want to take the chance of having a disgruntled Escobar on the roster who refused to play third base.
- With the Escobar trade, the Marlins' payroll now projects to be just about $30 million in 2013 ... or two million more than the Yankees will be paying Alex Rodriguez.
- Speaking of Alex Rodriguez, the aging Yankees' third baseman is going to undergo hip surgery next month for what is apparently a pretty serious hip issue that's been bothering him way back into the playoffs. Remember when he was struggling badly and was ultimately benched amidst a media circus? Well, it seems that was partially because of the bum hip. But nobody wanted to share that information at the time, I guess. Or nobody knew, as the Yankees claim. Whatever the truth, Rodriguez will miss a substantial portion of the 2013 season - perhaps the first three months - and then he will be a nearly 38-year-old coming off of hip surgery.
- One of the ongoing sagas of the week is whether the Mets will be able to finalize an extension with Cy Young winning R.A. Dickey, or if they'll have to trade him in his walk year (in which he'll make just $5 million). At last check, the Mets were understandably receiving a great deal of interest in Dickey, but hadn't yet decided how to proceed.
- MLB Daily Dish has a rundown of the Winter Meetings activities for each of the divisions - here is, for example, the NL Central.