LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLA. (AP) - Adrian Gonzalez, Mark Reynolds and Shaun Marcum switched leagues Monday as teams started trading at baseball’s winter meetings. Cliff Lee’s agent showed up, too, but said no telling when his prize pitcher might sign.
To Pat Gillick, this was truly the biggest deal of the day, and of his career: The 73-year-old executive whose moves helped build three World Series champions was elected to the Hall of Fame.
Often, it takes a few days at this annual gathering for any real action. This time, it was brisk from the get-go.
“Now that everybody is here in the same facility, the atmosphere is ripe to push through some things,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said.
The Boston Red Sox completed their trade for Gonzalez, getting the All-Star first baseman from San Diego for minor league pitcher Casey Kelly, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, outfielder Reymond Fuentes and a player to be named.
Baltimore added a big bat _ and a bunch of strikeouts _ by acquiring Reynolds from Arizona for right-handed relievers David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio.
“A lot of agents are claiming that their players are going to sign this week. Some will and some won’t,” Mets GM Sandy Alderson said. “There could be a run on starting pitching this week.”
Whether Lee is among the pitchers who make that decision remains uncertain. Agent Darek Braunecker met with Cashman _ the Yankees hope to lure the ace lefty, while Texas is trying to re-sign him. Other teams are interested, but their pursuits aren’t nearly so public.
“There’s always clubs that kind of lay in the weeds,” Braunecker said. “To me, you’re talking about the best player on the market. There’s still, certainly, a need for starting pitching that stems beyond the clubs that have been mentioned so far.”
At an interview session, Texas manager Ron Washington was asked to name his five starters for 2011. “Cliff Lee,” he said, laughing.
A day after Washington gave free agent outfielder Jayson Werth a whopping $126 million, seven-year deal, several teams took the trade route.
“I’m very excited to be in Boston and ready to beat the Yanks,” Gonzalez said at Fenway Park.
San Diego general manager Jed Hoyer, who previously worked for the Red Sox under GM Theo Epstein, said the Padres were sure they wouldn’t have been able to sign Gonzalez after 2011. So, they decided to make a deal now, rather than risk waiting until next summer.