NASHVILLE, TENN. (AP) - A quiet winter meetings figures to lead to a busy rest of December, given how few moves actually got finished at sprawling Opryland hotel.
As teams headed home Thursday, the biggest free agents were still on the market. The availability of slugger Josh Hamilton and pitcher Zack Greinke held up decisions on other signings and possible trades involving Rangers infielder Michael Young and Mets Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey.
The Yankees, quiet thus far, were pursuing former Boston star Kevin Youkilis and also met with the agent for Mark Reynolds.
With most clubs already packed up, Philadelphia acquired outfielder Ben Revere from Minnesota for right-handers Vance Worley and Trevor May.
Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said that after taking in information from other clubs and agents, it was time to return home and “cool your jets.”
“There can be a domino effect,” he said. “I think when clubs are focusing on a certain position, a certain need, there’s options out there. And once one option goes away, then that changes the landscape of what a club would want to do. Everybody’s got their ducks lined up in a row, and it’s just a matter of how things fall. And there’s timing involved.”
The annual meeting wasn’t much of a swap session. The Phillies-Twins deal was just the fourth trade over the four days.
Atlanta announced a one-year deal with outfielder Reed Johnson on Thursday, and Texas said reliever Koji Uehara had reached an agreement with Boston. Minnesota agreed with reliever Jared Burton on a $5.5 million, two-year contract that includes a club option for 2015, and third baseman Ian Stewart said he is re-signing with the Chicago Cubs, confirming the move on Twitter.
But the 25-foot wide dais with a podium backed by MLB logos was used just three times: Yankees general manager Brian Cashman discussed Alex Rodriguez’s hip injury; Major League Baseball announced an auction benefiting Stand Up to Cancer; and the Mets talked about David Wright’s $138 million, eight-year contract, which had been agreed to last week.
The Yankees have been quiet, watching as catcher Russell Martin agreed with Pittsburgh last week and backup third baseman Eric Chavez went to Arizona during the meetings. Wanting to get under the $189 million luxury tax threshold in 2014, the Yankees are being cautious. Still, Cashman maintained it hasn’t been a rough week for him.
“Because I don’t read the papers as much as I used to,” he said. “This year’s marketplace, it might be strong in terms of the dollars being thrown around, but I don’t think it’s a strong market in terms of the available talent.”
As the meetings ended, Cashman had made a $12 million offer to Youkilis, who would play third base while A-Rod recovers. The Phillies were trying to obtain Young, the infielder who has been with the Rangers for his entire 13-season career and would have to approve a trade. Arizona was listening to offers for outfielder Justin Upton.
“It seems like when people leave the winter meetings, there’s a bit of a quiet period,” Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said. “People kind of get out of the frenzy, maybe take a step back and realize that maybe something they were talking about isn’t such a good idea. Sometimes things get close and never end up happening.”
For all the talk, the Dodgers have made only one big move since the end of the season, re-signing closer Brandon League. But they’ve been quite busy over 2012. After they were bought in May for $2 billion by a group headed by Mark Walter and Stan Kasten, Los Angeles added stars Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett. The Dodgers face a Sunday deadline to reach a deal with South Korean pitcher Ryu Hyun-Jin, whose rights they gained for a $25.7 million bid.