NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As baseball’s new Mr. Moneybags, Ned Colletti gets mentioned when almost any free agent is discussed this offseason.
“There’s a perception that we’re in on a couple dozen starting pitchers, three dozen outfielders and infielders, 17, 18 catchers,” the Los Angeles Dodgers general manager said.
“People like to have us in. I guess it doesn’t hurt to have us in, even though we’re not in. We may have to hire somebody next year just to tell everybody who we’re not in on,” he said.
As teams headed home from the winter meetings 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 star Michael Young and the 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.
The annual meeting wasn’t much of a swap session. A deal on Thursday that sent Minnesota outfielder Ben Revere to Philadelphia for right-handers Vance Worley and Trevor May was just the fourth trade over the four days.
Wanting to get under the $189 million luxury tax threshold in 2014, the Yankees are being cautious. Still, general manager Brian 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 Alex Rodriguez recovers from hip surgery that could sideline him until the All-Star break. The Phillies were trying to obtain Young, the infielder who has been with the Rangers for his entire 13-season career. 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.”