Looking at a few transactions before the meetings officially began:
Red Sox traded RHP Casey Kelly, 1B Anthony Rizzo, OF Reymond Fuentes to the San Diego Padres for 1B Adrian Gonzalez. The deal became finalized when Gonzalez agreed to an extension of seven years at $154M. According to reports the contract is not set to kick in until the 2012 season.
Nationals signed Jayson Werth for seven years at $126M. Obviously the Nationals were forced to overpay for Werth's services and the timing was also a shock since it
Cardinals sign 34 year old Lance Berkman for one season at $8M. As it stands, Berkman will be patrolling LF and there will be questions as to how he will hold up defensively since he hasn't played the OF with any regularity since 2004. I still think there may be more to this acquisition and it may not fully manifest itself until after the meetings have concluded.
The Yankees tie up two major responsibilities by signing both Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera.
Other transactions that occurred as the meetings began:
RHP Aaron Harang and the Padres agreed to a one-year contract with a mutual option in 2012. Looking at Harang's abilities he should find himself improving in the pitcher-friendly confines of Petco Park and at $4M next season, this could be a steal.
The Blue Jays traded RHP Shaun Marcum to the Brewers for 2B prospect Brett Lawrie. Looking at his Double-A stats, Lawrie has above average power for a middle infielder. He will be set to start 2011 in the PCL and he could see his power numbers take another step forward but the Jays will be watching how other parts of his game develop including his plate discipline and defense. On the Brewers side, Marcum should be a good addition to their rotation since pitching depth is a major necessity and his move to the NL Central should bump up his value considerably. Marcum does have two more years left before he is eligible for free agency and will be heading for arbitration if a deal isn't reached for next season.
The Dbacks were active yesterday as they traded 3B Mark Reynolds to the Orioles for a couple of bullpen arms in Kam Mickolio and David Hernandez. Both Mickolio and Hernandez pitch from the right side and are major upgrades to a team that had major bullpen issues in 2010. In my SB Nation post, I did recommend Mickolio as a possible option the Dbacks should look into but I do feel the Dbacks did limit themselves in prematurely announcing their desire to trade Reynolds since I strongly feel the Dbacks sold low in this deal. Obviously Reynolds has his issues with strikeouts but his age and reasonable contract combined with someone with above average power and adequate defense could make the O's the winner in this deal. Last season Reynolds was crippled by a .193 batting average but his low BABIP does point to a probable bounce back up to his expected range around .250.
Later on the Dbacks announced they had come to an agreement with free agents Melvin Mora and J.J. Putz. Mora will be 39 next season and looks like a minor stop-gap since the deal was for only one season at $2M. Mora doesn't have the power he once had but he will do his part to reduce the team's strikeouts but he was below average with the glove and I don't see any reason why this should reverse itself. Putz is coming off his best season since 2007 and seems to be past the elbow issues that plauged him in '08 and '09. The Dbacks signed him for two years at $10M with the intention that he will be the closer.