The Yankees signed Aaron Small to a one-year, $1.2 million contract yesterday. In doing so they avoid an arbitration hearing and fell just shy of meeting Small half way. That’s what amounts to big news out of the Bronx these days. Things have been dead quiet since the team signed Miguel Cairo back on January 5.
That’s in stark contrast to what’s happening 200 miles Northeast in Beantown. The eight-player, three-team deal that was to bring Coco Crisp to Boston has hit the skids after Guillermo Mota failed Cleveland’s physical (this despite passing Boston’s physical when the Sox acquired him from Florida in the Josh Beckett trade back around Thanksgiving).
Meanwhile, the man who will be responsible for sorting all of this out will be none other than Theo Epstein. Less than three months after leaving his post as General Manager, Epstein has not only returned to the team, but reclaimed his position as GM, putting the lie to fact that Jed Hoyer and Ben Cherington would share the job (Hoyer has been bumped down to assistant GM and Cherington has been made VP of player personnel).
It all makes one wonder exactly how involved Epstein really was during his 84-day exile. Here’s what the Sox have done in Theo’s “absence”:
- Re-signed Mike Timlin for 2006
- Released Gabe Kapler
- Filled out the 40-man roster with minor leaguers
- Traded for Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell and Guillermo Mota, sending top infield prospect Hanley Ramirez and three pitching prospects to Florida
- Picked up reliever Jermaine Van Buren from the Cubs for a PTBNL
- Swapped Doug Mirabelli for Mark Loretta
- Dumped Edgar Renteria on the Braves for top prospect Andy Marte
- Clamed reliever Jamie Vermilyea in the Rule 5 draft
- Non-tendered Wade Miller and Chad Bradford
- Signed John Flaherty, J.T. Snow and reliever Rudy Seanez to one-year deals
- Signed Mota for 2006
- Signed Tony Gaffanino, who had unexpectedly accepted the Sox arbitration offer, to a one-year deal
- Signed Julian Tavarez to a two-year deal with an option for 2008
- Re-upped Bronson Arroyo for three years
- DFAed Tim Bausher
- Signed Willie Harris to a mL deal and invited him to spring training
That doesn’t include the still undetermined Coco Crisp deal.
While it’s very tempting to dust that list for Theo’s fingerprints, one tends to wonder if the “boy genius” would have left his club with Alex Cora at shortstop and a battle between Adam Stern and Willie Harris in center just 23 days before Pitchers and Catchers.
By the way, the last six items on the above list occured between the Cairo and Small contracts. Myself, I don’t mind the silence.