A pair of rivals appear to be waiting for the Phillies' window to close by letting youth prevail instead of making big free agent splashes.
News just broke that Washington did not submit a posting bid for Yu Darvish, according to multiple sources for the Washington Post. Additionally, the club is not actively pursuing top free agent Prince Fielder and will give Adam La Roche another shot at first base, according to the team Web site. Still, some executives expect Fielder, a Scott Boras client like Jayson Werth, to hear from the Nats at some point, according to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports. The club's lone free agent move has been to re-sign Chien-Ming Wang, one of eight players from last season's club who were allowed to hit the open market, Laynce Nix included.
Meanwhile, the Braves' biggest move was to dump Derek Lowe to the Indians in early fall. Their only other hot stove buzz has surrounded the availability of Martin Prado and Jair Jurrjens. During the winter meetings, it was reported that scouts and executives from around the league believed at least one of them would be moved. But if they stay, Atlanta's depth chart will largely stay the same as last year, with prospect shortstop Tyler Pastornicky representing the only notable change. Braves officials think he's ready.
The Mets have been relatively quiet as well. They acquired outfielder Andres Torres and reliever Ramon Ramirez for outfielder Angel Pagan, then quickly added relievers Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch to round out a completely revamped bullpen.
The silence from Atlanta and Washington could signal a lack of resources, or a number of strategies: confidence in the young core, skepticism about the Phillies' depleted offense or waiting for next season's trade deadline or 2013 to go all-in, a point where the Phils will be at the crossroads with several core players (Shane Victorino, Cole Hamels).
Winter league updates: Shortstop Freddy Galvis finished strong by going 2-for-5 in his scheduled Venezuelan Winter League finale. He finished hitting .235/.308/.322 in 167 plate appearances. … Outfielder Derrick Mitchell has joined Margarita of the VWL and knocked in a run yesterday. He's 2-for-8 with a walk. … Lefty Raul Valdes, who signed a minor league deal with the Phils in November, was torched for six runs in 4 2-3 innings in Thursday's Dominican Winter League start. He has a 4.71 ERA in nine starts.
Pence for MVP? Finally, here's an interesting take on Hunter Pence's odds of winning next year's MVP. Two big takeaways: Albert Pujols' trade, Ryan Braun's suspension and Prince Fielder's status lightens the National League field; second, Pence, sadly, has to be considered the Phillies' best positional bet to win it. Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee have much higher chances ...