The dominoes continue to fall around Major League Baseball. Robinson Cano is a Mariner. Carlos Beltran is a Yankee. Mike Napoli's going back to Boston, Curtis Granderson is a Met, Scott Feldman's an Astro and Ryan Webb is headed to Baltimore.
Webb was the only one in that list that was a true fit for the Phillies. I would have liked Granderson at four years, $60 million if the Phillies could have moved a left-handed bat, but instead they'll face him 19 times a year for the next several seasons.
It's been an insane, unprecedented week. Twelve of the top-21 free agents, as ranked by MLB Trade Rumors, have already signed. The top names left are Shin-Soo Choo, Masahiro Tanaka, Ervin Santana, Matt Garza and Ubaldo Jimenez.
That's good news for the Phillies, because their biggest need at the moment is starting pitching and four of those five are SPs. As these other teams continue to spend money and fill holes, the chances increase that one may fall to the Phils.
Really though, would you take any of those starters on a four- or five-year deal? Santana and Jimenez would cost the Phillies a second-round draft pick. Garza would not. Tanaka may be the best of the bunch, but it's hard to envision the Phillies signing two international free-agent starting pitchers in the span of six months.
It's my guess that Garza, Jimenez and Santana will all end up signing four-year deals with fifth-year options. Yes, starting pitcher AAVs are increasing rapidly, but we're seeing that mostly on short-term deals.
Ricky Nolasco got $50 million over four years. The above trio should then find at least $68 million over the same length.
In any event, the Winter Meetings will be fascinating. We may see a Jonathan Papelbon trade go down, if the Phils are willing to either pick up enough money or accept a lesser prospect. (A Papelbon deal only truly makes sense for the Phils if they get something valuable in return. If not, why even do it? It would leave the bullpen extremely vulnerable and render all of these previous short-term moves -- Byrd, Ruiz, the re-signing of Utley -- moot.)
The Rule 5 draft should also be interesting, as the Phils were awarded the Cubs' pick to resolve a dispute over former Rule 5 pick Lendy Castillo, who didn't remain on Chicago's active roster for the required number of days.
That means the Phillies now have the fourth pick in the Rule 5 draft, which will be held next Thursday.