*Most bizarre sight from Day 1 of the Meetings. After GM Alex Anthopoulos said he wanted to stay low-key in terms of letting other media know what he was doing because of the Roy Halladay heat that was out there, he arranged for a press briefing with T-O media on the 10th floor. I had to laugh when stepping out of the elevator the first thing I saw was club P.R. men Jay Stenhouse and Mal Romanin wrestling with a giant Blue Jays' -Rogers backdrop, trying to set it up in the hallway for TSN and SportsNet, bumping into hotel chandeliers and walls. Mum's the word, boys.
*A nice anecdote from Double-A came out when he was asked whether he thought he had the respect of other GMs or whether he believed they were trying to take advantage of the rook.
“At the GM meetings (in Chicago), one
of the highlights, I got to sit around the table with Dave
Dombrowski (Tigers), Kenny Williams (White Sox), Walt Jocketty (Reds), Doug Melvin (Brewers), Andy
MacPhail (O's), maybe Jim Hendry (Cubs) was at that table too. Those are veteran
guys that have done a lot of good things in this game. They were
outstanding with me. I think they all understand. There's a respect
level. When you get to a level, they know that you put in your time."
*Maybe it was an innocent memory lapse, but when Terry Francona was in the press room for his half-hour stint with the media he was asked about the condition of all of his starting pitchers. He went down the list with Dice-K, Wakefield, Beckett and Lester. Then he stumbled and said, "Who am I forgetting?" It was of course Clay Buchholz who is heavily rumoured in any Roy Halladay deal.
As for Doc, Francona was asked specifically about interest in the Jays' coveted ace. He refused to comment repeating over and over in reverential tones, "He's very, very good. He's very, very good."
The Red Sox are still very interested in re-signing Jason Bay to play left field, but Francona is staying out of the recruiting picture. "He knows how I feel about him. The last time I spoke to him was when I played him in Fantasy Football." Who won that week? "It wasn't me," he said.
*As for Cubs' manager Lou Piniella, when it was his turn in the room. He listed the needs for his team in 2010: a bat, experience in the bullpen, a centre fielder...whoa. How about Vernon Wells? As for starting pitching, Piniella said the Cubs have seven starters competing for five jobs but he named Ted Lilly in that group. Lilly had left shoulder problems and will not be available at the start of the season.
*The Yankees began their new, money-saving ways by trading reliever Brian Bruney to the Nationals for a player to be named later. Bruney was earning $1.5 million and was eligible for arbitration. That savings will pay for two weeks of A.J. Burnett next summer.
*Spoke to former Expos' manager Felipe Alou in the lobby. It turns out that my favourite player I ever dealt with as a P.R. man in Montreal, the recently retired Moises Alou is now a general manager in the Dominican Winter League and has his team in first place. He also owns a stable of race horses.