Actually, no exclamation point needed this year.
For the Yankees, the Winter Meetings were the calm after the storm. After a flurry of signings the previous week, the team settled into Orlando for a quiet week spent setting groundwork for whatever comes next. The Yankees didn’t sign anyone, didn’t trade anyone, and didn’t make a significant roster move unless you count losing a minor league reliever in the Rule 5 draft.
The Winter Meetings are usually a source of significant Hot Stove action, but things were relatively quiet for almost every team. It wasn’t only the Yankees who settled in for a pretty dull four days at Disney.
When the team came home, Jacoby Ellsbury was introduced in yet another high-profile press conference. But we already knew Ellsbury was signed, so the introduction was a formality, not enough to stir big news. A pretty quiet week from start to finish.
• This week’s greatest Yankees buzz probably came from Seattle, where Robinson Cano was introduced as the Mariners new second baseman. During the press conference, Cano said he felt the Yankees showed him no respect with their seven-year, $175-million offer. The Yankees front office essentially dismissed the comments as a player disappointed to not be back in pinstripes.
• The non-Yankees signing that had the most impact in the Bronx was probably the Royals deal with Omar Infante. With Cano gone, Infante was easily the best second baseman on the free agent market, but the Yankees passed on giving him four years, which let the Royals swoop in to grab him. The Yankees remain in the market for significant infield help at second and (probably) third.
• Two Yankees relievers signed elsewhere this week, with Boone Logan landing in Colorado and Joba Chamberlain taking a one-year deal with the Tigers. The Yankees have yet to seriously address their bullpen, which is extremely depleted from last season.
• Despite needing a second baseman, the Yankees turned down an offer of Brett Gardner for Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips. Gardner has been a huge part of Yankees trade speculation, but the Yankees have said they intend to keep Gardner and play him in left field alongside Ellsbury.
• The Yankees completed their Chris Stewart trade by acquiring a minor league reliever named Kyle Haynes from the Pirates.
• Curtis Granderson was introduced as the newest Mets outfielder and made a joke about real New Yorkers being Mets fans. It might have been offensive to Yankees fans except… it’s the Mets.
• The Yankees lost five minor leaguers in the Rule 5 draft. The most notable was reliever Tommy Kahnle who was taken in the Major League portion and will have to stick on the Rockies 25-man roster or else be offered back to the Yankees. There were also four lower-level Yankees minor leaguers taken in the minor league portion of the draft. Most notable of those was center fielder Ravel Santana, who was once considered among the team’s best prospects before injuries significantly derailed his development.
• Major League Baseball moved to ban home plate collisions, setting in motion rule changes that could become official next season. If not then, it’s likely the changes will be in effect for 2015.
• Joe Torre was among those elected to the Hall of Fame on Monday. He, Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox will all be inducted this summer. Although Torre had a very good playing career, he was elected to the Hall of Fame strictly as a manager, which means he was elected almost entirely based on his stint with the Yankees.
• The Yankees announced plans for a Nelson Mandela plaque being added to Monument Park. It will commemorate his 1990 speech at the old Yankee Stadium. Pretty cool.
Associated Press photos