In the days leading up to this year’s Winter Meetings in Nashville, all we heard about was how this off season would be the perfect storm for an unprecedented number of trades to occur. With a relatively light free agent class of players available teams would be forced to the trade table to make any deals they needed to make their ballclub better. Local post offices would be overrun with players standing in line to get change of address forms. Rumors were flying more wildly than a Mitch Williams fastball. The Arizona Diamondbacks figured prominently in many of these rumors in their quest to find another starting pitcher. The problem was that baseball’s General Managers all appear to be proponents of gun control laws as none of them have been willing to pull the trigger on any deal.
Some of this inaction is to be expected as the market will try to adjust itself once the major players fall into place. From a starting pitching perspective the only major player is Minnesota Twins star Johan Santana. Until the Twins decide to either trade Santana or keep him for the 2008 season no one else is really willing to deal. The Diamondbacks have their sights set on Dan Haren from Oakland but the Athletics would prefer to wait until after Santana is traded since the competition for Haren would increase to include those teams who are currently trying to get Santana. If Oakland jumps too soon they may short themselves which is something General Manager Billy Beane has never been accused of doing. So Josh Byrnes and the other Diamondbacks front office personnel find themselves talking to a lot of teams and not making much headway. This has to be a frustrating situation. You have a list of players you are willing to give up and a list of players you would like to acquire and yet you can’t seem to get anyone willing to talk about a serious deal. Hopefully these discussions this week will lead to something more as the off-season progresses. It is not that the Diamondbacks are not trying to make the team better, it is just that it is taking longer than they or the fans hoped it would. I’m sure Josh Byrnes would like nothing better than to have his team finalized before taking a well deserved holiday break to spend time with family and friends. Hopefully he has been a good boy and Santa will bring him a right-hander capable of eating up 200 innings a year while posting a 17-9 record with a 3.46 ERA or better. Unfortunately those seem to be more in demand than a Nintendo Wii.