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Gonzalez Traded, Werth Signs

Why even bother with the winter meetings? The two biggest deals of the off-season (to date) just happened a day before the meetings begin. Instead of splitting them up, or picking just one, reactions to both follow:

The Gonzalez trade is huge. Adrian is one of the premier players in the entire game right now. Fenway Park actually plays a little big for left-handed sluggers, but it will feel small to Gonzalez compared to Petco Park. Plus, Adrian hits to all fields, so he will befriend the green monster.

This trade probably also signals that Adrian Beltre will be playing elsewhere next year. The assumption is that Gonzalez will take over at first for Boston, with Kevin Youkilis shifting back over to third. Sadly, I would bet that Beltre will join the Angels. That would/will be painful to see.

From San Diego's perspective, I am not sure I would have done the deal. I'm not in love with the prospects they got in return.

I don't see start potential in Casey Kelley. Granted, I haven't seen him in person, but nothing about his production in the minor leagues thus far suggests stardom. If he was the phenom that many paint him to be, he would be striking out more batters.

Anthony Rizzo does not strike as much more than a solid first baseman. His average dipped this past year, while his power numbers increased, so it appears that he concentrated on lofting the ball more. Best case, he strikes me as another Lyle Overbay.

The player that intrigues the most in the deal is Reymond Fuentes. He is quite raw, but has impressive speed, and a raw but promising bat. Reymond has limited plate discipline, but does more than slap at the ball, as evidenced by his five home runs as an 18-year-old using a wood bat.

I can't help but wonder if these were some of Jed Hoyer's favorite players from his days in the Red Sox front office. It isn't a terrible haul, but there is nobody in the deal that would have made me cringe a little if I was in Theo Epstein's shoes. There should have been, given that someone like Adrian Gonzalez was involved.

Maybe the player to be named later is the deal-maker, but I doubt it. On to the next big move of the day:

I don't know what is more surprising, that the Nationals signed one of the jewels of this free agent class, or that Werth got such a huge deal from anyone. He will be 38 years old when it expires, which is simply too old for the vast majority of MLB players. Expecting Werth to beat the odds is not a smart move.

Plus, there is the unavoidable switch from Citizens Bank Park to Nationals Park. Thanks to a pretty cool site, here are Jayson Werth's homers in Citizens Bank Park in 2010 superimposed onto the dimensions of his new home:

A staggering 11 (!) of Werth's 19 home runs at home last year would not have been home runs at Nationals Park. That would have dropped his season home run total from 27 to 19. Do you think the Nationals would have paid 7 years and $126 million for a guy that hits around 20 home runs?

Even if the Nats still would have, Werth's BABIP last year was .352, which is noticeably above his career average of .333. He probably got a little lucky with some of his hits.

Sure, Jayson batted almost .300 with almost 30 home runs last year, but really he probably should have been about a .275 hitter (right around his career average, by the way), with around 20 home runs if he played at Nationals Park. And at 31 years old, Werth is only likely to get worse.

Way to go, Nationals. If they had that kind of money lying around, why didn't they go after Carl Crawford? It won't take long for the Werth deal to be considered one of the worst in baseball.

Who knows what kind of rumors and lunacy we are in store for once the winter meetings start! The Gonzalez and Werth deals are probably as juicy as it gets, but the only way to know for sure is to wait and see what unfolds.

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