Thus begins the Indy 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway every Memorial Day weekend, and it's an apt phrase for this morning as the Winter Meetings begin in Indianapolis. I'm sure there will be a flood of tweets and blog updates and exclusive scoops and the like stemming from Indy these next four days. Unlike what we've heard for the last month though, I'm more inclined to believe that this week's rumors will have some merit to them.
Still, with the constantly evolving landscape of MLB economics, we may not see as much as we'd hope this week. Matt Holliday, Jason Bay, and John Lackey will set the overall market as the top free agents and there aren't any indications that any of them are close to signing. With the Rule 5 Draft occurring Thursday and the non-tender deadline Saturday, teams may wait another week until the entire landscape is known.
As for the Yankees, their hands are somewhat tied at present. They currently have 39 players on their 40 man roster, meaning they only have room to sign one Major League free agent. It looks increasingly less likely that the spot will be filled by Mike Cameron, who reportedly is close to signing with the Cubs. That deal however apparently is contingent upon the Cubs moving Milton Bradley, and the rumored trade with Tampa may not be as close to completion as had been thought. It's also unlikely that the spot will be filled by Cuban pitcher Noel Arguelles, as he is reportedly close signing with the Royals.
Based on the news coming out of last week's organizational meetings, that spot could have gone to Andy Pettitte, who was deemed the top off-season priority. However, according to Joel Sherman this morning, Pettitte has rejected the Yankees initial offer of one year, $10M guaranteed. Though it's likely just part of the negotiating process it's a bit concerning. The club is willing to guarantee Pettitte's salary from last year without any incentive clauses; he isn't worth much more than what he's already been offered.
The Yankees could make room on the 40 man via trade, as they did with last year's Nick Swisher deal. A trade for Roy Halladay would likely make room on the 40 man, but I doubt he'll be dealt to anyone this week. The Yankees could make a package deal this week with spare parts, otherwise they'll have to wait to non-tender to open additional room.
So, as the clubs start their engines, we should buckle our seat belts in preparation for the ride.