The Yankees hadn't even had their parade before some of baseball's teams began wheeling and dealing. We have already mentioned the Rays and their dumping of Akinori Iwamura for a prospect in order to save cash, but there were a lot more notable names on the move with Iwamura.
The first was Jeremy Hermida who was dealt to Boston for prospects Hunter Jones and Jose Alvarez. The Sox didn't really give up anything that they would feel. Jones and Alvarez are not top of the line prospects. The reality is Hermida is no longer an up and coming star. He still has time to be a solid player, but he is a long way away from the potential he showed in his first major league at bat when he jacked a grand slam off of Al Reyes.
After a solid 2007 season when he had an OPS of .870, he began a steady decline. Last season he hit .259 but the real decline was shown in his slugging percentage which dipped under .400 to .392.
I'm not sure what the Sox plan on using Hermida for. My initial thoughts drifted to the Sox walking away from Jason Bay and replacing him with the younger and cheaper Hermida. Then I realized that Theo Epstein is not that dumb. At this point Hermida might be best used as a fourth outfielder who could easily step in for J.D. Drew when he misses his standard 25 games per season or simply as a bargaining chip with any potential outfield free agents.
The other big move to take place was a deal between two small market teams exchanging underachieving players. The Brewers gave up on J.J. Hardy and sent him to the Twins for Carlos Gomez.
I would say that the Brewers got fleeced because Gomez is nothing more than a glorified Joey Gathright: All speed and no bat. The reality is the Brewers had to move Hardy while they could still get something for him since Alcides Escobar was easily going to take the job from Hardy who had an off 2009. Hardy will be big for the Twins and if he can return to his 2007-2008 form then that Twins lineup will be solid.
If Hardy is successful in Minnesota then Twins GM Bill Smith will look a little better for his dealing of Johan Santana in 2008. Even with Santana's resent surgery, Smith looked like all he got for the talented lefty was a bag of peanuts. Hardy could change all of that.
So far the hot stove is looking like it wont disappoint. With limited talent in the free agent class we could see a lot more deals going down and that's always a good way to keep baseball at the forefront throughout the off season.