ESPN.com's Buster Olney believes the Yankees and Red Sox when they say that they have budget lines that they are not currently willing to cross. When the trade deadline rolls around, however, it will likely be a different story. Olney brings us his take on the teams who are still willing to spend this winter…
- Since Jason Bay continues to sit on their offer, the Mets may soon give up on him and move on to less expensive free agents. Olney suggests that they ignore fans who are focused on big names and instead spend their money on players who can be had for short-term deals, such as Randy Winn and Orlando Hudson. The Mets "seem to have" something in the range of $15MM to $22MM in payroll flexibility.
- The Mets are shopping for a catcher, left fielder, and starting pitcher. Joel Pineiro tops their list of desired starters.
- Olney characterized the A's consideration of Adrian Beltre as "serious."
- As the Cardinals continue to wait on Matt Holliday's answer, Olney wonders out loud if the club might look into signing Bay as a backup plan.
- Rival executives sense that the M's have some money left to spend, but not a great deal. Seattle needs either a first baseman or second baseman plus help for the back end of their rotation.
- Because of the mass of arbitration-eligible players on their roster, the Angels have limited payroll flexibility. This means that they could pursue Pineiro if they chose to, but are unlikely to factor into the bidding for Bay or Holliday.