The Winter Meetings got into full swing this morning and your intrepid JBT reporter has all the news.
The Ramblers and Jokers pulled the year's first trade, with Jacksonville sending 2B Gene Vaughn and minor-league P Jose Flores to Nashville for AAA starter Cyrus Keller. Vaughn appears to be the centerpiece of the trade, having put up a more-than- respectable .740 OPS season 2 years ago. He'll probably get a good number of AB's as a utility man for the Ramblers. Jacksonville gets a live arm in Keller, but he has trouble with control and misses high in the zone. He may get a shot at making the Jokers' rotation.
Later in the first day of trade activity, Hartford shipped veteran SS Terry Owen to Madison for 2nd-year SS prospect Evan Hamilton. Looks like a good trade for both teams - the Badgers get a good-fielding, good-OBP SS; the Katanas move one of their many arbitration cases and get what looks like a younger version of the departed Owen (although it remains to be seen if his glove can develop to anything like that level).
Also, Music City has just swapped RP Patrick Shaw to Richmond for a potpourri basket of RP prospects. Shaw has had his moments - most notably a 45-save season for (now) Austin in Season 8 - but for the most part hasn't lived up to his 1st-round draft pick (season 1) status. We'll see if the venue change ignites another big season. Of the 3 relief prospects the Ramblers get back, Pedro Rivera is probably the most intriguing. Although he's only good for 1 batter at a time and suffers from control lapses, he's tough to hit and could get some ML innings as a vL specialist.
Nothing that changes the balance of power, but I have a feeling these are just the first of very many to come at these meetings.