Free-agent outfielder Hideki Matsui, left, is expected to finalize a one-year,… (David J. Phillip / Associated…)
The New York Yankees added Curtis Granderson to their already-loaded lineup and re-signed Andy Pettitte. The Boston Red Sox are on the verge of signing John Lackey. The Philadelphia Phillies are about to land Roy Halladay and the Seattle Mariners are getting Cliff Lee.
The Dodgers and Angels?
Well, put it this way: Both teams made moves Tuesday, but it's unlikely that either one will dramatically increase their season-ticket base.
The Dodgers granted fourth outfielder Juan Pierre the trade he first requested last winter, sending him to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for $8 million in salary relief over the next two seasons and two minor league pitchers to be named. The Angels moved a step closer to signing Hideki Matsui, who underwent a physical Tuesday that is expected to finalize a one-year, $6.5-million contract.
So what does this mean?
In the Dodgers' case, that remains uncertain.
The Dodgers, who have not been to the World Series since 1988, won the National League West two years in a row, yet each time failed to get past the Phillies for the NL title. With Halladay, the Phillies will have one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball.
As for Pierre, while the White Sox are assuming $3 million of his salary in 2010 and $5 million in 2011, General Manager Ned Colletti said the trade wasn't a straight salary dump.
The Dodgers, who will pay the remaining $10.5 million of Pierre's contract, will use the money saved to acquire new players, Colletti said. Namely, a starting pitcher, second baseman and some reserves.
"This frees us up," he said.
The Dodgers have remained in contact with the agent for pitcher Vicente Padilla, who pitched a gem in the NL division series. Colletti said the club also will look at players who weren't tendered contracts by their teams Saturday, meaning the Dodgers could be in the market for pitcher Chien-Ming Wang or utility man Alfredo Amezaga.
So far, the Dodgers have signed reliever Justin Miller to a minor league contract that would pay him $850,000 if he makes the major league roster. And at last week's winter meetings, they sent a combined $120,000 to the New York Mets and Tampa Bay Rays for Rule 5 draftees Carlos Monasterios and Armando Zerpa.
Colletti said Tuesday that he tried to trade Pierre for an established major league pitcher, only to have a three-way deal fall apart when one of the teams pulled out.
Instead, he is getting right-hander John Ely, 23 (14-2, 2.82 earned-run average for double-A Birmingham), who is expected to be one of the two pitchers in the deal and who could be a candidate for one of the two vacant rotation spots.
Pierre, who was relegated to a reserve role only two seasons into the five-year, $44-million contract he signed heading into the 2007 season, said he was elated that he would be an everyday player again. White Sox General Manager Ken Williams said Pierre would be the starting left fielder and leadoff hitter.
"I've been in the witness protection program for the last two years," Pierre said.
But by parting with Pierre, the Dodgers lose a key backup who batted .318 and stole 21 bases while Manny Ramirez sat out a 50-game suspension for violating baseball's drug policy. With Ramirez turning 38 in May and probably requiring more days off, the question facing the Dodgers is whether they got enough in return.
The question facing the Angels is whether they have the kind of rotation that can compete with the Yankees or Red Sox -- or even the Mariners.
The Angels entered the off-season hoping to retain Lackey or trade for Halladay, either of whom would have given them a formidable front-of-the-rotation presence. But this week began with Lackey reportedly agreeing to terms on a five-year deal with the Red Sox and Halladay getting traded by Toronto in a three-team deal.
Even worse for the Angels, the third team in the Halladay trade was division rival Seattle, which acquired Lee, the 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner, from the Phillies.
So, the Angels' rotation not only fails to measure up to the defending World Series champion Yankees, who have CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Pettitte, or the Red Sox, who will have Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Lackey, Clay Buchholz and Daisuke Matsuzaka, but it may not be the best in the AL West.
The Angels' staff is deep and talented with Jered Weaver, Joe Saunders, Ervin Santana, Scott Kazmir and Matt Palmer, but the Mariners have two starters -- Felix Hernandez and Lee -- who are better.
Seattle also strengthened its offense -- and weakened the Angels' -- by luring leadoff batter Chone Figgins with a four-year, $36-million deal.
"No doubt, they're serious contenders," Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said of the Mariners. "They have a good blend of veterans and young players, some power arms, and Figgins will bring an incredible amount of depth to their lineup."
The Angels' offense will receive a boost today with the expected signing of free-agent slugger Matsui. The 35-year-old Matsui hit .274 with 28 home runs and 90 runs batted in for the Yankees in 2009 and was selected World Series most valuable player.
The outfielder had surgery on his arthritic knee last winter and is expected to spend most of his time with the Angels as a designated hitter, essentially replacing Vladimir Guerrero.
At the winter meetings, Scioscia made it clear he knows what Matsui brings.
"He's an experienced hitter who can hit in the middle of any lineup," Scioscia said. "He's a unique talent that overcame some serious injuries early to have an incredible season."