Stark: The difference between shopping and buying at the Winter Meetings

From SABR member Jayson Stark at on December 7, 2012:

Zack Greinke didn’t sign. But Joe Blanton did.

Josh Hamilton didn’t sign. But Jeff Keppinger did.

Justin Upton never got traded. But Ben Revere did.

James Shields and Asdrubal Cabrera never got dealt, either. But … well, stay tuned.

So what we had here was a very strange winter meetings. All the big stuff we talked about all week? None of that ever did go down. But here’s the moral of that story:

You should never judge the winter meetings by the volume in the old transactions column. You can say, accurately, that the big deals never got done. But to say nothing “happened” at these meetings? “That,” said Arizona GM Kevin Towers, “would be incorrect.”

There’s a difference, said another GM, between “shopping” and “buying.” It’s a distinction your wife could probably explain in remarkable detail. But that’s what just unfolded in Nashville: “It was shopping,” the same GM said. “Not buying.”

But the buying spree is coming. And soon. The consensus of baseball people we surveyed Thursday is that once Greinke picks a destination, the groundwork has been laid for an avalanche of moves, which his signing alone might trigger, in the next week or so.

So normally in this space, you’d be reading a column that rates the meetings’ Winners and Losers. But not this year — too much unfinished business, too many report cards stamped “incomplete.” So let’s just look back at what “happened” this week, even if some of those happenings never did make it into a transactions column near you.

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Originally published: December 7, 2012. Last Updated: December 7, 2012.