1. The Sox traded Coco Crisp to the Royals for relief pitcher Ramon Ramirez. Ramirez was excellent as the 8th-inning setup an to Joakim Soria in 2008. As much as I liked Crisp and am sorry to see him go, I like this deal for several reasons:
1. The Sox got a great arm for their pen (who they control for 4 seasons)
2. The addition of Ramirez might enable them to return Justin Masterson to the rotation
3. they shed payroll (Crisp would have earned $5.75m; Ramirez is still at league minimum)
4. they made clear their commitment to and support of Jacoby Ellsbury as their starting CF
2. Dustin Pedroia won the AL MVP, Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards, and then signed a 6-year extension:
2010: $3.5m (previously arbitration year)
2011: $5.5m (previously arbitration year)
2012: $8m (previously arbitration year)
2013: $10m (previously free agent year)
2014: $10m (previously free agent year)
2015: $11m club option* (previously free agent year)
* (the option can rise to $13m if Pedroia reaches top-3 MVP voting again)
This is a hugely club-friendly option: Pedroia sacrificed millions, maybe tens of millions, for the security of a long-term contract. A great deal for the Sox, and it makes sense for Pedroia, who at the age of 25 has set up himself and his family for life. Should he (ghod forbid) suffer a career-threatening injury in the next year or two, he'll still be set.
3. The Sox signed Japanese pitcher Junichi Tazawa to a 3-year contract. Although Tazawa is still a bit raw and not ready for the majors, he's only 22, the same age as players drafted out of college. His 3-year deal is for $3.3m, after which he'll still have to have accumulated 3 years of ML service time to be arbitration eligible. This deal is very like the Sox signed a first-round draft pick, and Theo Epstein did compare Tazawa'a talent to a high- or mid-first round draft pick. Not a bad signing at all, and some are speculating that because of Tazawa the Sox might be more comfortable sacrificing their 2009 first-round draft pick if they sign a Type A free agent (like Mark Teixeira).
4. Speaking of Mark Teixeira, the winter meetings start today. Teixeira has said that he wants to have his new contract signed by Christmas, so there could be some movement at the meetings. I've concluded that if the Sox give Tex 7 years at up to $22m per year, I'd actually consider it a decent signing; any more years or $ per year would be too much though, I think.
ETA: I should also state for the record: my opinion on signing Sabathia has changed. I would rather see the Sox dedicate their funds to Teixeira. Long-term contracts to hitters are far safer bets than to pitchers, and the Sox' rotation is stronger than their lineup right now.