The Yankees signed Aaron Small to a one-year, $1.2 million contract yesterday. In doing so they avoid an arbitration hearing and fell just shy of meeting Small half way. That's what amounts to big news out of the Bronx these days. Things have been dead quiet since the team signed Miguel Cairo back on January 5.
Meanwhile, the man who will be responsible for sorting all of this out will be none other than Theo Epstein. Less than three months after leaving his post as General Manager, Epstein has not only returned to the team, but reclaimed his position as GM, putting the lie to fact that Jed Hoyer and Ben Cherington would share the job (Hoyer has been bumped down to assistant GM and Cherington has been made VP of player personnel).
It all makes one wonder exactly how involved Epstein really was during his 84-day exile. Here's what the Sox have done in Theo's "absence":
Re-signed Mike Timlin for 2006
Released Gabe Kapler
Filled out the 40-man roster with minor leaguers
Traded for Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell and Guillermo Mota, sending top infield prospect Hanley Ramirez and three pitching prospects to Florida
Picked up reliever Jermaine Van Buren from the Cubs for a PTBNL
Swapped Doug Mirabelli for Mark Loretta
Dumped Edgar Renteria on the Braves for top prospect Andy Marte
Clamed reliever Jamie Vermilyea in the Rule 5 draft
Non-tendered Wade Miller and Chad Bradford
Signed John Flaherty, J.T. Snow and reliever Rudy Seanez to one-year deals
Signed Mota for 2006
Signed Tony Gaffanino, who had unexpectedly accepted the Sox arbitration offer, to a one-year deal
Signed Julian Tavarez to a two-year deal with an option for 2008
Re-upped Bronson Arroyo for three years
DFAed Tim Bausher
Signed Willie Harris to a mL deal and invited him to spring training
That doesn't include the still undetermined Coco Crisp deal.
While it's very tempting to dust that list for Theo's fingerprints, one tends to wonder if the "boy genius" would have left his club with Alex Cora at shortstop and a battle between Adam Stern and Willie Harris in center just 23 days before Pitchers and Catchers.
By the way, the last six items on the above list occured between the Cairo and Small contracts. Myself, I don't mind the silence.