At Winter Meetings, O’s continue closer search while Gibson praises Nats’ new skipper

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The latest analysis from Day 2 of the winter meetings at Disney’s Dolphin and Swan Resort:

* The biggest trade of the winter meetings took place Tuesday with Arizona, the Los Angeles Angels and Chicago White Sox pulling the trigger. The Angels get outfielder Mark Trumbo and his 30-plus home run power. The Angels get a young pitcher, Tyler Skaggs, 22, to help build the final three spots in the rotation behind Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson, and the White Sox get rangy outfielder Adam Eaton from Arizona. Eaton will boost the White Sox’s outfield defense. Looks like all three teams got a deal. This trade could mean a shrinking market and smaller contract for free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, whose best opportunity for a job might be the Texas Rangers. Speculation had Choo in Detroit, but the Tigers signed outfielder Rajai Davis to platoon with Andy Dirks in left field.

* The biggest signing of the day was outfielder Curtis Granderson for four years and $60 million with the New York Mets. With Granderson, Juan Lagares and Chris Young, the Mets now have three natural center fielders in their outfield and that means better defense. Mets manager Terry Collins says he hasn’t decided where Granderson will play, but he’ll likely be in right. Granderson will hit for power, but in the spacious Citi Field, he’s probably going to have plenty of triples while protecting David Wright in the lineup.

* The Orioles have been linked to free agent closer Grant Balfour. “He’s learned to be a good closer and he’s got the personality for the job,” says Bob Melvin, his former manager in Oakland. “He can handle any relief situation in the late innings, so he’s a good pitcher to have in the bullpen.”

* While the pitching-weak Minnesota Twins have been stocking up on rotation arms, another American League Central team, the Cleveland Indians, are in a bind in their rotation: They’ve lost Scott Kazmir to Oakland and Ubaldo Jimenez is too expensive to return. And it’s possible the Indians could trade their ace, Justin Masterson, given that he has a year left before he’s eligible for free agency. Cleveland looks to be falling quickly.

* White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf says he’s not sure how instant replay is going to work because the committee keeps changing how it is supposed to operate. “But as long as it doesn’t slow down the game, I’m all for instant replay,” Reinsdorf says. “The one thing that really bugs me is the strike zone. I’d love to have a camera that could show where the ball crosses the plate. It will never happen, but I’d like to have a consistent strike zone.”

* Seattle’s new manager, Lloyd McClendon, who worked as a coach under Detroit manager Jim Leyland, was asked what he learned under Leyland. McClendon joked, “I learned how to smoke cigars (while standing) in my underwear.”

* The bad rumor of the day might have been the Phillies trying to trade either pitcher Cole Hamels or Cliff Lee, at least as far as manager Ryne Sandberg is concerned. “Those rumors are false,” he says. “We are trying to add pitching.”

* St. Louis manager Mike Matheny, a former catcher, says Major League Baseball is making progress on putting a stop to home plate collisions. Matheny is going to meet with MLB executive Joe Torre at the Winter Meetings. The two have had conversations in the past. Matheny has been outspoken about protecting catchers from violent collisions: “We can’t turn a blind eye to it. We need to lessen the risk,” Matheny says.

* Arizona manager Kirk Gibson says he’s talked plenty to the Nationals’ new manager, Matt Williams, a former Diamondbacks coach, about what makes a good manager. “Matt is relentless, smart, organized and prepared. The players will have confidence in him,” Gibson said. How prepared? Williams already has the first 25 days of spring training planned, down to details such as who is pitching 10 a.m. batting practice on what field.

* Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez on the Nationals rotation now that Doug Fister had joined the crew: “Wow, that’s an awesome rotation. They are looking good.” By the way, the money the Braves saved on Brian McCann’s contract will be used to give raises to their current players. The Braves rotation is Julio Teheran, Brandon Beachy, Mike Minor, Kris Medlen and Alex Wood.

* Jim Leyland, the retiring Tigers manager, isn’t so sure he’s retired: “(Tigers GM) Dave Dombrowski has already asked me to come to spring training, so I don’t know if I am retired or not.”

* The Winter Meetings are casual in dress. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was wearing jeans and flip-flops when he told reporters that Hall of Fame manager Torre would likely have a monument erected in Yankee Stadium’s famous Monument Park.