"This also usually indicates that GMs see the writing on the wall," a former league executive told me late this afternoon. "They probably have a sense that certain players are more likely to sign with certain teams than others, so they're scrambling to lock down trades and signings before it's too late."
It's looking like the trade market is about to dry up, another league source explained, which would suggest we may soon see a crop of overpaid, big-ticket free agent signings during the next few days. Then, teams will regroup at the Winter Meetings and figure out how to play out the rest of the winter.
The way I understand it, in a perfect world, Sandy Alderson would like to either sign a free-agent outfielder and trade for a middle infielder, or sign the infielder and trade for an outfielder. He reportedly still has the money and trade chips available to do this, so I hope this is still the goal. I don't know if either of these moves are possible any more, but it certainly seems like his options may be dwindling by the looks of today's news cycle...