Big trade for sure.12/23/11 Washington Nationals acquired LHP Gio Gonzalez and nonroster RHP Robert Gilliam from the Oakland Athletics for catcher Derek Norris, nonroster RHP A.J. Cole, RHP Brad Peacock and LHP Tom Milone.
A closer and middling platoon player... hardly a "blockbuster".12/11 Oakland Athletics traded RHP Andrew Bailey and RF Ryan Sweeney to Boston Red Sox for RF Josh Reddick, 1B Miles Head and RHP Raul Alcantara.
Quentin's star had long fallen. This was a reclamation project move. Probably no more significance than the "Ludwick blockbuster free agent signing".2/31/11 San Diego Padres acquired outfielder Carlos Quentin from the Chicago White Sox for RHP Simon Castro and LHP Pedro Hernandez.
Melky was a pretty good, not elite starting outfielder for the Royals when traded. If you thought that was a blockbuster you must have been foaming at the mouth when Jocketty announced the Hanigan deal.11/07/11 San Francisco Giants acquired outfielder Melky Cabrera from the Kansas City Royals for LHP Jonathan Sanchez and nonroster LHP Ryan Verdugo.
Cool.12/11 Arizona Diamondbacks acquired RHP Trevor Cahill, LHP Craig Breslow and cash from the Oakland Athletics for RHP Jarrod Parker, RHP Ryan Cook and outfielder Collin Cowgill.
Cool12/17/11 San Diego Padres acquired OF Yonder Alonso, nonroster RHP Brad Boxberger, catcher Yasmani Grandal and RHP Edinson Volquez from the Cincinnati Reds for RHP Mat Latos.
I really don't see a huge difference between your's and Beni's list. I think you made up an agenda for some reason about no large trades being possible without really having any evidence and probably assumed nobody would call you on it, and when they did you've tried to cobble together some evidence that isn't really there to fit your preconceived agenda.
It was a good try, but I don't think anyone's really buying it. A big trade might be in store. It also might not be. I think you are generally right that most of the heavy lifting has been done by GM's at this point, but it certainly doesn't close the door. Braveszone might have thought the same thing when the Upton talks cooled down only to see the trade happen a month after Christmas. I'm not holding my breath, but if a trade doesn't go down I think it has less to do about the date on the calendar as much as it does Jocketty not finding the fit he likes, or the Reds being stuck a bit between "win-now" and still being a pretty budget conscious team.