MLB In Full Bloom 12/3/2013

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71 – Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

118 – Number of days until Opening Day

It was a busy day on the Hot Stove on Monday and there was another move early this morning that saw a big name come off the free agent board. Let's not waste any time and get right into the greatness that is the MLB Hot Stove!

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • A.J. Pierzynski and the Boston Red Sox agreed to a one-year deal today. This is the perfect fit for the Red Sox because they need a place holder until their two very good catching prospects are ready. There were discussions over the weekend that linked Pierzynski to the Minnesota Twins on a two-year deal, but the opportunity to win a championship in Boston swayed Pierzynski. David Ross will back up Pierzynski and the two are a perfect complement to one another. This is a good fit for the Red Sox and Pierzynski.
  • Doug Fister was traded to the Washington Nationals by the Detroit Tigers in a four player deal on Monday. The Tigers get infielder Steve Lombardozzi and a couple young southpaws in Ian Krol and Robbie Ray. Both left handers are bullpen guys that the Tigers desperately needed. This move tells me that Max Scherzer is not going any where, however it's not going to be easy to sign him because it will most likely take a little north of $200 million to get a deal done.
  • Jim Johnson was traded to the Oakland Athletics by the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for Jemile Weeks and a player to be named. The Orioles could not afford Johnson's annual $10 million salary, so the smaller market Athletics jumps in and spends some money. The Athletics have some other possible closers, but I think Johnson close games for them. I like the move because the A's give up very little for a guy that has led the league in saves the past couple years.
  • Scott Kazmir and the Oakland Athletics agreed on a two-year deal worth $22 million. It's a big sum of money for a small market team like Oakland, but it's actually pretty good value in this current free agent market. Kazmir posted a 4.04 ERA in 158 innings this past season for the Cleveland Indians. He should do well in the confines of the Athletics' O.co Coliseum.
  • Chris Stewart and the Pittsburgh Pirates avoided arbitration and agreed to a one-year deal on Monday. Stewart was acquired from the Yankees earlier in the day and will likely enter the 2014 campaign as Russell Martin's backup.
  • Ross Ohlendorf and the Washington Nationals agreed to a one-year deal on Monday to avoid an arbitration hearing. Ohlendorf will enter spring training with the opportunity to compete for the fifth spot in the Nationals rotation.
  • Willie Bloomquist and the Seattle Mariners agreed to a two-year deal on Monday. This is a move that does not make sense to me because he moved to the American League. When are you going to use him? In the National League, this is a guy that can play all over the diamond as he can play shortstop, third base, and the outfield. In Seattle when is he going to play? There are injuries, he is a rare player that can play centerfield and shortstop, but the price tag of almost $3 million a year seems high.

MLB In Full Bloom 12/2/2013

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72 – Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

119 – Number of days until Opening Day

I hope everyone enjoyed Thanksgiving and time with family and friends. We took about a week off at BEONDECK and Buehler's Day Off. My wife and I traveled to Raleigh, North Carolina and spent time with the family. I ate my first fried turkey, which was tremendous. I found time to visit Cameron Indoor Stadium on the campus of Duke University and got to check out the home of the Durham Bulls. But, now its time to get back to work as we are just a week away from the MLB Winter Meetings.

Happy December!!

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Rickey Nolasco and Phil Hughes agreed to deals with the Minnesota Twins. The Twins were a team that had virtually no starting pitching last year- 5.26 rotation ERA which was the highest in the majors. Their rotation struck out only 477 hitters last year and when you compare that to Yu Darvish had 277 strikeouts all by himself, adding Nolasco and Hughes is certainly an upgrade for the Twins. They did not lose draft picks or have to trade any young talent to get either free agent pitcher. The problem is that both pitchers are below average in ERA and neither is a #1 or #2 starter.  Hughes should benefit from being in a bigger field, but he has some work to do beyond changing ballparks. Both are worthwhile gambles, but will the high expectations be met by either of these guys.
  • Robinson Cano and the New York Yankees seem to be closing the gap on a long-term deal. The two sides seem to still be $80 million apart which  is alot of money to bridge. But, at the same time its not that something that cannot be done. A deal is not imminent and with the number getting closer to $200-$250 million, we may see other teams jump in at some point.
  • Ryan Vogelsong and the San Francisco Giants agreed on a one-year contract this past weekend. Vogelsong went 4-6 with a 5.73 ERA in 19 starts and 103 2/3 innings during an injury-shortened season. He broke two bones in the right pinkie area of his pitching hand and also dislocated a knuckle on a swing May 20 and underwent surgery the next day. He is certainly a candidate for a bounce back season in 2014.
  • The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired catcher Chris Stewart from the New York Yankees for a player to be named later or cash considerations. He'll be in the running for the backup job behind Russell Martin in Pittsburgh.
  • Ted Lilly announced his retirement after 15 years of pitching because of further problems with his shoulder and back. His body told him it was time to shut it down. Lilly is a two-time All-Star with a 130-113 career record with a 4.14 ERA. He pitched for Montreal, Oakland, Toronto, the New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
  • Dioner Navarro and the Toronto Blue Jays agreed to a two-year deal this morning pending a physical. Navarro had a pretty good year with the Chicago Cubs last year in a back up role. It appears the Blue Jays will move forward with Navarro and Josh Thole and will look to trade J.P Arencibia. Arencibia has continued to struggle at the plate with a low on base percentage, high strikeouts, and low batting average. He puts up big home run numbers, but there are a lot of questions about Arencibia game overall. We'll have to see what the demand is on the market for him.
  • Today is the deadline for arbitration eligible players by midnight tonight. There are a lot of them and most of them will get tendered. But, there are some players that are beginning to make some money or maybe overvalued that teams are not going to want to keep on their roster. There will be some interesting players that are not tendered, which will provide some interesting moves this offseason.

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