MLB In Full Bloom 11/19/2013

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85 – Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

132 – Number of days until Opening Day

There are a couple of teams that we are hearing a lot of noise around this offseason in terms of their winter activity - the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Texas Rangers. But, neither of these teams were involved in the free agent signings that took place on Monday. The Hot Stove is heating up!

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Robinson Cano's agent, Jay Z, and the New York Mets met for dinner on Monday in Manhattan. Mets COO Jeff Wilpon, general manager Sandy Alderson and assistant general manager John Ricco were all present. Is this real or a joke? Where are the Mets going to get the money for Cano when its been reported they don't feel they can afford Stephen Drew? Jay Z wants to build Cano's brand and empire, but I don't think Cano will sign with the Mets.
  • Tim Hudson and the San Francisco Giants agreed on a two-year deal $23 million on Monday. It is stunning the Atlanta Braves let Hudson get away and were not willing to give him the second year for that amount of money. Hudson was the backbone of the Braves starting rotation, but now the Giants got themselves a two-year ace.
  • LaTroy Hawkins and the Colorado Rockies agreed to a one year deal for $2.5 million and he will be the Rockies closer and Rex Brothers will return to be the set-up role. Hawkins is coming off a nice season that he posted 2.93 ERA in 70 2/3 innings. However, he'll turn 41 next month and isn't exactly landing in a spot where we should expect a ton of success.
  • Skip Schumaker and the Cincinnati Reds have agreed to a two-year deal, pending a physical. Schumaker batted .263 with two homers and 30 RBI over 125 games with the Dodgers this season while making starts between second base and all three outfield positions. The Reds will likely use him in a similar super-sub role.
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers are fielding phone calls on all their outfielders including Yasiel Puig although trading him is unlikely. The more likely players to be traded are Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, or Carl Crawford. The Dodgers are talking with the Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, and three or four other teams
  • Juan Uribe is seeking a three-year deal this offseason, but the Los Angeles Dodgers appear willing to only offer him a two-year deal. Uribe is a leader in the club house and was a good influence on Yasiel Puig and those factors will certainly play a role in the discussions, but in the end it's about production on the field.
  • Ian Kinsler for Andre Ethier? The rumors surrounding this possible trade keep popping up and it makes a lot of sense for both teams. Kinsler can play second base if Alexander Guerrero struggles during the season. Kinsler can play third base if they do not sign Juan Uribe and he can play left field. As for the Rangers, Ethier hitting at Arlington Ballpark makes a lot of sense and he would provide the power the Rangers are looking to add this offseason.
  • Josh Johnson would like to be on the west coast. His wife is from Anaheim and with all the injuries, John appears willing to take a one-year deal. The San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants have interest in the right hander, but I think the Anaheim Angels are desperate for starting pitching.
  • Ricky Nolasco is another righthander on the market this offseason. He has several suitors and he will certainly get a three or four year deal. It's going to take some time for the Nolasco market to get figured out. The Twins, Dodgers, Yankees and possibly the Angels are in the mix as destinations for him.

MLB In Full Bloom 11/18/2013

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86 – Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

133 – Number of days until Opening Day

It was a quiet weekend for the Hot Stove that is the offseason in baseball. Since I spent last week giving you my Top 15 free agents this offseason, I missed some headlines and transactions that did take place. Lets get caught up:

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Max Scherzer won the American League Cy Young Award last week and has had to answer questions about trade rumors that include him being shipped out of Detroit. Scherzer wants to stay with the Tigers after his contract expires at the end of 2014. Scherzer, went 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA this season to make his first All-Star team this year.
  • Brian Wilson told the New York Yankees last week to cross them off their list this offseason because he will not shave his beard. Yankees GM, Brian Cashman, told reporters last week that he had reached out to Wilson to determine if there was any interest, but Wilson is unwilling to shave his beard.  Since the Yankees do not do beards that will not work.
  • Bryce Harper has proven to not be an average player - Rookie of the Year and an All Star in his first two seasons. However, he is still on his five-year $9.9 million dollar deal that he signed after being drafted #1 overall in August 2010. Its been reported that there is a clause in his contract that allows him an opt-out when he reaches arbitration eligibility, which should happen after the 2014 season. Harper and agent Scott Boras would pursue that opt-out via grievance hearing. It will not surprising if the Nationals and Harper come to an agreement on a new contract before the start of next year.
  • Carlos Ruiz and the Philadelphia Phillies agreed to a three-year $26 million deal with an option for 2017. Ruiz, 34, hit just .268 with five home runs and 37 RBI in 92 games this year after batting .325 in 2012. He'll be the primary catcher again in 2014.
  • Chase Headley may be on the move sooner than most expect this offseason. The Padres seemed determined to keep Headley and look to sign him to an extension this winter. Those talks have not begun, so its possible to Padres have decided to move Headley. If they do try to trade him, they would be selling low as he is coming off a very disappointing 2013 season.
  • Brendan Ryan and the New York Yankees have reached an agreement. No specifics have been announced, but Ryan is coming off a miserable offensive season in 2013, but he is one of the best defensive shortstops in the game. Ryan will provide back up to Derek Jeter.
  • Cubs prospect Kris Bryant was was named as the 2013 Arizona Fall League MVP on Saturday. It was a great debut season for the second overall selection from this past June's draft. Bryant hit .336 with nine homers and 32 RBI in 36 games across three minor league levels. Then he hit .364 with six homers and 17 RBI in 20 games in the Arizona Fall League. Some think Bryant won't arrive at Wrigley Field until 2015, but with a glaring need a third base and the need to improve the Cubs offensively, I think Bryant will arrive in 2014.

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