MLBRT 12/17… More hot stove thoughts…


MLBRT with SS.3


The old hot stove is still warm and glowing… the old cehstnuts are roasting, hot cocoa (or whatever beverage warms your soul) is nice and warm in our mugs and we be all warm and toasty…

So, let’s check in on some of the latest action and see what the crew thinks…

1) In lieu of the Dodgers missing out in the Greinke auction and following that up with what appears to be nothing of any import… do you have any guess at what the Dodgers strategy is for this season’s Hot Stove season?

E_J_-12-238x300Earl: I’m not really sure what the Dodgers are trying to do.

Stan Kasten says they still have time...
Stan Kasten says they still have time…

They lost out on Greinke, they have pulled back from acquiring Aroldis Chapman, and, they have missed out on some pretty good pitchers. Now, it’s possible they might go after Fernandez from the Marlins, but, it looks like the Dodgers are going to piece together their needs from whatever is left in this free agent market.

Me (2)Joe: Not really… 

But, I’m guessing the front office/ownership are having second thoughts about go out all whole hog and spending big bucks on players and trying to assemble a so-called team of big stars.

I mean how’s that worked out so far for them? What all with the biggest payroll and all… how many championships have they won and how many World Series have they been in?

Steve-01-288x300Steve: I still think the Dodgers are in good shape. They are one of the two best teams in the NL West, maybe with the moves that San Francisco made, they may be a step behind them. I am not worried about Arizona despite their free spending off season so far and adding Greinke and Shelby Miller from the Braves. They still have some holes that need to be filled.

As far as what the Dodgers are doing, they are sitting back waiting for the right move that best suits their team needs. I thought Cueto may have been heading to LA, but, the Giants scooped him up. There is still time left, and, I look for the Dodgers to make a move to bolster their rotation.  

2) The New York Mets got second baseman Neal Walker from the Pirates for Jonathan Neise. Then they signed free agent shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera to a two-year deal.

What’s your opinion of these moves by the Mets?

E_J_-12-238x300Earl: I think I like these moves.

Neise for Walker... mutually benificial trade...
Neise for Walker… mutually benificial trade…

Walker and Cabrera are both good short term covers at second base, shortstop, and, Walker can spell David Wright at third base. The Mets do have Wilmer Flores and Ruben Tejada, but, both of them are dealing with leg injuries. Dilson Herrera another promising young Met isn’t ready yet, so short term moves for Walker and Cabrera works alright.

At least those moves mean that playoff hero Daniel Murphy will now be an ex-Met.

Me (2)Joe: Look it, the Mets as they were comprised in 2015 went to the World Series. Why? Not because they had great hitting, and, not because their team were defensive all-stars, either. They went because they were just good enough, got the little things done AND had great pitching.

Getting Walker for Neise, an expendable part of the pitching staff and signing  free agent Cabrera makes the Mets an instantly improved team both offensively and defensively.. and on relatively decent economic terms.

Shortstop Cabrera now a NY Met
Shortstop Cabrera now a NY Met

I ain’t saying they just added Ozzie Smith or Robin Yount at Short, or, Ryan Sandberg or Rod Carew at second; what I am saying those players they added make the Mets better than they were. A lot better…

Steve-01-288x300Steve: It’s a good move by the Mets.

Sure, you are unloading a top tier pitcher in Neise, but, you have arguably the best trio of pitchers in baseball that any team can sport right now. The addition of Cabrera will definitely help, as they got a good hitting All Star shortstop. The Mets are in great shape for next season.

3) Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist have signed as free agents with the Chicago Cubs. When Zobrist was signed the Cubs flipped Starlin Castro to the Yankees for starting pitcher Adam Warren. And, they have also inked starter John Lackey to a two year deal.

What’s your opinion of these moves by the Cubs? 

E_J_-12-238x300Earl: The Cubs are probably the preseason favorite to win the World Series with all of their moves, and, some are speculating that they are not done. Trading Soler for another starting pitcher seems to be something the Cubs are discussing.

However, going off of the moves they’ve made at this time, I have to really believe that the Cubs have staked their claim to be the leading contender in the National League. Zobrist and Heyward solidified what is already a formidible lineup, and, Warren and Lackey bolster a good rotation. If, they do add another top of the rotation starter, then, you might as well start the countdown to the end of the Cubs World Series curse.

Newest Cubs... Zobrist & Heyward
Newest Cubs… Zobrist & Heyward

Me (2)Joe: What’s not to like?

In my opinion, Jason Heyward was the best non-pitcher on the free agent market and Ben Zobrist is the best utility player in the game. And, they add Adam Warren for an expendable peice in Starlin Castro. Warren helps them either as a 5th starter or in the bullpen.

I’m not real enthused about Lackey but he does add another decent arm.

Steve-01-288x300Steve: I love the Zobrist move, mainly, because I am biased, as I played against him in High School. He came at a great deal as well for the Cubs. I question a little if they needed a middle infielder, because they are loaded in that area.

Then, the Heyward signing was big, and, which tells me the Cubs’ lineup next year is going to be one of, if, not the best in baseball.

Good moves on both, but, the Cubs need another starting pitcher. 

4) And one more Jason Heyward question… The cubs reportedly signed him for 8 years at $184 million.

Did they get market value or over pay for Heyward?

E_J_-12-238x300Earl: At $23 million a season, I think, that’s pretty fair value.

Heyward signs with Cubs and says he wants to make history...
Heyward signs with Cubs and says he wants to make history…

Especially considering big bats like Chris Davis and Justin Upton will probably come in at just under that amount over the value of their respective contracts.

Me (2)Joe: Yes, they did.

For what is being thrown around these days for guys in their 30’s, at a lot more per year, they got a bargain in Jason Heyward, who is just 26, entering his prime as a player, at $23 mil a year.

Steve-01-288x300Steve: Considering Heyward turned down two deals that were in the neighborhood of $200 million… would have given him more money to play for Washington or St Louis… he chose the Cubs.

This tells me that he wants to win, and, thinks he can make a difference with the Cubs to reverse the curse. I think they got a fair deal for a 26-year-old potential superstar in the game. 

5) The New York Yankees so far appear to be staying on course in their attempts to improve their team and get younger while holding the line on salary with the moves that Brian Cashman has made so far this off-season.

Regarding their acquiring second baseman/shortstop Starlin Castro from the Chicago Cubs, how do you rate this move by Cashman?

E_J_-12-238x300Earl: Who knew the Yankees could get younger and more talented without throwing large sums of money at players?

Brian Cashman is operating more like a small market GM and I like it. This deal and the one he made earlier this season to land Hicks from Minnesota, were both good deals. I think it’s smart business by the Yankees to acquire as much young talent as possible through the trade market.

Now @ 2nd-base for the Yanks... Starlin Castro
Now @ 2nd-base for the Yanks… Starlin Castro

Me (2)Joe: It’s about freaking time the Yankees started to get smarter and wiser in how they get players and spend their money. Yeah, they got the big bucks but why just throw it around  willy nilly and get all them big free agents… like I said about the Dodgers earlier… how’s that worked out for them in the past?

For all the spending that George did in the past did he really ever get that much in return when you add it all up? Not oin my opinion.  The Yanks won in the 1990’s more because of what they developed in the minors than what they spent of free agents.

I think, Cashman, last year, and, right now, is doing the right thing, and, I think,  Castro was a smart get and improves the Yankees at one of their biggest weak spots… second base.

Steve-01-288x300Steve: Castro needed a change, and, I think New York is going to be a fresh start for him. He has been an All Star in the past, and, has all the potential in the world to be an All Star multiple times in the future.

The Yankees needed some help in the infield, and, Castro will be a great addition to their team.

 Extra Innings… 


'Shoeless Joe' Jackson
‘Shoeless Joe’ Jackson

Jackson is one of the most divisive, and, maybe argued about, players in MLB history. He is probably best known for being a part of the group of White Sox players who were accussed of fixing the 1919 World Series. His guilt has since been disputed, and, no one really knows if he was guilty or not. Still he was one of the best hitters ever in the game… Jackson has the third-highest average in MLB history at .356. Jackson also hit .408 in his rookie year in 1911, which is still the record for a rookie.

Look for a question in next week’s MLBRT where Jackson’s name might appear in one of the crew’s answers… hint… it will involve the recent decision regarding Pete Rose made by Commissioner Rob Manfred…

Until then… think happy and warm thoughts, and, remember, it’s only 62 days until pitchers and catchers…


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