Saturday, November 11, 2006

Hot Stove Season Kicks Into Gear

Hot stove season, for anyone unfamiliar with the term, is the time of the year when baseball fans used to sit around the general store, or the kitchen, any place where there was source of heat, aka a "hot stove," and discuss trades, possible trades, awards, and just baseball stuff in general.
The season kicked into high gear yesterday when the Yankees traded Gary Sheffield to the Tigers for 3 prospects: Humberto Sanchez, Kevin Whelan and Anthony Claggett.

The latter are single A players, so who knows how they will turn out, but Sanchez is a hard throwing righty, with a chance to make the majors in 2007. He does have a history of injury, but he wouldn't fit in with any Yankees staff of the last few years if he didn't. If, and that may be the biggest word in sports, but if he does as well as he has shown throught his AA and AAA career, he may be a part of the Yankees bullpen in 2007. Couple that with their own top pitching prospect, Philip Hughes, and they may have a staff that more resembles a quality major league staff for the next few years. This is a welcome change from the Saturday afternoon beer keg squad that they have been fielding. Wang and a bunch of guys that used to be good is not enough of a pitching staff. Hughes, Sanchez, and TJ Beam (who showed promise last year,) along with a couple others, and we may be talking about the Yankees staff without laughing.

The other big hot stove news is Daisuke Matsuzaka. You have to know I C&P'ed that name. Anyway, according to rumors (called premature by them) the Boston Red Sox are in the thick of a bidding war to bring this terrific Japanese player to America. Now, this may be different from deals in the past. The team must bid for the right to negotiate with him. That's not his salary, just the money to go to his old team to try to make a deal with him. The bidding is reputed to be in the vicinity of $38 million dollars. Matsuzaka is 26 years old and represented by who else but Scott Boras. He will most likely sign a contract for $7 mil per year for 3 years. That is the Boras way, so that Matsuzaka will get a second chance at free agency in 3 years, at age 29. And make even more money. I have to wonder, though, if he is worth it. Amortizing the big negotiating money over 3 years means that he costs about $13 million without his salary. Add that in, and it comes out to around $20 million per year. That's a lot of Wendy's Frostys. Will he guarantee Boston a pennant? If so, that is a fair price. If not, that is a lot of money down the drain.

And Boss George has been strangely quiet throughout all this. Is it to keep the price down so he can swoop in at the end, or does he think this isn't such a good deal?

One more Yankees rumor, but as of today it is a long shot. Nomar is available. Yankees brass is interested. That would mean all 3 of the greatest shortstops of the 90's would be playing in one infield, two of them at a position other than short. Could be interesting.

The last bit of hot stove news.

Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano each won a Silver Slugger award.