MLB-Hot Stove League winter 2022/23

Don’t see a Hot Stove League thread for this winter.

I can start with some good news: Cubs release Jason Heyward.

His defense definitely helped, especially with some of the not so great defensive outfielders the Cubs have used over the years, but a major disappointment overall.

In fantastic news for Blue Jays fans, Dan Shulman has decided to quit ESPN and return to Toronto to broadcast Blue Jays games full time. He’s the best in the business right now.

For my first prediction about next season, I’m going way out on a limb and saying that the umpires won’t have FTX on their jerseys.

After promoting fan favorite prospects Nick Pratto and Vinny Pasquantino to the big league last year to take over 1B, the Royals somehow decided to extend a one-year contract to league-worst hitter Ryan O’Hearn, who also plays 1B. It’s inexplicable why this person has a roster spot on a major league team - he does nothing well.

Also, new(ish) owner John Sherman released a statement last night saying the Royals front office is exploring options for building a new stadium. Kauffman is apparently in need of significant repairs and upgrades, and the cost of doing them would be comparable to building a new one. I don’t really buy that as an explanation, but I understand the appeal of a shiny new downtown stadium. I’ll be really sad when they demolish Kauffman - it holds a lot of memories for me.

I thought the same thing. And I still don’t have an answer to my inquiry about who got the money for that? MLB, the umpires, other?

Blue Jays trade Teoscar Hernandez to Seattle for relief pitcher Erik Swanson and minor leaguer Adam Macko.

Toronto saves a great deal of 2023 money in this deal, while Seattle takes it on, assuming they don’t flip Teoscar. (About $12 million.) Toronto is said to be interested in acquiring Brandon Nimmo, so this may be clearing way for him. Swanson is a good pitcher, though with relievers you never know, I suppose. Seattle needed an outfield bat, to be sure.

Alcantara and Verlander win the Cy Young awards unanimously. No great shock.

$12m isn’t a huge savings for someone like Teoscar - but they’re definitely making room for something. I’ve been reading that Toronto’s lineup is too dependent on righty hitters - Nimmo certainly fits the bill in getting a lefty bat in the heart of the lineup.

Gotta say that that’s an aspect to baseball I wouldn’t be good at as a GM. Hernandez’ profile doesn’t look great in the long term, and a trade makes sense, but the payoff seems a little light, doesn’t it? The Mariners seem to want to get rid of Jesse Winker - I thought he’d be part of the deal as well.

It seemed light to me, but I’m not sure anyone could do better for one year of a 30-year-old corner outfielder who plays mediocre defense. The Jays are getting something valuable for him, which they would not if he went into free agency in a year, but anyone they trade with knows that.

What I find a bit puzzling is what their plans are if they do sign Nimmo. Nimmo isn’t gonna command $30 million a year, but he won’t be cheap. Most projections seem to place his deal in the area of five years at $18-$20 million a year. The Jays - who are already spending well above league average money - are looking at very hefty raises in the near future for Vladdy and Bo.

Yanks resign Lefty First Baseman Rizzo to 2 years at $17m per and a $6m buyout or Team Option $17m third year.

He’s a good fit for the Yanks and bring excellent Defense. By all reports a great clubhouse and a friend to Judge. So maybe that helps also.

Rizzo is a bit of a risk, given his age, but this contract isn’t even a raise for him so it’s not THAT big a risk.

To add something I forgot in my post about the Teoscar trade; the Blue Jays have no serious outfield prospects, so they essentially MUST fill this gap with a free agent or a major trade.

The Yankees just signed Aaron Judge’s 5’4" childhood best friend to be a pinch runner.


2024 All Star Game to be at the new Rangers Stadium

At 35 years old, Paul Goldschmidt became one of the oldest MVPs in history when he was named the NL winner tonight.

No surprise and well deserved, Aaron Judge wins the AL MVP award.

Cue the SHRIEKING by the Ohtani defenders.

Awards voting always makes people angry.

MLB, I assure you. The deal included other stuff besides the uniform patch, and while terms were never made public, it’s a safe bet that MLB would have earned something in the nine-figure range had the deal run to completion. Which now, of course, it won’t.

It actually did run to completion - the deal was for through 2022.

My detailed analysis of the Yanks:

RF) Everything hinges on signing Judge. But if we fail, consider Michael Conforto, only 29. Lefty.

C) They’ll talk Yanks for Willson Contreras C 31, but not worth it. Just wait it out with Trevino. Maybe add a new backup or promote from AAA. Ben Rortvedt is an in-house option. Waiting on Austin Wells AA

1b) Rizzo is back on reasonable deal. 2x17m & 6m buyout or 17m for 3rd year.

2b) Torres Arb 2. So 2 more years. I like him at 2nd.

SS) IKF is back at only $6.1m. So solid placeholder but easy to move mid-season. Oswald Peraza in the mix & waiting on Anthony Volpe AAA from Morristown, NJ

3b) No 3rd Baseman in free agency to speak of. So hope for best with Donaldson & DJ LeMahieu who is nursing a toe injury.

LF) Stanton is in the mix of course. Then probably kids like Everson Pereira 21 & Oswaldo Cabrera 23. Probably add a veteran outfielder if move Hicks.

CF) Harrison Bader, free agent at end of year. Hopefully holding position for 19 year old Jasson Domínguez AA

Yanks are shopping Hicks & Donaldson. Hicks needs to be moved to free a Roster Spot. Yankee fans want him gone.

Donaldson is an asshole that can barely hit any more but his Defense is still excellent. Not a lot of options here, so when they fail to move him, I won’t be upset.

Starters : Cole, Cortes, Severino, Montas, German & Schmidt; maybe try and get Taillon back, but I think he’ll be very expensive at age 31. Carlos Rodon 30 is the only big name starter under 32.

Bullpen : Holmes has the closer role to lose. Then a dozen names after that. Lou Trivino already signed back at $4.1m. Michael King coming back healthy will be huge. I think we can avoid free agent closers. I don’t love any of them anyway. Edwin Díaz was the best and he already extended 5 years with the Mets.

The Blue Jays are being linked by many sources to Brandon Nimmo.

He would be a significant upgrade for the Jays; even missing some time to injury he is a much more valuable player than Teoscar Hernandez, and gives the team a left handed bat and defense, both of which they need.

What I can’t quite wrap my head around is that Nimmo will cost at least $20 million a year on a multi year deal. They will already have to lay out at least $180 million next year and the escalators coming for Vladdy and Bo - and after them Alejandro Kirk, Jordan Romano and Alek Manoah - are terrifying, plus they still need starting pitching. Committing to Nimmo long term means in a few years they’ll be the most expensive team in the AL and still might have holes to fill.

So my offbeat guess; they’ll miss out on Nimmo, and instead get Cody Bellinger and try to fix him.