Hot Stove League 2023 Version

This year's World Series is like the Iran-Iraq War.  Very few people outside of locals will have a rooting interest in either side.

What better time than now to start looking at the Hot Stove League?

Things are off to a slow start, of course, with mostly managers and general managers getting hired and fired (or turned into consultants).  But there are two rumors of note for me.  The Cards are going to sign up Adam Wainwright for a final tour, which I think is a great tribute to him (I always liked the management of that club); and Carlos Correa is going to opt out of his contract with the Twins.

Correa's move was long expected, but it is an interesting time for shortstops.  Three very good ones are on or about to hit the market--Bogaerts, Swanson, and Trea Turner--and all three of their teams have viable shortstop options in-house if they decide to not break the bank or spend on other positions. The market could be saturated for franchise-quality shortstops.  Correa is represented by Boras, so even if he stays with the Twins, it is going to be protracted and expensive.


Regarding the World Series, it would be great if both teams lost.  Since that's not possible, the Phillies must lose.

Hot stove talk....  I got nothing.  It appears St. Louis gave Wainwright a sweetheart deal to thank him for his service. 


There are some very good players available, but a lot of decent/mediocre players flooding the market. Nimmo chose a good time to become a free agent. I would love Turner on the Mets. 


The thing I never hear about when fans want a manager or player cut or traded is who will replace them. I like Nimmo but I think he is really just average overall.  But who would the Mets find for center field who is better?  I hear everyone calling for Brian Cashman to be fired, but what quality GMs are standing by?  As far as the shortstop glut I can see guys being forced to play out of position, and I hate that.  It did in the Mets for years.


DanDietrich said:

The thing I never hear about when fans want a manager or player cut or traded is who will replace them. I like Nimmo but I think he is really just average overall.  But who would the Mets find for center field who is better?  I hear everyone calling for Brian Cashman to be fired, but what quality GMs are standing by?  As far as the shortstop glut I can see guys being forced to play out of position, and I hate that.  It did in the Mets for years.

If they were willing to pay Judge $300 million you move Marte to center. And Judge can play center as well. And so can Canha. For Yanks' GM? Epstein, though I doubt he would want to ruin his Red Sox legacy. Stearns also. I would keep Cashman. 


I will be surprised if the Yanks fire Cashman.  He has consistently made good moves year in and year out.  Yankee fans calling for his ouster sound like a bunch of spoiled brats, to me.  Then again, they are Yankees fans. 

Epstein would be nuts to come back to being a GM again, especially with the Yankees. He seems to have moved on nicely in his career--why put himself into a situation like that?

Stearns is signed for one year as a consultant, meaning teams need to get permission to speak with him and it would cost a high draft pick or other compensation to sign him up.  My guess is he waits it out for a year and then Steve Cohen signs him for some position with the Mets.

I expect the Yankees to re-sign Judge.  He wants to stay with the Yankees, they can afford to pay him to do so, and unlike so many mammoth contracts there is a darned good likelihood that he continues to produce at an astonishing level for at least the next several years so the money will be worth it.  Plus he is a good clubhouse presence and has excellent character.  While I would love to see him on the Mets, it is probably not going to happen.

Is Kevin Kiermeir of the Rays still available?  I think the club has an option on him, and he was out with hip surgery last year.  He could be an option in CF.


mfpark said:

I will be surprised if the Yanks fire Cashman.  He has consistently made good moves year in and year out.  Yankee fans calling for his ouster sound like a bunch of spoiled brats, to me.  Then again, they are Yankees fans. 

Epstein would be nuts to come back to being a GM again, especially with the Yankees. He seems to have moved on nicely in his career--why put himself into a situation like that?

Stearns is signed for one year as a consultant, meaning teams need to get permission to speak with him and it would cost a high draft pick or other compensation to sign him up.  My guess is he waits it out for a year and then Steve Cohen signs him for some position with the Mets.

I expect the Yankees to re-sign Judge.  He wants to stay with the Yankees, they can afford to pay him to do so, and unlike so many mammoth contracts there is a darned good likelihood that he continues to produce at an astonishing level for at least the next several years so the money will be worth it.  Plus he is a good clubhouse presence and has excellent character.  While I would love to see him on the Mets, it is probably not going to happen.

Is Kevin Kiermeir of the Rays still available?  I think the club has an option on him, and he was out with hip surgery last year.  He could be an option in CF.

I had to look up what Epstein is doing now.
He is consulting at MLB for "on-field matters."  I have no idea what that means, but he must be bored.

He's already a legend in his late 40s but apparently he plans to have a "third chapter" in leading an organization.


yahooyahoo said:

I had to look up what Epstein is doing now.
He is consulting at MLB for "on-field matters."  I have no idea what that means, but he must be bored.

He's already a legend in his late 40s but apparently he plans to have a "third chapter" in leading an organization.

Yup, which is why I do not see him going to the Yankees.  That is not a place to go to rebuild an organization--there is already a pretty good one in place in Yankee-land.  The Yanks are not like remaking the hide-bound Red Sox into a contender; or breaking the curse of the billy-goat as the Cubs President.  

What would be an enticing next chapter?  I would love to see him as Commissioner, although probably is not obsequious enough to toady up to the owners the way they would demand.  


Nolan Arenado will not opt out of his contract with the Cardinals for the remaining five years.  Woohoo!!


jeffl said:

Nolan Arenado will not opt out of his contract with the Cardinals for the remaining five years.  Woohoo!!

smart move. I doubt he would have received any more than he's owed, and he says he loves playing in STL.


mfpark said:

I will be surprised if the Yanks fire Cashman.  He has consistently made good moves year in and year out.  Yankee fans calling for his ouster sound like a bunch of spoiled brats, to me.  Then again, they are Yankees fans. 

Epstein would be nuts to come back to being a GM again, especially with the Yankees. He seems to have moved on nicely in his career--why put himself into a situation like that?

Stearns is signed for one year as a consultant, meaning teams need to get permission to speak with him and it would cost a high draft pick or other compensation to sign him up.  My guess is he waits it out for a year and then Steve Cohen signs him for some position with the Mets.

I expect the Yankees to re-sign Judge.  He wants to stay with the Yankees, they can afford to pay him to do so, and unlike so many mammoth contracts there is a darned good likelihood that he continues to produce at an astonishing level for at least the next several years so the money will be worth it.  Plus he is a good clubhouse presence and has excellent character.  While I would love to see him on the Mets, it is probably not going to happen.

Is Kevin Kiermeir of the Rays still available?  I think the club has an option on him, and he was out with hip surgery last year.  He could be an option in CF.

Nimmo is better than him, though not defensively. There have been rumblings that Judge wasn't happy in NY, especially with the way the fans booed Gallo and Hicks. I wouldn't think them booing him made him feel any better either. I guess the fans don't realize they wouldn't have been a .500 team without him. Money talks. I can't imagine the Yanks letting him go. 


mfpark said:

Is Kevin Kiermeir of the Rays still available? I think the club has an option on him, and he was out with hip surgery last year. He could be an option in CF.

The Rays have the option of keeping Kiermaier next season for $13 million before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2024 at age 34, according to Spotrac.com (a very handy site for looking up contract status, BTW, in case anyone is unfamiliar with it).


DaveSchmidt said:

The Rays have the option of keeping Kiermaier next season for $13 million before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2024 at age 34, according to Spotrac.com (a very handy site for looking up contract status, BTW, in case anyone is unfamiliar with it).

yes, I checked that site before I posted.  I agree it is handy.  The local press make it sound like they may not pick up the option.  I wonder if the recovery is worse than it appears?  


mfpark said:

The local press make it sound like they may not pick up the option. I wonder if the recovery is worse than it appears?

Or, it’s the Rays, who are deciding whether to devote one-sixth of their payroll to a centerfielder who’ll maybe give them 2 WAR at a position where the top tier is good for 3 or more.


mfpark said:

DaveSchmidt said:

The Rays have the option of keeping Kiermaier next season for $13 million before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2024 at age 34, according to Spotrac.com (a very handy site for looking up contract status, BTW, in case anyone is unfamiliar with it).

yes, I checked that site before I posted.  I agree it is handy.  The local press make it sound like they may not pick up the option.  I wonder if the recovery is worse than it appears?  

even the best CFs in the business generally start to decline in the field around age 35. I would not sign Kiermaier to anything more than a one-year deal at this point in his career. And I don't want him at all for the Mets. 


ml1 said:

 I would not sign Kiermaier to anything more than a one-year deal at this point in his career. 

Which is why I will be surprised if the Rays do not pick up his one-year option.


DaveSchmidt said:

Or, it’s the Rays, who are deciding whether to devote one-sixth of their payroll to a centerfielder who’ll maybe give them 2 WAR at a position where the top tier is good for 3 or more.

But who is available who is a 3+ WAR at a price and terms the Rays would pay?  This is why I see them taking him on a one year option.  I understand how expensive he is relative to their payroll, but for one year I can see it happening.


Should the Mets break the bank and drain out the minor leagues to try to pry Ohtani from the Angels?  On the one hand, he is a free agent after 2023.  On the other hand, the Angels are likely to be sold soon, and he is a critical component of the value of the team.  

Lord, I would love to see him pitch in front of Scherzer and deGrom (assuming they can keep deGrom, which is a big assumption), and I would equally love to see him batting in front of Alonso every day.  

Would he even be available?  Well, Juan Soto was not available until he was.  Soto did have 2 years or so of club control, but the Nats were in a similarly transitory situation as the Angels may be.

In the end, likely not to happen, and probably better for the Mets if it doesn't.  As the Astros are showing yet again, having a replenishing crop of youngsters is a great way to build a dynasty........And, yet, Harper and Schwarber..........


I can't see breaking the bank for a one year rental.  The team values its prospects.


Sign him next year. Eppler signed him when he was with the Angels. He has a good relationship with him. Maybe when the Angels are out of it by the end of May then the Mets can offer something for him. And why not Trout while they're at it! 


mfpark said:

But who is available who is a 3+ WAR at a price and terms the Rays would pay? This is why I see them taking him on a one year option. I understand how expensive he is relative to their payroll, but for one year I can see it happening.

The question is whether the Rays think they have a young CF in the pipeline or on the bench who can give them 2 WAR at rock-bottom wages while they redirect Kiermaier’s $13 million elsewhere.


DaveSchmidt said:

mfpark said:

But who is available who is a 3+ WAR at a price and terms the Rays would pay? This is why I see them taking him on a one year option. I understand how expensive he is relative to their payroll, but for one year I can see it happening.

The question is whether the Rays think they have a young CF in the pipeline or on the bench who can give them 2 WAR at rock-bottom wages while they redirect Kiermaier’s $13 million elsewhere.

Congrats on a big win last night.  Looks like McCullers was tipping his pitches and Harper picked up on that.  Or perhaps someone was banging on garbage cans?


mfpark said:

Congrats on a big win last night. Looks like McCullers was tipping his pitches and Harper picked up on that. Or perhaps someone was banging on garbage cans?

Thanks, mfpark. Tipped or not, most of those pitches had Hit Me all over them. I swear McCullers turned to watch Harper’s homer before the ball even left the bat. And after the two previous pitches, which Schwarber just missed, you could see his blast coming all the way down Broad Street.

I’m expecting tougher slugging against Javier tonight. Hopefully Nola shows up with better command this time.


DaveSchmidt said:

Thanks, mfpark. Tipped or not, most of those pitches had Hit Me all over them. I swear McCullers turned to watch Harper’s homer before the ball even left the bat. And after the two previous pitches, which Schwarber just missed, you could see his blast coming all the way down Broad Street.

I’m expecting tougher slugging against Javier tonight. Hopefully Nola shows up with better command this time.

Javier has been damned tough lately.  But, then again, McCullers gave up very few homers this year, especially in the post season, so perhaps the Phillies are really locked in.  To bang out five in five innings off him--damn, that is a real whooping.  I think Harper hit a hanging curve, Bohm hit a backdoor slider, Schwarber went down for a changeup or perhaps it was a mediocre tailing fastball, and Marsh and Hoskins hit fastballs that did not move much in the zone.  Pretty much everything McCullers had was looking like batting practice to the Phillies last night.  He did not hit 93 MPH a whole lot, and threw a lot in the mid to upper 80's, but he is not a power pitcher.  He said he felt good and they were hitting good pitches, so maybe the Phillies are just in a period where everyone catches fire at the same time.  If so, Javier better watch out, because he is prone to giving up gopher balls.


Mets sign Diaz to 5 year deal.  This is a big statement by Cohen.  $102 Million, opt out after 2025, full no trade clause.  It is the richest deal for a reliever ever--more than the Chapman deal.   Having Diaz finish games has got to be a consideration for deGrom in the non-financial considerations aspect of his negotiations.


It's opt-out time.

Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts, Jacob deGrom, Taijuan Walker among the bigger names.  No surprises anywhere.

Yankees exercise option to retain Severino.  Despite recent injury-shortened years this was an easy decision for the Yankees at $15MM for a guy who slots in well at #3 or #4 if he is healthy.  Frightening to me how much these guys make in a year.


mfpark said:

It's opt-out time.

Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts, Jacob deGrom, Taijuan Walker among the bigger names.  No surprises anywhere.

Yankees exercise option to retain Severino.  Despite recent injury-shortened years this was an easy decision for the Yankees at $15MM for a guy who slots in well at #3 or #4 if he is healthy.  Frightening to me how much these guys make in a year.

not that frightening to me. Who would you rather see getting the $$? 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/maurybrown/2022/08/05/atlanta-braves-financial-report-shows-double-digit-growth-in-profits/?sh=66c60f83412f


mfpark said:

Mets sign Diaz to 5 year deal.  This is a big statement by Cohen.  $102 Million, opt out after 2025, full no trade clause.  It is the richest deal for a reliever ever--more than the Chapman deal.   Having Diaz finish games has got to be a consideration for deGrom in the non-financial considerations aspect of his negotiations.

it's probably an overpayment, since Diaz is unlikely to ever have a year like 2022 again. But if he can be a solid top-tier closer it makes a certain amount of sense for the Mets that it doesn't for other teams. The Edwin Diaz Show at Citi Field this season was unlike anything else I've ever seen. As a key part of the fan experience, Diaz has value to the team in terms of putting fans in the seats.


If you need to put baseball salaries in perspective take a look at the NBA.


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