Showing posts with label hot stove. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hot stove. Show all posts

Saturday, January 24, 2009

More Hot Stove Action

I neglected to post here about my most recent Hot Stove Junkie. It was definitely an abbreviated version since the Hot Stove Action has been at a minimum the last few weeks. I know the substantive posts have been a little slow coming here the last two weeks. I was nearly killed by a monster virus while feverishly (get it?) on lots of stuff for the RotoExperts Draft Kit. This week I have more deadlines, more work and an aching back. Still, I roll on...

But here's the latest Hot Stove Junkie.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

New York Mets Online: Off-Season Roundtable

Brian Joura of New York Mets Online invited me to participate in a round table discussion of the New York Mets off-season thus far and where they should go from here. I thought I was an interesting choice considering my years as a New York Yankees blogger. Check out this excerpt.

Mets Online Roundtable: The Off-Season

...There are some that would suggest the Mets sign an outfielder but they can afford to wait. The Mets should find out if Dan Murphy could be an everyday starter for them. The Mets have also refused to part with outfield prospect Fernando Martinez who would be part of the Mets 2010 outfield if all goes well. Signing Manny Ramirez or Adam Dunn would not only be expensive but it would block the Mets’ younger players. If Ramirez and Dunn become bargains that the Mets can’t resist they should go for Dunn rather than Ramirez. Dunn at the very least can be moved to first base in 2010 when Carlos Delgado becomes a free agent...

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Hot Stove Holiday Hits

The latest edition of the Hot Stove Junkie is available at, as always the first hit is free...

The Chicago Cubs acquired minor league right-handers Jeff Stevens and Chris Archer and minor league lefty John Gaub from the Cleveland Indians for 2B/3B Mark DeRosa. This was just a few hours after signing 2B Aaron Miles to a two-year contract.
The Indians traded a trio of prospects that were not on even the most optimistic prospect lists for a top second baseman. If the world made sense, they would install Mark DeRosa as their second baseman and slide mediocre at best shortstop, Jhonny Peralta to third base, and move Asdrubal Cabrera (a minor league defensive whiz) to shortstop. It would make Cabrera’s questionable bat fit in the lineup better. However, most of all it would improve the infield defense that right-handed starter Fausto Carmona depends on for his success. Unfortunately, the Indians swear that DeRosa is now a third baseman.
DeRosa (in case you have been asleep) is a very good hitter. In 2008, he hit .285/.376/.481 with 21 homers. His walk and strikeout rates both increased slightly. I take this as a sign that he was exercising greater patience and looking for pitches he could really drive. This is an awesome pickup for the Indians (even if they do screw up and move him to third) and fantasy owners in American League only leagues get a new slugger in the infield.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Another Edition of the Hot Stove Junkie

The latest edition of my Hot Stove Junkie column on has been posted. It is positively loaded with info this week. Please, check it out. is blowing up big time. Our acquisition of the Diamond Draft Fantasy Baseball Software is huge for us. Everyone should head over to the Diamond Draft site and download the free trial software. There are also going to be opportunities for the blogging community to take advantage of our success. Watch this spot for details...coming soon!

The Winter Meetings were a huge success from the perspective of a Hot Stove Junkie. I suppose when you are as hooked as I am that the latest hit is always the sweetest. The last day of the Winter Meetings featured the Rule V Draft – this is never to be ignored by fantasy owners unless they do not care to discover the next Johan Santana (LHP, NYM). The Major League Phase is reproduced below. However, the end of the meetings did not bring an end to the rumors, the speculation, or the trades and signings. In fact, the recent non-tender deadline just released a completely new crop of free agents into the pool. There were some very interesting and productive players set free to negotiate with the team of their choice. All 42 of the new free agents are listed below.

The Major League Phase of the Rule V Draft

1 Terrell Young RHP Washington (from Cincinnati)
2 Reegie Corona INF Seattle (from New York (AL))
3 Everth Cabrera SS San Diego (from Colorado)
4 Donald Veal LHP Pittsburgh (from Chicago (NL))
5 Lou Palmisano C Baltimore* (from Milwaukee)
6 Luis Perdomo RHP San Francisco (from St. Louis)
7 David Patton RHP Cincinnati** (from Colorado)
8 Kyle Bloom LHP Detroit (from Pittsburgh)
9 Jose Lugo LHP Kansas City*** (from Minnesota)
10 Ben Copeland CF Oakland (from San Francisco)
11 James Skelton C Arizona (from Detroit)
12 Zach Kroenke LHP Florida (from New York (AL))
13 Gil De La Vara LHP Houston (from Kansas City)
14 Jason Jones RHP Minnesota (from New York (AL))
15 Darren O'Day RHP New York (NL) (from Los Angeles (AL))
16 Eddie Morlan RHP Milwaukee (from Tampa Bay)
17 Rob Mosebach RHP Philadelphia (from Los Angeles (AL))
18 Miguel Gonzalez RHP Boston (from Los Angeles (AL))
19 Derek Rodriguez RHP Tampa Bay (from Chicago (AL))
20 Ivan Nova RHP San Diego (from New York (AL))
21 Rocky Cherry RHP New York (NL) (from Baltimore)

* Acquired by Houston in exchange for cash considerations
** Acquired by Chicago (NL) in exchange for cash considerations
*** Acquired by Seattle in exchange for cash considerations

Thursday, December 11, 2008

More Updates From the Winter Meetings

The trades just keep coming from Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings. I've written more updates on the blog and now of course I share them with you.

CC Sabathia Agrees to Pitch for the New York Yankees
In the end the New York Yankees refused to take no for an answer. CC Sabathia had no issues with playing in New York his problem was that he really wanted to live and play on the West Coast. Unfortunately for Sabathia none of the West Coast teams were willing to step to the plate. It might have dragged on even longer but Brian Cashman was so determined to sign him that he left the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas to meet with Sabathia and his wife in San Francisco. Cashman also added another year onto the contract and gave Sabathia the ability to opt out of the contract after three seasons.The final deal was for seven years and $161 million.
Closer J.J. Putz Traded in Three Team Deal
The Mets received closer (now set-up man) J.J. Putz, outfielder Jeremy Reed, and right-hander Sean Green from Seattle. The Mariners received outfielder Franklin Gutierrez from the Indians and, from the Mets, right-hander Aaron Heilman, center fielder Endy Chavez and four Minor Leaguers -- first baseman Mike Carp, right-hander Maikel Cleto, left-hander Jason Vargas and center fielder Ezekiel Carrera. The Indians received right-hander Joe Smith from the Mets and infielder Luis Valbuena from the Mariners.
The Detroit Tigers Acquire RHP Edwin Jackson
The Detroit Tigers have sent outfielder Matt Joyce to the Tampa Bay Rays for right-hander Edwin Jackson. The trade fills a need on both teams. The Tigers needed a healthy starter to eat some innings. While the Rays needed a corner outfielder.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

More from the Hot Stove Junkie

The latest Hot Stove Junkie is posted on Lots of interesting moves last week to analyze.

The Boston Red Sox Sign another Japanese Pitcher
I ran into Boston Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein last week. I wanted to ask him about his off-season plans but he just kept repeating the same phrase.

I'm turning Japanese
I think I'm turning Japanese
I really think so
Turning Japanese
I think I'm turning Japanese
I really think so
I'm turning Japanese
I think I'm turning Japanese
I really think so
Turning Japanese
I think I'm turning Japanese
I really think so

After walking away in confusion, I heard some news that rather explained it. The Red Sox had just signed their third Japanese pitcher. Right-hander Junichi Tazawa signed a three-year deal for $3.3 million. Tazawa is just 22 years-old. He will begin the 2009 season pitching for the double-A Portland Sea Dogs. Translating Japanese numbers to relevance for fantasy leaguers has always been a problem but Tazawa appears worthy of top prospect status. He spent the last four years pitching in the Japanese Industrial League for Nippon Oil where he was 13-1 with 5 saves and a 0.80 ERA this season in 21 games. He struck out 114 batters to just 15 walks in 113 innings. He is someone to watch, but I would not go nuts for him just yet.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

To Have a Great Hot Stove Season

Head over to the baseball blog for my article on how to have a great hot stove season.

Reflect on last season

This very valuable step is often missed, especially when your fantasy baseball season ended in frustration. By looking back we can uncover where we went wrong. Did we take too many chances at the draft? Have you become predictable? Was that drunken Fourth of July trade you made with your weasel of a cousin a bad idea? Did you dump CC Sabathia on some “sucker” after his second terrible start in April? Making these self-evaluations, we can stop ourselves from making the same mistakes again.

We should also take the time to study our rivals. How did your league champion win? Does he make amazing trades? Did he rebuild for two years? Maybe your rival has a weakness for players on the Boston Red Sox that you can exploit. Does he have what looks like an unbeatable collection of young stars he can keep? Perhaps he exploited a loophole in the rules. We need to know our rivals as well as ourselves.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Hot Stove

This is not shaping up as a good off-season for my fantasy teams. Matt Holliday (OF, OAK) was a big part of my 13 team NL-only league. Holliday, of course, was dealt to the American League dwelling Oakland Athletics. That same team included Chase Utley (2B, PHI), about to have surgery on his hip. The best-case scenario for Utley seems to be the shaving of a few bone spurs and a rehab process that would keep him inactive for most of Sprint Training. The worst case would involve serious repairs and a prayer for a return in July. In addition, as you have probably guessed, that same NL-only squad features Chad Billingsley (RHP, LAD), who slipped on some ice and broke his fibula on Friday. Billingsley should be ready for the start of Spring Training but my plans to trade him are crumbling. I hope that your off-season is going better than mine is.

Hot Stove Report

The Braves Claim a LOOGY

The Atlanta Braves claimed Eric O'Flaherty (LHP, ATL) off waivers from the Seattle Mariners. O'Flaherty has some potential as a bullpen lefty. He is a groundball specialist who has shown strikeout potential in the minors but has fooled no one in his brief stints in the majors. He will not be in the closer mix so his fantasy value is zero (if not less than that).

The Phillies Trade Tools for Power

The Phillies traded their most advanced outfield prospect, Greg Golson (OF, PHI), for John Mayberry Jr. (OF, TEX), the Rangers power hitting prospect. Golson has all of the baseball tools. Unfortunately, he has demonstrated few of the baseball skills the Phillies expected their former first round pick to develop, especially plate discipline. It is worth noting that the Rangers have shown a remarkable ability to turn disappointing outfield prospects into productive major leaguers the last few years. Golson's ability to play center field gives him a chance to make the Rangers as a reserve if they trade Marlon Byrd (OF, TEX) as rumored. Golson should be watched carefully in Spring Training.

John Mayberry has gone backwards as a prospect. He has traded walks for a more aggressive approach at the plate, which has resulted in more homeruns but not much else of value. The Phillies do need a power hitting left fielder if Pat Burrell (OF, FA) leaves via free agency. This is a situation worth watching. If the Phillies are unable to sign a big name outfielder Mayberry could become a serious option.

The Red Sox Strengthen their Bullpen

The Red Sox traded Coco Crisp (OF, KC) to the Royals for Ramon Ramirez (RHP, BOS). Ramirez is a good relief pitcher. If Ramirez improved his walk-rate (3.89 in 2008) he could be a potential closer. He has held opponents to a .235 batting average in his career and just .220 in 2008. He also collects about a strikeout per inning. The seventh and eight innings were a problem at times for the Red Sox last season, Ramirez shores that up nicely. Unfortunately, for fantasy owners, Ramirez is probably third or fourth in line for saves behind Jon Papelbon (RHP, BOS).

The Royals Acquire Coco Crisp

Coco Crisp had some horrible luck while in Boston. He broke his wrist, suffered a separate hand injury amid a series of other minor but aggravating maladies, and lost his job to a much-hyped prospect. Here is an early Big Fat Claim: Coco Crisp will regain all of the power he seemed to lose as a Red Sox with the Royals. Barring any bad news, he will be coming into this season completely healthy, with a full time job for the first time in three years.

Billy Beane Signs a Reliever

The Oakland Athletics signed Chris Schroder (RHP, OAK) formerly of the Washington Nationals to a one-year contract. Schroder has little chance of making the major league team but Billy Beane sees something in him so this transaction is worth noting. What Beane sees is a mystery to me. He does not get groundballs, he walks too many batters, and he allows too many homeruns. Gasp! Perhaps Billy Beane signed a player based on his scouting report rather than his stats. Schroder was once considered a future closer by the Expos/Nationals. Nah, it couldn't be that.

The Cardinals Steal Some F.A.T.

The St. Louis Cardinals signed free agent Ian Ostland (LHP, StL) to a minor league contract and invited him to Spring Training. Ostland had some fantastic indicators in the Tigers' minor league system. Because of his age, Ostland is not a prospect but his numbers are too good to ignore. Players like this become quality cheap relievers for smart teams. In 2008 is K/BB ratio was an impressive 4.53. His .319 BABIP indicates he was probably unlucky last season. The Cardinals are a great team for a guy like this. The Cards have a ton of uncertainty in their bullpen (including the closer role), LaDuncan has made a habit of turning older players and failed prospects into valuable parts and based on stats Ostland is as good as any of them. Owners in deep leagues must pay attention this spring.

The Cubs Re-Sign Ryan Dempster

The Chicago Cubs re-signed starter Ryan Dempster (RHP, CHC) to a four-year, $52 million contract. Dempster may have gotten a little lucky in 2008 but there are no glaring flukes in his stats. He is a groundball pitcher that gets a little less than a strikeout per inning, which is the formula for a great starter. If his walk-rate goes back to normal and his HR/FB (which was a very low 7.7 percent) returns to his career average of 11.1 percent, we could see some regression but not enough to rob him of all his value. If I owned him, I would be holding him.

The Orioles Sign Some Spare Parts

The Baltimore Orioles signed Brad Hennessey (RHP, BAL) and Donnie Murphy (INF, BAL) to minor league contracts and invited them to Spring Training. Hennessey is a terrible pitcher. His pathetic K/9 is only slightly higher than his bloated walk-rate. In 2008, he even reversed his GB/FB trends and allowed significantly more fly balls than grounders. He allows too many homers. He is also moving to a far worse park and league for pitchers. Hennessey should not be a fantasy consideration.

Donnie Murphy is a linedrive hitter considered a top prospect at times in his career. Unfortunately, he has never put together a season worthy of such a designation. His biggest problem is making good contact. He struck out almost 37 percent of the time during the 2008 season. His power is good but he does not hit enough flyballs to be a big homerun hitter. For the Orioles, Murphy is only an option as a utility player unless we see Brian Roberts (2B, BAL) traded.

The Giants Get Some Relief

The San Francisco Giants signed Jeremy Affeldt (LHP, SF) to a two-year $8 million contract. Affeldt was a top prospect of the Kansas City Royals who failed as a starting pitcher. He seemed to be failing as a reliever too until something seemed to click for him last season with the Cincinnati Reds. His fastball velocity made a significant jump and his strikeout rate made a corresponding leap. His walk rate also improved significantly. Affeldt has always been an extreme groundball pitcher and was even more so in 2008. Now Affeldt is moving from the hitters' haven of Cincinnati to one of the league's better pitcher's parks in San Francisco. It also does not hurt that the Giants have been obsessed with defense the last few years. If Affeldt's improvements are real (and there is little to say they are not) he should excel for the San Francisco Giants in 2009. Fantasy owners in deep leagues should be paying very close attention.

Washington Adds options at First Base

The Washington Nationals signed 1B/3B Matt Whitney (formerly of the Cleveland Indians) to a minor league contract and invited him to Spring Training. The Nationals selected Whitney in the Rule V draft in 2007 but had to return him to the Indians after a poor Spring Training, so they obviously like him.

Whitney was a top batting prospect until he suffered a major leg injury in 2003. This cost him the next three seasons of his career so he lacks the at-bats you might expect a 25-year old minor leaguer to have collected after six years in the minors. In an attempt to take more walks and improve his on-base percentage, Whitney robbed himself of some power last season. However, he was successful at improving his walk-rate (11.3 percent) and if he can keep his gains and regain his power stroke he could be a stud in the making. The Nationals have some of the best talent evaluators in the game, and they believe he can do it. Whitney is someone to watch this spring.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving! May the football, turkey, and booze be everlasting.
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