Hot Stove log, Part I

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With the GMs
convening in Orlando this week for the annual Winter Meetings, the Hot Stove
season is in full swing.  For me, this is
as good as it gets.  I love the rumours
and speculation that come out of this time of year, so much so that I finally
signed up for a Twitter account just to follow the rumours as they happen.  I’ve never been a fan of twitter in the past,
but simply for this reason I think it’s a great utility.

So let’s get
to the happenings in the last few days. 
I’ve already gone over the David
Dejesus
trade so let’s start with the next major move from November 13th.

 

The Florida
Marlins
trade OF Cameron Maybin
to the San Diego Padres for RHP Edward Mujica and RHP Ryan Webb.

I like this
deal a lot for the Padres.  They have a
ridiculous amount of depth in their stellar bullpen and giving up Mujica and
Webb doesn’t effect their expected performance in that department for 2011 all
that much.

People are
down on Maybin because he’s been around for a few years and has yet to live up
to the massive promise he once had in the Tigers’ system, but let’s not forget
that he’ll still only be 24 next year.  I
think the Marlins gave up on him for immediate bullpen help and that this deal
may bite them hard in the future.


Now on to yesterday…


The
Florida Marlins trade 2B Dan Uggla to the Atlanta Braves for UTIL Omar
Infante
and LHP Michael Dunn.

Trade rumours
began to surface for Uggla last season when the Marlins seemed to be dragging
their feet on a long term deal for their slugging second baseman and they
caught fire about a week ago when Uggla reportedly turned down a 4-yr/$48-million
offer from the team. 

Uggla was
reportedly seeking a 5 year deal with Chase
Utley
-type money (just under $15-million a year).  After he rejected the deal, Uggla came out
and said he wanted to stay with the Marlins long term, but that they had
stopped the negotiating process, leading to further speculation that Uggla was
on his way somewhere else.

The Blue Jays showed some serious interest
in acquiring Uggs with the idea of moving either him or Aaron Hill over to third base. 
According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal,
the Jays offered a package of prospects headed by relievers Josh Roenicke and Danny Farquhar with a third prospect (either SS Ryan Goins or OF Darin Mastroianni) also in the mix.

Although the
Fish were looking to upgrade their bullpen in the deal, they were looking for more
proven major league arms and were also looking for a major-league infielder in the
deal.  That’s where the Braves come in.  Reportedly, the Marlins wanted Martin Prado but settled instead for Omar Infante along with lefty reliever Michael Dunn. 

This deal
confuses me a little.  I understand that
the Marlins don’t have a lot of money to throw around and that Uggla likely had
to go, but let’s not forget that not only is Uggla probably the best and most
consistent offensive second baseman in the game (aside from maybe Robinson Cano), he’s one of the most consistent
sluggers at any position. 

Over the last
five years (after being selected in the Rule
5
draft) he’s averaged 31 HR, 93 RBI and a respectable .349 OBP.  He’s also coming off career-highs in almost
every category including batting average which he increased to a .287-mark.

Uggla
deserves Chase Utley money and will no-doubt get it after this year if he has
another consistent campaign, but it seems to me the Marlins could have held out
for a lot more returns for the rare power-hitting two-bagger.



The Florida
Marlins
sign C John Buck to a
3yr/$18-million deal, pending a physical.

The Marlins
are busy.  To replace some of the power they lost in
giving up Uggla and to bolster their backstop situation, the Fish ink Buck to a
3 year deal.  Buck spent last year with
my Jays and was an all-star, but didn’t figure into the team’s long term plans
with catching prospect J.P. Arencibia
appearing ready to take over next year. 

In Buck, the
Marlins get a dependable starting catcher with plus power and improving
defense.  He also proved very adept at
handling the Jays’ young pitching staff and should do the same on South
Beach.  I like this move for the Marlins
as I think last year’s version of Buck is the version you’ll see from now on.



The St. Louis
Cardinals
re-sign RHP Jake Westbrook
to a 2yr/$16.5-million deal.

The Cards
re-upped Westbrook for two more years after he pitched well for them down the
stretch posting a 3.48 ERA in 12 starts. 
Westbrook proved his long list of arm injuries were behind him in 2010
pitching in over 200 innings for the first time since ’06.

The Indians reportedly had interest in
bringing Westbrook back, but never formally made an offer.

I think
Westbrook is a quality middle-of-the-rotation arm when healthy so I like this
move for the Cards.  He has post-season
experience and should be an asset.  Any
more than two years would have been foolish given his injured past so I think
the Cards did the right thing.

And now on to
today…

The Detroit Tigers
sign RHP Joaquin Benoit to a
3yr/$16.5-million deal.

The Tigers
remain busy early in this offseason.  After
re-upping infielders Brandon Inge
and Jhonny Peralta for two years
each, the Tigers go outside the organization to help bolster their bullpen with
Joaquin Benoit.

The second
happiest person in this deal besides Benoit is Rafael Soriano, who just saw his market-value sky-rocket as a
result of this deal.

I’m not sure
about this one, though.  My philosophy is
to never spend a lot of money on your bullpen as it’s so unpredictable what you’re
going to get from one season to the next.  Giving Benoit 3 years and $5.5-million a
season seems foolish, even if he steps into the closer role with the
Tigers.  Benoit had a terrific year last
year, but he probably won’t do it again. 
Anyone who has a breakout year at 33 terrifies me.  I don’t think this deal will work out for
Detroit.

 

RUMOURS:

Apparently
the Red Sox are considering trading
former Jay Marco Scutaro after only
one season in Boston.  Scutaro’s OBP (his
main selling point for signing with the Red Sox) dropped back closer to his
career-average (shouldn’t have been a surprise) and the BoSox are weighing
their options. 

Scutaro is
set to make $5-million in 2011 and has a three-pronged option for 2012.  The Red Sox have a $6-million option, Scutaro
has a $3-million option and there’s a $1.5-million buyout.  This means that Boston is currently on the
hook for at least one year and $6.5-million and more likely two years and
$8-million given that Scutaro will likely enact his end of the option if he has
another disappointing season. 

This contract
could prove difficult to trade unless someone out there believes he can get
back to his ’09 form.

Jon Morosi reports that only the Cardinals have shown even mild interest
and that the Padres, Pirates, and Reds could use an upgrade at the position and could be potential suitors.

Finally, the Diamondbacks are said to be open to
trading Justin Upton and Stephen Drew.  Arizona’s new GM Kevin Towers has said he would have to be blown away to trade
either one, but reports indicate that Upton is becoming a stronger possibility
for a trade because of the high interest in him from other clubs. 

The Marlins are rumoured to be involved and
could possibly give up Rickey Nolasco
and Logan Morrison.  The Red
Sox
and Yankees are also testing
the waters and the Rays are expected
to weigh in soon.  This could get
interesting, stay tuned.

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