Monday, November 30, 2009

Waiting For The Hot Stove To Cook

Good morning Fackers. Well the long holiday weekend is behind us and we're back at the daily grind. While we slowed things down over the weekend the Hot Stove rumor mill kept a churning. The Roy Halladay machine kept rolling: he'll accept a trade to the Yankees, The Red Sox don't want to lose him to the Yankees, the Jays want a Major League ready arm and bat, and on and on and on.

Oh yeah, we also heard that the Blue Jays like Jesus Montero. Well, no kidding. You know who else likes Jesus Montero? The other 28 clubs in Major League Baseball. That's some ground breaking journalism there Heyman. Oh yes, the Blue Jays might be interested in Baseball America's number three overall prospect if they were to trade their ace pitcher. Surprise, surprise.

Meanwhile, an entirely different Hot Stove rumor broke, ramped up, and flamed out, all before the turkey carcass was picked clean. On the heels of his failure to reach a contract extension with the Marlins came the rumors that Josh Johnson was on the market. On Friday, ESPN's Keith Law speculated as to what the Marlins could get in exchange for Johnson (a lot) and things just snowballed from there. Next came word that the Marlins were "very willing" to move him for the right package. Almost immediately, contrary reports came out. Amazingly, it was chief rumor-mongerer Ken Rosenthal who broke what as of now is the going story: that the Marlins have no intention of moving Johnson prior to Opening Day.

I have to admit, I was intrigued by the possibility of Josh Johnson. Not that Roy Halladay isn't an outstanding pitcher, but as RAB's Mike Axisa pointed out last week, opportunities to acquire young, talented pitchers like Johnson are rare.

I hate to keep striking the same chord that we've been strumming all off-season thus far, but there's rarely any merit to these rumors. At this stage in the off-season, virtually everyone is up for grabs. Teams float weather balloons to see what the market is for a particular player or a particular type of player. But the truth of the matter is that this is dead time right now, and the national baseball writers have to write about something until the real moving and shaking starts happening.

The good news is that it's about to start happening. Today is the final day of November. Teams have until tomorrow to offer arbitration to their free agents. Once that's done, teams will know who amongst the Type A free agents carry draft pick compensation. Armed with the knowledge, the real free agent courting process will begin in earnest, leading into the Winter Meetings December 7th through 10th. Once the top free agents sign, market value will be established, the lesser free agents will fall in, and in some ways, the trade market will be determined as well. It's only a matter of days before the Hot Stove really starts cooking. Until then, I'm filing everything away as near baseless rumors.

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