Thursday, December 27, 2012

Hot Stove Wrap Up 12/27

Quote of the Day

"He has already paid his debt to society. This is his home; our doors are open to Ugueth Urbina. He is a lion."

-- Juan Vincente Zapata, manager of the Leones de Caracas of the Venezuelan League.  The former All-Star closer Urbina was released from prison yesterday for attempted murder.  

Hola baseball fans.  Hope your Christmas was filled with fun, family and not as much egg nog as mine.  Today's Hot Stove is light as not many transactions have happened over the holidays, but we'll take a look at what's happened and check back on last week's Rapid Fire Rumor Report and see what ended up being "rumors" and "reality."  

Here we go...


The Red Sox trade with the Pirates for RP Joel Hanrahan was finalized and Boston will receive Hanrahan and infielder Brock Holt.  The Pirates get RP Mark Melancon, 1B/OF Jerry Sands, INF Ivan De Jesus and RHP Stolmy Pimentel.   
  • Hanrahan will help shore up the Boston bullpen, especially with incumbent closer Andrew Bailey still shaky after an injury plagued 2012.  Hanrahan has been a reliable closer the past two seasons but his conditioning and recent uptick and walks have some analysts concerned.  Still, relief pitchers are funny ball players.  We'll see how this turns out.  
  • The Pirates feel more than comfortable with Jason Grilli taking over the closer's spot but should that not work out (any Tigers fans remember how Grilli did in Detroit?) Melancon has experience closing also.  
  • Red Sox also finalized the deal for SS Stephen Drew.  Drew was a solid SS in his time with Arizona but must have received the "Drew family" gene for injuries as he missed most of 2011 and part of 2012 with a bum ankle.  His brother J.D. must be proud.  
  • Boston GM Ben Cherington continues his busy off season as he fights the wrath of Red Sox Nation after a disappointing 2012.  The rumor now is that 1B Adam LaRoche is talking with the Boston brass with his negotiations with the Nationals stalled.  
  • Why LaRoche?  Well, Mike Napoli's deal still has not been finalized because of concerns with his hip.  
  • Keep an eye on this as this could have implications with the rest of the free agent market.  Whatever happens with Napoli, more dominoes will start to fall.  
  • Jose Valverde?  Who cares?  Well, bullpen is the bullpen and someone will want the free agent reliever.  Just don't pitch him against the Yankees in the playoffs.


Oh yeah, all 30 MLB teams have released new batting practice caps and there are some good ones.  A few favorites?  

Toronto

Simple but so cool, this is a cap I can get behind.  And if you're a hockey fan too, it will double well with a Maple Leaf jersey.  Baseball in Canada is looking up both on and off the field.


Tampa Bay

Sunburst logo is a good move away from that girly looking Devil Ray of the early 2000s.  If you're going to change the name and brand, change it in every way.  The Rays nail this one.  


 Arizona 
Great blend between the old logo and new colors.  I loved the "A"design but the purple and teal colors symbolized everything wrong with expansion franchises.  Imagine how Randy Johnson and Curt Shilling would have looked with this hat.  Perfect.  


Colorado

What's better?  Two letters of your team name or a design with everything that you think of when the state "Colorado" pops in your head.  If your team name is "Rockies" then own it.  They did!


And now some of the not-so-great designs in my opinion.  



Texas 
Way too much going on here.  I like the red brim but just a simple "T" or even the Texas flag would make this a favorite...but why both?  


Atlanta
I can't see this going over very well with Native Americans.  Terrible.  


Cleveland
Well, at least Chief Wahoo didn't make a return (take a lesson Atlanta) but you can get more creative than a letter that looks like it took a graphic design intern five minutes to photoshop


New York
Just not a fan of the Yankees....sooooo yeah.  


But don't take my word for it.  Catch all of the designs here and see which caps you'll be rushing to buy this Spring.  

Side note: even if you collect all hats, not just that of your favorite team, try to stay away from rivals and teams you dislike.  So unless you want the Angels to steal your favorite free agent, think twice before giving Arte Moreno your hard-earned $30, no matter how much you like their designs.  

Side-side note: Wouldn't it make more sense for the MLB to release these like a month ago?  So many of these would have made perfect Christmas presents.  I want to talk to their marketing director now!

And now we move to the weekly "Rapid Fire Rumor Report".  Last week was mostly bat-s*** as the rumors killed reality 9-1 to move to 14-6 on the season.  Let's see if we can trust the "experts" this week and get this started.  

1.  Andre Ethier on the move? Or are the Dodgers finally realizing that they spend a lot of money? 
Well Ethier is still a Dodger so we'll have to chalk this up to rumor. Rumor 1, Reality 0.



2.  Curtis Granderson still on the trading block? 
Technically Granderson is on the trading block but he's still a Yankee.  This can change though but until that happens... Rumor 2, Reality 0.

3.  Edwin Jackson going to either the Cubs or the Rangers.
Reality finally scores as Jackson signed last week.  Rumor 2, Reality 1.

4.  Could Cody Ross be the mystery outfielder that the Mets are close to signing?
Ross goes to Arizona, so I have clue where this came from.  Rumor 3, Reality 1. 

5.  The Rangers want AJ Pierzynski bad even though they just resigned Geovany Soto. Can they make that happen?
They did make that happen.  Score one for reality.  Rumor 3, Reality 2. 

6.  Philadelphia talking about Vernon Wells and may actually want Vernon Wells. 
I can't see any GMs wanting Vernon Wells.  Rumor 4, Reality 2.

7.  Mariners don't get Josh Hamilton but now do they want Michael Bourne? 
Not enough to sign him last week. Rumor 5, Reality 2. 

8.  Joel Hanrahan could be on the move as the Pirates looking to move the reliever.
See first paragraph of this post.  Rumor 5, Reality 3.  

9.  Tigers listening to calls on Rick Porcello and Drew Smyly. Good luck with that.
This will probably happen.  But not last week.  Rumor 6, Reality 3. 
10. Marlins must like washed up infielders because they have been linked to Brandon Inge, Miguel Tejada and Placido Polanco. Good luck with that too.
Polanco is a Marlin, so we'll chalk this up as a W for Reality.  Rumor 6, Reality 4.


Overall, a better week for reality but rumors still take the win this week 6-4.  That runs their off season total to 20-10.  Why are we doing this?  Well, other than a very easy fill of blog space on a slow day, it's fun for us as baseball fans and bloggers to see exactly what the baseball experts throw online and then go back and see how accurate they were.  In today's social media fueled world, there's a lot of garbage.  

We're all guilty of it (Anibal Sanchez, Cubs fans?) but let's all take a step back and remember that just because you see it on Twitter definitely doesn't mean it will happen.  Now let's look to next week. 

Ten "rumors" coming at you. . .
  1. Adam LaRoche talking to the Red Sox?
  2. Related: Mike Napoli may not get a deal with Boston done after all? 
  3. Royals looking to move Jeff Francoeur?
  4. Missing out on Josh Hamilton, are the Mariners pursuing Michael Bourn?
  5. Derek Lowe coming back?
  6. Cubs looking at Yuniesky Betancourt?
  7. Jason Kubel to be traded now that D-Back have Cody Ross?
  8. Lance Berkman to DH for Astros or Rays in 2013?
  9. Mets, Twins, Padres, Cubs mostly likely to get Shawn Marcum?
  10. Joe Saunders to Twins?    
  
So we'll check back next week and see how we did.  That should be plenty of baseball for your fix today on even a slow day.  Catch you soon baseball freaks.  I'm out.