The official start to the Hot Stove was at 12:01 yesterday morning when free agents were able to sign with any team they choose. The free agent class for this season appears to be weak and with the economy being the way it is I don't think teams will be rushing to sign anyone and these players may just have to take some deals quick otherwise risk being out there in January without a job much like last year. I am going to start off with the New York Mets since they have many holes to fill and a lot of work to do. The Mets need a leftfielder, starting pitching, a setup man, possibly a first baseman and a catcher. I think the best thing the Mets can do if it is possible is trade for Roy Halladay this would give them a very nice 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation with Santana and Halladay and would energize their fan base. These fans need a reason to come back to Citi Field next season and right now they don't have one, they aren't going to want to hear that they will get their players back healthy next year. Omar Minaya and the Mets need to make a big splash. If they can't get Halladay then they really need to look at signing John Lackey. The Mets also may need to sign a Jason Marquis or Joel Piniero and that is fine but only if they get one of the other pitchers to put behind Johan Santana. They can't go into next season with John Maine, Oliver Perez, Mike Pelfrey and whoever else behind Johan Santana, that would be a very questionable rotation and they can't have that.
I think for leftfield the Mets need to sign Holliday or Bay. I know people will say that is a lot of money to spend but the Mets have to stop acting like they are a small market team, no they can't compete with the Yankees but no one can. The Mets are the only ones that know if they got hurt by Bernie Madoff but if it is true that they didn't lose money then they have to step up to the plate and spend it. The Mets farm system is a mess and they have to build the big team up first and at least get the fans interested again. I do think the Mets really have to flex their financial might in the international free agent market and also the draft like the Dodgers, Yankees and Red Sox do. This is what really hurts their farm system when they aren't willing to overslot guys in the draft.
If the Mets can unload Luis Castillo which I don't think they can then they could sign Chone Figgons or Orlando Hudson. I am not sure what they can do for the bullpen but Mike Gonzalez and Rafiel Soriano are out there as good options for the bullpen, maybe they will resign J.J. Putz. First base is intersting, they may resign Carlos Delgado if they think he is healthy or they could explore trades or maybe get a Mark Derosa or someone like that as a stopgap. They feel that Ike Davis their big prospect may be ready in 2011.
The New York Yankees are coming off a World Series Championship and really don't have many holes. They could use a starting pitcher but if they don't they have Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain ready to become the 4th and 5th starters. I think they want to resign Andy Pettitte for one year and I think he wants to come back. If they have CC, A.J. and Andy at top they are in pretty good shape. I think they will explore Roy Halladay but he is going to cost a lot in money and prospects and unless they jump in because it looks like the Red Sox might get him I don't see the Yankees getting him. I could see the Yankees signing a Randy Wolf or Jason Marquis or someone like that as a 4th starter and then having Hughes as the 5th and keeping Joba Chamberlain in the bullpen. I also thik it will be interesting to see what the Yankees do with Chien-Ming Wang. If they do sign him and he comes back healthy then they could have a really strong top 4 but that is very questionable if he can come back and be close to what he used to be.
The Yankees will try and resign Johnny Damon for leftfield and I see them giving him either a one year deal with a option or a 2 year deal. I could see 2 years 20 or 22 million. I think Hideki Matsui will be let go and they will use the DH spot for Posada, A-rod, Jeter, Damon. I can see the Yankees signing Mark Derosa who went to Bergen Catholic and would serve them well as a super utility guy. The only way I see the Yankees in on Bay or Holliday is if Damon doesn't resign.
The New York Giants are coming off of their buy week needing a win. They are playing the Atlanta Falcons at home and at 5-4 with a 4 game losing streak this is as close to a must win as you are going to get. The Giants just found out yesterday also that they would be without their defensive leader Antonio Pierce for possibly the rest of the season, he has a bulging disk in his neck. Chase Blackburn will take over for him. I see the Giants really getting back to their strength which is running the ball and controlling the clock. Danny Ware is back now and I think they will get the 3 headed monster going again a lot like they did last year. Eli Manning has had a foot problem so I am not sure if that has hurt him or he hasn't played well. The Giants defense needs to step it up also. I am going to say the Giants come out flying and they will win this game. Giants 28 Falcons 20 is my prediction.
The Jets will be heading up to New England to face the Patriots after coming off a tough loss to Jacksonville at home and Rex Ryan making a impassioned speech in which he cried to his team. I just don't see the Jets beating the Patriots again especially in Foxborough. I think the Jets season basically ended last week when they lost and a loss here will really basically end it for them. I don't think Mark Sanchez will fair too well in this environment and I really see the Patriots putting a beating on the Jets. I am going to go with Patriots 31 Jets 17.
I am not going to pick another game this week as I haven't really looked at the games other then the local teams. We will have a special thanksgiving special with 3 picks on Thursday. Enjoy the games everyone and hopefully the local teams will get back on the winning track.
The New York Yankees added 7 men to their 40 man roster today. This is all in preperation for the Rule 5 draft which is coming up in December. The rule 5 draft for those who don't know is a draft for minor league players that aren't on the 40 man roster and have played 6 or more years in the minors to be taken by any other team, the catch is they have to stay on the roster for the whole year otherwise be offered back to their old team. Here are the players that were added according to Chad Jennings of the Journal News:
Austin Jackson is the Yankees #2 prospect and Kevin Russo really established himself this year as a super utility type guy. Corona was taken last year but then brought back to the Yankees. Noesi, Nova and Sanchez are all pitchers. If you want to learn more about these guys check out the lohud yankees blog where Chad Jennings has more on these guys. He worked with Scranton for the last 7 years or so and brings great knowledge about the minor leagues to that blog, great job by him.
Bud Selig announced today that the playoff schedule will be tightening up next season. I do think it was crazy this season how many off days there were. Bud Selig said " We are going to change it, I don't disagree with Mike Scioscia. I think he was right, so we're going to try and tighten that up." The Yankees played 15 games in 36 days from the end of the regular season to the end of the World Series. Baseball players are used to playing everyday, they play 162 games in 180 days. I understand that TV plays a factor and you have travel so it won't exactly be the same as the regular season but they should play as often as possible. If a series ends there is no reason that the team has to wait around for a week. I think when a series ends on a Saturday or Sunday they should be playing by that Wednesday. Bud Selig also said " When you plan the playoff schedule, you don't know how many games the first round will go so that is difficult. There were clubs that sat around, some were necessary, but some were not."
Bud Selig also spoke about looking at instant replay and reworking the draft. His big thing is a slotting system to regulate signing bonuses but we will see what happens. I don't think they will do anything with instant replay yet but after all the missed calls in the postseason it has become a very hot topic and something has to be done. I don't see anything happening with the draft system but I am guessing he is trying to keep the teams like the Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers from overslotting and getting the best players that way but the thing is those teams always draft near the bottom so it is fair in that way.
The National League Cy Young is next up today for the awards. I have been on a roll with these predictions lately and will try to keep that up. I am going to pick Chris Carpenter from the Cardinals. Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals is also one who could get a lot of votes and has a great chance of winning it. I think Lincecum will get some consideration but won't win it. I will be back later with the announcement and some reaction. I am going with Chris Carpenter to win it though.
Here are some Yankee notes courtesy of the New York Post. CC Sabathia only used two words to describe how he felt about being a World Series winner rather then a Cy Young winner. He wrote "much happier", in a text message. He recieved 13 points but no first place votes wasn't suprised at all with the outcome. " I wasn't suprised at all." "He definitely deserved it. He had a 2.16 era in the American league. I don't care how many wins you have, thats pretty good." Sabathia was saying these things about Zach Greinke and I agree with him he deserved to get it although I think Felix Hernandez had a strong case also. Greinke is a feel good story though also after coming back from some kind of anxiety disorder and being able to finally fulfill his potential.
Joba Chamberlain was speaking at a benefit on Tuesday night said that he is fine with not knowing his role for next year. "It's a great problem to have for Phil Hughes and myself." "We have been in situations and there is a lot of things we can be. I think it is an advantage for our team that there are so many different options to make us better for 2010." Joba thinks the past year has helped him even if most don't think that it has done anything but confused him. He said his arm felt awesome and he is going to start throwing on Monday and preparing to defend the Yankees title. He did say he is going to work on being more consistant. He also said he wants Andy Pettitte to come back, he said he talked to him last week and let him know how much he wants him to come back.
The Yankees do not have any of their coaches signed for next year other then Kevin Long. It is believed though that all of them will come back. Joe Girardi is in the last year of his contract and it looks like the Yankees are going to stick to their practice of letting guys finish their contracts before renegotiating. I think they should only use that philosophy with players and extend Joe immediately especially coming off a World Championship. I am guessing they think even if the Yankees do flounder early the heat will be off of Joe because he did win the championship, but this is New York and I am sure they will start talking about his job.
The manager of the year awards were given out today and they were Jim Tracey of the Colorado Rockies and Mike Scioscia of the Anahiem Angels. I was 2-2 on this one and now am 3-2 overall on the awards picks. Tomorrow will be the NL Cy Young and lets see how I do on that. I will have some Mike Scioscia reaction tomorrow.
I misspoke yesterday when I said today would be the NL Cy Young, that will be tomorrow. Today the AL and NL manger of the years will be announced. The awards will be announced at 2:00PM. I know a lot of people especially Yankee fans will say that Joe Girardi deserves it and if you are going by on field accomplishment only well then of course especially after missing the playoffs last year and then bringing them back to a World Championship this year. He will get consideration but I think Mike Scioscia will win the award and I do think he deserves it. I don't particularly like the guy but you have to look at what the Angels went through this year and see that he did a wonderful job with them. It all started with the tragic death of Angels Pitcher Nick Adenhart and then they had a lot of injuries especially early on and came back from all of that to make the ALCS and lose to the Yankees in 6 games. I think Ron Gardenhire will get a lot of votes and he deserves it also bringing them to the playoffs after chasing the Tigers all year and then finally catching them and defeating them in the classic one game playoff. He had a limited roster especially with all that young pitching and got them to the playoffs but I don't think anyone will be able to overcome the fact that Mike Scioscia dealt with something that no one else did and no one else could even imagine having to deal with. I do think Joe Girardi will get some votes but there will be a lot that would never vote for the Yankees manager because of the resources. Ron Washington of the Texas Rangers and also Don Wakimatsu of the Seattle Mariners deserve consideration but I don't think they will get much.
The National League is an interesting one as Freddi Gonzales did a good job with the Florida Marlins, Charlie Manuel will get some consideration for taking his team to a second straight NL Pennant and doing it with no bullpen at all. I think Jim Tracey of the Colorado Rockies will win this award, they were a dead team that he took over for in May and took them to the postseason which is a great job by him. I think Tony Larussa will also get some consideration for taking a St Louis team that no one was predicting to 91 wins and a postseason spot. I am going to go with Jim Tracey though. I was 0-2 with the rookie of the years and I did get the Cy Young right yesterday so i am 1-2 overall and hope to get on the winning side with these two picks, we will find out shortly. I will be back with the announcement and some reaction later on.
Mike Scioscia manager of the Anaheim Angels who lost to the Yankees in the ALCS this past season had some words about the Yankees. He was speaking at a fundraiser recently and said this " I don't care if the Yankees go out and spend 350 million next year, we are going to beat them because we have the team." I don't know if he forgot that the Yankees knocked them out of the playoffs and went on to win the World Series. I also find it funny he is talking this early, the hotstove didn't really even kick off yet and he is opening his mouth. I understand being confident in your team and your abilities but you don't even know what the teams are going to look like at this point. I also question him basically saying the Yankees and Angels are the two best teams and will be in the ALCS again next year. I think this is very interesting stuff, maybe he said it in joking but this is what we know coming out of the Orange County Register.
There really isn't much going on in the hotstove league as teams still have the right to negotiate with their own free agents. Thursday will start the real hotstove as free agents then have the right to negotiate and sign with any team they wish. I am going to start looking at the Yankees and Mets and then baseball in general at that time. Here are a couple of items with the Yankees though regarding arbitration.
The Yankees officially declined the option on Sergio Mitre for 2010, he is still under the Yankees control and is arbitration eligible. The Yankees want to have as many arms as possible stocked up and because he will be cheap I am sure they will keep him. I am guessing they do the same with Chad Guadin to go along with Ian Kennedy and Alfredo Aceves if he isn't in the bullpen as the extra guys in case of injury or need in the starting rotation. The Yankees do have 4 other arbitration decisions to make and they are Melky Cabrera- he will get offered something. Brian Bruney I am sure will be offered because he does have a good arm and if Hughes and Chamberlain are going to be in the rotation well then they need more bullpen guys. Chad Guadin I spoke about above and the trickiest one is going to be Chien-Ming Wang. I am guessing they will not offer him arbitration as he will then at least get 5 million but I do think they will work something out to see if he can get healthy and back to form. If he is able to come back and be close to what he was then that is the biggest pickup the Yankees can make. They can then put Hughes or Joba in the pen and have the other one as the 5th starter and have plenty of reserve options for injury or ineffectiveness.
The American League Cy Young is about to be announced in roughly 10 minutes. The serious candidates are Zach Greinke from the Royals who came back from some anxiety disorder to have a unbelievable year. Felix Hernandez of the Mariners who I don't think a lot of people realize how good he was because he plays in Seattle and CC Sabathia who won 19 games and of course helped lead the Yankees to the World Championship. The writers are only supposed to be voting on the regular season and I wouldn't expect them to be influenced by the Yankees winning and CC Sabathia being great in the postseason but who knows. I am going to pick Zach Greinke to win it. I will be back in a little while with the announcement and some reaction to it.
Zach Greinke of the Royals won the award in a landslide. Felix Hernandez of the Mariners finished second with Justin Verlander third and CC Sabathia fourth. I think fourth is a little disappointing for CC but I am sure he doesn't mind since he has that nice shiny ring to show off. Tomorrow will be the NL Cy Young. I am glad I got this one right since yesterday I struck out with my predictions of the Rookie of the Year.
The New York Jets certainly talk a good game but they can't back it up. Rex Ryan came in as a rookie head coach with a lot of bravado and everyone was digging it in the beginning of the season and especially when the Jets got off to a 3-0 start but since then they have gone 1-5 and unless they can run the table there is almost no chance of them making the playoffs. They have a game next week at New England and they still have to play Indianapolis so them running the table looks highly unlikely. The Jets vaunted defense played great the whole second half but when they needed to make a stop and win the game they couldn't do it. Mark Sanchez has at times looked like the rookie he is but he has also done a lot of good things. It seems like the JEts just find ways to lose. They have had a chance to win every game they have played this season but lose more then they win. I don't believe in trash talking and all of that but if your going to do it you better back it up especially in this town and the Jets can't do that and until they do they will be the same old Jets. They have to regroup quickly and try to get a win in New England with a upset Patriots team who lost to the Jets in Week 2 and also had a tough loss at Indianapolis yesterday.
I don't know what to say about the Jets but they better show up and play hard and at least give it a run and give their fans some hope for the future.
The Rookie of the Year awards were announced this afternoon and the winners are. Chris Coghlan of the Florida Marlins won it in the National League. He is a leftfielder and Oakland Athletics closer Andrew Bailey won it in the American League. I was wrong on both, I had picked Elvis Andrus to win it in the American League and Tommy Hansen in the National League. I guess you can say both were a bit of a suprise as they weren't the favorites to win the award. Elvis Andrus finished second in the AL voting and J.A. Happ finished second in the National League.
Chris Coghlan had a strong second half as the Marlins leadoff hitter. He batted 321 with 9 homeruns and 31 doubles in 128 games. He also scored 84 runs and drove in 47. He was called up in May and led NL rookies in batting avg, runs, hits, total bases and on base percentage. He was the third Marlins player in 7 years to win the award. The others were Dontrelle Willis in 2003 and Hanley Ramirez in 2006.
Andrew Bailey was 6-3 and had 26 saves. He led the AL rookies with a 1.84 era. He is the 8th A's player to win the award which ties them with the New York Yankees for most in the AL. Bailey made the team out of spring training and got an oppurtunity to close due to injuries and made the most of it. He was the A's lone representative in the All Star Game in July. Congratulations to both of these guys who worked hard and deserve it, it is nice to see some new stars coming up and lets hope they continue to work hard and respect the game.
Today starts the week of awards in baseball. I know the gold gloves and silver sluggers were announced last week but this week we get the Rookie of the years, manager of the years, Cy Young and MVP's. Today kicks it all off with the AL and NL rookie of the years at 2:00PM. I am going with Elvis Andrus of the Texas Rangers in the AL and Tommy Hansen of the Atlanta Braves in the NL. Any other thoughts on this, predictions?? I would love to hear what everyone thinks. It is a slow time now for baseball but we will be doing these everyday and talking about the winners and then I would like to get into some hotstove action with the Yankees and Mets and in general around baseball.
The New York Giants have a bye week so at least we know they can't lose. In all seriousness hopefully they can rest up get some guys back and start playing winning Giants football again next week. The New York Jets take on the Jacksonville Jaguars. I am going to pick the Jets in this game coming off their own bye week. I think this is an interesting game, both teams are 4-4 but the Jags are a young team that does make a lot of mistakes but they aren't a bad football team. The Jets have the rookie coach and rookie QB but it is time for them to step up and make a second half run to the playoffs. I think the Jets will win a close one today by the score of 21-17.
I am going to go with the marquee game of the day for my other pick. The Colts and Patriots who have had so many great battles over the years. Peyton Manning and the Colts are rolling along at 8-0 and the Patriots are 6-2 with Tom Brady back. I think this is a offensive game but Bill Belicheck will figure out enough to slow down or at least make Peyton make a mistake or two. I am going out on a limb and picking the Patriots by the score of 34-31.
Enjoy your Sunday everyone, it is a beautiful day and hopefully everyone goes out a little bit. If you are a Jets fan good luck and then everyone will be settled in tonight to watch the big game. I will have a recap later tonight or tomorrow.
I am a diehard New York Yankees fan,season ticket holder and a sportsnut. I also like the New York Giants and Rangers. I am married with a beautiful babygirl. I am a caremanager for passaic county and graduated from William Paterson University in Wayne,NJ. I have always wanted to be a sportswriter and thought this blog would help me live my dream. I cover the Yankees/Mets Giants and Jets for www.worldnewsvine.com and also will be writing for numberonebaseball.com so check me out there, thanks.