I truly enjoy the baseball season. Most of my favorite things can be found during the baseball season; favorite food: stadium hamburgers, favorite sound: a glove popping when catching a fastball, favorite type of day: warm summer day.
I can even say with all honesty that once the baseball season ends I go into a funk. I don’t like the cold, in fact I’ve never really understood why people intentionally go out and do winter sports. Marathon running makes more sense to me.
However, there is one thing during the winter that keeps me going and that is the Hot Stove. So even though we are less than a week into the off season I am already starting up the Hot Stove here at 9 Inning Know It All because simply I need it to get me through the winter.
Chicago Cubs – There is no more building for the future with the Cubs. When they went all in with Maddon they made it clear it is all about winning now. They have the young talent to be strong for years to come, but the real question is do they continue to see which young prospects will be the best for them or do they start spending money on free agents. Look for the Cubs to make a shocking move and trade away one of their top prospects this offseason for someone they think will impact the team in 2015.
Seattle Mariners – The M’s made a huge splash last season with the Cano signing and let’s be honest, it worked out pretty well. There are gaps all through the M’s offense and I believe that this offseason there will be another big splash in Seattle. Whether they go big for Victor Martinez or make a trade there will be a DH/1st baseman/Outfielder brought in with high expectations.
New York Yankees – Money will be spent like crazy this offseason in an attempt to get the team back into the playoffs and show that the team can survive without Derek Jeter. Unfortunately for Yankee fans, those signed will be washed up veterans with big names but not a lot of ability.
Boston Red Sox – They will be probably the biggest buyers of all this Hot Stove. They will be dropping offers to just about every free agent. They will get more than a couple but in the end I don’t think they are going to improve much.
Free Agent Predictions
Jon Lester – The second Lester hit free agency the Oakland A’s were out of the picture and many think he will just walk back to the Red Sox. I don’t see that happening at all, but I do see the Chicago Cubs going after Lester.
Victor Martinez – He isn’t going to the National League. That much I’m willing to bet on because he needs that DH spot. His options will be a bit limited as a result but that doesn’t mean he won’t get paid well. Watch for a sleeper team to swoop in and sign him.
James Shields – Shields pitched his way out of being a team ace with anyone but the Royals this postseason. He will settle into a #2 or even #3 spot some where. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone like the Rangers made a run at Shields to help get them back into contention.
Relief Pitchers – Last year this seemed to be the hottest position in free agency. That is not going to be the case this year except in the case of the Dodgers.
Starting Pitchers – There are some good pitchers on the market this year but the real question is who will sign first and get the ball rolling. I think the market will be extremely slow until Lester signs and then things will go quick.
Outfield – There are a few free agent outfielders worth looking at but the real question is who gets traded from the overly crowded Dodger outfield. Teams might see a trade where the Dodgers pick up some of the contract a cheaper more viable option.