Hot Stove Watch - Day 32: "Is thing on?...I smell gas, but I don't hear anything clicking"

Hot Stove Watch - Day 32: "Is thing on?...I smell gas, but I don't hear anything clicking"
KW: "Robin, have you just been living out here--on the field, in the same clothes--since the day of your press conference?" RV: (shrugs) // Phil Velasquez, Chicago Tribune

It would appear that the GMs of the league have for the most part remained doggedly dedicated to waiting until next week's winter meetings to get into the crazy trading and signing frenzy that, well, traditionally happens in the winter meetings.

A new CBA that promised to--and did--completely re-shape the nature of free agent compensation surely contributed in holding up things, except for Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr., who does not appear to actually care about anything.  Anything at all.

Speaking of the CBA, Jim at SSS summarized an interview White Sox Amateur Scouting Director Doug Laumann gave to Chris Rongey on 670 The Score, where he was more or less was compelled to state the obvious: the new deal brings everyone a lot closer to operating on the White Sox level.

Laumann's hand are tied by the larger organizational approach both in signings and what he says to the media, but this quote in reference to the draft spending tendencies of the Pittsburgh Pirates was still pretty alarming:

"I don't know that what they were doing was fair to the extent that they were--in a lot of people in the industry's opinion--overpaying for players just for the sake of getting them."

Beyond the absurdity of the Chicago White Sox bemoaning the cost of entering into a bidding war with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the self-imposed restraints the Sox have about investing in amateur talent seem so deeply ingrained, that an escalating free market for elite young players strikes them as dirty pool.

It's easy to think, given the way the CBA shook out, that the White Sox position was well-represented in negotiations.

Rumors!

The Tigers are apparently contemplating 3B Aramis Ramirez to add some certainty and offensive fortitude to their 3rd base position.  This is the type of signing that I would like to see division rivals make, but also can't really criticize.  Ramirez is likely to get a 3-year deal over $40MM, profiting huge off of a rebound year at the plate and a down year for free agents.  He's also 33 with a pretty terrible glove, and Detroit has both the 1st base and DH slots clogged through 2014.  Ramirez would be an upgrade over what Detroit got from the position in 2011, but might hamstring them later on when the Sox are more competitive.

JJ addressed rumors of Yader Alonso being the type of MLB-ready prospect that the White Sox are seeking in the trade market, along with also being someone the Reds are shopping specifically in search of starting pitching.  You know, someone like Danks or Floyd.

Alonso's offensive ceiling is good -- he has solid plate discipline and should be a high-OBP guy who can hit 20-25 home runs at the least. He wouldn't be a bad return for Danks or Floyd.

But he also wouldn't be an ideal return, at least in terms of his position. As long as Alejandro De Aza is on the White Sox roster, there's no need to acquire another outfielder -- unless the team wants to strip Rios of his starting role and send him and his $12 million annual salary to the bench.

The talk of Alonso in the outfield is forced on obviously by the presence of Konerko and Dunn.  While he'd only need to stick as a corner outfielder for a few years, scouts are pretty down in general about his fielding, and there's a feeling that his torrid September call-up last year inflated his value beyond his worth.

Carlos Quentin is being rumored as a trade target for the Padres, who need a power bat like you need to wash your hands after juggling raw chicken meat for two hours.  Ryan Ludwick led the Pads in HRs last season, despite hitting only 11, and being traded to the Pirates at the deadline.  There haven't been many specifics, but the Padres have a decent enough farm system to craft a compelling package so that Quentin can travel to San Diego, and hit moonshots to the warning track of Petco Park until his heart breaks.

Former White Sox manager Gene Lamont is said to be one of two finalists for the Boston Red Sox manager job, the other candidate being Bobby Valentine.  I'm too young to really have a distinct memory of Lamont's managerial tendencies, but WOOOO, '93 AL WEST CHAMPS!!!!  It's times like this I think about how weird it is that I in some ways, I inherited Jack McDowell's role here at CN.

Finally, Joe Cowley reports that the White Sox underestimated the market on Mark Buehrle, and expected only a handful of teams offering two-year deals, rather than half the league offering three years.  This is the best kind of rumor, as it obviously can never be openly verified, and can't possibly be disproved by subsequent events.  It's only goal is to insinuate that Kenny Williams screwed up, and since it's been picked up by multiple news outlets (I've already spotted it on SB Nation and Hardball Talk), it's 'goal accomplished' for Cowley.

Seems like there's plenty of actual results he can choose from if he wants to skewer Williams, but to each their own.

Not Rumors!

The Tampa Bay Rays traded C John Jaso for RHP Josh Lueke and a player to be named later.  Until the player to be named later is specified, it's hard to figure out why the Rays ditched a left-handed catcher fairly capable of starting (especially in Seattle) for decidedly non-elite bullpen help.  Especially when they've made a killing in the past by taking advantage of teams that overvalue relievers.  Both teams are out of division, so it's not especially relevant to the White Sox, but it is cause to issue a reminder about Josh Lueke.

As for actual in-division deals of recent:

The Royals re-signed LHP Bruce Chen for two years.  White Sox mutilation and humiliation aside, the Royals can't be too amped about how their pitching prospects are coming along if they're committing  multiple years to space-filling mediocrity, or trying to see if Aaron Crow can start again.  I'll clutch to that thought when their offense is scoring 950 runs in 2013.

The Twins signed C/OF Ryan Doumit to a one-year deal, which inspires similar feelings to the Aramis Ramirez rumors.  On the one hand, he'll be 31 on Opening Day, and is only a powerful bat if you pay attention to his 236 plate appearance, injury-shortened 2011, and not larger samples like, you know, his career.  He's also a dreadful receiver, and a lumbering load in the corner outfield spotd.  Yet considering what the Twins went through last season with their backup catchers, it's not surprising to see them opt for less-than-optimal major league talent over less-than-optimal Triple-A talent.  Also, this picture.

Finally, the Yankees signed Jayson Nix to a minor-league deal.  Can't wait for 'Shetland Pony' to be trending on Twitter next October.

 

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  • Yonder Alonso seems like a LH Dayan Viciedo doppelganger. Plodding, no defense, decent pop, can't hit same side pitchers.

    White Sox 2012: Come Smoke Our Cubans!?

  • In reply to Ham N Egger:

    Similar value, different process. Alonso doesn't seem to have similar power, while Viciedo should be able to make enough contact to hit .300, but never have an OBP much higher than that.

    20-25 HR sounds like trusting the hype for Alonso more than his results, but he's been consistently able to draw a double-digit walk rate.

  • Alonso...he's been consistently able to draw a double-digit walk rate.

    jeff manto will put an end to that nonsense!

  • In reply to The Wizard:

    Jeff Manto Career MLB BB%: 11.2

  • wow, that's encouraging!

  • In reply to The Wizard:

    He also pretty much never bunted, never played with anything remotely resembling regularity (9 seasons, 822 PAs), and appeared in 5 major league games as a catcher for some reason.

    His career might be too ferociously bizarre to draw any real conclusions from his stats. Other than that he wasn't good enough at any one thing to stick around. Except maybe take a walk, but he was kind of ahead of the era where people cared about that. Maybe he's bitter.

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