Wrapping up the Hot-Stove League by Bob Ryan

hot stove imageThe year runs through its cycle…so now we wrap up the not-so- hot-stove league as the MLB begin moving their equipment, personnel, hopes and families to training camp facilities. I’ve thrown in some winter sports since we are in January.

 

In the MLB rumor circle of … some baseball writers in Toronto feel that the Bluejays who have three outstanding, key players in the final year of their contract (Jose Bautisa, Edwin Encarnacion and Brett Cecil) MUST get off to a good 1st half start or mgmt. may begin fielding offers for one or all of the trio so as to obtain something for these players except a handshake on the day of the last game…btw…the Jays look like they’re stuck with R.A.Dickey….even though he’s pitched 200+ innings in each of the last 3 years and posted a 3.91 ERA….not terrible in the AL….the albatrosses around his neck are—he’s 41 years of age and carries a $12mil/contract for 2016….if the Jays get real desperate with Dickey struggling and MUST have another starter . ..look for them to get out the HUGE fork and eat part of that HUGE contract in order to dump him for a more effective hurler.

 

Mike Shannon broke some major news headlines in recent days…closing his restaurant…he didn’t say it but it seems clear that his place was torpedoed by BallPark Village. The BPV has been a grand success…probably more than even the DeWitts expected…so much so that most of the establishments around the ballpark that survived on Cardinal baseball are being left with the crumbs….aahh yea..survival of the fittest…point 2 of Shannon’s headlines was that he’s doing only home games…heck he’s 75 years of age…thank u Al….btw..Al will NEVER say “75 years old”..how many games has he played, announced, watched….good for the ol’ Irishman..can’t say that I’m enamored with Ricky Horton on the radio but we “grow used to them” with time and unless I’m in my car on one of my errand runs…why listen as its on TV?

 

It was really enjoyable to watch NFL playoff football—better execution, outstanding plays on offensive- defensive- special teams, far fewer penalties, better overall officiating, no trash talking…or very little..just a better brand of football. The NFL is aware of the wide oceans of difference between the top echelon teams and the bottom-crawlers. I’ve read that expansion is not on the plate because the NFL is ALREADY concerned about the quality of play…having tortured myself for years watching, cheering…on rare occasion…, moaning about the inept Rams, it’s very easy to see the difference. Btw..who are u cheering for next year in the NFL…respond…let me know…I’m curious. Send ur thoughts on Prepcasts site.

 

Alex Gordon’s re-upping at KC for a sweet $72 mil over 4 years is good for both parties….Gordon has a $4mil buyout …not a bad going away present….and the club retains a local ,home-grown hero who can hit and play defense for reasonably good standards by today’s hefty payroll standards.

 

Dare I talk about it? The Cubs! Couple thoughts…the Cubs bullpen still looks shaky to me…Hector Rondon is listed as the closer…I know he was 30 of 34 in saves but I just don’t view him as a “lock down” kinda guy..then Mr. Crooked Cap himself, Pedro Strop..he’s been bouncing around the MLB since 2009..he’s good when there isn’t any pressure but turn the heat up to just medium…and he wilts…Trevor Cahill & Travis Hill… long-time starters who fighting to stay in the MLB…I think we can do damage against these guys frequently…

 

Passing thought….it’s about as long as Payton Manning can throw now…does Mizzou have Kim Anderson there during these “penalty” years to appease the “old timers” but as soon as the Tigers are out of the Penalty Box…is he gone for a younger, fresher, up& coming coach?

 

Speaking of Payton Manning….I’ve been claiming all season that he’d stayed 1 year too long…guess I was only looking at this anemic arm strength…no question that his football IQ at the LOS is a HOF+ level….it’s really amazing that he’s taking the Broncos to the Super Bowl against the very talented Panthers team ( the only team owned by a former player-Jerry Richardson)..more later this week on super Bowl

 

A major component of College football is recruiting…so here’s some fly-by observations about the recruiting wars that are taking place on turfs all over America…of course…this is all tentative until they sign…or print…their name on the dotted line..

…Mizzou has one or two 4-star recruits at this point (according to which scouting service you prefer)…Natereace Strong–RB (from Mississippi) and Tre Williams (Rock Bridge in Columbia MO)…outside LB or DE…of the verbal commits….2 are from Missouri….Jerod Alton (Kirkwood)—athlete….code word for they love his athleticism but don’t know where he’ll play yet….Trystan Castillo—OL—from Webb City

…around the SEC in this verbal commitment stage of things..Florida is the leader with one five-star, 12-4 star, 11- 3 star recruits and Florida is listed as the top in the nation on this date. Mizzou, according to SCOUT is 54th in the country and 12th in the SEC at this juncture (only Mississippi State & Vandy are rated lower in the SEC).According to this company, Bama is 4th in the recruiting battles in the SEC at this point(#1-Florida, 2-LSU, 3-Ole Miss). I personally don’t value these evaluations to a high degree….I mean…who can’t see the best athletes when you watch a game? Evaluating future football development in their skills is more of a crap shoot…that’s why those 3-stars are often as good as the 4-5 starts after 4 years of college improvement…if they actually do improve. Now…this changes almost day since I wrote it last Thursday it’s already different as Mizzou has snatched 2 Boise St recruits.

 

I think the Cards have several ???? about their starting pitching…will Wainwright ever come back close to what he once was? Wacha’s direct overhand delivery was the a) key to his early success b) cause of his arm issues…so can he go deep in a season or even perform close to his early-days of high success?? Marco Gonzalez…will he ever be able to go through the opposing lineups twice…the first time through..he’s tough…2nd time…not so much. Mike Leake should be better since he’s escaped from the box-size ballpark @ Cincy but…after going 2-5, era-4.07 with Frisco down the stretch in games that REALLY matter..is he a guy that is good when there’s no pressure but falls apart when the spotlight is on him?…let’s hope not…but that’s the question. Is he a $75mil/5 year guy?..he is because they are paying him that……but is he worth it?

 

Hot-stove league is now officially turned off until next year!                                

Comments

  1. Larry Eveker says:

    Thanks Bob

    Hey with the kind of money these pitchers are making I am thinking about warming up the old arm.

  2. Mike Hopkins says:

    Hey Bob,
    Another great blog. I too am concerned about the Cardinals starting pitching. Wainwright, Martinez, Wacha, and Garcia are all question marks because each one has been on the shelf . . . and we’re not sure about Leake yet. The pitching lacks stability going into this season. Uh oh!

  3. Jim Pleimann says:

    Pitching is (or better be, the strength). I feel Wainwright will be fine. Wacha still won 17 games last year – with Bob’s anemic offense) Yes, these are question marks, but show me a staff who doesn’t have that. Leake will have to prove himself. And even though the Cub s have been declared the champions already – I too want to see how that bullpen holds up. I am a bit surprised they didn’t improve it with a lock down closer – yet. I am thrilled when they bring Strop in!
    Mizzou is a mess. SLU is a mess. Let’s get to spring. and Bob – this is for you…Let’s Go Blues!!

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