Now that the World Series has finally ended, the baseball calendar moves into the stage collectively known as the Hot Stove League. Several other on and off-field moves have taken place already that will effect the 2010 season and beyond...
- San Diego hired Jed Hoyer as its general manager, filling the hole left by longtime GM Kevin Towers. Hoyer is part of the new breed of baseball executives, a young individual who never played in the majors and cut his teeth in various front offices on his way up the ladder. The 36-year old spent the last several years working along side Theo Epstein in Boston. Hoyer had interviewed for both the Pirates and Nationals GM positions, and has long been seen as a GM in waiting.
- I'd be surprised if Towers doesn't find another high execuvtive slot if he wants one. He had a pretty successful 15-year run in San Diego, and still is a fairly young man.
- Tony LaRussa and Dave Duncan will return to the Cardinals in 2010, after speculation arose that one or both would leave, potentially for Cincinatti or Houston. Of course, the bigger news in all this is that Mark McGwire has returned from his self-imposed exile of the last several years, and will be the hitting coach for the Cardinals in 2010. Some see this as a terrible thing, decrying the absurdity that McGwire be allowed back into the game. Why? He (probably) took steroids, just like hundreds of other players in the time period in which he played. He didn't lie about it. And I don't buy that McGwire has been in hiding because of the infamous Congressional hearings in 2005 either. McGwire never was comfortable in the spotlight, and seemed content to do his job and be left alone. As a hitting coach, I wouldn't expect that to change now.
- The Marlins got an early start on their annual trading away of useful pieces, sending Jeremy Hermida to Boston for two young lefty pitchers. I'm not sure how much Hermida will play there, but alot of that will depend on what happens with leftfiedl (Jason Bay is a free agent) and DH (will Big Papi be back or not).
- Tampa sent Akinori Iwamura to Pittsburgh for relief pitcher Jesse Chavez. Yawn. Chavez will appear in 65-75 games for Tampa out of the pen, Iwamura will play a decent half-year in Pittsburgh before being traded to a contender that needs middle infield help around the deadline. Why do the Pirates even bother? Iwamura is set to be their highest paid player in 2010, at $4.5 million. If you know nothing else about baseball economics, know this: if your highest paid player is scheduled to make p$4.5 million, you're probably going to stink.
- The Phillies somewhat surprisingly declined their 2010 option on third baseman Pedro Feliz. Feliz is maddening at the plate, but provides an outstanding glove at a premium defensive position for a relatively low cost. Rumors abound that the Phillies are now in the market for Adrian Beltre (who I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole) or Chone Figgins (who I wouldn't pay what he'll be looking for). The Phillies, publicly at least, have not ruled out Feliz returning in 2010, but at terms more advantageous to the club.
- The General Managers' meetings take place in Chicago this week. Several deals may or may not go down, but there's sure to be a lot of dialogue. And in baseball where there's dialogue, there's fire. Just enough to warm the good old Hot Stove...