With the GM meetings in Chicago now behind us, here are some predictions for the Hot Stove...
- The Yankees will sign John Lackey and either Matt Holliday or Jason Bay. Is it even fun to be a Yankee fan and just buy everybody?
- Detroit will unload at least one top-shelf player. They probably don't want to, but if your city is featured on the cover of Time because of how economically depressed it is, that can't be good news for the payroll of the baseball team.
- Roy Halladay gets traded, but not to where you think. I'll say he doesn't go to New York, Boston or Philadelphia, and I'll suggest that he does go to Texas, St. Louis or the Angels. But the Jays can't hold him any longer.
- The Phillies will sign Adrian Beltre and a relief pitcher who has closed before, such as Mike Gonzalez or Fernando Rodney
- The Orioles, Nationals, Royals and Pirates will do nothing of substance
- Milton Bradley will go back to the Rangers for pretty much nothing
- Pedro Martinez will pull another Roger Clemens and decides he'll be ready to pitch in July. Maybe even in Philadelphia again.
- At least two more high profile names will get snared by the infamous "list" of players who failed steroid survey testing in 2003.
- Keep an eye on http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/ and http://www.baseballrumormill.com/ for all of your Hot Stove needs
In other news...
- What is it about the Angels? It seems every year they lose a high-profile free agent, plug the gap and win a bunch of games. But why do they lose guys? They're a big money team, but they didn't seem real interested in keeping Francisco Rodriguez last offseason, and might well lose John Lackey and Chone Figgins this year. Weird. Their continued success is a tribute to their farm system, GM Tony Reaggins and manager Mike Scioscia, however.
- Jim Riggleman is now officially the manager of the Nationals. Yawn.
- Brad Lidge may have been ailing more than he let on. Lidge was a stand-up guy through the entire nightmare that was his 2009 season, and refused to make any excuses for his ineffectiveness. However, it now appears that he toed the line between "hurt" and "injured" all year, and may have been too "injured" to contribute like he could have. At the same time, given the Phillies lack of alternatives, it's hard to get on the guy for going out and giving it all he had to try to help the team.
- The American League and National League Gold Glove awards were announced earlier this week, with few surprises on either list. As usual, there was handwringing from many SABR-metric 'experts,' most of whom trot out statistics the vast majority of even avid baseball fans have not heard of and wouldn't understand. I agree with the general consensus that the Gold Glove vote is not taken seriously enough by those that vote for it, but let's settle down on the indignation that someone like Orlando Hudson won.
- The link above about handwringing takes you to a piece by Rob Neyer, who I like. While I like him, I disagree with him a lot, and in arguments like this, he seems to put no stock in actual events, relying solely upon numbers. I don't care what Chase Utley's defensive metrics say. I don't. Not even a little bit. I saw him play every game this year, and I know he was not a Gold Glove second baseman. Period. I also know that David Wright's metrics in 2007 may have been better than Jimmy Rollins', but again, I don't care. I watched every game in September of 07 for both the Phillies and the Mets. And guess what? Rollins was an MVP, Wright wasn't (I'm being polite in describing that El Foldo by the Mets). But don't tell Rob Neyer. He insisted that Wright was the MVP. Again, I like Neyer, but we've got to have a sane discussion about the merits of statistics versus what your eyes tell you. My eyes tell me Chase Utley isn't a Gold Glover, and they tell me you're not an MVP if your team blows a seven game division lead with 17 to play. Period.
- Because of his new role as the Cardinals hitting coach, sooner or later Mark McGwire is going to have to face the media and questions regarding allegations of his steroid use. McGwire, of course, diappeared from public view after his Congressional testimony in 2005 where he refused to talk about the past. Having a sense of McGwire as a decent man, my guess is that if he is assured by lawyers he will not find himself in legal trouble, Big Mac will come clean about what or may not have happened in the past he has been so reluctant to talk about.
- Finally, McGwire's former friendly home run rival Sammy Sosa is white now.