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Hot Stove League Heats Up

November 26, 2013 - Al Stephenson
As a baseball fan you have to love the offseason. Teams spend the winter months trying to bolster their rosters to make a playoff run the following year. Trades, and free agent signings will dot the baseball map for the next several weeks. When it is your team doing the wheeling and dealing or another team in your team's division doing so - well our interest is piqued to say the least. I would like to discuss three deals that have taken place recently. One involves my team, The Tribe. Another involves a team in the A.L. Central, the Tigers. The third involves an ex-Indian and ex-Tiger that has baseball buzzing.

Let's go in order. The Tigers got the Hot Stove League off to a blazing start by sending rotund first baseman Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers for veteran second sacker Ian Kinsler. On the surface the trade seems like it will benefit both teams. The Rangers get a big bat in the middle of their lineup. They also make room for prospect Jurickson Profar to become their regular second baseman. Of course they also take on a salary that can only be described as "princely" though the Tigers have sent the Rangers $30 million to help out. The Tigers get the opportunity to move Miguel Cabrera back to first base and free up some money to shore up other areas.

If I was a Tiger fan my biggest concern would be finding out who will hit behind Miggy. Cabrera led the world in batting average, home runs, and RBI's the last two years as he won back to back MVP's. If the Tigers don't find somebody to protect Cabrera in the batting order he will lead the league in only one stat next year - walks.

The St. Louis Cardinals pulled a bit of a shocker as they signed free agent shortstop Jhonny Peralta to a big contract. Peralta of course is coming off a suspension for using performance enhancing drugs. Once again baseball seems quick to forget those transgressions as they did last year with Melkey Cabrera. The Giants said goodbye to that cheater only to have Toronto say hello. The Cardinals got people riled up again by bringing in Peralta including some other big leaguers. One player tweeted that his signing will encourage others to cheat knowing that they will soon be forgiven and resigned for even more money. Yeah, there is a little bad taste in my mouth too!

My Cleveland Indians signed free agent outfielder David Murphy. This may go down as a minor deal, but the way it became public is priceless. After the two sides agreed to the deal, it was determined that it would not be announced for a few days. Murphy's five year old daughter let the cat out of the bag early however. She was in a preschool class when the topic turned to the Pilgrims and Indians. Faith then blurted out that her dad was going to become an Indian. So much for calling a press conference!

The view from my seat suggests that the deals are far from done. What will be the next move for your team? Hang tight - it's coming.


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