November 14, 2008

Free agency brings on hotter Hot Stove

... It's highly unlikely anything will happen for the Cardinals right off the bat in the free agent market, but you never know. More likely, Cards' fan will get a chance to get overly nervous when some of the "other" big deals occur.

After the big-market teams have a go-around at some the big-name talent currently in free agency, the tension will rise for mid-market teams like the Cardinals to scramble for the next best player.

For example, all of Cardinal Nation knows the club could use the bigtime left-handed closer talent of Brian Fuentes, but the chances that he'll be around to consider "Cardinals-level dollars" is questionable. There may be--if the Cards are serious in the relief pitching market--better odds at obtaining the services of someone like Jeremy Affeldt or Joe Biemel, or even Wil Ohman, but then, only if relievers are tops on the Cards' priority list. If not, the Cards could be setting much lower sights, for relievers like Brian Shouse or Trevor Miller, both excellent pitchers, but possibly a bit older than the Cardinals would like to shop. A further possibility would be to sign a current Cardinal on free agency: Ron Villone, who, like the latter two mentioned relievers, is somewhat older at 38, but with good numbers for the past season within the role he was asked to perform.

The bigger point here is that Hot Stove means everyone is an expert, and the six of one; half-dozen of the other types of debates will go on for some time.

The United Cardinal Bloggers, for instance, now undertaking a bi-weekly radio show via Blogtalkradio, have little else to talk about in their initial broadcasts. On the other hand, Hot Stove is what this time of year is all about for baseball teams and baseball fans. The rest of us game-play analysts have to wait for a blanket of snow to come and go before the real action starts.

The next UCB radio show is set for December 3 at 10:00 p.m., featured on Blogtalkradio.

As for the subject matter, we have to engage in the current off-season happenings, which at the moment means, free agent market.

This is the time where the GMs creep around the dusty Major League Main Street, eyeing one another, eyeing free agents, then each other again, sort of on alert for who will draw first. After that, things can become a type of Wild West Shootout (see link below), or could make for more positioning before the next "contract sling."

Sometimes it can take a week to get to one quick-draw. Until then, Cardinal Nation gets to share in the tension.
photo by LifeUndefined/

The link below is from the Official Web Site of the St. Louis Cardinals:

Cards strap in for Hot Stove season News: "If the past two weeks resembled a spy game, and to some extent they did, then a different kind of movie got under way at 11:01 p.m. CT on Thursday. For the next month or two, baseball's Hot Stove season becomes a Wild West shootout.

Free agency took on a different look at that moment. Teams are now free to talk years and dollars with all free agents. Over the previous 15 days, since the end of the World Series, each club maintained exclusive negotiating rights with its own free agents. Now it's a free-for-all."