Hot Stove Report with Sanchez
November has brought new rules to the HRL off season. With free Agent filings and potential retiring players there are question marks all around the league. Who will become a free agent? Who will go where? Will there be the league's first official trade? As the off season progresses I'll look at some possibilities as to some of the HRL's transactions. Thus starting the 2005-2006 HRL Hot Stove Report.
The first two days have given us quite a bit of movement already. Perhaps not quite as much as some predicted, but enough to speculate about for the time being. Here we go.
The official word is not in yet, but it has been said that the team wants to stay together. It is unknown if the entire team will look the same come opening day, but look forward to another season of battling the likes of Curt and Neush.
In October the Braves front office unofficially announce that there would be a shake up in player personnel. True to their word, on November 1st, the Braves released Sean "Rocket" Pabon and his brother Keith Pabon. The brothers have since become unrestricted free agents. It's uncertain at this time who the Braves have in mind to fill the large gaps in their lineup, but their official report at this time is that they are currently fielding trade offers for the remaining three players and are looking to add 1-2 players through free agency. Remember, it's still early in November. The team could still go through an entire split in the next 28 days with the remaining three members becoming free agents, or they might try to resign the Pabon brothers.
My guess for the Braves is that their current core stays together, and they look to free agency to complete their lineup. Possible additions based off the current free agents: Ten, Alex, Demetrius, though none seem all that likely.
People must remember that the Pabon brothers are a package deal. Any team hoping to sign them is going to have to have at least two open roster spots, making it a little harder for these two to find a new home. Predictions for the Pabons: Look for the Eagan based teams to make a big push here as both brothers home's are located towards the East side of the Twin Cities. Interested teams: Cubs, Royals, Mets, and Cardinals, with the Royals having an edge.
There have been rumors surrounding this team since before the playoffs were over. Most of these rumors have surrounded Ted "Costa" Spilseth. As of yet the right handed pitcher/outfielder has not announced any plans to file for free agency, but word is that at least two teams have contacted him this off season. With or without Ted the Brewers may add a player. They were seen trying out a new prospect at the last Saturday wiffling and reports say that this guy can play. The status of Dave "Popcorn" Halvorson is currently unknown.
The team cut ties with outfielder/pitcher Demetrius Matthews late Monday night. The team did not care to comment officially as to the cause of this release, but one might speculate a difference in player philosophies. Demetrius is a hard nosed player who, at times, has been known to argue every call no matter if he is right or wrong. To some this shows a dedication to winning at all costs, but perhaps to the remaining Cardinals it was a bit too much contrast against their laid back approach to the game.
Look for Demetrius to sign somewhere in Eagan and the Cardinals to fill out the roster with a combination of HRL free agents or rookie acquisitions.
The Dodgers have announced that the current five man roster will remain the same and that they are looking to add a 6th player.
No surprise here. The hard luck Dodgers had a good time last year and this is definitely one team that is guaranteed to keep spirits up whether winning or losing. Look for them to bring a rookie to complete their roster. Keep an eye out for a name change as well?
With Al currently threatening the possibility of retirement the rest of the league wonders where they going to get their Zima fix from. Seriously though, Al's retirement would be a huge blow to the Mets, who might actually be the Astros, who might actually try to resurrect the name Colt .45's. My guess is that Al will be convinced to give it another go with Coop and Tony by his side.
The Mets will probably make a few attempts at signing a veteran free agent and if this doesn't work look for them to bring in some rookies on their own, or fill in the gaps with newbies. Is there a move in order for the Met's? Along with the name change, there is a possibility the team might change location to Hopkins.
Movement at Padres headquarters has been slow. It is known that at one time they were in the Edgar sweepstakes, but were either turned down or withdrew their offer. There are rumors that Bill Quick will rejoin the team as a substitute 6th man and that team officials are combing the Twin Cities for potential rookies and free agents. It is still early for this team, and remember that at one point Padres GM Shirls was quoted as saying, "There is going to be a major shake up in the Padres."
With the release of Cota (bad blood?) and the retirement of Old Man Dave, the Royals future was up in the air at one point this off season. At one time it looked as though Truck and Willie were both ready to test the market as free agents, but just like last year with Truck's tease of transitioning his team into the Redsox, it appears to be just a rumor.
Currently the Royals are looking to max out their roster with six players. With Truck and Willie staying together look for the Royals to add from within the league's free agent pool. Rumor has it that Truck would love to have the Pabon brothers on his team and will go to all lengths to acquire them, even offering a high priced five year deal for both brothers. While the brothers have yet to comment on any offers, look for them to ask for smaller contracts freeing themselves up for free agency again the next off season.
Even if the Royals are able to sign the Pabons, there would still be two spots left on the roster. Word is that Truck has been in talks with Craig "Dee" Deelsynder formerly of the Senators. While signing Dee might not give the Royals that added "pop" in the lineup they are looking for, Dee is still a great pickup as he is dependable and has a great attitude. Something the Royals have had problems with in the past.
What happens to Cota? The one year experiment didn't work out for the little guy and his off season probes of the free agent market aren't looking to good either. Look for him to start his own team of misfits (The Giants) with the help of a potential rookie that goes by the name of "Goose," and perhaps free agent Josh "Ten" Carroll. Most likely other unknowing rookies would fill out the remainder of the Giants roster.
The team has completely disbanded leaving all players to retire or declare free agency. So far all players except Eric Valen have gone the free agent route. As for Eric's status, it is believed he will forego the 2006 season and retire.
911 is a lost soul. Lost between fighting with other players on the message board (everything's fine now I'm assured) and personal problems keeping him from the field, Jamie crept up the HRL status ladder by improving his numbers and not winning the Sultan of Suck award. Look for Jamie to jump on board with an incomplete team of newbies, start a completely new team himself, or even contemplate retirement.
With rumors of Dee going to the Royals and Eric retiring, Alex Valen is a lost player. With no current home Alex will shop himself out as a free agent with some power in his bat, probably looking to jump on one of the Eagan contenders. His downfall might be his overall concern with his stats rather than the good of the team. Look for Alex to test the market late into the off season before jumping on the first offer that comes along.
What to say about Ten? The word is that Ten is willing to play in either Eagan or Hopkins, and that his first choice would be to sign with the Brewers. There's no speculation as of yet if talks have begun between the two, but with rumors of Ted "Costa" Spilseth perhaps ready to test his market value Ten might be a perfect fit for a short handed Brewers.
Two year vet Jon Herdegen filed for free agency Tuesday night. Sources close to the team reported that there were no hard feelings, and that this move was purely location related as the Twins move to Hopkins last season made for an unbearable drive for Herdegen. Jon will either join up with an Eagan based team or re-sign with the Twins to serve as a 6th man substitute.