If you are a baseball fan like I am you know exactly what Hot Stove League is; otherwise, it is foreign to you. Hot Stove League is what they call the off-season for major league baseball teams before spring training starts in late February. It allows fans to stay interested during the off-season period. It involves trades, free agent signings, and rumors. The rumors would be who the fans teams they root for may get in trades or free agency.
My favorite team the Seattle Mariners realized after last season they need to get a couple right handed bats in the lineup. They had a weak offense, and new they need to get a couple right handed hitting players primarily at designated hitter, and the outfield. They signed Nelson Cruz who primarily will be the designated hitter and bat fourth in the lineup. He played last year for the Baltimore Orioles and led the major leagues in home runs with 40. Even if he does not hit as many home runs he will still be an upgrade to what they had last season at designated hitter. They also signed third baseman Kyle Seager who will likely bat behind Cruz to a seven year contract. He has been the Mariners best regular player the last three years. This week the Mariners made a trade with the Chicago Cubs, and received outfielder Justin Ruggiano who is a right handed hitter as well. He likely will be batting sixth or seventh in the lineup, and may platoon with another player who bats left handed. A couple weeks ago the Mariners traded outfielder Michael Saunders to the Toronto Blue Jays. He bats left handed so the Mariners are looking for someone else to take his place.
The Seattle Mariners were looking at several other outfielders who batted right handed but the teams looking to trade wanted more from the Mariners than they were looking to give up. One team that was real busy this week and made trades was the San Diego Padres. They got Matt Kemp from the Los Angeles Dodgers, Justin Upton from the Atlanta Braves, and Will Myers from the Tampa Bay Rays. All three players are right handed outfielders. Matt Kemp and Justin Upton were two players that were rumored to be in trades with the Mariners, however, they wanted they wanted a couple of the Mariner primary pitching prospects. The Mariners were not willing to give them up. The San Diego Padres have been the busiest team during the Hot Stove League. They may not be done making trades since they now have a new outfield, and they still have some outfielders to trade. Other teams that have been involved in trading and signing free agents are the Chicago Cubs and the Oakland Athletics. The Cubs have improved themselves some, however, the history of the team being losers for so long I sort of wonder if it will do them any good. The Oakland Athletics have made changes where I sort of wonder where they will end up being at the end of next season. Last season in July and August they made several trades to make their team better but they backfired on them. They went on a large losing streak in August and September. They made the playoffs by one game over the Mariners but lost the one game playoff against the Kansas City Royals who went on and lost to the San Francisco Giants in the World Series. They Athletics did not keep any of the players they traded for in July and August; also, they traded all-star third baseman Josh Donaldson to Toronto Blue Jays which was a surprise to everyone. At this point things do not look for the Athletics, however, their general manager Billy Beene has made magic in the past.
It will be interesting to see what the Mariners and the other teams will be doing during the rest of the Hot Stove League leading up to Spring Training. I will keep you up to date.