The Hot Stove is heating up as players are signing all over the place. Adam Dunn is going to the south side of Chicago, Pat Burrell is headed back to the Giants, and Mariano Rivera looks like he’ll be returning to the Yankees (more on that below). There’s lots of, to mix my metaphors, dominoes dropping all over the place. The big news of the day for the Red Sox was the re-signing of catcher Jason Varitek to a one year, $2 million deal. The Beacon’s own Marc Normandin was on top of the story immediately but, believe it or not, others around the internet have chimed in with a mix of opinions on the deal. WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford likes the deal for the Red Sox for a few reasons, chief among them the flexibility that Tek provides. The fine folks at Surviving Grady are thrilled at the Captain’s return, while Firebrand of the American League is much less so, saying of the Sox catching situation, “risky is too positive a word to describe [it].”
The Red Sox get more done before 9am than the Marines do all day. Not only did they resign Varitek, but WEEI.com is reporting they will non-tender Hideki Okajima, Taylor Buchholz and Andrew Miller. Not offering a contract to the players makes them free agents. The Okajima decision was not a surprise as he had been in decline for a few years now, but I’m unable to explain the reasons behind trading for and then immediately dropping Buchholz and Miller. Maybe they’re going to try to resign them both at lesser salaries?
One last hot stove note: SI’s Jon Heyman tweeted that the Red Sox offered Mariano Rivera a three year contract at more money than he was offered by the Yankees. He later tweeted the Angels and another team did the same, but Rivera was set on going back to the Bronx. I’ll leave the analysis of this attempted move and what it means for Jonathan Papelbon to Marc and Sully, but I’m impressed with Rivera’s loyalty. Remember when he got a standing ovation at Fenway after blowing a few saves against the Sox and he doffed his hat to the crowd? He’s a class act.
If your commute is long, your job is boring, or you just have a bit of down time, I highly recommend the excellent podcasts being done by Baseball Prospectus and Fangraphs. Kevin Goldstein and Jason Parks host Up and In: the Baseball Prospectus Podcast, a long but highly entertaining discussion of baseball and pop culture interspersed with interviews and Kevin’s mom. This week they talk about the upcoming Winter Meetings, get in depth on the pool of free agents, and interview Jon Heyman. I haven’t listened to the latest edition of Fangraphs Audio, but I have heard all fifty previous episodes. If you are looking for intelligent (what does it say about me that I consistently misspell “intelligent”?) baseball discussion book-ended by clips from Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass this will be roughly a half hour of which could only be exceeded by whiskey in a juice box. And even then only slightly. You can subscribe to and/or download both podcasts on iTunes (they’re free) or click on the above links.