Monday, October 31, 2011

Busy Day for MLB

Less than 72 hours from the end of an improbable World Series run by the St. Louis Cardinals, MLB had multiple news headlines before most people had lunch on the east coast. A Hall of Fame worthy manager retired, an expected announcement was nixed and general managers began lighting the hot stove, wasting no time molding their rosters for 2012.

The first bit of surprising news came from the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals. A press conference announced the retirement of Tony LaRussa as manager. LaRussa just completed his 16th season as Cardinals manager and won his third World Series title (two with St. Louis and one with Oakland) during his 33 years as a manager. LaRussa, 67, said he knew as the season wore on that he was going to call it quits, win or lose. I'm sure he is happy to go out on top. In fact, the Elias Sports Bureau states that he is the only manager in MLB history to retire after winning the World Series. Best of luck to Mr. LaRussa.

Everyone was expecting to get an official announcement from the New York Yankees, said to have agreed to terms with general manager Brian Cashman, but that was postponed.  Over the weekend, Cashman and the Yankees proposed an offer to ace CC Sabathia, who has the ability to opt out of his current contract, so I would not read into anything along the lines of a retreat from extending Cashman. Maybe he and the Yankees didn't want to share the spotlight with LaRussa today? Or, Cashman doesn't want to answer questions about the possibilities of Sabathia opting out during the press conference when nothing has been established as a certainty to this point. Sabathia can officially opt-out at midnight tonight.

Hot Stove Firing Up
There were multiple options picked up (Marco Scutaro, Eric Hinske, Fausto Carmona and Jason Giambi among them) or declined (Grady Sizemore, Nate McLouth, Ryan Doumit and Paul Maholm) throughout the morning and early afternoon. There will be many more of each as the day progresses and the number of free agent eligible players will continue to grow beyond the initial 148 players who automatically became free agents yesterday.

Not long after noon, Jon Heyman tweeted that the Atlanta Braves had traded Derek Lowe to the Cleveland Indians. As the dust settled, we found out the Braves are picking up $10 million of the $15 million owed to Lowe and received a minor league reliever in return. This was definitely a salary dump by the Braves. The Indians get a #3 or #4 starter for a very reasonable $5 million. If anything Lowe has exhibited the ability to be a workhorse. He has logged at least 32 starts each season since 2002.

The baseball offseason is officially heating up. By 12:01 AM Thursday, when free agents can sign with any club, the fire of the hot stove will begin to scorch.