Wednesday, December 4, 2013

2014 MLB Season Starting to Take Shape with Flurry of Early December Moves

Major League Baseball has been an absolute merry-go-round the past 72 hours.  Every team with the exception of the Milwaukee Brewers has made some sort of move since December 1.
The biggest news of December so far has been the Jacoby Ellsbury signing by the New York Yankees, a deal worth seven years and $153 million.  Unbeknownst to Red Sox Nation, an understudy of Johnny Damon for years, Ellsbury will now be playing the lead role of Judas in 2014.

But this offseason hasn't been all bad news! When I look at the list of transactions, what's move stands out to me as one of the best?  The Chicago Cubs signing former Red Sox and Blue Jays great Eric Hinske as their first base coach.  Great clubhouse guy, and if this isn't one of the best catches you've ever seen, I'll eat my hat.

Reigning World Champion catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia has signed a three-year, $21 million deal with the Miami Marlins, barely after the sun sank on the day the Boston Red Sox secured A.J. Pierzynski for next season.  The Houston Astros inked Dexter Fowler in a deal with the Colorado Rockies as they begin their quest out of the basement and into mediocrity.  The Oakland A's have shipped my boy Jemile Weeks over to the Baltimore Orioles for closer Jim Johnson, leaving Grant Balfour to sit in his house circling 'wanted' ads in the paper.

Balfour, along with Carlos Beltran, Shin-Soo Choo, Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano remain some of the biggest free agent names left.  But players such as John Axford, J.P. Arencibia, Sam Fuld, Ronald Belisario and Garrett Jones find themselves unemployed at the moment as their respective teams have declined to offer them new deals for the upcoming year.

And the ol' rumor mill is still churning up stories faster than you can say "expanded instant replay."  Boston has been pursuing Matt Kemp, the Detroit Tigers are looking to lock up Joe Nathan as their new, sane closer. The Seattle Mariners are now the frontrunners in the pathetic bidding war for Cano/Jay-Z's desired 10-year, $300 million contract, tipping their hand that they are willing to exceed $200 million.

As they say, when the weather cools down, things start heating up.  I don't know who says that, but I've definitely heard it before.  Though there have been some significant signings already, the 2013-14 offseason is just kicking into gear.

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