The MLB’s Hot Stove League – The January Report

January’s come in with a select amount of subtlety, but in the MLB it’s been quite the wild whirling dervish of deals and free agent signings. Before I get to what individual team got and still needs, let’s take a trip around the horn and see where the big names landed like a big lake trout on a dish. Trout sounds so good right now.

Garret Cole. OK. Fine. I was wrong. Are you happy I admitted it? I thought for certain he was going to be an Angel, but neigh he decided to become a devil, AKA a Yankee. Curse you Cole!

Stephen Strasburg. I was correct, stuck with the Nationals. Bite me.

Anthony Rendon. The biggest stick in the free agent class went to the Angels. Now he’s paired with Mike Trout (which still sounds good BTW). Good golly that’ll be fun to watch!

Madison Bumgarner – I’m as giddy he didn’t go to the Twins as I am mad he went to the Diamondbacks. C’mon MadBum! Why those desert bums? Why?!

Hyu-Jin Ryu – Left baseball to start a Korean BBQ franchise called Ryu’s Ribs. OK. Fine. He signed with the Blue Jays. Canadians love Koreans, primarily due to the alliteration.

Didi Gregorius – And I was right. He went to the Phillies to re-join Joe Girardi… and to get a cheese steak.

Corey Kluber – once the ace of the Indians staff, he was traded to the Rangers for a sack of beads.

Eric Thames – not quite a huge deal as he signed a 1-year contract with the Nationals, but what’s significant is he is yet another player who doesn’t want to play for the Brew Crew… or he got tired of all that Usinger’s Sausage.

Tommy Pham – good news is the Tampa Rays traded him from a fan base whose median age is 80 to San Diego whose fan base is a youthful 77. Bad news? You have to be a Brown Shirt now, dude.

Rick Porcello – signed with the Mets. All of Boston breathed a huge sigh of relief, and ordered a pie.

Dallas Kuechel – former CY Young award winner who sat out most of last year signed with the White Sox. Fingers crossed he enjoys Sox Park, and deep dish pizza.

And who has yet to find a team?

Josh Donaldson – last month I typed ‘joh’ and Microsoft Word changed it to ‘John.’ Therefore, I conclude I know more about baseball than Bill Gates. Yes I blame you Bill. Donaldson is the biggest stick left and it’s a war for him between the Twins, Braves, Nationals, and Dodgers. My bet is he enjoys peach pie and will stay with the Braves.

Nicholas Castellanos – Besides having a fun name to say, he’s a solid hitter. He’s been rumored to go everywhere from Texas to Chicago; Chicago to Cincinnati; Cincinnati to San Francisco. Dude’s on a tour. I hope he’s in a mileage club. I predict he will end up being a Ranger, and I will probably be wrong.

Marcell Ozuna – Pretty much assured he will remain a Cardinal since the Cardinals gutted their outfield to keep him. If he does sign with the Rangers (the next strongest rumor), the Cardinals outfield may be a Little League one.

Yes, Yasiel Puig is still out there and the Nolan Arenado trade rumors are still flying, but a) Puig is slacking, and b) really Rockies? Your best player? Stop it. As such we roll out the ball and take a look at each team’s prospects for 2020.

American League

Baltimore Orioles – they seem to be ripping their entire house down to the basement and will be perfectly content living like that for a while.

Boston Red Sox – still need better starters. They’ll score six runs a game and some nights give up 7.

Chicago White Sox – good criminy they have had a whale of an offseason! Still think they need another big bat, but we shall see if they can get one. Sox Park still has better food than Wrigley.

Cleveland Indians – thank goodness they got rid of that bum Kluber, right? Wrong. The Tribe is destined to finish third this year.

Detroit Tigers – they may want to consider switching uniforms with the Red Wings. After all, the Dead Wings and Tigers are both so bad what could it possibly hurt?

Houston Astros – lost Cole, still have Verlander and a bunch of guys who can hit. That being said, they will struggle to keep their grip on the AL West as much as I struggle to keep my grip on a slippery BBQ rib. Speaking of ribs…

Kansas City Royals – damn fine BBQ in KC. As for baseball – ouch. Still stuck on keeping Whit Merrifield. Granted it’s a cool name to build a marketing campaign around, but they’ve got pretty much nothing else.

Los Angeles Angels – welp, they have sucked at getting a good pitcher, which is fine as Joe Maddon doesn’t know how to handle a pitching staff. Got Rendon though so that’ll make it interesting.

Minnesota Twins – they are all fired up to stomp all over the AL Central, and they just signed Homer Bailey which is one of the worst pitcher names ever – “every time a bells rings, an Angel gets its wings… and Homer gives up another tater.” Given they play nearly 40 games against the Royals and Tigers, they shouldn’t have a huge problem doing it.

Oakland A’s – every baseball analyst seems to think they have improved enough to win their division. I think they will end up third. Still need a better starting staff… and better food. When you are in the Bay Area, Oakland is not your first destination for food.

New York Yankees – I really don’t have anything to say about the Yankees. They are loaded… as loaded I was a few years ago in Manhattan when I ordered a $90 cocktail. It had gold leaf in it and it was delicious, but man was that dumb.

Seattle Mariners – they are not sure who is going to be on their starting roster. They will be Tigers bad as they need pretty much everything. Still have the Fish Market though.

Tampa Bay Rays – oh let’s feel sorry for the Rays as they have to face the Red Sox and Yankees nearly 40 times a season. No, let’s not. Hey Tampa – get better pitching and stop fiddling around with your outfield.

Texas Rangers – try as you might, this is not your year. You missed Rendon, and you’re hot after Donaldson… who you will also miss. Sucks to have a new stadium with no one watching.

Toronto Blue Jays – you got Ryu so at least your opening day pitcher looks good. After that? Holy moly. Prepare to stay a ladder rung above the Orioles for a few seasons, and pass me that poutine.

National League

Arizona Diamondbacks – I’ll stop crying eventually, but they got MadBum. Still need another bat.

Atlanta Braves – fighting like hell to get back into the Josh (It’s JOSH, not JOHN, Bill Gates!) Donaldson derby, but they did pick up Cole Hamels for their starting staff.

Chicago Cubs – well, the Cubs successfully arbitrated their players, but rumors are still flying they will ‘Arby Trade’ Kris Bryant to the Dodgers. No, I don’t know what ‘Arby Trade’ means either, but if you haven’t noticed, I’m hungry.

Cincinnati Reds – this team is poised to win the NL Central. Wouldn’t be shocked if they did. They’d have a better chance too, if they just banned that God-awful Cincinnati Chili.

Colorado Rockies – still need pitching, still need to get their collective heads out of their asses and stop thinking they can get a fair trade by shipping off Nolan Arenado.

Miami Marlins – some people say the Marlins are poised to shock the NL East and win it. Some people say those people who say this need to be locked up so they cannot harm the general public with their stupidity.

Los Angeles Dodgers – the Dodgers, unless they can get a Kris Bryant or a Josh Donaldson, are now further away from the World Series. Also, their pitching is no good after the first 2 starters. However, Dodger Dogs are pretty tasty.

Milwaukee Brewers – “We have a New Infield!” is their cry for 2020. Unfortunately, the infield is a collective set of grindy AAA players hungry for exposure… and cheese.

New York Mets – okay, so they got Dick Portillo or whatever his name is… and they got Dellin Betances for their relief corp. As soon as Dellin learns to spell his first name correctly, he’ll be great! OK, he’s already pretty damn good – but Dellin? C’mon!

Philadelphia Phillies – the Phillies are trying to get some more players around Bryce Harper to make that boffo signing from last year look good. They might actually be doing it.

Pittsburgh Pirates – want to know how well they’re doing? Here’s a recap of their current press release: “The Pittsburgh Pirates today signed outfielder Guillermo Heredia to a one-year contract for the 2020 season. Heredia, who will turn 29 on January 31, hit .225 (46-for-204) with 13 doubles, five home runs and 20 RBI in 89 games with Tampa Bay in 2019.” If you’re thinking that’s not good, you are correct.

St. Louis Cardinals – They’ll get ‘Big Bear’ Ozuna back and they’ll be fine… provided they stop thinking they have good BBQ, which they don’t.

San Diego Padres – Their plan is to be a ‘wild card contender.’ Way to raise that bar. I can go into a bar and pretend to be a ‘wild girl contender’ any day of the week and won’t succeed any better than the Brown Shirt Padres.

San Francisco Giants – it’s so bad in San Francisco, their 2020 slogan is “Boy the 49ers sure are doing swell!”

Washington Nationals – they are trying to remain in contention for 2020. They really are. They won’t make it back to the World Series. Sorry Nats fans… unless they cheat. Quick, someone call the cheatin’ Astros… and get me a plate of nachos. Still hungry.

Well we have come to the end of Hot Stove League: the January Report. See you next time when pitchers and catchers report in February for the final installment before we start getting into prediction season!

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