Last season I was introduced to the concept of baseball’s Hot Stove. Baseball talk all winter? Yes, please! ;)
So, I spent my first winter cozied up to that stove longing for any and every bit of news about Matt Holliday. Would he return? Would Mr. Boras, his evil agent, force him to wear pinstripes instead? Well, I got my Holliday wish last year and decided that offseason baseball dealings were not only very entertaining, but could make me very happy.
Happy is good.
This offseason has not started off with such warm fuzzies. Joe Mather, gone. Matt Pagnozzi, gone. Personally, I’ll take a nice campfire and a warm Cardinals snuggie instead, thank you.
Maybe that’s what I get for not respecting the Stove? Maybe I took it for granted that the Cardinals would always make decisions in my best interest? I guess I still have a lot to learn about baseball. (thankfully)
So, just in case, the Hot Stove is like Santa and needs a little help in knowing just the right gifts this winter…
My Hot Stove WishList
1. Save our Shortstop. Yep, I know there is a different player’s contract topping everyone else’s wishlist. But since you all have that one covered, I am going to make sure ol’ Boog doesn’t get forgotten.
Brendan Ryan is irreplaceable. The fans love him. Brendan’s attitude and personality bring the Cardinals to life and brighten team energy. Brendan’s got the D. Plus I have a serious need to be able to watch him leap and jump and dive and be the ballhog that he is in order to fully appreciate Cardinals baseball. Brendan will be a better hitter than he was last year. I promise. Surgery and fiddling with his batting stance messed him up. With another year of experience, maturity combined with the right ADD meds, we are bound to see a better batter.
Trust me on this. Brendan stays. Got it? Good.
2. Now, I am no expert on salary figures and balancing budgets, so I am going to head over to my happy place and pretend that I can wish for absolutely anything here.
Two free agents the Cardinals must snag? Cliff Lee and Mariano Rivera.
Don’t burst my bubble here… I’m dreaming of a 2011 rotation with Wainwright, Lee, Garcia and Carpenter for a moment. It’s glorious.
You can see it too, right? Yeah, I thought so. ;)
3. As long as I am not being restrained by common sense, I’ll take Ryan Ludwick back too please. Power outfield bat? Restored. Luddy back in the Birds on the Bat? Priceless.
4. Now this is where I need a little help because I’ve read all sorts of chatter about Orlando Hudson, Dan Uggla, Edgar Renteria and other guys who might be able to step in and give us some relief in the middle infield (hands off the shortstop position though, remember?!)
This is where I sit back, let the ol’ stove heat up and listen and learn as all you smart baseball folk tell me why one ballplayer is better than the other. Just keep in mind that I’m one of those fans who gets attached to the players we already have – and I LOVE to see the Memphis boys finally get their shot. Sentimental? Yes. Loyal? Absolutely.
I am ok with bringing in someone new IF that means we keep Skippy (probably platooning) and Daniel Descalso gets a good shot at proving himself in the big club. Can we keep Jon Jay and Allen Craig too while we’re at it?
I haven’t done the math, but I’ve probably got about 12 players on the field already. So, I’ll stop here.
Similar to writing a letter to Santa, it is best to keep it short. I wouldn’t want to be too greedy. The Hot Stove may not like that. ;)