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at long last, the hot stove

that special season is upon us again, when young men everywhere make their homepages, and unintentional comedy falls from dayton moore's mouth. 

yes, the hot stove has come again, bringing gifts for all the good girls and boys, leaving lumps of junior spivey for those who have been naughty.

the season looks to be a little less hot stove-y for the cardinals. they are hard at work trying to convince jake westbrook to stay for another two years, but not any longer tha that. they have alleged blockbuster deals/signings to come, but i will not hold my breath.

i am not too concerned about the westbrook negotiations. i like him, but we really don't need an okay pitcher on a long contract here. if we can get him for two years, fine. if somebody wants to give him three years, then vaya con dios, jake.

there are other interesting 4th starter options. and given that the dodgers are signing (an admittedly older) (though also better) hiroki kuroda to a 1y/$12m contract, i'm not jumping at the chance to give jake three years. carl pavano may be available, since the twins don't seem able to retain his services. javier vasquez is a good name to follow. even kenshin kawakami was recently outrighted to aa by the braves for the purposes of shopping him to japan. kawakami seems like a competent 4th starter who would have been given a chance to rebound had he not been on the most preposterously deep rotation in the majors. 

much of the remaining action is happening on other teams, though. and by "action," i mean comedy.

the aforementioned dayton moore shows why he is running one of the worst teams in the majors. again. he has decided that what the royals really need in the outfield is jeff francoeur. now, dayton is not the first to fall for the siren song of the frenchy. omar minaya - recently fired for being flagrantly, comically bad at his job - heard it too. now, i don't find it implausible that a team might find a use for a replacement value corner of. but who targets one in early november? wouldn't one like to see whether a more valuable player is left on the market in january or february, as has happened the past few seasons, like austin kearns or kelly johnson, who the diamondbacks picked up for a song?

the same story is being told in our nation's capital, where the nats have indicated an apparently serious interest in aaron miles. again, i suppose i can come up with a scenario wherein aaron miles is a legitimate option for your club: it's february, your farm has poor infield depth, you look around and ask "who is the best backup infielder still on the market who i can get for league min?" i can imagine the answer might be aaron miles. but, again, why in mid-november would you make that decision?

the a's made two early moves - trading for david dejesus, and claiming edwin encarnacion. the athletics appear to be engaged in some kind of experimental roster shaping. i believe they have decided, given their pitcher friendly field, to abolish the infield and run 5 or 6 outfielders at a time. all their pitchers will pitch to contact - flyball contact. seriously, they are hoarding defense-first, contact-hitting outfielders like they are going to be currency after the robots take over . . . but i've said too much. they are also inexplicably looking at signing lance berkman to dh, filling one of the slots you would think would be just perfect for a team with one or four too many outfielders to rotate said outfielders through.

dan uggla turned down a 4y/$48m offer from the marlins. the marlins indicated that was as high as they would go, which is too bad because the marlins could have had a middle infield making 10 times what all the other players on the field together make. seriously, though, it's good to see the fish make a serious effort to retain their best players.

for cardinals fans, the good news is that uggla is now on the market. the bad news is he will cost a lot in trade and want something more than 4y/$48m for an extension. i don't see a match for us there.

so, this year's hot stove season has begun with any number of inscrutable and dreadful moves or expressions of interest. if our team isn't making good moves, at least let those of other teams be entertaining.