Friday marks the official beginning of the "hot stove league" and I wanted to make sure that I had my predictions down in print so that I could say "I told you so" at some point down the line. So here they are.
1) Before the Monday morning paper hits your doorstep, the Sox will have inked Omar Vizquel to a 2-year deal, with an option for a 3rd, vastly overpaying in the process. This is not a bold prediction, I know, but it's not like there are any other SS available
this year. (Renteria, Cabrera, Garciaparra, CoughGuzmansucksCough, Valentin, Counsell) Vizquel will be the first SS signed. The market will set itself in a week or two to be much lower than what the sox paid.
2) The Sox will not trade Paul Konerko. KW does a lot of dangling of Konerko again, but finds that the market isn't as strong as he'd like it. Konerko deals with the situation well, and has another good season on the Southside, his last.
3) Carlos Lee is shipped along with $2M to Anaheim in exchange for Jose Guillen and a mid-level pitching prospect.
4) The Sox get out-bid by the Yankees for the services of Eric Milton. They win the bidding, over the Yankees, for Russ Ortiz. He get's a deal that pays him only $6M in '05, but a guaranteed $9M in '06, and has two option years.
5) They do nothing else. Esteban Loaiza is talked to briefly, but when the word bullpen is brought up he quickly signs his deal with Tampa Bay.
Around the league
SP - Garcia
SP - Buehrle
SP - Ortiz (Russ, not Ramon)
SP - Contreras
SP - Garland
CL - Shingo
RP - Marte
RP - Politte
RP - Cotts
RP - Adkins
RP - Diaz
1B - Konerko/Gload
DH - Thomas/Gload/Everett
2B - Uribe/Harris
SS - Vizquel/Valdez
3B - Crede/Uribe
LF - Everett/Perez/Gload
CF - Rowand/Perez
RF - Guillen/Gload
C - Davis/Burke
- Scott Boras, and his laundry list of clients, make for a slow signing period. Maggs doesn't sign with the Mets until just days before Spring Training.
- A surprise team will make a run at Beltran, ultimately losing out.
- Brad Radke stays in the AL Central, but not with the Twins.
- The Twins make up for their loss by picking up a relatively unknown pitcher, who wins 16 games in '05, in a deal for Jacque Jones.
- Jose Valentin ends up with a team that can appreciate his underrated fielding, and high slugging percentage. Boston, LA, or NY seem like good fits.