Hot Stove: December 7th, 2011
Huston Street was believed to have been dealt to the Padres as the club from southern California was thought to have done a great job covering up for the loss of Heath Bell to the Marlins. However, reports are now circulating that not only is the deal not complete but the Rockies are still in active negotiations with at least one other team about Street. We'll wait an see how this plays out, but it's a certainty that Street will be dealt as the Rockies feel confident that Rafael Betancourt can handle the 9th inning.
*UPDATE: The deal sending Street to the Padres was finally ratified. Street will serve as the closer for the Padres in 2012.
Erik Bedard is an impressive hurler when he is capable of dragging his weary bones onto the field. Last season he may have gone 5-9 but he also posted a 3.62 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and an 8.70 K/9 mark proving how effective he could be. However, the downside is that he only made 24 starts covering 129.1 innings (his biggest innings pitched mark in four seasons). The Pirates have decided to look past the litany of injuries to sign Bedard to relatively painless 1-year deal for $4.5 million. It's a nice signing if he can stay healthy.
Frank Francisco has agreed to a 2-year deal with the Mets with reports suggesting he will be paid about $12 million. The Mets also signed Jon Rauch to help to bolster their bullpen, but the arm to target in the fantasy game is Francisco. The projected closer in 2012, Francisco owns an electric arm but he's struggled to stay healthy and consistent when on the mound. Still, the guy has 368 Ks in 334 career innings, and the past three years he's brought his walk total down to the major league average (3.01 per nine). He's got a chance to be a solid closer for the Metropolitans.
Nate McLouth signed a 1-year deal with the Pirates for a reported $1.75 million. McLouth had his greatest success as a Pirate before a couple of somewhat troubled seasons in Atlanta where his production was terrible and he struggled to stay healthy. Still just 30 years old, McLouth was a fantasy standout just a few seasons ago as he averaged 23 homers, 99 runs scored, 82 RBI and 21 steals over the 2008-09 campaigns.
The Giants and Mets made a deal that saw them exchange outfielders that have followed similar paths. The deal is this: the Giants receive Angel Pagan while the Mets pick up Andres Torres and Ramon Ramirez. The reliever, Ramirez, is a solid NL-only arm in the fantasy game, but this deal is all about the outfielders. In 2010 both were fantasy all-stars, but both slumped in 2011. Torres has more power than Pagan, but his OPS dropped to .643 last season as he looked lost for long stretches of time. Pagan, who hit .290 and stole 37 bags in 2010, fell to .262 with 32 steals last season. Given the dearth of athleticism in the Giants' lockeroom Pagan figures to hit at the top of the order for the G-Men. For the Giants sake, I certainly hope they don't think that adding Pagan and Melky Cabrera gives them enough offense to compliment their wonderful pitching.
Albert Pujols is apparently leaning toward returning to St. Louis as reports suggest that the Cards and Marlins both offered him very similar contracts.
Prince Fielder is the bat that teams will focus on adding when the Pujols situation is resolved. I've been hearing that the Blue Jays, Mariners and Marlins (if they lose out on Pujols) might be the two most aggressive teams to add the portly slugger.
Andrew Bailey and Gio Gonzalez are said to be available, but teams will have to "overpay" the Athletics to add their services. At the moment, it looks like the market for Gonzalez is more active.
Aramis Ramirez to the Brewers is the hot rumor right now. It makes a lot of sense given that Prince Fielder will not be back and that the Brew Crew do not want to have to count on Casey McGehee rebounding in 2012.
By Ray Flowers
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The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Fri 5-8 PM EDT and Sunday 7-10 PM EDT), Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.
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