Most of you have probably noticed that I'm a little over amped for the Hot Stove Season, but I can't help it because I love to play pretend GM, roster-bate, and I've always had an affinity for juicy rumors and hear say (which is also why I have some embarrassing guilty pleasures in terms of TV shows). I tend to lose sight of the uncertainty of it all in the exuberance to be the first to know what will happen and more importantly why it will. In that light, I was struck by Joe Sheehan's article today from Baseball Prospectus. If you have a subscription, it's a good read, but I'll include the paragraph I found the most profound:
We have no idea what we’re talking about. I don’t say that just as an informed outsider; I mean, none of us, no talking head, no beatwriter, no columnist, no analyst will have more than a general read on where 100-odd free agents will sign, because the decision these players are making is an intensely personal one that considers factors we cannot know. Baseball players are just like the rest of us; they have wives and children and friends and family. They like specific places, big cities or small towns. They like warm weather or cold, surfing or skiing, the change of seasons or none at all. They have friends scattered about the country, and perhaps more important, their girlfriends or spouses have family and friends scattered about the country. I lived in and around LA for nearly half of my life for no real reason other than that my wife’s parents were there. You think there are free agents without concerns such as that, or a half-dozen others?
I read that, and my rumor mill obsessed mind, racing with speculation about Pettitte, Sheets, Wolf, and others, came to halt. As I thought about it and reflected to past experience (which I know is not the best source of the truth). I went back to this time last year: I was shocked when I read about the Lidge/Bourn trade, as I was equally stunned when I read about the Tejada/Scott, Patton, et al., trade. The same with the Valverde trade, and even to to a lesser degree, the Carlos Lee signing in 2006. Not to say that they were unreasonable or unforeseeable, but the timing, the package, the dollar signs, always left much to be explained and rationalized.
While this post serves no real purpose other than a way from me to take a break from paper writing and reflect on my own irrational exuberance in the first week of the Hot Stove Season, I hope it provides a few of you with Sheehan's great perspective. It also makes the irrational part of my brain think: maybe Sheets will take a cut to come back closer to home? Or that Wolf really might just want to stay home on the West Coast? Is Andy Pettitte's history with the Yankees and ill received balk at Drayton's stinginess in 2006 enough to make him a Yankees or bust guy? And a whole host of other facets of free agent discussions that rarely get brought up.
Anyway, Monday's about to be upon us and there's sure to be a whole host of Hot Stove news, minor league updates, and retrospective conjecture to kick around. Hopefully you'll stay in the loop with us.