The Hot Stove League apparently only needed October to end before it began in earnest, and you’d be hard pressed to find a newsier Nov. 1 in baseball.
Tony LaRussa retired, CC Sabathia signed a contract extension that will pay him $30 million in 2016. Former Mariner Derek Lowe was traded from Atlanta to Cleveland, and teams were declining options on dozens of players, building an even larger free agent class of 2012.
With free agency shopping about to start – on Thursday, teams can negotiate with free agents not their own – lists have begun popping up everywhere. The good folks at MLB Trade Rumors not only put together a list of their Top 50 free agents, they speculated where each would end up. If you’re wondering, they’ve got the Seattle Mariners landing first baseman Prince Fielder, pitcher Chris Capuano and reliever Frank Franciso.
The Detroit News is reporting the Tigers will not pursue two of their own free agents - Magglio Ordonez and former Mariners infielder Carlos Guillen.
The Miami Herald had a busy day, reporting that new Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen’s coaching staff would include former-Mariner Joey Cora has bench coach and another ex-Mariner, Eduardo Perez, as hitting coach. The Marlins also have interest in re-signing former Mariner Greg Dobbs - but none in former Seattle infielder Jose Lopez.
Near the bottom of its story on Sabathia, the New York Post said the Yankees want former Seattle ace Freddy Garcia back. Now 35, Garcia went 12-8 for New York last year and ate 149 innings in an end-of-the-rotation role.
When Robin Ventura named his first White Sox coaching staff, the batting coach was ex-Mariner Jeff Manto. For those who don’t remember, then-general manager Woody Woodward acquired Manto to help Seattle’s offense late in the ’96 season. Manto showed up wearing a heavy knee brace – something Mariners scouts had apparently missed – and batted .185 the rest of the year. Ouch!
Former Mariners utility man Willie Bloomquist had the Arizona Diamondbacks pick up his $1.1 million option for 2012 – then declined his half, saying he wanted to work out a multi-year contract.