Just weeks after reports claimed Upton was a virtual lock to be moved, now it looks like he's a virtual lock to stay in Arizona. Or not. Who knows? That's the Hot Stove.
The latest from around The League ...
- So, not a few weeks after the Diamondbacks' GM made comments that strongly hinted Justin Upton was on his way out, and not a couple weeks after multiple pundits put an 80+% chance on his being dealt this offseason, the Diamondbacks owner is trying to squash that talk. That owner, Ken Kendrick, says there is a "very high likelihood" that Upton is still with the Diamondbacks when the season opens. And, to bring things full circle, Jon Heyman has a source who tells him there is a 90% chance of Upton not being dealt. Ah, conflicting reports, hurried back-tracking, and general confusion. The essence of the Hot Stove.
- How do you know the Mets are broke? They have to think about offering R.A. Dickey a two-year extension worth more than $10 million per year. Two years. And what, $25 million? They have to *think* about that? Yes, Dickey is 38, but he just won the Cy Young with a skill set that is far less likely to deteriorate over those two years than your typical pitcher. He's also a popular player who clearly wants to stick with the Mets. If they can't get it done, you've got to believe they'll trade him later this offseason, given that he'll make just $5 million in 2013, before hitting free agency in 2014.
- Rafael Furcal's elbow, which sidelined him in August, may still be giving him trouble. He's set for another MRI later this month, and the Cardinals have been connected to a variety of shortstop rumors already this offseason.
- The Dodgers are viewed as the favorite to land Zack Greinke, because they are a bottomless pit of money.
- Beyond the Boxscore takes a look at some very startling trends in Albert Pujols' numbers over the last few years. Everyone knows about his down 2012 - his first season in Anaheim - but his walk rate has actually been falling fast since 2009. Further, his out-of-zone swing percentage has been climbing over that same period. In fact, in 2012, of all aged-32-or-older players who had enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title, Pujols swung at more pitches out of the zone (31.9%) than any other player. The Angels still owe Pujols $228 million over the next nine years.
- Grant Brisbee makes the same non-stat argument I did for selecting Mike Trout as the AL MVP: Miguel Cabrera out-hit Trout just slightly, but Trout out-fielded and out-ran Cabrera by miles. No advanced stats needed. Trout wins in a landslide. But that's, of course, not how it worked out. Smart guy, that Grant.
- Rob Neyer has some issues with WAR, starting with the acronym, itself.