As we wait for the hot stove to get hot — and if it’s like last year it may take until February until it’s even warm — you may be looking for some preview material to tide you over for a spell. If so, the guys at Rotoworld have you covered.
This week old friends D.J. Short and Drew Silva devote their Rotoworld Podcast to the hot stove, breaking down the top free agents, identifying potential high-profile trade targets, and talking about the teams to watch this offseason. Short version: it’s Scott Boras’ world this winter and everyone is living in it.
If you’re podcast averse and would prefer to read about the top free agents, another old friend — Matthew Pouliot — has you covered with his always indispensable annual Top 111 Free Agents post. Why 111? I have no idea, but you have plenty to read as you think about the answer to that question. I’m not sure if people still bookmark websites — I’m old so I still do — but if you do, bookmark that for quick and handy reference every time you hear a rumor about your team being interested in so-and-so.
Someone will sign eventually, folks. Listen to D.J. and Drew and read Matthew so you’re prepared when they do.
At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.
Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.
The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.
At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).